He must increase, but I must decrease.
I. AN IRREFRAGABLE TRUTH.
1. That Christ must still increase would appear probable even though we had no express assurances of it.
(1) God has abolished a partial dispensation and established one suitable to all mankind.
(2) Christ has made by His atonement a satisfaction for the sins of all.
(3) Therefore we naturally believe and hope and desire that the tidings of salvation will be carried to all for whom He was given.
2. But we have stronger grounds — the plain and unequivocal promises of God — and are therefore firmly persuaded. Listen to David (Psalm 22:27; Psalm 72:8, 11; Psalm 86:9). To Isaiah (Isaiah 2:2; 40:5; 11:9). To Daniel (Daniel 7:13,14,27). To Malachi (Malachi 1:11). To John (Revelation 14:6; Revelation 11:15).
3. Can these promises fail? If so; owing to what? Want of wisdom? Want of power? Want of faithfulness? (Numbers 23:19).
4. Resting, then, on the promises of a God omniscient, almighty, faithful, the Church may bid defiance to all her enemies (Isaiah 8:9, 10).
II. AS A SOURCE OF CONSOLATION.
1. Can a man inflamed with love to God fail to be grieved as he views the idolatry of the heathen and the sins of nominal Christendom? His mind can find no rest but in the assurance of the increase of Christ.
2. This truth is no less effectual to heal those wounds which proceed from love to the Saviour as it contemplates His present wide-spread rejection.
3. The lover of mankind is comforted by the thought that the increase of Christ will exterminate the rampant miseries over which he groans.
III. A DIRECTORY OF DUTY.
1. We should pray earnestly.
2. Labour diligently.
3. Give liberally.
(E. D. Griffin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He must increase, but I must decrease.