available Wednesday 9/14/22 by 9:00 am
Start With Love
September 11, 2022
Where do we start?
-Where do we begin when living our lives?
-What must we prioritize?
-what do we do first in good or bad times?
-how do we untangle this worldly mess we are in?
Jesus says we must start with love
-vs 31a “There is no command greater than these”
-We often don’t think to start loving others when we are hurting
-Humanity tries to fix our worldly problems apart from
worshipping our creator- and we are failing miserably!
-The scribes were asking Jesus to weigh in on where to start
-they ranked of all the 613 command in the Law, Old Testament
-365 negative & 248 positive, heavy weight & light weight
-the scribe was asking Jesus to “weigh in” on where to start
Love God wholeheartedly
ONE God- Jesus affirms there is only one God
-Christianity says there is no other god except God
-humanity continues to promote polytheism- a refusal to accept
that people have created false gods to worship apart from God
Love the Lord your God
-supreme authority over all
-God first loved us through Creation, Covenant, and Christ!
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength
-wholeheartedly, your total being, not necessarily a statement
on the different parts of a person’s life
-love God more than self, family, possessions, popularity, power
-1 Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us
-Ray Stedman quote
-Worshipping/loving God is our first purpose in life!
-We start loving God to solve life’s problems, to find fulfillment in
good experiences and to discover our ultimate purpose for living
Love People like we love ourselves
-Jesus unites love for God WITH love for people
-start loving people in every situation!
-God is motivated by His love for us in all he does
-We must also be motivated by love for others when we make
decisions and take action
Love your neighbor
-the scribes would have excluded most people
-humanity is still trying to excuse exclusive love!
-Luke 10:30-37 Jesus denounces prejudice attitudes, racism
-our neighbor is ANYONE near enough to love!
-love = serving others
-self-preservation is the most powerful human instinct
-note: mental illness twists this natural instinct
-Jesus says we must love people like we love ourselves
-Luke 6:31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same
for them (the Golden Rule)
-We start with love when facing human conflict
-Love for others diminishes selfishness and pride
-loving/serving people is another purpose God designed us to fulfill- start loving people in practical ways the way God S.H.A.P.E.d you!
You are not far from the kingdom of God
-the scribe realized God primarily wants a love relationship with us, and for love to permeate our human relationships
-Jesus commended him, but we don’t know if this man ever
fully trusted in Jesus Christ to save him
How far are you from completely trusting Jesus Christ?
-John 3:16 God showed is love for us first!
-Love God back by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ
-loving/worshipping God is our first purpose in life
How often do you start with loving God and people?
-loving/serving people is another life purpose
Man's responsibility is to respond to God's love, which is reaching out to us on every side -- reaching out in nature, reaching out in the supply of all that is being given to us day by day. We are never to forget that the things we enjoy -- the food, the air, the sunshine, the shelter -- all these material things of life that we need -- come from the hand of God. It is God who gives them. It is God's goodness protecting us, sheltering us, and watching over us that keeps us from being ravished and destroyed by the forces that are at work for evil in our lives. God's sheltering hand is protecting us. So when you think about the love of God, and especially the love that redeems us, the proper and only response of the heart is to love God back with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Mark 12 is where we're at this morning. We're pausing in the middle of some series of messages to talk specifically about the purposes of our church. And we're coming up on October when in 2002, 20 years ago, we actually started to organize what we do as a church family. And we launched in Easter of 2003, and we started to rally around two particular verses of scripture, Matthew 22 and Matthew 28. The great commandment of God - love God love people, and the great commission of God to go make disciples, baptize, teach them and everything I have commanded you. And so, we used those and kind of came up with five particular purposes and we've rallied around that ever since, as kind of our mission and purpose as a church family. Not unlike, very much like, and in fact, every New Testament church in one way or the other fulfills these five purposes, they may say it different ways. They may describe them in three different purposes, but we're all in some way, moving in that direction.
We spell that out more clearly in our discovering membership class that I mentioned we'll be doing again in October. But I wanted to talk about this particular passage and actually, the command to love God and love people was recorded. This interaction with the scribes was recorded in three of the four gospels. It was recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And we're going to look at - Mark's account has a couple of interesting pieces to it in the conversation that Jesus was having with the scribe that I want to bring out. But I want to start with the question, where do we start? In other words, our world's a mess always, has been by the way, but it's a mess. I don't know about you, but I'm a little opinionated. How many here are opinionated? Anybody here? We're all opinionated. Some less than others, but we all have opinions.
And I've discovered that when I go online to look for my opinion, it doesn't help me. Well, it does help me, helps me be more right, and have righteous indignation for those who are wrong, right? I mean, it just gets us. We start talking about it with somebody and our blood pressure rises. It just happens. "You're raising your voice." "No, I'm not, I'm just being adamant in my opinion." Where do we begin? Where do we begin even living our lives in good situations, in bad situations, when good things are happening? Why is it that when things are going really well, people don't think about as much of God. And when things are going really bad, we think about God, but we're more looking to God to be our Santa Claus, to be the fix it. God wants today in a relationship with us in the good and the bad.
I mentioned 9-11, church attendance went to an all-time high the Sunday after 9-11. And it dropped down to the average attendance that it was before 9-11 just a month later. It's like, we needed God to get through the crisis, but now we don't need God. What? We start in every moment of our life with where God tells us to start. I mean, how do we untangle this world mess that we are in? What must me prioritize in our lives? What's more important? God, family church - by the way, God in church and family, I mean, family in church are so intricately; like if you pit family against church, don't do that. We definitely have the priority of raising our children and we've made that a priority. But boy, if you make, like children come first and church comes - no, the church is a part of making family first. It's a together thing. Anyway, that's another whole sermon.
Jesus says, we must start with love. I hope before the end of this message, you will have it ingrained. Where do I start today? When you hear something you don't like, where do you start? Love! When you see somebody you don't like - does everybody like everybody around? Not everybody. You know, you're supposed to love everybody, but you'll always like everybody, right? Love, you start with love. I'm having an argument with you. Start with love in that argument. How do you do that? We'll talk about that. Jesus said there's no greater command than these. No command is greater than this. Love God, love people. We start with love. Humanity tries to fix our world problems apart from worshiping our creator. It starts with something else and then if God works into the equation, it's okay.
Some people are trying to create justice systems apart from almighty God. And I'm just going to say; no governmental agency will solve our world's problems apart from being guided and directed by the truth of God and by God himself, there's a lot of good agencies out there. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of good things to do out there. But if we don't start with worshiping God and loving Him completely first, we will miss the mark of what He wants us to do.
Everything we're trying to do in this world it seems like is failing miserably because we're not starting with love. In fact, there are particular thoughts that have been developed in the United States. In order to write the wrongs of the oppressors who were truly wicked in the way they oppressed in our nation, the solution in many people's eyes is to rise up a new set of oppressors to oppress the people who oppressed. And it's a system not built on love, but on justice and revenge. Be careful that you do not hit your wagon to a philosophy of thought in our world that is all about whoever's in charge is the person who's right.
