Be The Greatest

Be The Greatest

Mark 9:33-37 33

Everyone wants to win and be the best. I don’t know one parent who says “our greatest hope is that our child could be mediocre and just get by” nor do I know anyone who’s life goal was just to be someone who was at the bottom

Most people want to be the greatest at something. Or at least they did at some point

The Good news is that Today, you get a lesson from Jesus on how you can be the greatest

If you want to be the greatest

  1. Watch what you say
  • 33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?”34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 
  • In this discourse, Jesus is talking to the disciples, and makes it clear that he knew that they were talking and thank he knew what they were talking about
  • Jesus never asks questions that he doesn’t know the answer to
  • He knew exactly what they were talking about. They were talking about what kind of position they were going to have in the Kingdom of God
  • Henry- Nothing could be more contrary to the two great laws of Christ’s kingdom, lessons of his school, and instructions of his example, which are humility and love, than desiring preferment in the world, and disputing about it.-
  • Still earthly thinking. Still selfish thinking. Still desiring positions. Still wanting power
  • They apparently weren’t paying attention in Sunday school
  • Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
  • Opening up your mouth can lead to destruction! God challenges his people to watch what they say with their mouth!
  • And here’s the thing! GOD KNOWS WHAT YOU’RE SAYING and thinking!
  • This should scare some of you! You choose what you say and what you think about!
  • These guys should have been watching what they said!
  • At the gym- sitting there listening to 2 guys talking about another person in the gym- I knew the other guy- good guy- they were wrong- but they didn’t think I was listening
  • What does it mean to you
    Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
  • You are going to give an account for every idle word that you speak.
  • In this scenario- Jesus is calling out these guys about what they have been saying and they have been thinking that Jesus wasn’t listening… BUT HE WAS
  • Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
  • I remember as a kid- I literally thought my mom had eyes in the back of her head. I used to look for them- but parents- you know when your kids are up to no good
  • We are the children of God- We must give an account- we must watch what we say
  • Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil
  • Romans 2:16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
  • Jesus knows what you’re talking about- good or bad. Watch what you say.
  • There is nothing you can say that isn’t being recorded and isn’t going to be listened to by father God. How would you talk if you knew that any moment that someone could listen to what you are saying?
  1. Watch your heart
  • 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first,
  • Now here’s the reality here- Jesus is saying this because there must have been some in this group that wanted to be first. Jesus wouldn’t have said this if it were not so.
  • They had been spending time with Jesus and even at this point they had lost the point of what Jesus had been doing- their desire was “what am I going to get out of this thing here”
  • They wanted to have status. They wanted to be first. They wanted to be at the top of the heap and not at the bottom
  • In the Army- Who’s in charge is a constant when you’re a in group. Rank, Date of rank, Being kicked out of the bunk room out into the common place- not as fun. You want a regular bed, not the bunk bed and room
  • Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
  • This is the heart of a disciple- Finding your status in the LORD
  • I get it. This is common. People want status. They want the big piece of Chicken.
  • But this is not the heart of Jesus!
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • But these guys desire was to be FIRST. To be Elevated and lifted up
  • That was their true desire- it wasn’t to seek after God- it wasn’t to follow Jesus- it was a desire for their status and what they could GET
  • IF these guys truly wanted to honor God, they should have been watching their hearts and listening to what Jesus had been saying to them.
  • Watching your heart is essential to being the greatest!
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Watch your heart! Pay attention to what you are doing and why you are doing it.
  • If you are not constantly checking your heart- you can lose sight of where you desire is
  • James 1: 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
  • When you have the wrong desires, it can lead to sin if you do not watch yourself
  • What you desire leads to where you will end up
  • What is your desire? To elevate Jesus? Or it is a desire to satisfy your flesh?
  • Mark 7:21-22 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
  • This Christian life is no Joke! It’s a process of constantly checking your heart to make sure that your desires are right. You must be engaged in the process- you must be checking your heart to ensure that you are not being pulled into a sin spiral of destruction because you don’t watch your desires
  • Romans 13:13-14 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
  1. Watch your position
  • , he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 
  • Jesus in this instance throws the idea of being first on its proverbial head
  • The way to being at the top is to be last and serve everyone else
  • This is the way of being at the top
  • Those who desire to be at the top must be last and serve everyone else
  • This was common place- it was very transactional- so when Jesus is telling them that they are going to subjugate themselves to another person- this is very countercultural
  • Somewhat like Americans- We want first class, we want the front of the line, we want the preferential treatment.
  • Listen to people- often peoples stories will show you where their hearts are in position
  • One- I got treated better because I am better “No one gets this treatment”
  • Two- I got the best doctor “ I am valuable enough” He’s the best
  • Thee- I treated people this way and they responded to me because I have power
  • People don’t want to be at the bottom they want to be at the top
  • What does this mean to you as a person who desires to honor Jesus?
  • Always be looking for ways to elevate others and not yourself
  • This is the Theology of Jesus
  • Luke 14:10-11 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  • Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
  • Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
  • Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
  • Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
  • 1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
  1. If you want to be the greatest Watch how you treat people
  • 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
  • There is nothing a kid can do for you. Helpless. Life sucking orbs
  • Jesus saw value in them though-
  • Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Jesus uses this example to show how these disciples can be the greatest- its in how they treat children because it will reveal their heart condition
  • Its not that if you treat kids well you’lll be at the top- its that if you’re living how Jesus wants you to live, you will treat EVERYONE the same- even kids
  • Kids were not treated well in ancient times, many times they were an afterthought
  • The way you treat those who can do nothing for you reveals your character
  • Romans 15:1-2 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.
  • What does it mean to you?
  • How you treat people matters if you’re a Christian
  • To be the greatest, you have go to crucify your flesh and honor God with your words, actions and the intents of your heart.
  • You can tell if someone is saved based on how they lived and how they treat others.
  • Luke 6:32“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
  • How do you treat people that can do nothing for you?
  • When you’re even in church, sure, you naturally gravitate towards people who share your same interests and pastimes. But some people just need a friend!
  • 1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
  • So what to do?
  • Talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to
  • Go out to eat with someone you usually wouldn’t do it with
  • Love the unlovable. Not just the stinky people, the mean people. The abrasive people. The want to stay away from people.
  • Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
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