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Real Success

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1)5-26-05…TBC Graduation     2) 11-5-06…..AM…..Oakland, MN     3)  11-2-08…AM…SBC

Real Success

Luke 10:1-2, 17-20


1- The word success plagues everyone, even the Christian.

2-      There are different ways to define success in life

·        Money -

·        Family – I have raised kids that are successful in business.  My kids are all converted Christians.

·        Fame / Popularity – I’m the life of the party.  I’m the keynote speaker.  They call me for help.

·        Large retirement – the financial commercial with everyone carrying the large retirement number

·        Leadership in community, workplace, church – I’m part of the church leadership—boss—mayor

-          are you going to allow yourself to become so shallow as to think that these temporal issues are the determining factor of your success?

-          It is shallow, sinful and ungodly to allow ourselves to define success in these terms

-          And when we find ourselves doing this we must fall down and beg for forgiveness from a God

3-      Everyone has a definition of what success is and that definition shapes what you do

a.       If you want to know what your definition of success is evaluate what is most important to you

b.      Evaluate what your idols are

4-      We need to take all the success and status of the Pope, Bill Gates, Professional Athletes and trash it for a little taste (just a sampling) of the kind of success experienced by some uneducated fisherman

5-      Our definition of success must be distinctly different than that of the worlds -

a.       unfortunately the world’s definition of success has crept into the church

b.      the lines of separation between Christians and the world, unfortunately, are often very blurry

6-      Our definition must consist of being used as an instrument for the transforming power of God in this world that is dying and going to hell

a.       salvation / evangelism, along with a whole host of other things, are not the highest end of man

b.      the highest end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster C.F)


Transition:  But what the fulfillment of glorifying God possible?  That is found in our text this morning

7-      Context of Luke 10:17-20

a.       the journey to Jerusalem where Christ will lay down his life for mankind (9:51)

b.      Christ sends out disciples (v1-2)

c.       He instructs them on how to handle themselves when out proclaiming the gospel  v3-16

d.      Imagine the building sense of pressure mixed with enthusiasm

Illustration: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal, when Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave,


                                                              i.      What will happen?—Will they succeed?—Will they fail?—Will they prove faithful?

e.       as they leave for this mission we are left to hold our breath


1-      Here we see men who offered no excuses when called to serve.

2-      Without reservation they answered the Lord’s command[1] (in contrast to the 3 men in 9:57-62)

3-      In this church we must strive to maintain a atmosphere of commitment to God’s call to serve

·        Are you committed to loving the people of this church even when it inconveniences you to do so

·        Are you attending regularly – you can’t love or be loved if no one knows you or you aren’t open enough with those that love you

·        Are you edifying and encouraging others to holiness in this congregation?

·        Are you willing to offer no excuses in your obedience to God like the men in this text?

Transition: After their aggressive obedience they return to Jesus to report

1)    The disciples return                    v17


A-    Was this mission a success?

-          people were healed—demons were cast out—power of God displayed over Satan

-          this happened in town after town after town

-          they were jars of clay being used by the Master Potter to glorify Him (2 Cor. 4:7)

These men teach us something by their report…


1-      There is nothing more intoxicating than to be a follower of Jesus

2-      There is nothing more addictive than to be a witness of the hand of God in this dark and sinful world

3-      There is nothing more stimulating than to see a life changed by the power of God—to make a disciple

4-      How thrilling it is to serve as the instrument of God

·        to be used by God to bless someone else in God’s family

·        to evangelize the lost (evangelism can happen even if someone doesn’t get saved)

·        to do the work of the ministry—to labor in the spiritual ministry of the church—seek what is above

Transition: By all visible manifestations this was a successful mission

2)  Jesus Responds                v18-20

A-    their success was not in what they what they did but in who they knew

B-    Jesus defined success as having your name written in heaven

C-    There is no greater claim to lay hold of than “I am a child of God” – it is the only great claim

Philippians 1:19-21

 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (ESV)




1-      whether you are successful in this world or not will depend on whose definition you go by

2-      No worldly victory or success can ever match the blessings that come with being a child of God

a-      Regeneration – imparting of spiritual life to the spiritually dead

b-      salvation of you soul from eternal judgment

c-      removal of you sin as a means of judgment upon you

d-     eternal security

e-      reconciliation

f-       you can now love others

g-      you now have real purpose and direction in life


1-      Success is not…

a-      Academic prowess - accomplishment yes

b-      fancy vehicle or a big house

c-      having obedient children

d-     having a big bank account or many possessions

e-      climbing the corporate ladder

2-      What defines the world must not define a child of God

·        Success is knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and letting God transform your life from one of selfishness and pride to one of love and service to God and others

3-      Rejoice in the success and failures that God brings your way but most of all rejoice that you are a child of God and have the privilege to serve the Almighty, Sovereign God of the universe

Conclusion:    (use Dever’s Application sheet form 9marks conference)

In this passage…

1-      Jesus unpacks what it takes to have a right standing before God – it takes God’s work of salvation in your life (Unique to salvation History)

2-      Maybe you are here today and you are as emotionally charged as the disciples were and you want in on this great discovery of real success but you aren’t saved—you aren’t born again (non-christian)

·        maybe you define success some other way – you are not successful in God’s eyes

·        you will only be successful when you realize your true need in this life (salvation) and put your trust in Jesus to save your soul from sins

3-      There is also application to the way that we as God’s people are to live in the world – we are to be distinct from world and not in conformity to it (Public Influence)

4-      To the individual Christian here today this texts speaks to recalling where the success story of your life really resides – not in what you have done but what God has granted you the grace and faith to accomplish – and then responding with a life of service and commitment to God and to other (Individual Christian)

5-      What is success going to be for SBC?            Attendance?—Buildings?—People?

What will make SBC successful is what has made it successful in the past—faithful obedience to God and His Word.


[1]William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 11, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 567.

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