Luke chapter 9 Luke chapter 9 and we're continuing this study. We've been doing for a couple weeks now where we are looking at we're looking at what does it take to follow Jesus? What is it look like to follow Jesus ends for many of us. Following Jesus is a struggle and what's encouraging to me is that when I look at the word of God, I realize this is not a struggle that I'm alone in the matter of fact the 12 men who walked around the Jesus the disciples are the apostles. They struggled to follow Jesus. And so this morning we continue to look at this and we look at how they struggled and it's something that we might struggle with as well. I don't want to I don't want to do a show of hands or anything. But how many of you have ever made a bad decision?
I mean you can show your hand if you want to. But hey, at least we know that we're not in this alone, right every single one of us has made a bad decision. I want to give you guys just a list here as we get started. Here are some things that I think are bad decisions giving a border. Collie a rope. Now this may sound strange to you. But I have a border collie. First one I've ever owned I gave the dog a rope to the dog will not leave me alone. If I am awake and she is awake that rope is continually being pressed against my leg into my hand play play play. This border collie just wants to play is that a bad decision to give the dog a rope depends on if I'm trying to get anything done. I need to just invite Taylor back over Taylor can take care of that right? That's not really that bad of a decision. How about giving a toddler a chainsaw?
Like a steel not nothing big like a 16 inch bar or something like that. Good idea bad idea. Bad idea. How about how about giving a dictator access to the launch codes for a nuclear weapon?
Probably a bad idea. How about giving the world you and I social media? Bad decision. Decision. I'm realizing more and more how much of a terrible decision it was when we unleash social media upon one another. We at least something we didn't have a clue how to stop because if you give everybody their 15 seconds of Fame and you give everybody a platform for for promoting themselves, guess what everybody starts to do they promote themselves. And when everybody's promoting themselves you end up with a world that looks much like our own nobody caring for anybody else everybody doing what they want to do. And that's an issue for those of us who follow Christ for those of us who follow Christ. This idea of self-promotion really is one that we should consider seriously and I'm not saying that you need to get rid of all of your social media, but you need to be careful how you interact with it cuz it's very easy to that concern to self-promotion. Now what's wrong with self the Roshan? Well the gospels all about self denial. The gospel. Jesus says if you want to follow me take up your cross, right? If you want to follow me deny yourself. That's what the message that Jesus has for those who follow him. It's not about you anymore. Facebook is all about you. Twitter is all about what you're mad at. Instagram is all about how fake you can be to be perfect is Lisa's. That's my understanding of it. I'm not quite up on all of that. Social media allows us to promote ourselves. Jesus says deny yourselves. We have to figure this out. But we can't just blame social media. We can't just blame social media because this is not a new problem. It's not like it. How long has Facebook been out 8 years 10 years something like that is not like 8 years ago. All of a sudden Humanity was awakened to this problem that we all just want to promote ourselves regardless of how that impacts the people around us. It's not a new problem. It's it's not like Twitter shows up and all of a sudden now, we've got social justice outrage syndrome, right? That's not it. It's not like, you know Instagram comes along and all of a sudden everybody becomes a makeup experts right even the guys which is really strange. That's why I don't do Instagram. It's not like this is a new problem guys. This is been the problem with Humanity from the very very beginning. I mean literally the very beginning I'm not going to return there. But if you looked at Genesis 3 what you see is self-promotion from the very first humans ever on the planet or if you have this problem with they wanted to promote themselves Satan shows up. He's going to tempt even to disobeying the one command that God gave one command man. How nice would that be one command don't eat from this tree. Satan says eat light from the street. You'll be like God you can promote yourself if you eat from this tree. Adam and Eve say sounds like a good plan is good. Right. This is the very human problem for the big get very beginning. We've wanted to become what we were not meant to become. We've wanted to challenge the supremacy of God. Self-promotion Jesus shows up though and fixes all of that. None of his followers ever struggle with self-promotion rights. Then we come to our text. look at Luke chapter 9 I look chapter 9 and I want to start reading in verse 46. An argument arose among them and them here is the disciples and are given a rose among them as to which of them was the greatest but Jesus knowing the reasoning of their hearts took a child and put him by aside and said to them whoever receives this child in my name receives me. And whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you is the one who is great. Did you guys play with me real quick?