Be careful that you don't add to the mess of this world, by trying to advocate for people groups, or for movements in our nation and in our world for a matter of fact, that are trying to simply change the power structure, but never change the heart of the power. It starts with love. Now, the Scribes we're asking Jesus, this question. And in fact, we note in this passage that not only does it seem that the scribe that was engaging Jesus was acting positively towards Jesus, unusual. Most of them hated Jesus. We’re trying to trap Him and trying to trick Him, and eventually were part of the mob that destroyed His life, which they couldn't destroy Him, but they destroyed His body. And God used that as the sacrifice for our sins, but this Scribe was positive. And this was actually a moment where Jesus actually commended the Scribe because in like fashion, Jesus was calling them out from their hypocrisy. He was calling them out from their wickedness, but in this particular incidence, He actually commends the Scribe.
But this scribe was asking a question that the scribes themselves were asking for centuries. What's the greater commandments? They had figured out that there were 613 commands of the law in what we call the Old Testament, that 365 of them were negative. Don't do this, don't do that. And 248 of them were positive. Do this, do that. And then they, not to make it even more complicated; they decided that there were a category of dos and don'ts that were heavier or more important. They were weightier. And then they were those commands that were lighter; not so important or big deal. Jesus kind of turned that all in its head when he hit the Sermon on the Mount when He said, "You've heard it said don't murder somebody. I tell you, if you hate somebody you've murdered them in your heart." He kind of collapsed that whole system and said, bad is bad.
You've heard it say don't commit adultery, but I say to you, if you have lust in your heart for someone in a sexual way, that you are an adulterer just as if you did it. Whoa, he collapses this weightier and lighter sins into... so here's the question. If I were to have a glass of water, I've got my coffee here. I'm going to say - would you ever drink after me if I'd said, Here, take it"? Who here would not care? Said I need coffee, I don't care. See, some of you would do that. I had a coach one time, he says, I need coffee. I says, 'Well, I got mine." He says, Oh please." And I poured some in. Thank you, Jesus. Anyway, pour a cup of hot coffee in Jesus name. A.
But let's just say that - raised your hand; how many drops of toilet water would you let me put in here before you would stop drinking out of my cup? Zero. Yeah, but I just cleaned the toilet yesterday. Probably wasn't used. Anybody? Takers? The coffee's tainted. Some of you said one sip from you and you've tainted it with you sipping in it. If it was a clean cup and he gave it to me, I'll take it. But if you took one drink out of it, I'm not drinking out of it. Some of you said that. One sin makes us what? A sinner. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So they're asking Jesus to weigh in on the weight to your lighter sins. But the reality is, He's going to boil it down to the greatest commandments, and we're going to see in a moment how all of the commandments fit into, if we've get this right and we get this right, we're going to get the other things, right?
Let me read for us Mark 12:28, "One of the Scribes approached, when he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, 'Which command is the most important of all?' Jesus answered; 'The most important is, listen O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is, love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.' Than the Scribe said to Him, 'You are right teacher, you have correctly said that he is one and there is no one else except him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself is far more important than all the burn offerings and sacrifices.' When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And no one dared to question him any longer."
If we're going to start solving our personal life problems, if we're going to start living life to the fullest and live purposefully in a way that's pleasing to God, but is a way that's enjoyable to live. We're going to start with loving God wholeheartedly. Start loving God wholeheartedly. Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy, The Shima, that statement of faith, that was the crux of all the commands of God. Love God completely. And Mark records that he actually quoted the entire portion where it begins with the Lord of Israel. Listen O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. He is one God. He is not multiple gods that get to the same place. You can stack up every God. Other than the God of the Bible, on this side of my podium here, and you can stack God up on this side in terms of there are two categories of gods in the world. There are gods in the world and that is other than Christianity God and the Old Testament, New Testament God I'm talking about here that say to us, we must appease that God, in order to get our salvation. We must do something to earn the favor of that God, which really feeds right into our selfishness and pride.
I can rule my life without anybody ruling it for me. I can earn my way into favor of being right and perfect at the end of my life. I can be in charge of me. You say, "Yeah, but you're submitting to a God." Yeah, but you're submitting to a God that is manmade; that is tapping into your system of thought that you don't have to surrender yourself to a higher being. Every system in the world, Islam included says, you must earn the favor of God, and maybe if you're good enough, you'll get eternal life or whatever it is they're promising. But when you pin down the philosopher and the theologians of any other religion in the world, they will say to you, you have no guarantee that you'll ever get what you're looking for, you hope maybe you will.
On the other side of this podium stands one God and one God alone, and that's the God of the Bible, the one who in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And that one God says, I loved you first, and I gave you opportunity to know me and love me. And all I'm asking for you to do is to respond back to me with love. I'm not asking for your favor. I'm not asking you to earn it. I'm not asking you to work. I am asking you to simply accept my love for you by loving me back. Humanity continues to promote polytheism. They continue to refuse to accept the fact that people were created by the one true God, and that in that alone and our worship of God is perverting the very way in which we're trying to solve our world problems.
There is one God. And he says, you must love the Lord your God. He puts the Lord your God. He puts in the word for authority. That God is a God of ultimate authority. He is the Supreme authority of the world. Now, when you start to create worlds and you start to spin them around this big thing called a sun, and you start to create universes and galaxies, then let's talk about you being God for a minute. But until then, let's bow to the one on who deserves our praise and our love. God first loved us through creation. He gave us this world that we live in. Who gave it to you? What's that joke about says, well, I'm going to start making stuff and start makes it? Yeah, but you need to start, you need to create your own dirt.
God created something out of nothing. We create everything we have out of what He gave us to create it with. He not only gave us creation, showed us His love through creation; He also showed us His love through covenant. And he started a covenant with Adam and Eve. He started that covenant with Noah after he came out of the arc after the flood. And then there's a covenant that he called Abraham out, and so come and I'll take you to a place where I will show you and you'll be a father of many nations. He showed his love and covenant through him. Throughout the Old Testament, there are these covenants. He made a covenant with King David, you will always have someone on the throne. And that fulfillment of that promise He gave to David was actually Jesus, who came from the lineage of David's family, physically.
And now we live in the new covenant, a covenant of grace where Jesus paid the price for the covenant, He fulfilled the righteousness of the law, and indeed, just like he gave us Eden and said live in it and love me. And he gave Noah and Abraham the covenant that said, not because you earned it, but because I simply bestowed upon you my love, I'm giving you an opportunity to grace the world with my presence through you, just love me back. And they did. And then throughout history we see this, and now Jesus shows up and says, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whosoever believes in him with not perish, but have everlasting life. He's loving you first. Why do I have inscribed in my ring 1 John 4:19, because I know that in my marriage, I know and my wife knows that we love because he first loved us.
Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, wholeheartedly, completely. Now, we can dissect or we made up of four parts in our body, and that's an interesting conversation. And you're welcome to do that this week, as you think about your Bible studies. But as we look at this passage in the most general sense; the emphasis of this is completely love God. We need to love and worship God when we're at work, not just when we're here in the sanctuary. We need to love God and worship him alone in our homes. We need to worship and love God in our neighborhood, when we're mowing the grass, when we're digging ditches, when we're driving trucks, when we're driving down the road, we need to worship and love God completely. We start with love. When we get on social media, love and worship God
Love God completely. Love God more than ourself, our family, our possessions; love God more than our popularity, more than the power that we want to earn or have in this world to influence other people. And I want to just even add to that, that if you are saying that you love your kids, like they're the most important thing to you be careful that you don't put your kids above God. Because whatever is above God, and your love and your focus and your thoughts; that's what you're worshiping. And if you're worshiping your children; not only are you setting yourself up for a lot of yoyos and heartaches, but you're also setting them up to fail miserably because the pressure's too much. No one can handle God status, except God. You can't handle it so don't be trying to be your own little God. People worship you - don't! Don't! Push that aside.
I worship the ground you walk on. That sounds like a wonderful romantic phrase, but guess what? Even if you do that, you need to worship God first, because you'll never be the spouse you know how to be in your home if you don't put God first in your relationship. And by the way, God's not a killjoy. He does not sit there and say, "I have a path for this guy and I have a path for this girl," and they're not even the same. That would be like a cruel joke. Wouldn't it be? As I was talking to Pete and Ashley who came here and declared their vows before the Lord yesterday. They had already been married in the courthouse; they came here to tell the world that they want Christian marriage. They've been baptized, they're moving forward in their faith. And it was just so fun to work with them this past few months and talking with them. And I always use this pyramid of how husband and wife and God as the centerpiece, that when we get close to God, we get closer to one another in our relationship.
When we both get our worship right in our home, we get more right with one another. It's not that simple, it takes time, and I'm not trying to unravel a tangled mess right now this morning, but it starts getting untangled when we start with loving God. Let me finalize my thoughts here by a pastor named Gray Steadman who said, "Man's responsibility is to respond to God's love, which is reaching out to us on every side, reaching out in nature, reaching out in the supply of all that is being given to us day by day. We are never to forget the that the things we enjoy; the food, the air, the sunshine, the shelter," all these material things of life that we need come from the hand of God.
It is God who gives them. It is God's goodness, protecting us, sheltering us, and watching over us that keeps us from being ravished and destroyed by the forces that are at work for evil in our lives. God's sheltering hand is protecting us. So when you think about the love of God, and especially the love that redeems us, the proper and only response of the heart is the love God back with all your heart, soul strength and might. Love God. But then Jesus turns right around, and instead of just stopping there, he goes beyond what was said in Deuteronomy. And he says what actually the Scribes and the Pharisees and all the religious leaders had kind of realized that really this vertical relationship with God, love God, was also completely... I couldn't say it last service either. It was completely tied to our love for other people. Love God, love people. The horizontal, the people we're with on this side of heaven, we ought to love like we love God. We love God. And it flows naturally into - if we're going to love God wholeheartedly, it also flows in that we're going to love our neighbors ourself. Love people like we love ourselves.
He unites love with God, for God, with love for people. We need to start loving God, loving people in every situation. God is motivated by His love for us. If He wasn't motivated by love, you and I would be - what's that Old Testament; we'd be smitten from the earth. I mean, you know how you get, when you're upset with somebody, if you had control of the lightning button, there'd be a lot of scorched earth going around. Wouldn't you? Don't get me... am I the only one that's like, "Man, smite that person. I mean, in Jesus' name." You know, you try to get righteous when you're saying it and you're just getting into trouble as you're thinking it. I mean, you know, we just... we know better, and they don't. What's that Greek word? They're an idiot. I mean, that's just the wrong thing to say. That's just wrong. I mean, but we do this. You're laughing because some of you have said that to the person you're sitting next to. Anyway, that's wrong.
We must, just as God is motivated to not smite us immediately, we must be motivated by love even if we're really upset with the person we're next to. Our motivation, we start with love just as God did with us. "Love your neighbor," he says. Now the Scribes would've excluded most people from who their neighbor was. Luke 10, actually right after this little incident, the guy says, and who is my neighbor? Like, who do I get to not love like I love myself? And then Jesus, again, another Bible study for you to go on your own. Yu can ferret that out to say it was the good Samaritan story. And he took the very person, the half-Jew, the Jewish people that had intermarried with non-Jews, which was forbidden in the Old Testament, and they were basically, there was a racial prejudice and hatred towards that particular group of people.
And he used the Samaritan as the hero of a story to indicate what a real neighbor was. You can go look at that for yourself. But when he basically says, he destroys all the boundaries that we put on this world for how we're supposed to love people and who we're allowed to love and not love. The guy next to you, that's the person you love. The person next to you, that's the person you love. The person in your life, that's the person you love. I can't love a person. In fact, some of us have a better feeling about loving somebody with our money, our resources, maybe even going a mission trip to another part of the world. And we do it much more easily than to just be a missionary in our own hometown and love the people we're around. I'll tell you what; I have fallen in love with the people of Ecuador. Been there five or six times and I go back in November. I love the people there, but you know what? They're easier to love. I don't have to live with them.
Let's just be honest. The people God called you to love or the people that are in your life. Don't go looking to replace the people in your life, replace the attitude. In our church we actually talk about loving in terms of service. And we talk about our shape and how God shaped us, and that we touch on it in our class 101. But really, how we love is really adapted to the way God wired us to love. And that's another whole Bible study in itself. And so, we talk about how one of our purposes is to love people by acts of service, by serving people in His name. Because just saying I love you, but we don't actually solve a problem in those lives or we don't show love in a practical way, that's not really love. Jesus goes to say, love your neighbor as yourself.
Now, I took psychology. That was my major in college. And I know some people, they get psychological on this and say, "Well, if you don't love yourself, you can't love people so you got to love yourself first." I get that. If you have a perverted sense of your love for yourself, if you have an ungodly sense of loving yourself, if you don't love yourself in the way - if you don't see yourself and view yourself the way God sees you and you don't grace yourself with the grace that God gives you, you are going to struggle with this. So that's of course, Jesus wasn't being a psychologist when He said this, the most general sense and the way in which it's written. It basically, He is appealing to the idea that self-preservation and self-love is one of the most ultimate forms and powerful forces in our lives.
