What must increase in the church today?

It often seems that the necessary path to get ahead in life is through a selfish pursuit of pride and conquest. Those who make it big are hardly ever humble and meek, but instead they are men who will stop at nothing to get ahead.

Think with me for a moment about the giants in our society. Do we praise athletes who sit quietly and praise their teammates, or do we lift up men who boast in their abilities and put on sport center highlights to be seen?

Think again about our politicians… Do we vote for quiet men of substance, or have we elected men of great oratory skill who seem to care more about their climb up the ladder of influence than the people they say they represent?
Surely our churches are immune from this power hungry prideful culture, right? As a pastor, this is my concern. I believe that much of the trouble in church today is that people have made the church into a business that seeks its own gain. Pastors have used smaller churches as footstools to move up the ladder. Smaller churches in turn have begun to believe that they are of less value than larger ones because they have been left at the feet of pastors on the rise. The truth is, whether in church or life we find no value in doing things right; we find value in moving up.
This past week in church we looked at the call and message of John the Baptist. Three statements stuck out to me as we looked to John.

John 1:8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

John 1:20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This coming week we are going to look at Jesus calling his first disciples. The interesting thing about the calling of the first disciples is that they were John’s disciples before they were Jesus’.

John 1:35-37 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
John was not a prideful man. He was not a man who sought his own glory or his own advancement. John sought to magnify Christ through all that he did. Time after time John was asked if he was the messiah and his response was to say no and quickly point to Jesus. In our passage John did not try to retain his base of disciples, but instead he saw his purpose in leading them to Christ.

How often do we live this life for our glory or advancement? As Christians our call is to do the same as John did- deny ourselves and magnify Christ. When Christ is in our lives we have a hope that the world needs and desires, and the question for you and for me is whether we point them to Christ or to ourselves.

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