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John 3:34

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For God giveth not the Spirit by measure - He is the most perfect of all teachers, as having received the Holy Spirit as none before him ever did. Without measure - not for a particular time, people, purpose, etc., but for the whole compass of time, and in reference to all eternity. Former dispensations of the Holy Spirit made partial discoveries of infinite justice and mercy; but now the sum of justice, in requiring such a sacrifice, and the plenitude of mercy, in providing it, shall, by that Spirit with which he baptizes, be made manifest to all the children of men. It is worthy of remark that this was fully done after the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of pentecost, Acts 2:1, etc., as may be clearly seen in all the apostolic epistles. The Jews observe, that the Holy Spirit was given only in certain measures to the prophets; some writing only one book, others two. So Rab. Acba.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Whom God hath sent - The Messiah.

Speaketh the words of God - The truth, or commands of God.

For God giveth not the Spirit - The Spirit of God. Though Jesus was God as well as man, yet, as Mediator, God anointed him, or endowed him with the influences of his Spirit, so as to be completely qualified for his great work.

By measure - Not in a small degree, but fully, completely. The prophets were inspired on particular occasions to deliver special messages. The Messiah was continually filled with the Spirit of God. “The Spirit dwelt in him, not as a vessel, but as in a fountain, as in a bottomless ocean (Henry).

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 178-82

For a time the Baptist's influence over the nation had been greater than that of its rulers, priests, or princes. If he had announced himself as the Messiah, and raised a revolt against Rome, priests and people would have flocked to his standard. Every consideration that appeals to the ambition of the world's conquerors Satan had stood ready to urge upon John the Baptist. But with the evidence before him of his power, he had steadfastly refused the splendid bribe. The attention which was fixed upon him he had directed to Another. DA 178.1

Now he saw the tide of popularity turning away from himself to the Saviour. Day by day the crowds about him lessened. When Jesus came from Jerusalem to the region about Jordan, the people flocked to hear Him. The number of His disciples increased daily. Many came for baptism, and while Christ Himself did not baptize, He sanctioned the administration of the ordinance by His disciples. Thus He set His seal upon the mission of His forerunner. But the disciples of John looked with jealousy upon the growing popularity of Jesus. They stood ready to criticize His work, and it was not long before they found occasion. A question arose between them and the Jews as to whether baptism availed to cleanse the soul from sin; they maintained that the baptism of Jesus differed essentially from that of John. Soon they were in dispute with Christ's disciples in regard to the form of words proper to use at baptism, and finally as to the right of the latter to baptize at all. DA 178.2

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 56-7

“A man can receive nothing,” he said, “except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. 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. He must increase, but I must decrease.” [John 3:27-30.] GW 56.1

Looking in faith to the Redeemer, John had risen to the height of self-abnegation. He sought not to attract men to himself, but to lift their thoughts higher and still higher, until they should rest upon the Lamb of God. He himself had been only a voice, a cry in the wilderness. Now with joy he accepted silence and obscurity, that the eyes of all might be turned to the Light of life. GW 56.2

Those who are true to their calling as messengers of God, will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. They will recognize that it is their work to proclaim, as did John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] GW 56.3

The soul of the prophet, emptied of self, was filled with the light of the Divine. In words that were almost a counterpart of the words of Christ Himself, he bore witness to the Saviour's glory. “He that cometh from above,” he said, “is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all.” “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God.” [John 3:31, 34.] GW 56.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 224

John the Baptist was pronounced by our Saviour the greatest of prophets. Yet what a contrast between the language of this man of God and that of many who profess to be ministers of the cross. When asked if he was the Christ, John declares himself unworthy even to unloose his Master's sandals. When his disciples came with the complaint that the attention of the people was turned to the new Teacher, John reminded them that he himself had claimed to be only the forerunner of the Promised One. To Christ, as the bridegroom, belongs the first place in the affections of His people. “The friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all.” “He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” 5T 224.1