Self-Preservation is so powerful that when you're training military personnel, you're training them to go against their self-preservation instincts and run towards the firefight. Firefighters have to train to fight against the natural instinct to run from danger so that they can run into a burning building. Now, some men and women are more wired than others to do that. But generally speaking, the ability and the desire to love yourself is a natural instinct. We are in suicide awareness and prevention month, and I hope and pray that if you're struggling with thoughts of self-harm, that you will reach out to somebody because we want you to know that you are valued and loved, and that God loves you and that we love you. And that there is a pathway towards wellness and wholeness away from what is happening in your mind that is causing you to think that the best form of self-preservation is to jump self-preservation and to hurt yourself in order to relieve yourself of the pain you're going through.
That really, when someone takes their life, they are so fighting against that natural instinct; it's like they're so unwired to their natural instinct of self-preservation that they go into that, not only thoughts of it, but then moving into the action. Self-preservation and self-love is a normal way of living. And if that's not something that's going on in you, you need to reach out for somebody for help. But for the rest of us, where that is, you know, I like what I like, right? You like what you like. Some of you, you sit in the same spot and you love your spot here in the church. And if someone sits in your spot, well, God bless them, but hopefully you'll get there before they do next week because I'm just telling, I mean, I'm just giving you a for instance. We just sort of like what we like. The world be a whole lot better if everybody thought like I did.
Has anybody said that? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the world will be a whole lot better if when I got to the where and where and such and such, they had what I wanted and they did what I asked before I had to tell them twice. They'll get a better tip if I - no, start with love, and love the people like you love yourself. You go into a restaurant and you love that server the way you want to be loved, you're going to have a better relationship and they may not spit in your food. I mean, this is just a suggestion, just a suggestion. Let's get back to the text.
We start with love when facing who in conflict? Love for others, diminishes our selfishness and pride, loving and serving people is what God's calling us to do. Just as we want to be loved and served, we ought to be loving and serving the people in our lives. Love God, love people. Let's start with love. And the Scribe says, "You got it Jesus. I agree with you. In fact, this love God love people, that's more important than the ritual sacrifice in burnt offerings." Let's start with that. And you don't have so many sacrifices in burnt offerings. I mean, religious practice is less important. If we get this right, that flows naturally the right way. Start with love. And Jesus says a very interesting comment to him; "You are not far from the kingdom of God." Huh? See, the Scribe realize that God primarily wants love relationships. He wants a love relationship with us, and He wants that to flow into our relationship with other people. Jesus commended this man, but He didn't say you're in the kingdom. He said, you're not far from the kingdom.
You see, almost is only right in horseshoe and hand grenades. I almost became a Christian. Paul is appealing to a higher authority in politics and the guy who had the right to yay or nay is death. And he said, "Almost thou persuades me" in the King James. You almost convinced me you're right, Paul. But that leader didn't get it. He didn't cross the line. In fact, when you're in a race, the only people who get recorded to have completed the race is if they cross the finish line. And the finish line for finding the grace and the forgiveness and the love of God that saves us forever is putting our faith in Jesus Christ. There's no indication in scripture or history that this person who was talking with Jesus, who Jesus commended and who seemed to be in agreement with Jesus; there's no indication that that man ever put his faith in Jesus Christ to be saved.
He may or may not be in heaven, in other words. We know at this moment he was not in heaven because he was not far from the kingdom of God, but he was not in the kingdom of God. And so my question this morning is, you agree with me, start with love, but have you put your faith in Jesus Christ? Have you crossed that line? Have you told the world you're a Christian through baptism? In October, we're going to have two people get baptized. I welcome you to join that group so that you can tell the world you're a Christian. Not that that makes you a Christian, but that shows the world that you've put your allegiance in the name and the person of Jesus Christ.
How far are you from completely trusting Jesus Christ with your life? Maybe better question is how close are you? How close are you trusting him? A pastor's greatest heartache is to look out and see people, and I know a lot of you put your faith in Him and you said you're a Christian, and only God knows the heart. And by evidence, so many people they give evidence that they are, but I know people that lived a good, righteous, good life, moral life for a long time, and later said that was all me. It wasn't God. And they put their faith in Jesus. Billy Graham, a great evangelist said that there's probably a percentage of people on every Sunday morning of people in the room that say they're Christians, but they really have never crossed the line. They've made an attempt to be a religious person, but they've never built a relationship with Jesus Christ. And so my question this morning is, is that you, is it time for you to cross that line?
Will you put on the connection card I'm committing my life to Christ? Will you come and let me talk with you? Put some people in the back, we'll have some people back there for you to actually talk with and pray through and know for sure that you know Jesus as your Lord and savior. How far are you? You're not close enough if you've not surrendered to Jesus Christ. And then the last question I want to ask those of us who are followers of Jesus, how often do you start with loving God and loving people? How quickly will you start this week with love first?
Jesus Defines Greatness
G.O.A.T. is a normal human measurement
Greatest Of All Time
Behavioral research reveals we naturally shift to competitive mode when doing projects with other people
How many ways do you tend to keep score in life?
How often do we apply God’s standards when measuring GOAT?
Jesus defines greatness in God’s kingdom! Read passage
1. Jesus just predicted his crucifixion and resurrection
“Promise that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left, in your kingdom.”
-Mother of James and John (the sons of Zebedee) asks this
-Mark 10:35-37 says only the sons asked about this
-They are asking for the greatest positions in God’s kingdom
“You don’t know what you’re asking”
-Jesus challenged their understanding, he just said he was going
to suffer greatly
-How often do we pray with similar ignorance???
-Do we really know the consequences of what we ask for?
-Can you drink this cup?? Can you take what I’m about to take?
-Matthew 26:39, 42 the cup in Jesus’s prayer- cup of suffering
-James and John (obviously with their mom in this request) tell
Jesus they are able
-Jesus explains they WILL suffer (drink this cup)
-James was the first person killed/martyred Acts 12:2
-Jesus affirms He is under his Father’s authority- he didn’t have
the right to determine greatness/status in His kingdom.
-Jesus neither grants nor denies their request
Jesus Defines Greatness
“It must not be like that among you”
-Spiritual greatness is not defined by how many people you rule
over (lord it over = political, positional power)
-Spiritual leadership is not about disregarding who you rule over
(act as tyrants = manipulate, exploit, all for personal gain)
-The world defines greatness according to how much authority a
person has to rule and control people
-Note: Jesus doesn’t actually condemn authority or leadership
-Jesus re-defines for us what a great leader actually does
-Jesus has all authority, submitted to his Father’s authority
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”
-servant- Greek word diakonos, deacon, minister
-ironically, the church struggles NOT to give people with these
titles a special status in the church!
“Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave”
-slave- literally doulos
-lowliest person with no worldly rights, puts everyone else first
-how have your decisions benefited others?
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”
-Jesus had every right as our king to be served
-Jesus set the example of spiritual greatness
-do you serve others or expect others to serve you?
“And to give his life as a ransom for many”
-Jesus identifies himself again as the Isaiah 53 suffering servant
-Philippians 2:5-11 Christ became great through selfless suffering
Do you want to be great?
