He Must Increase, but I Must Decrease


PREVIEW 1: “In the next five minutes, I will share with you something that will interpret every event and dream in your life.”
PREVIEW 2: “Why? Because you are puzzled by the fact that God has called you to great things, yet there are things you are suffering, and you wonder why God doesn’t take these away so you can get on with the things to which God has called you.”
Intro: But before that, I want to ask you one question: Jesus said that John the Baptist was greater than all the prophets of the Old Testament. Why? I believe that’s because John had the greatest of all spiritual insights. That is the insight I am going to share with you this morning. You can call it the LAW OF THE SPIRIT, just as gravity is a law of physics. He gave this insight in two parts in John 3:30.

     1. He must increase
     2. BUT I (Self) must decrease

Universal spiritual principles do not require our knowledge, cooperation or permission in order to operate. For they are established by God Himself.
Like Gravity. It doesn’t require us to know anything about it, to understand it, or to agree with it in order for Gravity to function. If you jump out of an upper floor window, you will fall down and hurt yourself … badly.
John’s insight is infinitely more powerful than gravity!
John didn’t say He might increase and I might decrease!
He said He must increase. I must decrease. It must be so – therefore it is so!
Point 1
So the first law of spiritual nature we find in John 3:30 is that He must increase –
and if Jesus must increase then He will increase and He is increasing.
The process is at work in every man, every woman, every child, in creation itself.
It must be so and therefore it is so!
No one and nothing can change it, interrupt it, or stop it. It is irresistible.
Point 2
The second law of spiritual nature us: I must decreasel
The Law of Increase tells us that everything God has done, is doing, and will do
is for the purpose of increasing Jesus.
The Law of Decrease tells us that everything we have been through, we are going through and we will go through is for the purpose of decreasing self.
We like the Law of Increase. We want to see Christ glorified.
We don’t like the Law of Decrease. We don’t want to see ourselves diminished.
Let’s look at an illustration of God’s action and our reaction. Let’s look at Peter.
In Luke 5:8, God opened his eyes to see the Lord, and also, to see himself.
So he says to Jesus, Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.
Peter’s ability to call Jesus Lord is the result of Christ revealing Himself to Peter. Christ increased in Peter’s eyes.
Peter’s ability to see himself as sinful man is the result of Christ revealing Peter to Peter. Peter diminished in his own eyes.
This process of decreasing continued to operate in Peter long after.
In our example, Peter confessed he was a sinful man.
Later, Peter was arguing with the rest over which disciple would be the greatest.
He boldly said that even if everyone else left, he would never forsake Jesus.
Jesus knew what would happen. Jesus knew Peter; but Peter did not know Peter.
It was only when he denied Jesus, that Peter could see himself as he really was.
The process of increasing is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
The process of decreasing is accomplished through repentance.
According to the Bible, repentance is more than just saying or feeling sorry.
It is a change of mind that causes a change of heart which leads to a change of behavior.
It means I used to think, believe and behave a certain way – but God has shown me a different way, and I am forsaking my way for His. That is repentance.
The more I fail the more I realize that God’s way is superior to mine, and the more willing I am to forsake my will and embrace His. This is the process of decreasing.
God is constantly challenging our version of truth and offering us His version.
When Jesus began His public ministry, the first thing He said was: Repent – change your mind, your heart, and your behavior – because the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Those who repented were able to hear Him;
those who did not repent did not understand.
Again, repentance is not for sinners only.
Six times in the book of Revelation, Jesus calls upon His own people to repent.
Repentance isn’t for really bad people, it’s for anyone who is growing spiritually. Why? Because as Christ is increased, Self is decreased,
and as Christ is revealed, Self is revealed,
Every time I see something more of Him, I have to decide which way I will go.
Will I go the way of Christ, or will I go the way of Self?
Repentance is the continual process of choosing the way of Christ
and denying the way of Self.
What is all this increasing and decreasing leading towards?
Paul reveals this mystery in Galatians 2:20:
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.
Notice the four words: Not I, but Christ.
“Not I, but Christ” is the secret of living the Christian life
as well as the end result of all this increasing and decreasing.
But what does Paul mean?
Simply this: Christ was steadily increasing in Paul, and Paul was steadily decreasing,
until the day came when there was more of Christ than Paul to be seen in Paul.
In other words, Paul was so diminished and Christ was so revealed through this man
that Jesus in Paul became greater than Paul.
On that day, and every day thereafter, Paul could truthfully say, Not I, but Christ.
If Jesus must increase, and Paul must decrease,
then it stands to reason that one day Paul would be overshadowed altogether. 
This is the glorious outcome God intends for every disciple.
Did Paul cease to exist? In the Kingdom, death is not the end, it’s the beginning.
Paul lives on, but it is a different kind of Life that causes him to live now.
I am crucified – nevertheless I live… yet not I.
Paul is describing death and resurrection. He lived, he died, and he lives again,
but the life he lives now is not his own life, it is the Life of Another.
So Paul lives, but Paul is not what he used to be.
After many seasons of walking with God and going through many temptations, tests, trials, and afflictions, Christ was increased while Paul was decreased.
Other Examples Other Biblical examples: Jacob.  Joseph.  Moses.  Nebuchadnezzar. John Baptist. Jesus as a man.
When we rightly interpret these experiences then we, too, will reach the same result.
Everything we experience is an opportunity to see Christ increased and Self decreased. Eventually Christ in us will have more influence than Self,
and when that happens, we will find ourselves on resurrection ground.
This is why our fundamental need is not more power, but more brokenness.
With less of me, there is more of Him. And with more of Him, there is less of me.
When a person is sufficiently broken then Jesus will be increased in him.
It is a Universal Spiritual Principle.
We do not have to do anything to make this happen. It must be so, therefore it IS so.
Jesus must increase, therefore He will increase, and He is increasing.
I must decrease, therefore I will decrease, and I am decreasing.
As disciples of Jesus, we accept the death of Self.
The death of Self does not mean the end of our existence.
It just means the end of our rebellion, our old life, and the beginning of a new life.
This dying to Self and coming alive to God is daily experience.
With each death, burial, and resurrection, I am getting closer to the Goal.
Not I, but Christ.
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