How many of you want to be famous, or powerful, or to be seen as great?
A lot of us completely excuse ourselves from that sort of question.
Even though that’s what we wanted as kids.
The majority of us wanted to be famous athletes, singers, or actors at some point.
I constantly pretended that I was a famous athlete hitting the game winning shot of the NBA finals in my driveway…
Although I’d have to pretend it like 7 times because I kept missing the game winning shot.
And still today, when they poll teens, the #1 future career they want is Doctor, closely followed by “Social Media Influencer” at #2
But once you hit your 20’s and realize that you’re probably not going to be all that famous, we let our celebrity goals fall by the wayside.
But do you still want to be seen as great, or important?
For many of you, that’s an obvious yes, and you absolutely crave it at work or from your parents, or elsewhere.
For others of us, our desire to be great or important is more subliminal
We might not look like we outwardly crave that kind of attention, but for many of us, our posts on social media (and our desire for likes or hearts) say otherwise
Or the fact that we’re really sensitive to criticism would also prove that we do really care that we’re seen as “good” and “important”
Now, a desire to be great…can be good…if your core motivation is to be great for the Glory of God
But often, we desire to be great for the glory of…ourselves.
And Jesus is going to challenge that sort of thinking today as we continue in our message series on the Book of Luke
Luke is 1 of 4 books in the Bible about the life, teachings, death & resurrection of Jesus.
We are in Chapter 22, where it’s a Thursday night, the night before Jesus is going to be crucified on Good Friday.
Last Sunday, we studied Jesus’ last supper with His disciples as they celebrated the Passover meal together and Jesus instituted communion.
I WOULD BETRAY; I’M NOT THE GREATEST
And now, their conversation around the dinner table is going to continue.
Let’s take a look
(Luke 22:21-23) – NIV
21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Matthew, in His gospel, gives us a little bit more to that verse.
(Matthew 26:22) - NIV
22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
And they all begin to get defensive.
And you’re going to see in the next section that their defensiveness (and also their pride) is really going to soar
They don’t think it’s possible that they could do such a thing.
In fact, what we’re going to read today, and what we see all throughout Scripture really, is that Christianity requires a reversal of your thinking and doing
As Christians we aren’t to think that highly of ourselves because in truth we are all capable of significant sin
And this chapter in the Bible is proof of that
We are thoroughly sinful.
And without the continual help and transformation of God, we are capable of any sin…no matter how depraved.
Much of the next chapter or so is going to be about this…with Judas’ betrayal and as we walk into Peter’s own denial of Christ.
One of the reasons we’re called to never quickly judge people is because so often our judgments are filled with an attitude that says, “Oh, I would never do that”
“I would never lose my job”
“I would never leave my family”
“I would never hurt someone like that”
Oh but you could.
That’s the truth of Scripture.
Left to our own devices, and our own sinful nature, we would deny Jesus (like Peter), or betray Jesus like (Judas)
Think about this: Out of everyone who has ever lived, there were only 12 people who spent 3 years face-to-face, walking with Jesus
And 1 denied him and 1 betrayed him.
And so never say, “I would never do that”
We cannot underestimate the pull of our own sin, and to do so is to walk in pride, not in humility
If we’re going to thrive in our faith, we need to be more focused on reversing the typical thinking of our culture.
We don’t need a thinking that says: “I can do anything I set my mind to,” but one that says, “without Christ, I’ll end up doing everything I never wanted to”
This is why Paul, whom many consider the greatest Christian of all time, called himself things like, “The Chief of sinners”
He was deeply aware of the depth of his sin.
Or, I think of my hero, the 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who often said things like this:
Some time ago, a man said a very unkind and untrue thing of me, and I felt quite pleased, because I thought that, if he had known me better, he might have said something worse. - Charles Spurgeon
The Christian doesn’t need to protect their self-esteem at all costs.
The Christ-follower is to be the humblest creature…
The one who knows that if given the chance…they might even betray Christ.
And it’s that very knowledge of the depth of your sin, that actually allows you to thrive spiritually.
Because it’s the one who knows how fallen they are that will truly rely on CHRIST
While the rest of the world just relies on themselves.
I AM THE LOWEST, NOT THE GREATEST
And this sort of reversal (from pride to humility) needs to happen, not just in our thinking, but in our actions:
Let’s keep reading
(Luke 22:24-27) – NIV
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Okay…you know that argument that you have with your best friend, or your spouse, and you have it often?
In my house it’s about whether we should leave the lights on during the day… (I think we all know the answer to that question)
This argument we just read about is an argument that the disciples have with each other MULTIPLE times in the Gospels.