It is such workers that are needed in the cause of God today. The self-sufficient, the envious and jealous, the critical and faultfinding, can well be spared from His sacred work. They should not be tolerated in the ministry, even though they may apparently have accomplished some good. God is not straitened for men or means. He calls for workers who are true and faithful, pure and holy; for those who have felt their need of the atoning blood of Christ and the sanctifying grace of His Spirit. 5T 224.2

My brethren, God is grieved with your envying and jealousies, your bitterness and dissension. In all these things you are yielding obedience to Satan and not to Christ. When we see men firm in principle, fearless in duty, zealous in the cause of God, yet humble and lowly, gentle and tender, patient toward all, ready to forgive, manifesting love for souls for whom Christ died, we do not need to inquire: Are they Christians? They give unmistakable evidence that they have been with Jesus and learned of Him. When men reveal the opposite traits, when they are proud, vain, frivolous, worldly-minded, avaricious, unkind, censorious, we need not be told with whom they are associating, who is their most intimate friend. They may not believe in witchcraft; but, notwithstanding this, they are holding communion with an evil spirit. 5T 224.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 333-4

In order to give such a message as John gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We must behold God, and in beholding Him lose sight of self. 8T 333.1

John had by nature the faults and weaknesses common to humanity; but the touch of divine love had transformed him. When, after Christ's ministry began, the disciples of John came to him with the complaint that all men were following the new Teacher, John showed how clearly he understood his relation to the Messiah, and how gladly he welcomed the One for whom he had prepared the way. 8T 333.2

“A man can receive nothing,” he said, “except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. 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. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:27-30. 8T 333.3

Looking in faith to the Redeemer, John had risen to the height of self-abnegation. He sought not to attract men to himself, but to lift their thoughts higher and still higher, until they should rest upon the Lamb of God. He himself had been only a voice, a cry in the wilderness. Now with joy he accepted silence and obscurity, that the eyes of all might be turned to the Light of life. 8T 333.4

Those who are true to their calling as messengers for God will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. They will recognize that it is their work to proclaim, as did John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. They will lift up Jesus, and with Him humanity will be lifted up. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. 8T 333.5

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 93-4

Unless he makes it his life business to behold the uplifted Saviour, and by faith to accept the merits which it is his privilege to claim, the sinner can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus. Now, it has been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines. John's words are to be sounded by God's people, that all may discern the light and walk in the light: “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all. And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth; and no man receiveth His testimony. He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” TM 93.1

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 699

The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.—The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1914. Ev 699.1

An Awakened Church—When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.—The Review and Herald, July 21, 1896. Ev 699.2

Earth Enlightened—I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's Word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world.—Testimonies For The Church 9:28, 29 (1909). Ev 699.3

Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families, and opening before them the Word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.—Testimonies For The Church 9:126 (1909). Ev 699.4

Through Humble Instruments—As the time comes for it [the message of the third angel] to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of Spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power,—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these.—The Great Controversy, 606 (1888). Ev 699.5

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 151.5

To Jesus, who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, “Be filled with the Spirit,” and this command is also a promise of its fulfillment. It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Christ should “all the fulness” dwell; and “in him ye are made full” (Colossians 2:9, 10, R.V.). OHC 151.5

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 392

The term “higher education” is to be considered in a different light from what it has been viewed by the students of the sciences. The prayer of Christ to His Father is full of eternal truth. “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may also glorify Thee: as thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hands. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The power and soul of true education is a knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” FE 392.1

Of Jesus it is written: “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” A knowledge of God will constitute a kind of knowledge that will be as enduring as eternity. To learn and to do the works of Christ, is to obtain a true education. Although the Holy Spirit worked the mind of Christ, so that He could say to His parents, “How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?” yet He worked at the carpenter's trade as an obedient son. He revealed that He had a knowledge of His work as the Son of God, and yet He did not exalt His divine character. He did not offer as a reason why He should not bear the burden of temporal care, that He was of divine origin; but He was subject to His parents. He was the Lord of the commandments, yet He was obedient to all their requirements, thus leaving an example of obedience to childhood, youth, and manhood. FE 392.2

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