Lord as we come to your words we come with all of our problems all of our fears all of our insecurities all of our worries all of our doubts. But gotta we need to recognize that that's not unique to us. I need a recognized that all of humanity apart from your son struggle with the same thing. So Lord as we look at your word today. I pray that you would quiet our fears that you would speak to our doubts and God that you would allow us to grasp. What is the purpose that you have for us to transform this life from one of self-promotion? That's one of purpose God I ask that you would be with the words that I speak. Help me only to say what you would have said help to be heard and taken away. Only what you say. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen. An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.
Self-promotion is no new thing. This is this is what Humanity does you leave us to our own devices and we start trying to sort out the pecking order which artists are trying to say. Okay. Well, I'm better than this one in and you know him better than this one is better than this one. Well, I may not be this good but I'm at least better than here right insert the name of your favorites a dictator here better than Hitler good job way to aim for the Stars. Chris self-promotion has always been a part of it in here. You have these guys who are literally Walking With Jesus. Literally hanging out with the one that scripture says humbled himself though being equal thought he submitted himself to flash. He became a servant he died on a cross right there walking with Jesus. And there are is which one's the greatest? And we like to think that wouldn't be nice. Right? I wouldn't be doing that if I was walking with Jesus and yet we're human. This is what we do. We promote ourselves we compete with one another. This is just how it works. It's interesting how the text says this is says they were arguing about which was the greatest but Jesus knowing the reasoning of their hearts. No, we don't get that Glimpse in the text into what the reasoning in their hearts was. But I know my heart and you know your heart and you know that possibly some of the things that were running through their minds as they were thinking through this I need to be the greatest. I need to promote myself. They were thinking man. If if I don't promote myself, I'll be forgotten couple weeks ago. We looked at the 12 disciples. We talked about him. Remember James the less the dude who is literally distinguish by being the least noticeable person in the group. James is sitting there thinking man, if I don't if I don't promote myself if I don't say I'm the greatest and they're just going to forget about me and nobody talk about Jesus 11 disciples instead of his 12 disciples. I'm going to be forgotten how many of you worry about being forgotten. How many of you have ever let's go back and pick up my favorite favorite thing to pick on social media. How many of you have ever made a Facebook post and your thought was I need to remind people that I'm here. I need people to see this. I need people to recognize me. I don't want to be forgotten. I need to promote myself. I need to promote myself.
Or somebody else is going to get promoted instead of me. I need to make sure that I get a slice of the pie. I need to make sure that I'm not left out when they come to divvying up the rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven. So if I promote myself as the greatest.
Then I'm going to have some influence still. How many of you have ever had a conversation at work? It was not geared towards serving your task or or accomplishing the mission for which your company exist? But you were simply wanting to make sure that everybody. But you a voice at the table making sure that everybody did not take you for granted making sure you still had influence. This is what we do as humans. We promote ourselves so we don't get laughed at so we don't get forgotten. So we don't lose influence. We we say we've got to promote ourselves cuz nobody else is going to do it. If you if I if I leave myself pretty if I leave promotion up to somebody else if I wait for somebody else to recognize my I'd good idea if I wait for somebody else to recognize my worth in my existence. They're not going to see me. They're not going to do it. And so I've got to take care of this myself. That's the reasoning behind self-promotion while what's Jesus's response to this reasoning of their hearts?
Not what you would expect you would expect the one who Colossians said was equal to God the one who's had the glory of the Father the one who was before all things who created all things and in him all things hold together, you would expect that guy to say sit down shut up. I'm the greatest. You guys are nothing. But that's not what Jesus does that's what I would do if I were in his shoes, but that's not what Jesus does Jesus Takes a child and he's put this child beside him and in my mind's eye. This looks like the 12 or over here fighting and Jesus doesn't say anything. He just brings this kid over and says here staying here with me. Weights for them to kind of pick up on something's happening. and then he says this this is what I need you to see why does he do that? Why a child? Why does he say?
