ALL-CHURCH FOCUS 2018 DEVOTIONAL

August 27th, Day #9 - John 3:22-36

START HERE

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


What a powerful statement. Where in my life can I schedule moments for me to decrease so Jesus can increase? When could that be? 


How can I humble myself and give credit to Jesus in those moments like John did?


GAME ON

Read John 3:22-36


When did you start being curious about your calling from this “Jesus”? Do you remember a specific time? Was it like the Apostle Paul’s Damascus Road experience? Has it been a gradual journey with peaks and valleys? Have you always known your calling like John the Baptist did in today’s passage?


In this incredible passage John the Baptist is so clear and focused in his God-given mission. He is always pointing to Jesus, never thinking about his ministry. He is a powerful example for all of us. He under-stood that Jesus was the focus and greater, while he was lesser. The same is to be true of us, no matter what our calling. Jesus fills us with abundant joy when we obey His calling on our lives.


Like John the Baptist, we want more room for Jesus and less room for ourselves in our lives. And, yes, this is a journey, but God is in it the whole way, drawing us to Himself. A.W. Tozer says it best: “To the child of God there is no accident because we travel an appointed way.”


YOUR MOVE

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 3:22-36.


Scripture: Read through the passage a few times and ask God to direct your attention as you read. Write down which verses or phrases the Holy Spirit has you zero in on in your heart.

 

Observation: List all of the images John uses to describe Jesus in this passage.

 

Application: Who in your life was the first one willing to point you toward Jesus, like John did here? Who in your life continues to point you toward Jesus even now?

 

Prayer: Thank the Lord for the person(s) who first pointed you to Jesus. Ask Him to give you the courage, humility, and opportunity to point someone to Jesus this week. 

BONUS ROUND

This John, mentioned at the beginning of this Gospel, was famous for baptizing people. What is baptism though, really? Explore some of these thoughts below with us today, and if you'd like to know more about baptism at Cypress Church, click here

 

What is baptism?

We at Cypress Church understand the Bible to communicate two baptisms. One is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that happens when you initially respond in faith to God’s offer of the free gift of salvation. So when you prayed to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you were ‘baptized’ by the Spirit. The Spirit of God bonded Himself to you.

 

1st Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?”

1st Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,”

John 15:4-5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing”

1st John 2:27 “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie - just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

 

Baptism of the Spirit gives Christ’s followers guidance (John 16:13), conviction (John 16:8), and insight (John 14:26).

 

The other baptism the Bible speaks of is a water baptism, an act of being immersed and raised up in water. This water baptism is a step of obedience on our faith journey that symbolizes our conversion and new life in Christ. Water baptism does not save us from the ramification of our sin nor does it make us more righteous. Water baptism is an outward expression of an inward response to Jesus. This act of being baptized also identifies us with our fellow believers that we have come to the place where we have placed our trust in Christ alone for our salvation.

 

Why should I consider getting baptized?

To Follow Christ Example:

Jesus didn’t need to the gift of salvation because He is without sin, yet as an example He chose to be baptized.

Mark 1:9-11 “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

 

To be an Obedient Follower of Jesus:
Water baptism is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ.

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

To Publically Declare Faith in Jesus:
Baptism declares you are a follower of Jesus. It is a public confession of your faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the step after salvation through repentance and faith, and is an important foundation for Christian life.

Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

1st Corinthians 12:13 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

 

What is the meaning and significance of baptism?

A Symbol of our Move From Death to Life:
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our stepping into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead.

Colossians 2:12-14 “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

 

A Symbol of our Brand New Life:
Baptism is a symbol of new life as a Christian. We bury the ‘old life’ and we rise to walk in a ‘new life’. Baptism is an illustration of our transformation.

Ephesians 4:22-23 “…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

 

Baptism is like a wedding ring, it is the outward symbol of the commitment made in our heart, a commitment that has to be followed through and lived out on a daily basis. Baptism shows the world that you love, trust, and have put your hope in Christ. Married couples wear their wedding rings to show other their love, devotion, and commitment to each other. Baptism for the follower of Jesus shows our love, devotion, and commitment to Christ. In marriage there is a transition from individuals to a couple and the oneness God calls for all married couples (Mark 10:7-9).

2nd Corinthians 5:17 “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Romans 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

 

Baptism does not make someone a believer (follower of Jesus). It shows that they already are one! Baptism does not ‘save’ anyone; only faith in Christ does that.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

Who should be baptized?

Every person who has decided to believe in Christ should be baptized. When Paul writes to the believers in Rome, he assumes that all of them have been baptized (Romans 6). The one requirement for baptism is belief in Christ!

Acts 2:41 “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

 

We believe in baptizing children when they are old enough to understand what it means to receive Jesus and make a personal declaration of their belief. We do dedicate children, but this is not baptism. Rather, a child dedication is a public commitment of the parents to raise their children to know the Lord and live life His way.

 

When are we to be baptized?

Believers in the New Testament were baptized on the same day God saved them. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, they can be, and are encouraged to be baptized.

Acts 8:35-38 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.”

 

How are we to be baptized?

At Cypress Church and with our network of Branch Churches we mostly follow the example of Jesus who was baptized by being and immersed in water. Actually the word “baptize” comes from a Greek word (the original language most of the New Testament was written in) which means “to immerse or dip under water”.

Matthew 3:16 “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water…”

Acts 8:38-39 “And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water…”

 

*On occasion we at Cypress Church do baptize by sprinkling or some other forms. This is mostly due to medical reasons. The ceremony is a public as possible so all may celebrate the commitment the new life in Jesus.

 

If you would like to be baptized here, we would love to celebrate with you! To learn more and schedule a date to be baptized, please call our church office (714-952-3001) or email us