most Christians have very important questions to ask about the place of influences.  John’s answer will protect you from the fall out and disappointment of scandal, and point you to something much better.  (and give you JOY)

Sermon Helps

He is contrasting ‘the one from above’—Jesus, in other words—with ‘the one from the earth’. This doesn’t mean John the Baptist; he, after all, was ‘sent from God’ (1:6; 1:33; 3:27). There are plenty of people whose life and teaching are ‘from the earth’, and a good many of them were competing with Jesus and John, and with the early church, for the ears, minds and hearts of both Jews and Gentiles. So too, today: who do people trust? Who do they listen to and follow? All too often, alas, they trust those whose message has no breath of heaven about it, no sign of life from the hidden dimension of God’s world. Meanwhile, as we saw already in 1:10–11, most of those to whom Jesus was sent did not, and do not, receive what he says. The end of that road is wrath, not because God is a tyrant or a bully but because earth, and all that is earthbound, will corrupt and decay. But anyone who does receive his word—who accepts that God has spoken truly in him, is giving the spirit through him, is pouring out his love through him into the world—such a person already has within himself or herself the life that, like the son, comes from heaven. – N.T. Wright

Acts 19:1–7 tells us that there were people in Ephesus who were followers of John the Baptist but who did not believe in Jesus. Later postapostolic evidence even suggests that such communities continued to exist a few generations later, which elevated John the Baptist and rejected Jesus’ messiahship. If such a polemic existed in the communities that first read the Fourth Gospel, 3:22–36 becomes a potent corrective. John the Baptist becomes a premier witness to Jesus, dispelling rumors of a rivalry and urging his followers to believe in him. The Baptist devalues his own status—as the friend (3:29) compared with the bridegroom—and says explicitly, “He must become greater; I must become less” (3:30). But even though the passage may have an interest in a polemic with “the Baptist sect,” this should not undermine a historical reading of these verses. We have evidence in the earliest days of disciples who are willing to champion John the Baptist and give lukewarm interest in Jesus. John 3:22–36 mirrors 3:1–21 in one respect. The narrative running from 3:22–30 likely ends with the finality of the Baptist’s personal devaluation. As the evangelist followed 3:1–15 with commentary (3:16–21), so he follows the Baptist narrative of 3:22–30 with further commentary (3:31–36). This means that chapter 3 is built with two halves, each containing structurally similar features. As the evangelist weaves the chapter together, he concentrates on similar theological themes and literary symmetries to make it a unified whole. -Gary M. Burge

3:35–36  In 3:27, it was the Baptist’s testimony that “a person can receive only what has been given him from heaven.” Here it is said what the Son has been given by the Father: “all things.” The ground of this bountiful equipment is the Father’s love for the Son, through whom believers also become objects of God’s love (Calvin 1959: 85). Hence, also people must believe in the Son, resulting in eternal life, or else God’s wrath remains on them (cf. 1 John 5:11–12). The present tense “has” in the phrase “has eternal life” indicates that eternal life is not merely a future expectation but already a present experience. This exceeds OT hopes and claims made by other world religions. Similar to “see/enter the kingdom” and “practice the truth,” “see life” is a typical Jewish expression meaning “experience or enjoy life.” The corresponding expression “see death” is found in 8:51.17 The final verse of the chapter clearly attests to the fact that the wrath of God rests on unbelievers, which makes believing in the Son not optional but essential. -Andreas Köstenberger

Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled” (v. 29). Perhaps John was thinking back to the Old Testament economy, where Israel sometimes was called the bride of God in anticipation of the New Testament references to the church as Christ’s bride. John was saying: “I am not the Bridegroom. The bride isn’t mine. The bride is His, but I’m the best man, and I get to go to the wedding feast and stand right next to the Bridegroom as He enters into the joy of this wedding.” For John, that was an unspeakable privilege, a joy that was matchless and immeasurable. He didn’t covet the bride, but he delighted to stand with the Bridegroom on the occasion of that wedding. The whole of Scripture speaks to us of the love of God for His people, but so often we fix our attention on God’s love for us that we forget that the ground of that love is the love that the Father has from eternity for His Son. Remember, we’re not the natural children of God. We’re the adopted children of God, and even our election must always be understood to be in the Son. It is because of the Father’s love for the Son that we can stand forgiven before the throne of God, delivered from wrath unto everlasting life. It is because of the love of the Father for the Son that we are invited to partake one (lay of the marriage feast of the Lanlb. We are invited not simply as friends of the Bridegroom or as friends of the bride we are the bride. Christ our Savior has set His love upon us and betrothed us to Himself. He who died for us will cone again someday to receive us to Himself Then we will rejoice with Him in the final increase of His exaltation. -R.C. Sproul