Look at this. This should quiet all of your arguments about who's the greatest. What do you know about children? Me not that much. I knew a lot more before I had some of my own I was a really good parent. I promise until I had kids of my own.
kids though kids are seen by our world as expendable. The whole abortion industry is based on the idea that your kid is a nuisance and if it's not convenient get rid of it. And that would be a tragedy. If that's where that view of children's. But too many people have children and continue to view them as a nuisance.
as expendable too many people see children and they're like why in the world should I give up any of my desires for the sake of this kid? Why in the world should I ever change the way I live because of this child. This child will not validate myself importance as a matter fact kids as evidence this morning by my daughter Mariah are really good at interpreting. They're really good at making us not. Focus why would I why would I give this kid the time of day when they're just going to take away from the things I'm trying to accomplish? Why why would I give this child the time of day when they're not going to advance my agenda one bit? Jesus says precisely. The reason Jesus interrupts a discussion of who's the greatest with putting a child by the side is because the disciples need to understand we need to understand that the kids really don't care how important you think you are. Kids have no concern whatsoever for your self-importance. When I was a first-time dad, my my oldest Maylee, I don't want it. I don't want to speak, you know to graphically in case he's got a weak stomach but weird stuff comes out of kids.
And my daughter May lie in particular she she would throw up at the least provocation like no warning. No nothing and all of a sudden there's Stream shooting like six foot across the kitchen, you know. I said didn't want to turn your stomach. Sorry turn off your ears if if that offends you. Her timing was always not the best. We were flying from Idaho to Louisville, Kentucky to visit Megan's family. And we're that we packed everything but when you got a baby you got a ton of stuff. And so normally I carry on like a change of clothes or something, but we had all the baby stuff. So I didn't that was a mistake because there's we're Landing in Denver Maley decides that she doesn't want to breakfast anymore and shares it with me and it goes all down the front of my shirt end in that smell that that
So I'm like this ain't going to work but I have no access to my clothes. And so it's like what are we going to do? So we're in Denver. We got like 15 minutes before our next flight. And so I run into the first store I can find and I'm just going to buy, you know, one of those tourist trap t-shirts the store that I walked into had their extra large look like a medium and it had a v-neck like down to here.
Let's just say I'm not a you know medium kind of guy. I'm not a v-neck kind of guy and yet that's what I ended up wearing greeting her family as they came to pick us up at the airport.
kids don't care how important you think you are kids don't care what kind of image you're trying to portray to the world. They're just going to do what they do. Jesus sets a child beside of me says look you guys are concerned about the greatest. This kid doesn't care what you think about that. This kid isn't going to give you Fame. He's not going to give you influence. Why do politicians kiss babies? They're not trying to get the babies vote if I'm a baby in a politician kisses me. I'm like, I know I'm voting for the other guy.
Politicians do that they use the kids to do what influence the parents. Kids are just a means to an end for so many people for Jesus. So he says this. This is what you need to understand. Whoever receives a child in my name receives him who sent me in the least is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. He takes our need to self promote and he says no Nino's the reasoning of our heart. Here's the truth self-promotion always flows from a discontented heart. Self-promotion always flows from a discontented heart. Why did I not want to wear a tight v-neck shirt?
Because I didn't want people to laugh at me. I was worried about what people might think the daughter who ruined my other shirt didn't care. What kind of shirt I was wearing. Right when we are self-promoting when we're trying to dress a certain way portray a certain image to people what it is. We're just saying, I'm not happy with the way I am. I'm not happy with the way people perceive me if flows from a discontented heart. You know what the crazy thing about discontentment is though The crazy thing about discontentment especially for the follower of Christ. Is it's not just saying I'm not happy with how things are in my life. When you as a Christ follower who recognized the sovereignty of Jesus Christ who says that everything in my life is there because God intended it to be there who's if you read Romans 8 and you know that all things good bad indifferent work together for good to those who love him who are called according to the purpose of conforming them to the image of Christ. Then you know that everything in your life is there on purpose and when you are self-promoting you're essentially saying I'm not happy God. With what you brought me? I am discontent with it. That's what self-promotion is. It's a discontented heart. It's a rejection of our dependence on God. For the Christ follower we know intellectually, we know that everything depends on God everything depends on him. and yet
When we should have to feel like we've got to say I'm the greatest. I'm all that and a bag of chips. When we have to say no, I'm better at that than you are when we have to say, don't forget me. Don't laugh at me. Make sure that I have influence give me my 15 seconds of Fame. What we're saying is we're not content with where God has placed us the circumstances. He's brought into our lives. We reject the fact that we depend on God. That's a problem guys self-promotion. He is by definition a rejection of our dependence on God. This is very true at every stage of Our Lives Middle School.
