A message summary of March 11, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:
What can destroy a team? What can tear apart a group of people? What can damage a church? It is when someone within that group desires to be greater than the others.
The apostles had this type of difficulty. There was discussion amongst them as to who, within their group, would be the greatest. This message is about those who desire to be greater than others.
When a person believes that he is greater than others, there is a problem. A person should actually learn the importance of servanthood.
A person has to earn the right to be highly respected. It is not handed out.
In 1 Corinthians, we can see this:
1 Corinthians 12:7
A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.
One part of the body is not greater than the others. They are all needed to function for the glory of Jesus.
An argument started among them about who was the greatest of them.
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”
This discussion, which was likely heated, was going on for quite some time. There was an expectation that someone among them would take charge after Jesus would be gone.
What about greatness? We all want to be great in the eyes of someone. No one wants to be considered as useless or unworthy of being part of a team. Neither do people want one person to be seen as the great one who rules over them, or that they receive more because they are favored over others.
There is a reason why a Last Will and Testament should declare that the heirs “share and share alike.” If this is not done, it can cause division for the recipients.
Greatness: “The real great person is the person who makes every person feel great.”
–G. K. Chesterton
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Note that when your mind is stuck on greatness, it is still only on earthly things.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
For my part, brothers and sisters, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, since you were not ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still worldly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans?
This was an argument of pride and of love of power. It was about wanting something that was not earned or given at the time.
After John’s messengers left, he began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? See, those who are splendidly dressed and live in luxury are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John, but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Jesus calls him great. There is no account in Scripture where John calls himself great. He was a true servant. Jesus elevated him to greatness because of who he was and the role he assumed as the one who prepared the way for him. He humbled himself as a servant.
So they came to John and told him, “Rabbi, the one you testified about, and who was with you across the Jordan, is baptizing—and everyone is going to him.”
John responded, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Greatness gives ground to greater things.
“You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.”
Jesus’s greatness does not need to be compared with someone else or debated. He did not have to speak up for Himself because there was no need to do so. His actions spoke for themselves.
For the one who serves Jesus Christ, it does not diminish us at all—in fact, it enhances us.
Jesus teaches His disciples how He saw greatness. Why? Greatness is seen differently by different people.
An argument started among them about who was the greatest of them. But Jesus, knowing their inner thoughts, took a little child and had him stand next to him. He told them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. For whoever is least among you–this one is great.”
What can a child do for an adult?
- They will humble you.
- They challenge your creativity in how you instruct them.
- They help you see the significance of a child and what the child can become.
- They are less self-conscious and are not self-sufficient.
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
If you think that you are greater than others, you will never serve effectively. We are to serve others as Jesus served others.
As great as Jesus was, He made Himself a servant for us.
A believer is to see himself as last before all others. This allows for one to serve as Jesus did (last before others). This is effective ministry. True ministry is to serve others.