One ministry was about to end. Another ministry was about to begin.The second ministry would be greater than the first ministry.
The first ministry was the ministry of John the Baptist.The second ministry was the ministry of Jesus the Saviour.
“No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).
What does the servant of the Lord bring to the people of God? We can only bring what is given to us by the Lord. God gives His Word to His servants, so that His people may give glory to the Lord.
In the service of the Lord, there is something we must never forget: “He who comes from above is above all” (John 3:31). In the service of the Lord, is there a guarantee of ‘success’? – Let’s look at Jesus’ ministry: “He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony” (John 3:32). “No one receives his testimony” – Does that sound depressing? Are all of us to expect a great ‘success story’? Is the authenticity of a ministry to be assessed by human criteria – How many people are coming to the services? How much money is being given to the church? We must always ask the question, what is most important – ‘success’ or obedience? Have not some become so infatuated with the idea of success that they have sacrificed reality and depth in order to get the success that means so much to them? What does this kind of success amount to? Not very much at all – if it amounts to a denial of the principle: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Worship in the Spirit and truth (John 4;24), preaching in the power of the Spirit (Acts 4:31) – These are the things that matter so much to the Lord. To lose sight of the importance of the things that matter most is to turn things around. It’s to make “I must increase” more important than “He must increase.” What happens when we start thinking like this? – “The glory has departed” (1 Samuel 4:21-22).
“The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34).
In the ministry of our Saviour, we see something very different from the departure of the glory. We see the revelation of the glory. God’s Spirit is given. God’s Word is spoken. God is glorified. Sinners are saved. There’s a new song of praise to the Lord, a song that exalts the Name of Jesus our Saviour, a song that says, “Hallelujah”, a song that says, “Praise the Lord.”
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
Wherever Christ is preached in the power of the Spirit, there will be salvation. This blessing comes when the Lord’s servants are faithful in preaching both the Gospel promise and the Gospel warning. How will people seek salvation unless they are told that they need to be saved? The warning is to be heeded, the promise is to be believed – and Christ is to be glorified.