Reject the world’s definition of greatness
“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus” Phil 5:5
There's a lot of good music out there. My daughters were at a concert in Illinois; my youngest is visiting her sister, my other daughter in Purdue this weekend. And they took a picture of the name of the... I have never heard of these people before. And they're worshiping God - I didn't know if it was a secular concert or Christian concert and I looked it up and now it's on my Spotify. All the way into church this morning I'm listening to music that my daughters went to hear in a concert, paid good money, I think my money. Anyway, to go see - and at least some of it, and all comes from one source anyway. But there's so many ways and styles, and the way in which we worship evolves, but it all goes back to what we're singing, not the style. Are the words honoring to God? Are they honoring God? Are they talking to God? Are they talking about God to God's people together? So, I really appreciate the diversity and the variety that Bra and the team bring to us each week that we worship together.
Worship is not only singing and praying and hearing and reading God's word, but hearing about God's word. And so, here we are in the worship time where we hear about the word of God in Matthew 20 this morning, where Jesus defines greatness. And we are heading towards the cross, which then three days later is the resurrection. And next Sunday will be remembering the Lord's Supper together. And for those of you that are watching us online, just prepare ahead of time, get some juice and some flat bread or cracker or something. Or if you need some help with that, we can help you this week and bring it to you. But we will be worshiping the Lord together and observing the Lord's supper this coming Sunday which is Palm Sunday/ it's the Sunday that we also remember in history that Jesus came into Jerusalem and they laid down palm branches and they were singing Hosanna, Hosanna, and praising His name. And that same crowd would be turned, and so many behind the scenes would turn that entire scene into a scenery of execution where in by God's divine providence, Jesus died for our sins.
And that gets right to the heart of this story because greatness is not determined by the way, in which we think greatness is determined. I have a question to ask, Goat! Who in your mind is the goat in sports? Now, right now, some of you don't even care about sports, and God bless you, you have a lot more time on your hands to do other things. But so for those of you, that love sports right now and if you're watching, I want you to shout out loud who you think the goat is. I don't care what sport it is. I don't care if you pick swimming, I don't care if you pick bowling or NFL or ooh, who wants that, you know, NCAA; I don't care what you think, but who is the goat? 1, 2, 3. I don't agree with any of you. I don't agree with any of you. Is there an asterisk by any of your goats? Oh, home run hitters. They had some asterisks now in baseball history.
Anyway, but we all have this idea of what the goat is because behavioral research reveals that we naturally shift to competitive mode when doing projects with other people. I don't care what the project is. I remember as a kid, we would swing, and may have swings - I don't know if they still have those anymore, if they're dangerous or not, but we had swings. And I think every kid has to sign a liability sheet that says, if I get her on the swing, I will not sue you, and so my parents neither will blackburn somebody else.
Anyway, but there's all these rules and regulations, but we had swing sets and we would swing and we would jump... this is the worst part. We'd jump off the swing. How many jumped off a swing, lived to tell, here you are today? We did. And then you would mark in the grass, a rock usually, because what else do you have to mark where you landed to see who landed the furthest. It wasn't just fun. Let's all jump off the swing together and have fun and tumble and not break our legs. No, let's see how far we can jump without breaking our legs and see who wins. And you know, how many made it to... we always had these competitions - jump off the monkey bars. We do everything. It's human nature.
I participated in this team, building powerful ministry teams. I'm certified to teach it and all that and all fun stuff. And we had this thing where we had to get in a group, two or three different groups and we had to solve a project together, solve a problem. And invariably, not only did we see what the other team was doing... are we getting done faster than they are? The only rule was, solve the problem. They didn't give us a time limit and they didn't tell us that we got chocolate if we won first. I mean, they didn't do anything. They just said solve the problem. And invariably, we went into competition mode. Ours is better than yours. We have a better answer than you have. We got done first. And researchers have shown that that just tends to be the case every single time we do something.
One time I remember being a part of a team that went together and they actually, there was this path that you had to walk on and it was like a grid. And then electronically, it had the landmines - oh, you had to start over again. You had to start over and you had to get to the end. And there were two pads and you had to walk without getting on the wrong spot. I remember one team actually helped the other team finish because they couldn't get it done. And he said, "Yay, you win," because it wasn't about competition. It was just about completing the project. But by human nature, it tends to come out that we just want to be better/good. We want to be the goat. We want to be the goat or at least kind of like it, kind of close. How many ways do you keep score in life?
My kids dressed not as funny as your kids dressed. I don't know. I heard from my kids this week. Well, I didn't hear from my kids. We get this competitive mode of everything is got to be better than somebody else. So many times we have a better back shadow, a backstory of being beat down in life somehow; maybe physically, heaven forbid, but that's probably true statistically in this room; spiritually, mentally, verbally abused. You were in a relationship that you are in abuse, and that backstory always comes roaring ahead, and you always keep score about how well you're doing based on how well you might look in the eyes of someone in the past that shouldn't even have the dignity of having any kind of say about how good or bad your life is. And we just do this, and it roars ahead of us, and it gets in our current story even though the past story is over and we're not living it anymore, it still affects our present story in our lives.
The question I want to ask here is how often do we apply God's standards when measuring goat? How are we measuring it according to what God thinks? And that's what this is all about this morning. Jesus is going to define for us what true greatness is. Jesus defines greatness in God's kingdom here in this passage.
Matthew 20:20, "Then the mother of Zebedee sons approach him with her sons..."
And by the way, the mother of Zebedee sons, the sons are James and John, the disciples of Jesus, and here's mom and her boys.
"...And she knelt down to ask him for something. 'What do you want?' he asked her. 'Promise,' she said to him, 'that these two sons of mine may sit on your right and the other on your left in your kingdom.' Jesus answered, 'You don't know what you're asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I'm about to drink?' 'We are able,' they said to Him. He told them, 'You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and left is not mine to give. Instead it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my father.' And when the 10 disciples heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them over and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lorded over them and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. Just as a son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.'"
So, what's going on in this passage? While we see here that this comes right after Jesus has predicted His crucifixion and resurrection. We went over the three different times He said that last Sunday in worship. He had just said I'm going to suffer a crucifixion. He described what they would immediately know as the most horrid, feared way of being killed in that time period and probably of all time periods, and that's to be nailed to a Roman cross. This is what's going to happen to me, and then I'm going to rise again. And they didn't catch what was going on because right after that, mom zooms up, the first century helicopter mom. And she said, "My boys, you look how special they are." I had a grandma who's in heaven today, and if she's looking down she'll chuckle, I think. I don't know if you can see us down here, but I tell you what, she'd say, "You know, I know you're the only grandson I have. And I know a lot of people in the world say they have wonderful grandchildren, but I really do think you're the best grandson anybody could ever have." And I'm taking it to the bank. I was my grandma's goat. I'm just saying.
