He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears him…
Envy is a pain and torment in the heart at the sight of superior excellence and happiness. It lamest dangerous. "For envy " our Master was delivered up. We find it among good people. The disciples of John were envious for their Master. We are to guard against this and subdue it, and are incited thereto by the noble example of the Baptist.
I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND WHEN JOHN SAYS, "HE MUST INCREASE."
1. That He would increase in the esteem and affection of all who knew Him.
2. That Be would increase in the number of His followers and the extent of His empire.
3. That the happiness of Christ's subjects would increase.
II. BY WHAT MEANS ARE THE INTERESTS OF CHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM PROMOTED.
1. By the diffusion of knowledge.
2. By the preaching of the gospel.
3. By the influences of the Holy Spirit.
III. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT HE MUST INCREASE?
1. Because of the natural tendency of religion itself.
2. Because of the zealous efforts of Christ's people.
3. Because the Lord has said it.
IV. How is THE PROSPECT OF THE INCREASE OF CHRIST'S KINGDOM A SOURCE OF JOY.
1. Satan does not rejoice, nor infidels, wicked men, nor even nominal professors. It affords true joy however to —
2. All who are become true converts of Christ.
3. All God's people.
4. All Christ's ministers.
5. The angels of God.
6. Jesus Himself.Conclusion:
1. A word to all enemies of Christ — you cannot oppose Christ with success, and without injury.
2. A word to the friends of Christ — how encouraging to know that we follow a Captain who shall not fail nor be discouraged.
3. A word to ministers —
(1) Young ministers — you must increase, safely, humbly, universally, unostentatiously.
(2) Fathers — you must decrease. Learn this lesson so as to profit by it, and be encouraged to know that our work will not fail when we do.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.