A motto, or a slogan, is a short statement that summarizes the mission of a person or group. Companies often have a motto or a saying as part of their branding. KFC, “Finger lickin’ good.” The Boys Scouts, “Be Prepared.” “Be all that you can be” is the motto for the U.S. Army. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” is part of the branding for M&M candies. All 50 states have official mottos. “In God We Trust,” the official motto of the U.S.A.
Maybe you have a life verse. Since my seminary days I have often referred to Ephesians 3:20–21 as my life verse. Today, I want to nominate another verse, John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Many of us have memorized and preached the first half of John 3, and in particular John 3:16. But, the second half of John 3 offers us a great admonition and encouragement to be “Christ-centered” in our lives, in our mindset, ministry, and message.
Three Reasons “He must increase, but I must decrease”…
1. My mindset may be a bigger problem than I realize.
The followers of John the Baptist are envious and feeling some jealousy as more people are going to Jesus. I went back and did some reading of the places in Scripture that mention John the Baptist. While John appears to have been a strong and mighty witness for the Lord, he also models humility. I found it interesting that John 4:2 clarifies that Jesus did NOT baptize, but his disciples did. I think this could be to keep anyone from pridefully saying, “I got baptized by Jesus…who baptized you?”
John 3:27, John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” Here is the point: All success in ministry comes from the gracious hand of God.
A Christ-exalting mindset humbles oneself.
2. My ministry should be all about Jesus and not myself.
«You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.» – John 3:28–29
I love the illustration John the Baptist gives of the friend or best-man of the bridegroom. I can’t help but imagine how rude it would be for a groom to have a show-boating, self-aggrandizing best man! In Jewish culture, and even in many places to this day, the role of the best man was to give testimony, to be a witness, that the groom and bride had exchanged vows and were married. We are to be witnesses of the Lord Jesus. It is about Jesus, not me.
John the Baptist knew his place. John the Baptist knew his purpose.
3. My message must testify to Jesus as the only Lord and Savior. 3:30-36
John the Baptist had an ultimate message for his followers – follow Jesus. In John 3:30, “He must increase, I must decrease.” The bottom line for me is to point people to Jesus! Verses 31–36 offer a summation of the message of John pointing people to Jesus as Lord and Savior. John the Baptist was from earth, but Jesus Christ came from heaven. Jesus Christ Is the Only Way to Enjoy Eternal Life and Escape the Wrath of God.
A few reminders for me today as a follower of Jesus…
- A Christ-exalting mindset may be a bigger problem than I realize (I must be mindful to humble myself).
- A Christ-exalting ministry is all about Jesus and not about me.
- A Christ-exalting message testifies to Jesus as the only Lord and Savior.
“He must increase, I must decrease.” Jesus>me!
Your brother in Christ,
SBC of Virginia