I mean, she wasn't biased, right? I mean, no, not at all. Of course not. But here's this mom coming up, telling Jesus that she wanted her boys to sit on the right and the other on the left; the most prominent positions in the kingdom of God. Will you please let my boys have top dog spots in your kingdom? I hear there's a kingdom coming. And when it all said and done, can you put them in the most prominent position possible in your kingdom, Jesus? Now we know that it's James and John, we know Mark 10 actually mentions James and John; he doesn't mention that their mom is advocate for that position.
So, here's this story and here they are asking questions, and you know, this is Jesus, the son of God. He calls himself the son of man to identify himself that He is human and He is with us, but He's also the son of God. He's divine and He is human. And He's always being asked for something. And isn't this the case? I mean, wouldn't this wear on you if you're being asked something all the time? If you ever, you have a leader that you know, or somebody you see, and you see somebody - in fact, there are people I know that they're in leadership position, and even at most meetings, even if we're in a public gather, I just don't go over to them right away because I know that oftentimes they're getting bombarded by people. And most of the time people are asking for favors.
When you meet somebody who's very prominent and you asking why in the world are they just kind of not so excited? Because most of the people that come to someone like that is usually coming to get something. And the best thing you can do by the way, just a side note has nothing to do with this. The best thing you can do with someone who's an authority or someone who is a person of prominence, person of wealth, is when you come to them, say, how can I pray for you? That's all you need to ask. I need to ask a favor. Oh, what is it? I just want to pray for you. We don't have to right now; that person might not be a person of faith. They might be weirded out by your faith. I don't know. I'm glad they're being weirded out if that's the case, by the way. They need to know that you support them as they support and influence people in their lives.
Just pray for them, just encourage them' just a side note, just a thought, and then ask for the selfie. I'm kidding. Don't do that. No, no, no. Don't ask. I'm kidding. You don't know what you're asking for, Jesus said. You don't know what are asking for. How many of you have prayed a prayer and you really didn't know what you're asking God for? We've all done this. We pray out of this ignorance of, I think I know how the universe runs. And if you give me this, the universe will run a whole lot better. Ain't that what we pray? I know better than you, God, because you haven't given me what I want, and what I want's more important than what I already got, so give it to me now.
I'll get here in a second here. I'm not saying not to pray big prayers. I'm just saying that sometimes when we pray, maybe oftentimes, we really don't know what we're asking for. He challenged their understanding because He had just said, "I'm going to suffer greatly. If you follow me, take up your cross and follow me.: He had said that earlier. Did you forget that guys? Guys, do you realize that the greatest person in the world, Jesus, I'm going to die? Are you following me to my death, to your death? Do you really know what you're asking for? Do you know the consequences of your request if it's granted? Can you drink this cup? What do you mean drink this cup - the challenge, the Holy Grail, the one that Indiana Jones was going after, is that what we talking about? What kind of cup are we talking about?
No, it's euphemism for the idea. Can you drink... can you come after and deal with what I'm going to have to deal with? What did he say in the garden of Gethsemane? "Father, if it be that will, could you take this cup from me? This cup of wrath, this moment of suffering that's about to take place in my life, but nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." The same word imagery, this word picture of I'm going to have to drink the worst thing I've ever had. I'm going to have to drink into my life the worst thing that's ever happened to me. Are you willing - are you able to drink the cup? And of course they said, "Yeah, we can do that. We can do that."
And Jesus says, "Well, yeah, you're going to suffer. You're going to drink from my cup. You're going to be ostracized. You're going to be cast out. James, He didn't tell him this, but James would be the first murder of the Christian Church, he'd be put to death before anybody else. And then later on, John would suffer greatly in his ministry for Jesus Christ. He'd be banished to the Island of Patmos. And he would receive as a blessing, a tremendous revelation, which we have today recorded as the Revelation of Jesus Christ about the end times. And it is historically tradition has says that basically he did die of an old age. He didn't die and suffer a martyr's death of crucifixion like Peter did, or by being filet to death by some other means by horrible means as some others did. You know, even doubting Thomas died a martyr's death. And so, this one that was doubting Jesus, and this one that we go, how weak his faith was, how strong his faith was in the end according to a tradition. Yeah, you're going to drink the cup of mine.
But by the way, guys; boys, I just want you to know it is not mine to give whether or not you're on my right or my left. That's up to the father. Because as a person in authority, I am under authority and my authority is trumped by God's authority, by my father's authority. I'm God the son, He's God the father, and He's the one that's prepared those decisions, not mine. He neither denied nor granted their request. He just said, let's leave it in the hands of the father. I think there's been at least three times I've been asked, do you think this is it, Pastor Greg, do you think this is it? Do you really think I've been around different scenarios and different circumstances, some horrific, some exciting, and all these different places you keep hearing, you know, Russia is getting, and this is happening and that's going, and our nation's getting... and I think maybe my lifetime maybe and all these different things are happening. And even when I talk about that, I say, "Well, it could be; we're closer than we've ever been." And then you're in the car and you say how close are we? Closer than we were five minutes ago when you asked. I mean, we are getting closer and it does seem like there's some things going on. But I want to tell you, Jesus even said, when they said when you're coming back? When's this going to happen? And in Acts 1, He said, "It is not for you to know it's the father's business. I don't even know. But you will be my witnesses here and everywhere."
In other words, keep after it. Look at the signs. Look what's going on. But trust the father's divine plan. Don't quit. Don't sell your house yet. Although it's a good time to sell houses. Don't do it. Don't give up the shop yet. Keep working, keep living, keep doing, look forward, but trust the Father's divine authority over the times and the ends and trust the Father for who's going to be first and second and third in the pecking order of the kingdom of God. That's up to Him, not Jesus.
And he's like, yeah, you're going to suffer, but that's one part. But guess what? The other part where you're going to be, that's really up to my father. You don't know what you're asking. You don't realize the authority question that you're asking. And so then, Jesus now defines greatness. After this, the disciples come up, it's like, "What are you boys asking for? Come on!" Now, were they mad because they were asking first? Didn't say! We wanted to ask that question. You know, Peter's like, "Why not me? You said I'd be the rock." By the way, he never took steroid. I should stay on script. Sorry guys. Yeah. Yeah. Amen, oh me.
It must not be like that among you, that's what Jesus said. What did He say? You know that the rulers are the Gentiles lorded over them. And those in high positions act as tyrants over them, but it must not be like that among you. In other words, He said, there's a world system, there's people who lorded over others and there are tyrants. And by the way, don't get your democratic, the people are in charge and don't deal with this hierarchy. They were used to hierarchy. They had no idea what voting was - human rights. You had zero rights under most authorities.
Paul even said obey those in leadership, they don't wield the sword for nothing. God had put them in charge to maintain order. Whether they were godly or not, you need to honor authority in the world. And there's a whole ethic of conversation about doing the right thing, and I'm not getting into that today. But Jesus is saying, this is what you're used to seeing; political powers, they lorded over people, they're lords. And then there's people that have authority by their wealth or influence, and they hold it over people; they're like tyrants. And you know that's kind of how the world acts, and a great person is seen by how many people they are in charge of. Spiritual greatness is not defined by how many people you rule over or how many people you can manipulate. It's not about disregarding, who you rule over; acting as a tyrant, manipulating, exploiting all for personal gain. This is not how greatness is defined.
