He Must Increase

Many of you may recognize these words. They were spoken by John the Baptist in John’s Gospel chapter 3:30. The rest of the verse goes ‘But I must decrease.’

These few words may shed light on why we are having so many problems in the church today with our pastors. While there are very good humble ones who are very faithful and do their duties well, they are often overshadowed by others who are more famous or pastor large churches.

So often we see many men called of God who start out okay yet at some point all we hear is their name, not Christ’s. We are not going to name names as some of the pastors with this problem are not famous beyond their city or region.

The situation that creates many of the pastoral problems is that there is too much of the man in the ministry and not enough of Christ. We are not saying they are not Christian. We are saying that too many men in the pulpit share their personal views not Christ’s teaching.

Or the focal point is on the man, not Christ. You just have to read the titles of their ministries to see this. This problem has been going on for a very long time and while we understand that these ministries often put the name of the man in the title, it is not the smartest move to make.

We know why they do it but, it is something that should be avoided at all costs if one is a true servant of God. No servant in the human world would dare place his name over his master’s when carrying out his orders. Why should the people of the church do it?

The only thing we have to offer anyone is what Christ has given us to share. It is not our good news, it is not our good works, it is not our gifts of the Spirit.

32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” (John 12)

Men called of God to be pastors are not being called to draw men and women to them. They are called to serve God, feed his sheep, look after the flock, and so on. Those are just part of the duties but at no time are we to lift ourselves higher than Christ.

When we get into so many ministries called after the people who lead them, one begins to wonder. Egos have a way of interfering with getting the true message of Christ out. Even Oral Roberts started out well.

There was a story we were told many years ago about his change. At one point Oral Roberts went to a financial expert and said I want $30 million in cash and $30 million in the bank. The man said no problem.

When that goal was reached Mr. Roberts went back to the man and said, now I want $100 million in cash and $100 million in the bank. At that moment the financial expert said he knew Mr. Roberts had lost it.

The problems that arise when we do not let Christ increase in our lives are many. We get tripped up very easily as we are not serving Christ but our own wills.

There are many keys to being a good pastor found in the Bible, feed my sheep; do not lie one to another; and so on. One more needs to be added to this list– He must increase but I must decrease.

Pastors and Christians need to let Christ increase in their lives so that Jesus’ will is done and our human failings do not interfere. The unbelieving world needs to see Christ, not us.

There was another story we heard far too long ago and the details go like this: A preacher was visiting a town once and he was invited over to a member’s home after a sermon.

When the preacher got there and was seated, the host’s young boy came over and climbed into the man’s lap and stayed there the whole evening. When the preacher finally left, the boy turned to his parents and asked, ‘is that man Jesus?’

When we decrease and let Jesus increase, people will know and they can tell the difference. We do not need to worry about getting butts in the pew. Jesus has already promised to do that.

What we need to focus on is letting Christ increase in us so that people will mistake us for him. We are the servants of God and we should not be so bold as to draw attention away from Jesus.

 

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