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He Must Increase and I Must Decrease



This week we’re joined by Grant Partrick who brings an encouraging message about making our lives matter by letting our passions serve a greater purpose: making much of Jesus.

Key Takeaway

We were created for one purpose: to make much of Jesus and bring Glory to God. When we are clear on our identity and who we are in Christ, we can use the gifts he has given us to impact those around us.

It is a waste of your life to be impressive to people, but not pleasing to God. Many people throughout the Bible show amazing faith, but only one is commended by Jesus in the highest regard. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus said, "There has not been anyone greater than John the Baptist."

If our aim is to be pleasing to God, what can we learn from John the Baptist? What does he teach us about being great in the eyes of God?

He had a pretty unique story. Both of his parents were very old when they had him. John the Baptist was a strange guy; he ate bugs and wore camel hair, and he didn't have a home. But he was also the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. He wasn't just proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was coming, he was saying that it was here and used his entire life to point to Jesus.

John 1:19-27: The context of this passage is that it took place in the 1st century. The Jewish people were living in anticipation of a coming Messiah. They thought it would be a strong political figure who would overthrow Rome and the oppression they were living in under Roman occupation. Instead, this weird guy named John the Baptist is baptizing both Jews and Gentiles as a purification ritual. The religious elite did not like that he was telling everyone to repent for the Kingdom of God was at hand and that he was telling the Jews that even they needed to be baptized. John lived an incredibly effective and significant life. What can we learn from him?

Four Ways To Live A Significant Life

  1. John the Baptist was confident in his identity.
    • He has clarity on this identity. He knew who he was and who he was not. He denied being the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet that Moses had promised. He was asked multiple times in his life if he was the Christ. No one has ever asked us that.
    • To be great in the world means to make a name for yourself. To be great in God's Kingdom means you lay yourself down. Humility is the pathway to significance. John the Baptist tethered his name to the One far greater than him, Jesus Christ. We already have a hero, we don't need another one. We just need to know who the hero is and make sure others know Him as well.
    • Paul used the same outlook. 1 Corinthians 3:5 and 2 Corinthians 4:5 both speak of humility and being confident in who he was and who he was not. If you are not confident in who you are not, you'll be who people need you to be and that is ever-changing. Your worth and status don't rise and fall with your accomplishments in the Kingdom of God, it stays steady because you're tethered to Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. See Hebrews 13:8
  2.  He had conviction in his words.
    • Read Luke 3:2-3. The words came to John the Baptist and then he spoke the Word of God, not his opinions. Opinions aren't helpful to a world that's lost. We need to speak the Words of God. That's what people need to hear.
    • The Bible is the Word coming to us. It's not dead or antiquated. It's alive, real, and active. See Hebrews 4:12. To the degree that you get this in you is the degree it will come out of you. There's a huge difference in having to say something and having something to say.
  3. He counted the cost.
    • His obedience to Jesus lands John the Baptist in jail and cost him his life. To him, his obedience to God was more valuable than the approval of man.
    • Read Galatians 1:10. Who are you trying to please? The Scripture is clear. The gift of salvation is free to us, but following Christ will cost you something. A costless Christianity is not a Biblical Christianity. It cost John the Baptist himself, not just his life. We love to worship ourselves and we aren't meant to carry that weight. We, like John the Baptist, deny ourselves. Only God is worthy of our worship.
  4. He had clarity on his mission.
    • When he was asked who he was he didn't answer with his name, he responded with his mission. He identified himself as a voice. You can't see a voice, you hear a voice. He never wanted the spotlight, he was always shining a light towards Jesus. He determined that he would lead people to the name above all names.
    • Read Isaiah 26:8. Our deepest desire is for His name to be known. Colossians 11:16 supports this by teaching us that we were made by Him and for Him. We all have the same purpose: to live a life for God that brings Him glory. Our passion is not our purpose. Our passion is our vehicle for our purpose which is to make much of Jesus.
    • To be saved by God is to be sent by God. You were wired by God for the passion God gave you. So, figure out how you are wired, but don't use it as an excuse to not live in your purpose.

John 1:35-37 - John the Baptist's goal was, as Paul said it, "follow me as I follow Christ" See 1 Corinthians 11:1.

John 3:22-31 - John's disciples come to him and ask what to do since people are leaving them to join Jesus. John answers "He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease." What did he mean?

    • We don't have anything that is not given from Heaven. (John 2:27). It's all grace. Another's success doesn't threaten your own. Comparison makes you feel inferior or superior and neither honor God.
    • John the Baptist uses wedding imagery. The people of God are often referred to as the Bride and Jesus is the Bridegroom. John the Baptist knows that he is the Best Man. The Bride belongs to the groom. It would be weird if the Best Man tried to keep the Bride for himself. The goal is to get the Bride to the Groom. In doing that, his joy is complete. He is saying to look to Jesus, not to him.

John 5:25 - listen for the voice of God. Receive what Jesus has done for you.

Acts 4:12 - Salvation is found in no one else and there is no other name that can save you.


"Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last."

C.T. Studd

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Scripture References

  • Matthew 11:11
  • Luke 3:2-3
  • Luke 23:46
  • John 1:19–37
  • John 3:22-31
  • John 5:28
  • John 10:3
  • John 11:43
  • Acts 4:12
  • Isaiah 26:8
  • Colossians 1:16
  • Galatians 1:10
  • Philippians 2:5–11
Grant Partrick Grant Partrick is a part of the team at Passion City Church and serves as the Cumberland Location Pastor. He is passionate about inspiring people to live their lives for what matters most. Grant and his wife, Maggie, live in Marietta, Georgia with their daughters, Mercy, Ember, and Charleigh. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned a masters of theology degree.