You don't come here and try to get in the kingdom and say, "Well, I want a position." It's not about position. At our church we often have said, and we'll say it again. I'm saying it right now. We're not here to give out titles. We're here to give out towels. The world defines greatness according to how much authority a person has to rule or control people. Now, Jesus doesn't actually condemn authority or leadership; He's just redefining what a great leader is. He's defining greatness. He's not denigrating leadership or position. He's just saying that if you want to be a great person, it's not based on position; it's based on how you live out in whatever position of life God has given you.
Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. The word Diakonos, the Greek word, where we also get later on in the New Testament, the word for deacon, the word for minister, but that's not what Jesus is establishing here. He's saying you need to be a servant. You need to serve. He's not putting a title here. He's saying we're looking for a way of living, serving other people. Up in the upper room, He said, "This is what you're supposed to do." And He gets down on His knees and He washes their dirty feet. And He says, "And as I've done for you, you do for others." You need to serve and need to be willing to take... nothing should be beneath you. We were talking about some kind of activity or something or washing or mopping or something. And wasn't a point of arrogance; it was just, well, that's not beneath me. It should never be beneath you. Serving people, serving generally. You know when you know that you're not a good servant is when someone calls you one and you don't like it.
Ouch! You must be a servant. Ironically, the church struggles not to give people with these titles special status: the deacon board, the minister. These titles are I think, honorable and good and biblical. And yet, why is it that they become the elevated person that now is lording it over in access tyrants over the church, and an unhealthy church system lets it happen? Because we are taking the world's definition and we're imposing it on the church's life, instead of letting the definition of Jesus interpret for us what greatness is.
And then He says, "Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave." Another word he uses, "doulos" slave, the lowliest person with no worldly rights who puts everyone else first. I have a question. How have your decisions this week about you lived your life benefited other people? I'm not saying we deny our basic needs; take care of us... I'm not saying that we like, I'm a worthless worm, I'm nothing. We need to eat, sleep, drink. We need to do our things, we need to have... But I'm talking about as you make decisions, how has it affected positively the people around you? When I talk about men being the spiritual leaders of their home, and I talk about a husband leading his wife spiritually; I always ask the question, will you be willing to put your wife and your children first whenever you make a decision and your last? That's what a servant leader is in the home.
As elders, as ministry team leaders in our church, as people who have spiritual leadership in our church, every decision we make is based on what is best for what everybody else needs, not what our needs are. I have personal preferences. I like it this way. I like blue. Other people like red. I like this. I like fufu coffee. Other people don't care. I mean, we have these ways of living that we think, well, this is how it ought to be done, but it's usually how I want it to be done, not how is it best done for the benefit of not only today's church, but the future church and the generations of church until Jesus comes again church.
I said a long time ago when we started the church; we started at a certain benchmark of style and way in which we did things. Method never changes. The message never changes - methods do. And I said, I'm sure that in the end of my ministry, we'll be doing methods that I probably won't really like so much just because I'm an old fogie, but I pray and I will fight tooth and nail that the message never changes.
Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. If you want to be first, you need to be last. You need to be the slave, because the son of man did not come to be served but to serve. You're following me; be a servant. You're making out me to be the greatest of all time; well, the greatest of all time just bent down and served you. And by the way, this is how he served you and to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus had every right as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords to be served. And He said, "I didn't come here to be served. I came here to serve you. I didn't come here to be the greatest of all time on this earth in this earthly system that you guys are living in. I came here to be the greatest of all time for the kingdom of God forever and ever to the glory of God, the Father, amen and amen. And I came here to do that by serving you, because God wants a people for a kingdom of himself. He wants a priest to the believers. He wants a group of people that honor and love Him, and there's no way we can earn our way into heaven. I'm going to die for you so that you can get there without your own ways of getting there. I'm going to do it for you. I'm going to die so that I will pay off what you owe God. You owe him eternal death for what you've done to rebel against a holy God. And I'm going to take that punishment for you so that you don't have to take it so that you can receive by faith, the grace, the unmerited favor of God." The forgiveness of your sins, eternal life; not by any kind of work so that no one can boast and say, I got in this way, how'd you get in?
We all got in because of Jesus. You know the one question they'll ask you in heaven; I don't know, preacher said this all the time and I don't know how that's going to go down in heaven. But the one question to be asked is what did you do with Jesus when you enter into eternity, did you trust Him or reject Him? And if you trusted Him, He says, "If you will confess me before others, I confess you before the Father. But if you refuse to confess me before others, then I'll have to refuse to confess you before the Father." "No one gets to the father, except through me." Jesus said. "I came to die for you, to serve you." And if you want to be great, if you want to be the goat in your lifetime, you need to be like Jesus.
So based on this passage, we look at Philippians 2 where Paul later on identifies a little bit more in chapter 2 where he says, "If you're going to honor people in your life, you need to honor them the way Jesus did. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Adopt the same attitude as that of Jesus Christ. Emphasizing what Jesus says here in Matthew 20, "Jesus who existed in the form of God did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead, he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even to death on the cross." He died to pay the ransom for many, his punishment for our inequities - Isaiah 53.
So, who is the goat? You want to modify your answer? Who's the goat? Who's the goat? Jesus is the goat. He's the greatest of all time. And if you want to be like Jesus, and if you're a Christian, if you say I'm a follower of Christ, you're Christian; that means you are trying to be like Christ. And you want to be the greatest of all time under Christ; you're not trying to compete against Him, right? But if you are having a mindset to want to do the way Jesus did, to be as Jesus was and to live as Jesus lived; then you too will live out a life of service and slavery to the best of what God has intended and wanted for the people in your life and around you and the people you influence.
If you happen to make your way into a person of authority and status, he's not telling you to sell everything and become a slave of the world. He's saying that in your position of authority, in your slavery to what God wants - you do the right with whatever you have to do with. If you're a leader, you lead in such a way that is not about your leadership; it's about the best of the people that you lead. It's about taking care of the people that you need to take care of. It's about America saying that we have been given so many privileges and responsibilities that, yes, we do owe a debt to the world of taking care of and doing things to encourage and help in ways that other nations never could, because by the grace of God, we have what so many others never have had.
We have an opportunity to be a shining light of encouragement as Christians, as believers in Jesus Christ to make a difference in other people's lives, by serving, not by telling and by lording it over and acting as a tyrant and acting not like Jesus when we don't get our way. We say, Jesus, you're in charge of my life, and because you were a servant and bow yourself to the point of death, I want to live my life pleasing to you.
A passage that I didn't have in the notes, but I think is appropriate to read, 2 Corinthians 5:15, where it says, "And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised."
