Salvation and the Church: What is Greatness?

Today’s message summary of June 24, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The main purpose of the church is to educate those who attend church and to equip believers in Jesus Christ in order to minister to a lost world.

In today’s culture, that can be very difficult, but we know that Jesus can overcome any of these issues.

Are you making disciples of others?  In order to be effective, you are to be in tune to God’s will and obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The church is to be one body and one team.  It is not just about one person or a small group.  The body of Christ is made up of all believers that seek after Him and desire to serve Him.

Greatness in the church is not something that is to be sought after.  It is not about who is greater or better than another.  It is more about being the best that you can be in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Greatness is to seek after a position.  It is not about a competition within the church.  It is more important to be great in Jesus Christ in service for Him.

Seeking personal greatness for glory or position only gets in the way of the One who is great (John 3:30).

“The real great person is the person who makes every person feel great.”  –G. K. Chesterton

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” –Winston Churchill

There is a responsibility in servanthood.  It is about lifting up others and praising them for what they do (and certainly not just yourself).

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.

God often needs to show us that we are a people with clay feet.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

The church should have the attitude that what is being done is not just for the present, but for the purpose of reaching people for Jesus Christ in the future.  God is the one who promotes, elevates and places people in positions–ultimately for His praise and glory.

The question to answer is this: Whose greatness are we seeking to promote?  Who are we desiring to build up?

John 12:32

As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.

This is an issue for the disciples.  They were in their early stages of ministry.  There’s no question as to who the leader was at the time, but after Jesus spoke about His time of ministry being short, some of them started to wonder who would take over.

Matthew 18:1

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Luke 22:24

Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest.

Mark 10:32-45

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.

What do you want me to do for you? he asked them. 

They answered him, Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.

Jesus said to them, You dont know what youre asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?

We are able, they told him.

Jesus said to them, You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.

When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The disciples argued this subject amongst themselves.  Jesus had not given out any rank, positions or statement as to who would be second in command of this group.

Mark 9:33-34

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.

God only mentions our roles as a servant.  The servant is always positioned, based upon their willingness, skills and ability, where the Master places him.

In God’s sight, we are all servants.  Our head is Jesus Christ.  He assigns the tasks and we perform them.

There’s nothing greater than being a servant of Jesus Christ, and doing what will further the kingdom of God.

It is not about self…it is all about Him.  The disciples initially argued in fleshliness over this.

…”What were you arguing about on the way?” (Mark 9:33b)

As we mature in Christ, we understand that all that we are to do is to His glory.

The disciples kept quiet (v. 34) and would not bring Jesus into the conversation, but Jesus already knew what they were arguing about.  Such arguments would only lead to:

1.) Self-destruction

2.) Separation

3.) Envy

4.) Strife

Proverbs 20:3

Honor belongs to the person who ends a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

Romans 12:16-18

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyones eyes. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:11-26

One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.

For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one bodyso also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or freeand we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, Because Im not a hand, I dont belong to the body, it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, Because Im not an eye, I dont belong to the body, it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, I dont need you! Or again, the head cant say to the feet, I dont need you! On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need.

Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

There are times when an answer cannot be found dealing with an issue, and that is when prayer is in order in following God’s guidance.  We are greater in the body of Christ and functioning as a united group that we do as individuals.

The one who wants to be great must be the servant of all.

Mark 9:35

Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.

Luke 22:23-27

So they began to argue among themselves which of them it could be who was going to do it.

Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. But he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called Benefactors. It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isnt it the one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

We are not to be like those living in the world (as every person for himself). Jesus is the prime example of being a servant.  It is a powerful statement of leadership through servanthood.

The actions of the twelve disciples were childish and worldly.

A child is humble and honest as they desire to learn more.

John 1:1-17

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son[i] from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, This was the one of whom I said, The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’”) Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Is your desire to honor God in being the best person that you can be?

Greatness really depends upon what God will do though you.

2 Samuel 22:33-36

God is my strong refuge; he makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and sets me securely on the heights. He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation; your help exalts me.

1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.

Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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