Faithlife Sermons

True Greatness

Here Is Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

The world we live in is very focused on people seeking greatness...
But Jesus called His people to a radically different lifestyle...

Body: Luke 22:24-30

Verse 24
Why did this dispute break out?
The disciples were still looking for a visible kingdom that they believed Jesus, as the Messiah, would set up. They likely believed that they would have positions of great honor within that kingdom.
While the text doesn’t specifically say why the dispute broke out, it’s likely connected to Jesus statement about one of their own betraying him.
Meaning, they started with the least of disciples (the betrayer), then likely started making the case that why each of them couldn’t possibly be the least, because of they are, in fact, great.
Don’t miss the irony of the moment. Jesus had just shared the Last Supper with them, symbolizing His impeding sacrificial death as the Passover Lamb. He would give Himself as a ransom, while they jockeyed for status.
Leon Morris: “It is sad that, with Jesus so close to the cross, His most intimate disciples were so far from His spirit.”
What is meant by “the greatest”?
A status symbol of importance. Basically, who was the most important:
To the ministry, to the forth coming kingdom, to Jesus, etc.
While it’s easy to point the finger at the disciples, we ought to recognize that we too often give in to the sin of self-seeking and pride:
We make the church about us, and not about God’s mission: people hearing and responding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
We jockey (often bending and breaking rules) for positions of authority and influence;
We get jealous of other people’s success and blessings;
We mistreat other believers and justify it, instead of making peace with one another, as we are commanded;
Verses 25-27
The kings of the Gentiles...
Lordship...
Benefactors...
“one who does good”
Darrell Bock - “Benefaction came from the wealthy as a way of ‘serving’ the city and yet maintaining one’s rank and prestige in the society. The system allowed elevation only of those who had wealth.”
Key statement: “But not so with you.”
To be a follower of Jesus is to often go against the grain of modern behaviors and attitudes concerning success.
Greatest/Youngest - Leader/Servant
Youngest couldn’t demand status in that culture...
Servant-Leadership is what Jesus modeled...
Illustration:
For the world the one who is served is the greatest, so that’s what we should strive to be.
Within the Hellenistic and Jewish cultures, there was an expectation of reciprocity (i.e. “I do this for you, you do this for me.”)
For Christ, the servant is the greatest.
Jesus called His followers to something very different. Serving those who have no earthly “right” to be served and who will not be able to pay us back.
This is trust that God will ultimately pay us back in ways that people never could.
And Jesus didn’t just teach this, He modeled it!
Verses 28-30
Notice that Jesus rebuke isn’t as harsh as we might expect.
This should be an encouragement to us all. Though we often fail, Jesus looks past our failures.
What trials?
Throughout His life, many trials came. While most of those who followed to see the “floor show” and get a free meal would eventually leave, these stayed with Jesus.
John 6:66–69 ESV
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
These should be seen as words of encouragement, that the disciples can cling to a future hope of blessing.
What is the nature of the blessing of the “kingdom” Jesus gives His followers?
Close fellowship with Jesus.
Ultimate spiritual satisfaction.
Responsibility and authority.

Key Question: How can a follower of Jesus experience true greatness?

Instead of seeking earthly greatness, we must humbly serve others.

Humility is one of the hardest callings in the Bible...
Really, a life-long battle, because within all of us there is a self-seeking down deep, and even right below the surface.
For too many, humility is nothing more than false humility. It takes the form of:
A disingenuous show that’s sole purpose is to draw attention to ourselves…(illustration of fasting…)
At other times it borders on self-hatred, which isn’t true humility either...
We must remember that we do have value as people. As John MacArthur writes, “We’re of value to God because we’re redeemed and sanctified. That enables us to serve Him.”
Humility only begins to come when we recognize a couple of things:
Who God is and where we stand before Him;
That we were nothing, who have been made something, simply by the grace of God, for the grace of God;
When we begin to cling loosely to the things of this world.

Instead of seeking earthly greatness, we must devote ourselves to follow Jesus example.

Like Jesus, we should seek first the cross, then look forward to being rewarded the crown.
How can I follow Jesus example today?
This really means putting others before ourselves.
Donald Whitney: “WANTED: Gifted volunteers for difficult service in the local expression of the Kingdom of God. Motivation to serve should be obedience to God, gratitude, gladness, forgiveness, humility, and love. Service will rarely be glorious. Temptation to quit place of service will sometimes be strong. Volunteers must be faithful in spite of long hours, little or no visible results, and possibly no recognition except from God in eternity.”

Instead of seeking earthly greatness, we must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
In Luke 22, Jesus calls the disciples to just this kind of lifestyle.
The point is: blessing is coming, but don’t seek earthly blessing, seek Heavenly blessing, because it lasts!
What is that blessing?
Close fellowship with Jesus.
Ultimate spiritual satisfaction.
Responsibility and authority.
Nothing on earth will compare to these!
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