I pray this morning that we will reject the world's definition of greatness, that we'll stop living in competition for those things that don't even matter. Yeah, kids, keep jumping off the swing and seeing who gets first. That's fun, but our status and our worth is not determined by how fast or how far we go compared to everyone else in the world. Our status and our worth is already been settled in heaven. We're valuable enough for a King of King to die for us, and so the least we can do is just say I'm willing to die to myself to live for Him as I serve and encourage others around me. Let's reject the world's definition of greatness, and let's adopt the same attitude as that of Jesus Christ. Let's adopt the attitude of Jesus.
I don't know if it means for the first time you put your faith in him and you tell the world I'm a Christian. Maybe before Easter or right on Easter Sunday, we'd be more than happy to help you follow through in believers’ baptism. Or maybe it's to say, "I re-surrender again, because I'm done in all this competitiveness that Io keep living in; it's my back story that's getting in the way of my present story. I got to get into the God story of my life." And maybe that connection card, maybe you just say, "I'm not even sure what I'm asking for, but I'd just like to meet with somebody and pray with them, or just pray for me this week so that I define greatness the way God wants me to and get rid of my stinking thinking." Let's adopt the same attitude of Jesus Christ.
Let's pray right now. Father, God, I don't know what you want to do in this room and how you want to move and who you're working on. You've been working on me all week on this. What is leadership? And this just puts a wrinkle in, in all the ways in which we've been taught in this lifetime, in this world of what leadership is and what leaders do. And I thank you that you get in our way and you help us to not think in temporal finite terms, but think in eternal terms. And I know that these two men that were asking questions went on to greatness because of their sacrifice of their lives for you, Jesus. And so, I thank you for the examples of James and John. Yeah, a little arrogant at the front end, and God, I just pray that we won't be afraid to ask big prayers because we might be asking wrong. But Lord, be willing to submit to your final answer when we ask them. I just pray that you'll help us to be successful spiritually in front of you. This week, as we think about the people we influence and encourage, that we might influence and encourage them in a way that benefits them and honors and glorifies you. Show us how to do that, Jesus, we're still learners. We're still growing. And help us to be obedient to publicly proclaim today whatever it is you want us to. And I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
Hope in the Resurrection
Happy Resurrection Day!
The journey to hope in the resurrection
Life before hope Mark 16:1-3
-Dead- consumed with death
-they were bringing burial spices, covering up the stink
-Unsolved problems- “who will roll away the stone?”
Hope Discovered Mark 16:4-5
-God speaks to us (prayer, Bible, people, circumstances)
Hope Explained Mark 16:6-7
-Jesus is alive!
-Jesus died and rose back to life
We must put all our hope in the resurrection!
We must trust in the supernatural power of Jesus Christ
-Jesus conquered death- no one has raised themselves!
-Forensic evidence says Jesus really died
-We are all born spiritually dead!
The Bible says we are naturally bad
We need a spiritual resurrection, can’t save ourselves!
-Are you still trusting in things that cannot provide real hope?
Are you still dressing up death with the burial spices of
possessions, pleasure and power?
Are you still trying to cover up the stink of your dead life?
We must trust the historical reality of Jesus Christ
-The overwhelming evidence demands a verdict
-Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified- a real person
-He is risen- His body was gone, was never found
-Eyewitnesses declare the tomb is empty- women, disciples
Our faith in Jesus must have a beginning
-the moment we are born again spiritually
-the moment we pass from death to life
-the moment we are rescued from sin, death and hell
You can receive hope in Jesus Christ right now!
Admit you are a sinner
Believe Jesus died and rose again
Commit your lives to Jesus Christ
-Obey Christ’s commands
-A true follower of Christ wants to listen and obey Jesus
-baptism doesn’t save you, prove you are saved!
Declare your hope in Jesus Christ now!
Use a Connection Card
Tell the prayer team
St Joe Community Church
Worship Order for Sunday March 28, 2021
Scripture Reading Mark 11:1-11
Message – The Upper Room, Mark 14:12-26
The Lord’s Supper, Mark 14:22-25
Come to the “upper room”
Resurrection Day is next Sunday!
More important than Christmas
A day that changed the world!
Today we will study the “Last Supper”
-the night Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples
-the night Jesus instituted a new observance- the Lord’s Supper
-the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas
-the night before his crucifixion
Today I desire for all of us to join Jesus in the upper room!
-enter into a personal relationship with Jesus
-spend time listening and learning from Jesus
-prepare ourselves to go into a world that rejects Jesus
Read Mark 14:12-26
I invite us all to come to the “upper room” today!
1. Accept Christ’s invitation vs 13
-He has already provided an “upper room” for us to meet him
-Jesus is ready for you join him in the upper room!
2. Submit to Jesus vs 16
-walk by faith, trusting what Jesus says
3. Experience community
-the disciples met together with Jesus, not one on one
-the upper room is for believers to gather together
-Christianity is not a lone ranger experience!
-Jesus calls us to meet as one body
4. Everyone is welcomed
-Jesus knew Judas would betray him- vs 17-21
-Judas has one more opportunity to trust Jesus- but didn’t
-The upper room of churches may have traitors as well!
-wheat and the tares, “Depart from me…I never knew you.”
5. Remember Christ’s sacrifice vs 22-25
-Jesus came to die- to pay for our sins, to reconcile us to God!
-Christ followers must die to sin, to self
-Stop worshipping the unholy trinity of me, myself and I!
-Start worshipping Jesus Christ!
6. Leave vs 26
-We can’t stay in the upper room!
-Christ followers must exit into the mission field
-We are the salt of the earth
-We are the light of the world
-We are ambassadors for Christ
-We are the “sent ones”
-Leave to glorify God with your lives!
-Love one another- this shows you have been with Jesus
-Go and tell the Good News
-Bring people with you to the upper room next time!
Come to the “upper room”
Surrender to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior
Observe the Lord’s Supper
Observance of The Lord’s Supper
-The bread and cup are symbolic
-Only Christ’s Followers are allowed to participate
-We must “examine” ourselves- confess and forsake sin
Observe the Lord’s Supper
-He Took the bread, blessed and broke it gave it to them
-Then Jesus Said “Take it; this is my body”
-Let us eat the bread together now
-Then he took the cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to
-Then Jesus said, “This is My blood that establishes the
covenant; it is shed for many.
-Let us drink the cup together now
Closing Remarks and Prayer
Observance of The Lord’s Supper
-The bread and cup are symbolic
-Only Christ’s Followers are allowed to participate
-We must “examine” ourselves- confess and forsake sin
Observe the Lord’s Supper
-He Took the bread, blessed and broke it gave it to them
-Then Jesus Said “Take it; this is my body”
-Let us eat the bread together now
-Then he took the cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to
-Then Jesus said, “This is My blood that establishes the
covenant; it is shed for many.
-Let us drink the cup together now
Closing Remarks and Prayer
B: Bible book