Jesus decreased first. He insisted that John baptize him. Fuel for light comes from the candle. As the candle burns down, the light grows brighter. (Romans 15:1; John 3:30)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Renaldo Brown
Sermon # 11611
6:30 PM on 1/13/2019
Ps. 34:1-2 I will bless the Lord. Finish it? At all times. Charles Hadley stand for a second. Did you want to say something? Some time. Tonight? Bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. Boasting in the Lord. I’m stirred up by the morning message and that little diagram where that could go in our meditation as I’m understanding it a little better and thinking about the nature of God. And how much we boast. We know the nature of God and can boast all the time. He is God. We are in a world that is so fragile. We are fragile. We are people and yet to know him and boast in him. And praise him. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. This is amazing.
vs. 2. The humble will hear and what happens? They will be glad. What kind of people? The humble will hear. Others are boasting in the Lord and they will be glad to hear it.
I’m excited about Bible school starting. This is why: let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. That means a lot of Bible dwells in us. God puts it in our hearts.
The second thing is when we gather and God gives the word and it has free course. This is a good phrase. Free course. A river flowing and it has the freedom to flow. My life with many of us here tonight, I got grounded in the free flow of the word when it was rich. We sat in rap sessions and classes and we spent time together and God gave ten Bible verses. Then seven more Bible verses. Then a biography. Then some spirit of kindness and encouragement. They that are strong bear the infirmities of the weak. Bearing one another’s burdens. Being encouraged. Going to Bible college not knowing where I would end up but receiving the word and learning to praise God continually on a winter day, on a summer day. When I don’t feel so good. When I don’t have money. When I’m caught smoking marijuana.
Why is everyone looking over here! When P. Hadley counsels that person regarding marijuana. P. Hadley understands. He ministers words of life and that person has an opportunity to stop.
The whole point of following God is I feel that God would become great, that my sin would not be that interesting to me anymore. That’s what happened to me in Bible school. I hung out with people that continually praised God. When we hear the praising of God and the belief that God is better than anything in this world, as we feed from the Lamb of God, the victory over sin, the power is broken. The freedom happens on the inside. What was that Bible verse again? P. Philippe Serradji is the head of the Bible college. I could sit in his office and he’ll listen to me. They that are strong bear the infirmities of the weak. Those living in faith help us that don’t walk in faith. I’m a companion of all those that fear thee.
I’m sure that is what is happening in Turkey. What are the Turkish people seeing with this team? They are seeing young people living by faith pointing to Jesus. The humble Turkish person who is hungry and thirsty will be glad. They will be glad like in Sweden. They will be glad. They will be glad. They will hear and be glad. Isn’t that amazing?
I am taking the offering right now eventually. P. Renaldo is bringing the message tonight. That’s beautiful to think the Spirit is the one that speaks to us. We assemble like with these words. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. I can’t help but say that what I learned in the Bible college was to listen and think with the Scripture, learn the word, and learn to live by it by faith. Then my habits changed. I started to read the Bible and pray.
P. Hadley told me he gets up in the morning, 2 or 3 in the morning and he gets up to use the bathroom and he kneels down and listens to God at 2 or 3 in the morning. How long do you stay there before you go back into the bed? Sometimes 40 minutes and I pray. Wow. What do you pray? I listen. How did you learn that? I learned it by these people that live by faith. They live by faith. P. Hadley, why don’t you go back to bed? I live by faith. I believe in God. I don’t mean we all have to do that. It’s just inspiring to us. A man that lives by faith.
What can happen to us when we live by faith? When his praise is continually in our mouth and we boast in the Lord. We have so much to boast in him. There is no one like him. He is our God and there is no other God like him. Our God, we will do valiantly. Leap over a wall and run over a troop. Preach the gospel by faith.
The Swedish video we saw the Swedish mission was in 1976. Many of us lived in Sweden and were part of that. P. Magnus and his wife and they keep going. They live by faith. Now there is a new mission to Latvia this summer from Finland and Sweden. Keep these countries in prayer.
Maybe you will wake up in the middle of the night and kneel down and listen to God and God move in the Spirit in our hearts.
We pray for our friends and families and each other and we listen and live like this. Our prayer is this year in Bible college God will put his hand on people. I mean it not as a formula but by the H.S. The Holy Spirit will raise up the people. The H.S. will send out the people to do pastoral work and mission work and care for people. I can’t go unless I draw near and I get my training.
When I sit there and minister wherever God puts me, I need content. I need a word in season, strength. Those who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. I need love in my heart and faithful consistency that comes from being a listener and hearer.
Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.
Greetings from Izmir, Turkey, the team lead by Roger and Liz Robbins. They’ve been there a year or two. I’ve been there about seven months. I went back in October to share the vision.
This past Christmas season was amazing. We had three back-to-back Christmas concerts in a row. They don’t celebrate Christmas but they love the idea of lights and Christmas trees and presents but have no idea the meaning. It’s cool to put the meaning to them. We had a Friday night café, Saturday night at a restaurant and Sunday night rented an old school Catholic church. The Finnish church helped us out. Four of their musicians flew over….we did that and it was amazing. You still have to be careful. You can’t straight up give the gospel but Rog had the confidence to go for it. The mid-break of the concert, he let it all out the floor. Ten or fifteen people left after he talked about Christ but the majority stayed. It’s better to lose people and say what we need to say. That’s a quick recap of it.
We were under a lot of mental attack that day. It was an extremely rainy day. When it rains, they don’t usually come out but it was packed. Christmas was amazing. We just got a Turkish church, a building. We’ve been praying for that a long time….finally the past week and a half we found a building. We’ve been having services in our house. We have to be careful who you invite. The new building will open up incredible opportunities. It’s a little over our budget. If you get Liz’s emails, take a look at that.
I just got a new apartment over there. It blew up my budget a little bit. It’s an opportunity for guys to come over and spend a week or whatever. If you have opportunity, come and visit.
Izmir is a city of young people. It’s Muslim but all these young people are growing up and want to leave the religious aspect of it and be free to do what they want but that has its down side too. There is a basic understanding of who God is so it’s easy to segue into a conversation. It’s special and we don’t know how long it’s going to be open. A little promo. Please come.
Thankful for you guys and your prayers. We know this is a praying church. We can feel it. It’s been amazing being a part of it.
I head back tomorrow. I was here for a week for my cousin’s wedding. It’s fun catching up with people. At Fed Hill this morning with P. Justin. Being away for a little bit and coming back, it’s awesome to see the consistency and the love poured out.
Praying for us and love you guys a lot.
Let’s bring back the verse P. Schaller mentioned four times.
Rom. 15:1. Put that on the left side of your brain and turn to Jn 3:27-30.
I want to go back to Jn 3:30 at the end of the verse. Listen to a few translations. He must increase but I decrease. He must increase but I must decrease. He must grow more prominent that I grow less so. He has to become greater while I become less. The very nature of this demands that he and his ministry grow and that I become lesser in popularity. Jesus must become more important while I become less. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. It is necessary in the nature of the case for the one to become constantly greater but for me constantly to be made less. To decrease, to be made less, to lower, to reduce in emphasis, to become smaller in stature and importance in position. To decrease is not desirable because often we confuse less with lose. No one comes to church to lose. No one comes to Christ to lose. The whole marketing plan of Christianity is that I come to Christ to win, to gain. So the suggestion that I should lose confuses us. To decrease.
In John 3:30, John says decrease.
In Mt. 16:24 Christ says to deny.
1 Cor. 15:31 Paul says to die. These are not words of winning. When you read these verses and hear these words, you’re asking yourself, is this what winning looks like in Christianity? Is this helping me? We can sing the words and understand the necessity of the words to decrease.
But when we look at ourselves in our spiritual mirror, 2 Cor 13:5, does it make sense to us? Can we get our heads around that spiritually speaking? Maybe we confuse the event of decreasing with the process of decreasing. Maybe it’s not necessarily that I’m decreased, but that there are degrees of decreasing. Maybe there are levels. I want to think about it like that for a few minutes.
Levels of spiritual intimacy through maturity. Decreasing in levels. On the first level, we can see it this way, vertically, personally, inwardly in our relationship with God.
It’s true when you became a Christian, John 1:12, the power of God increased into your life. Before you became a Christian, you saw the power of God around your life.
But when you became born again in 1 Pet 1:22-23, when you got saved in Acts 16:31, the power of God increased into your life and you were different. And in some measure, you decreased.
Romans 12:3, the measure of faith you had, you exercised it. In the exercise of faith, there was dependency. In the dependency, you decreased. Christ increased into your life and you decreased in response to his increase by faith.