I saw some. Yeah, I remember Middle School in Middle School. My dad. My dad was a basketball player. He played for a small College in Oregon, and he thought I was going to a basketball player and it really helped that I was like two inches taller than my dad by the time I was a freshman, so you thought I was going to basketball players. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a basketball player. Well when you can't shoot
And you can't defend anybody without fouling out and you can barely chew gum and walk at the same time basketball may not be for you or me in this case.
You know, what worried me in basketball. It was the fact that
I was homeschooled and I was playing for the public school team and I understand how this whole Middle School thing works. Like there's a ton of angst on middle schoolers. If your middle schooler here or parents if you have a middle schooler, there's like a ton of pressure on middle schoolers to fit in and I was a homeschooling. I like I don't think I fit in let alone the fact I'm terrible at this sports, but I don't think that I fit in and I remember one night in particular. I stayed up all night worrying before basketball practice that my shoes were last year's model.
I stayed up worrying about my shoes. Yes. I'm a man.
But I got so focused on that one little thing. I can't shoot. I can't defend I can barely walk and I'm worried about my shoes.
We get so wrapped up. It's not just a middle school thing we get so wrapped up in things that don't matter and we become discontented and we we we look at God knows I'm just not happy with the life that you've given me. I wanted to portray something different. I wanted to be something different. And so we have to do whatever we can to try to run around our petty little concerns and say no I'm cool. Trust me. I'm good at this game coach if you never put me in.
Like I can I could do that. I could do my supervisor's job. I should get that paycheck, right? I don't know why people like him. I don't know why people invite her out, but not me. It's just the same thing whether it's basketball shoes or who's getting invited out for coffee or anything else. It's coming from this place that says I'm just not happy god with where you put me what I'm doing with where we live you guys live in Cedar City or Enoch or Parowan or New Harmony, Utah, right. That's like the big leagues guys you have arrived. You are at the Center of Western Civilization.
4 knots No in truth the rest of the world would look at you and say y'all are a bunch of rednecks. And yes, I just said y'all when I said y'all are a bunch of rednecks.
But you look at where you're at and say I'm just not happy with where God has me. Or do you say no I'm dependent on God. And so where he's put me he must have a purpose for that do look at your life. And you say God. I'm not happy with what you've done. And so I'm going to promote myself. I'm going to try to get myself out there. So the people see how much worth I have or do we say? No, I'm going to depend on the worth that God has given me and I'm going to do what he's called me to do where he's placed me because here's the thing when we are self-promoting when we reject our dependence on God when were discontent with the life. We've been given then we will never fulfill the purpose that God has given his followers, which is To serve those around us in the love of God when we are self-promoting. We have a discontented heart. We reject our dependence on God that rejection of God's rule over us leads to us ignoring the people around us. And that's precisely the thing that Jesus says you can't do when we reject God's plan when we reject where he's put us then we tend to ignore the people around as this is what the disciples were doing. They were all arguing about who's the greatest without recognizing this person who's arguing with me about this is the person that God has called me to love to lay my life down for that's why Jesus puts the child outside of me says look, This kid can't can't make you more important. This kid can't do anything for you and yet if you receive him you've received me who's ever is the least is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is saying look you are here not to argue and self-promote, but to serve the needs of the people around you you're not here for you. You're not in Utah for you. You're not wherever God puts you for you. If you are a Christ follower, you are there to meet the needs of the people around you that is the purpose for which you exist. And if you're busy self-promoting, you're busy rejecting God's sovereignty over your life. Then you're busy ignoring the very people that he's put you there to serve because that kid can't do anything for himself that kid is dependent on his parents for food. He's depending on teachers for education is dependent on a church Community to demonstrate the truth of who God is and if the church is too busy self-promoting we're going to ignore the kid. That's one of the reasons why the kids starting this year's we're coming into the service with us. That's one of the reasons that when we make an announcement that we talked about children's church, and we talked about Nursery. We talked about Bible camp and we talked about Sunday school and all these things what we're saying is we value kids here at Red Hills. We value those kids. because Jesus says What matters is not us promoting ourselves? None of these kids are going to get on Facebook and talk about what a great preacher I am. None of them are going to walk out of here saying man. Those songs were just spot on today.
