John 1:29, 35f
While Jesus was still relatively unknown in Israel, John the Baptist was drawing large crowds to his preaching and baptizing. Jesus said that there was no greater prophet than John (Luke 7:28, KJV).
Then one day Jesus came to where John was baptizing, and that prophet of great fame immediately deflected the attention of the people to the Greater One, Jesus. “Behold, the Lamb of God! … Look, the one who takes away the sin of the world!” John’s holy attitude was that he must decrease, while focusing the people’s attention fully on Jesus the Savior of the sinful world. The great prophet John’s character was one of selflessness, not of “self…me…look at me.”
Friendship with the world (“flirting with the world”), said the apostle James, makes you an enemy of God! The apostle John adds that if we love the world, that is evidence that love for God the Father is not in us.
Now please understand, I am not against all selfies. Nice photos of you and your family on a fun vacation, for example, can be delightful, lasting memories. What I am saying is that a “self” overemphasis in any area of our lives is a dangerous, harmful practice. It focuses on us, rather than on the Lord. Jesus Himself reminded His disciples that they were “IN the world … [but] not OF the world” (John 17:16, 18). As Paul wrote, “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). And the apostle Peter added that we are “strangers and pilgrims” in this world (1 Peter 2:11, KJV). Ask yourself: “Do I live my life in that heavenly perspective?
We must never forget that Jesus the Son of God left the glories of heaven and came to earth to die for us and for our sins, so that we can in turn die to self, serve Him wholeheartedly, and one day leave earth for the glories of heaven! What an exchange! Jesus died (and rose again) for us. In turn we die daily to self, serve Him devotedly, and at our death we join Him in the indescribable glories of heaven. That perspective is a selfless one, and it reflects our Savior’s selfless sacrifice of Himself for us.
That must be our focus and our passion in this life: to be Jesus’ witnesses. In our words, yes. In sharing our testimony with others, yes. And in the entirety of our conduct and lifestyle we should be pointing others to the blameless and only Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In comparison to where we will spend eternity, God’s Word reminds us that our earthly life is “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” That thought should compel us to make the most of our time on earth. We should spend our few short years denying self and our carnal cravings, serving God, and pointing others to the Lord and Savior Jesus. And then one day as we draw our final breath, Jesus will welcome us into a glorious eternity: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 5:21, 23)
A life well spent on earth is not one of pleasing self. It is a lifelong quest that “in all things … [in] whatever you do,” you do it all for Jesus Christ with the goal of Him being preeminent in every single facet of your time on earth. The eternal rewards are far beyond all that you can ask or imagine. Live your life now in the light of eternity!
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
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Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.