Now as Christians in the process of sanctification in Rom. 8:29, we are still decreasing by faith in the exercise of our faith every day. We are decreasing as we walk by faith and God is increasing in his action and in his power and in his plan in our life. In this first level of decreasing and increasing, it’s foundational. It’s personal. It’s about you and God. Most of the time we talk about decreasing and increasing with Christ, we are speaking about ourselves and God. It’s very private. It’s very personal. It’s inward. It’s vertical. It’s also foundational. But it’s also a bridge that leads us to another level of decreasing. Another level that is horizontal. Another level that is practical. It’s more outward. What makes it so dangerous is it’s more public. It doesn’t involve just you and God anymore. It involves your relationships with people in God. It involves you and me. That’s the business end of our Christianity. It’s me and someone else in the Body of Christ. My relationships in the church of God. When it’s me and you, you and me in Christ, in the church, that’s next level decreasing. Subtraction among us by us.
This is how the church is edified in Eph 4:3.
This is how the church grows in Eph. 4:16. There is no increase in the Body of Christ unless decrease in the Body. That’s kind of interesting to say. Am I willing to decrease in my fellowship that I might increase in my relationship with my brother and sister in the church of God?
A lot is made here in John 3 about the reduction of John the Baptist and his relationship with Christ. And it’s true. He did. His humility was on display. But where did it begin?
Mt 3:13-17 was it not Christ who decreased first? The relationship between John and Jesus, Jesus decreased first. He created a capacity in John to decrease later.
When he decreased in the relationship in Mt. 3:17, God moved in that relationship because Christ was willing to decrease. To someone who was not his equal. There was someone who was not worthy to carry his shoes.
Christ decreased in Mt 3 and the capacity was created in John to decrease in John 3. It’s amazing what can happen in a relationship in the Body of Christ in a work of God when someone is willing to decrease.
It brings back the verse that he kept quoting, Rom 15:1. What does it mean to be strong when it says in Rom 15:1, you who are strong?
It kind of links with Gal 6:1, ye who are spiritual. How am I strong in the Body of Christ? When I’m willing to decrease. I have the capacity to bear the infirmity, but not think of myself.
I have the capacity in Eph. 4:32 to forgive.
I have the capacity in Ec 5:2 to let my words be few or in 1 Thes. 4:11 to study to be quiet.
I have the capacity to serve my brother and sister in Eph 5:21.
Prov. 27:17 is an interesting verse. It says as iron sharpens iron, so a man’s counsel sharpens his friend’s face. Think about that. We always read that verse and we have this 50/50 proposition but it’s not a 50/50 proposition. The iron is not equal. If you’ve ever sharpen a knife the two pieces of iron are not equal. It’s not a 50/50 proposition. Honing steel is stronger than what it sharpens. There is a decrease that is seen positively, that is necessary, that is purposeful. If you understand about a honing knife and how it works, it doesn’t remove metal. It realigns the blade. When iron sharpens iron, I’m not losing substance. I’m getting realigned. God’s mind realigns my mind about his people. That’s why I decrease. That’s Level 2 decrease.
Level 1 is me and God. In some respects, that’s safe for me because in my moralistic thinking, I understand God is above me and I understand I need to decrease because he’s God and I’m not. When I look at my brother and sister, I find reasons why they should decrease and I should increase. It’s a little bit harder. Let me say it this way. I’m going to use this candle and not burn down the church. Look at that candle for a second. That’s how relationships are in the Body of Christ like this candle. Notice what gets all the attention. The light gets the attention but the candle gets ignored. The focus is the light. The fuel for the light is the candle but it gets no credit. What do you do when the candle is finished? You throw the wax away. Only as the candle decreases does the light increase. In level 2 decreasing we are the candle and Christ is the light. Am I willing to decrease in my relationships in the Body of Christ so the light of Christ can be seen in that relationship? Everyone wants to be the light. We like the light. In our relationships, I’m the light bringer. I’m the light person, yes. I’m the light. Even in conflicts.
I’m the light, Prov. 20:6. Men will tell you how good they are. I’m the light.
The Bible says we are the light in Mt 5:13-14. Being the light draws me closer to God.
But if I be the candle in Jn. 3:30, I can draw us closer together in God. When I’m the candle, I don’t get the credit. When I’m the candle, I don’t get the glory. When I’m the candle, I don’t necessarily win the argument. When I’m the candle, it looks like I’m losing in the relationship. It looks unfair to me. I’m willing to have the light be unfair if it is shining bright. Without the candle, there is no light. We who are strong bear the infirmities of the weak. We are willing to be the candle so God can be the light.
So many folks come to church and they want increase from the church. What can I get from the church? They want the church to decrease for them so they can increase. God says I didn’t put you here to increase. I put you here to decrease and in your decrease, I increase in Eph. 4:16.
Then you and I together in Col. 2:19 we increase in the increase of God.
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