But we're not here for a preacher. We're not here for songs. We're here to glorify Christ. And when we as a church value the kids that he has given us when we turn from self-promotion and seeking our own desires in our own wants and we start saying, how can we serve the least of these then? We're right in line with what God has done because wind God rules over us. He caused us to serve those around us but the point isn't just like serve kids. It's serve other people if I'm so wrapped up in concerned with what people think about me making sure that I get the credit do me if I'm so concerned with making sure I maintain influence. I'm going to ignore not just the kids around me. I'm going to ignore the people around me do this and this is really going to be awkward. Especially if you catch somebody's eyes look around at each other this morning. But you guys are all staring at me and stare at each other for a little bit.
Drake I contact at the awkward little today
every single person here walked in the door this morning with fears and concerns and struggles and difficulties and things that they're super excited about and things that they're terrified of that every single person that you just looked at will walk out of these doors into a week in which some of them don't know where their next meal is coming from some of them don't know if they're going to have enough money to pay the bills as we come into a new month. Do the people in this room?
Are facing struggles? that you know nothing about why are you here?
Why did God In His Infinite Wisdom see fit to put you here in the midst of people who are struggling like you're struggling? Why did God see fit to put you here with all of these other people who have things going going on in their lives just like you got things going on in your life. So that you could argue about who's the greatest? So that you could line up and we could establish like here's the favorites click and here's the cool click and here's the group that does this and here's the group that does that know we are all here this morning with all of our struggles with all of our needs with all of the mess that we are. And God put us together for a reason not so that we could promote ourselves over against one another not so that we could ignore one another but so that his love would be demonstrated as we become involved in one another's lives and begin to meet the needs that we all have. This is why the small groups are so important and that I'm not pointing it that I'm pointing at this this is why small groups matter to us at Red Hills. This is why we're starting something new and some of you were too kind of freaked out like I don't want to do anything new but we're doing this so that we won't ignore one another so that we won't miss the needs in our midst so that we can demonstrate love to one another instead of worrying about who's the greatest or who gets the privilege of who gets the honor we start saying where's the need? How can I meet at where's the need? How can I meet where's the need? How can I need it? Where is it? Where's a joy that I can rejoice in? Where's where's the bird that I need to carry? I get to the privilege of going out to Milford on Saturday nights and we have a Spanish Bible study that Alex's Bayhealth is leading and we've got several from the community out there who were part of that and and I don't speak a lot of Spanish. and last night I had got to have a conversation with a brother from Chiapas Mexico and it took us a long time to say anything between his broken English and my broken Spanish, but what I found out, is this brother Has been away from his family for a long time and he misses his little eight-year-old Leslie and his seven-year-old Moises. And he misses his dad and he misses his wife and he misses his farm. But Financial circumstances meant he had to come here and he couldn't bring them with him. You know what I did.
I can do anything. I don't know anything about immigration law. I don't know how to do that. I don't have the resources to make anything happen. But what I did do as I sat there and I got to listen to my brother. I got to cry with him and I will be praying with them. Sometimes that's all it takes guys be there for people even if they don't speak the same language as you even if they don't look like you be there for each other don't ignore people promoting your own greatness.
But seek to just be with one another sign up for a small group. If you haven't yet. This is an opportunity to get out of this face. Sometimes people aren't comfortable talking here on Sunday mornings. That's why we're saying get into homes throughout the week get to know people within this body, right? Because the people that are around us are pointing us back. To God they're pointing us back to depending on God when there's needs around me. And I can't meet him and I don't know what to do. It points me back to God which finishes off this whole cycle. Right if I'm self-promoting is cuz I'm just content with what God has done. If I'm discontented means that I'm rejecting God's rule over me. If I reject God's rule over me. I ignore those around me but Jesus gives us this beautiful picture. He puts the child and he says if you receive this job, you received me and him who sent me. If you if you meet needs even if you don't know some of you want kids people like you're not kid people I get that like some of you don't serve that way.
But sometimes we survive outside of our expertise so that we can be pointed back to and reminded on WE depend on God. We depend on God and so when that kid is there and he can advance my cause it all but I can make life for him. I'll paraphrase Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle says, hey, I don't care how big you are how tough you are. But when a toddler hands you a toy phone you answer it.
Right when you meet the needs of the least of these you're suddenly reminded. I'm not all that. I thought I was. Oh, yeah, there's a God Sovereign over this world. Oh, yeah. I'm depending on him for everything and it's in meeting the needs of those around us that we're fill out early and adequate to meet the god reminds. Yeah, you need me. Depend on me find your contentment in me, too often. We think that the proof of our worth is when others are focused on us. God says no, you will never be more worthy than when you're focused on others. You you will never find the joy that you're seeking if you're trying to draw people's attention to you whether it's likes or whether it's accolades at work, whether it's promotions, you will never be satisfied seeking those things. Because that's all depending on you and your self promotion. You will only be content Christ follower. When you are resting in what Jesus has done and you are demonstrating his love to those around you. The only way that this happens is when we take what God has already done for us and we apply it in our relationships with others. What has God done for you. I've been alluding to it all the way through these guys are arguing about who's the greatest in Jesus is standing there Jesus who did not count equality with God anything to be grasped but emptied himself taking the form of a servant dying on the cross. Here's the thing you and I are sinners. That's why we self-promote. That's why we're discontent. That's why we reject God's rule over us because we don't want what God wants we want what we want that's called send the penalty for sin. God says is death. You and I deserve death. And yet God. Jesus himself says let me die instead of them. Even though Jesus didn't send even though Jesus didn't self-promote even though Jesus had no desire but to do that which benefit is the father and that which served us he died. and his penalty his taking the penalty for our sin means that those of us who recognized that who say I don't want to die.
I don't want I can't take the punishment of God for mice in those of us who submit to Christ and say okay Jesus your Lord. I'm going to do things your way. You're in charge. I believe that you died for my sins that you Rose again, and that you're living today those of us who say that we're set free from this need to self promote. We follow the self-denying Savior so we can freely go into the world and we can freely serve others not so that other people can see how good we are. But so that others will see how good Jesus is to set us free from self-promotion. We don't have to blow a trumpet when we drop a dollar in the offering plate. We don't have to tell everybody about the good things that we've done. Why because it's not about them. It's not about me. It's all about Christ. Now. It's all about Jesus and that purpose when your life is getting that given that sort of purpose your set free from self-promotion your set free from serving others for the sake of your own benefit your set free to just serve others because God loves them. Everything changes your life changes. So here's here's the thing. There is a better way than self-promotion and it's this trust God's provision of his son. Trusted that is where you find your worth trust that you can never be good enough. You can never be brave enough. You can never be famous enough. You can never impact the world enough.
To make yourself one ounce better than Jesus dying on the cross made you already. It's impossible. It's impossible to get better than somebody who's been redeemed by the perfect blood of the Son of God. And so that sets you free to start seeing others around you not as people on which you foist yourself Improvement not on people on which you use their backs to step up and your progression towards goodness. But as people who that they are worthy of consideration because the same price that died for you died for them. They need to hear that gospel message to be set free from their fears and their worries and you carry that you get to do that and in doing that and saying I'm not going to live for myself anymore. I'm not going to promote myself. I'm going to promote the gospel. I'm going to come. Oh God, you find the purpose that you were meant for? You will find satisfaction that you cannot imagine when you're seeking it through self-promotion. Let's pray.