“Which one of us is the greatest?”
And what’s crazy is Jesus has just said:
“Guys, I’m going to suffer and die.”
“I’m going to pour my life out for you”
And then it says, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be the greatest”
WHAT?!? What meal are you guys at?!?
And really, it’s an argument that stems out of the fact that Jesus said one of them is going to betray Him
As they’re going around the table saying, “Surely, you don’t mean me Lord”
…they begin to justify themselves.
And the disciple Matthew is probably saying, “It couldn’t be me…You guys know about the miracles I did when they sent me out with the 72… I would never do that”
And Peter is bragging about what he saw at the Transfiguration…
And Thaddeus is talking about his approval rating being high because no one even remembers him as a disciple
Jesus is talking about how he’s going to die in the morning, and they’re arguing about which one of them is the greatest!!
There’s no end to the human propensity towards pride and defensiveness
And yet Jesus (because He isn’t self-absorbed) calmly corrects them
And he reminds them (verse 25) that the people of this world love to have POWER over other people
And why do we love it?
Because it builds up our sense of self-worth and falsely reassures us we are important.
And Jesus says the ones who rule over others sometimes even call themselves “Benefactors”
This is from the Greco-Roman society.
In those days, people who were higher up in the socioeconomic order would give help to people lower down, but only so that person could help them later
And so if you had a rich benefactor that helped you, then you owed them.
Maybe a political favor, or support, or service
That’s how the world worked…and it’s not really all that different today.
But look at the start of verse 26…what does Jesus say?
(Luke 22:26) – NIV
26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
The true follower of Christ is humble all the way through.
They are humble in thought
And they are humble in deed
They serve to serve.
They don’t demand that others serve them…because their identity is in the fact that God loves them not in what they’ve accomplished
And they don’t serve just so they can get something back
They serve…out of love.
What’s really interesting is that if you go over to the Book of John, John has a very extended narrative on this Passover / Last Supper Conversation
In fact, John spends 5 chapters on it from chapters 13-17
And we see in John 13 that it’s on this very evening that Jesus got down on his knees and washed his disciples’ feet.
As they spend the evening arguing about who is the greatest, the one who actually was the greatest, is washing their feet
And listen, if there is ANYONE who could have walked around earth demanding that others serve him…it was the Son of God
And yet, he lives a simple and humble lifestyle…focused on serving God and serving others.
Is that you?
Do you LOOK like Christ?
And that’s why serving others should be one of the main hallmarks of a Christian.
A Christian who doesn’t serve is a walking contradiction because a “Christian” means to “be like Christ” and Christ’s whole life (even the night before his death) was about serving.
This is very different than how most of us live
One of my kids had a birthday the other day, and I asked him to put away his dishes after eating cake
And he said, “But it’s my birthday”
And I said, “I guess I’m not following”
We constantly invent ways on how we are special or different and why we shouldn’t serve but others should…but that’s not who Christ was
Find more ways to serve at home
Humble yourself, like Christ
Find more ways to serve your co-workers
And if you’re not serving yet here on a Sunday morning, please don’t just come in here and consume…serve with us
You can make such a difference by serving in our Renovation Kids classrooms, or by greeting people with a friendly smile, helping them park, putting out communion and Bibles on our crew team, or whatever it is.
That’s what we do as Christ-followers…we serve.
Life isn’t about us or our fame.
The other day, I had to call a local pastor about something, and I introduced myself and our church, and in a moment of pride, I thought, “He’ll know all about Renovation Church…surely he’s seen our building.
STOP judging me. I’m the chief of sinners.
But guess what, he had no idea who we were
2 days later, I was speaking at an event, and the guy getting ready to introduce me said, “Was it David Scorn?”
And both times, I felt my sinful pride say, “What? Don’t you know who we are? We’re Renovation Church!”
And I had to talk to God about those feelings afterward.
I had to say: “God, I will serve you even if no one knows who we are…I want them to know who YOU are…not us…not me”
And as Christians, we have to live like that.
We need be willing to serve with a low opinion of ourselves…because if anyone, ever, could have said, “Serve? Don’t you know who I am? Have you ever created planets before?”
This is the Son of God
And yet, He got down on his knees and washed the dirty feet of his disciples.
MY TIME TO BE SERVED WILL COME LATER
And part of the reason we can do change our thinking and change our doing to a posture of humility is because of what’s coming
Let’s read the final few verses of our passage
(Luke 22:28-30) - NIV
28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
So the disciples are going to continue to mess up
But Jesus knows their future.
And He knows that the Holy Spirit will come and empower them…and that they will become great leaders
And, like verse 28 says, “they will stand by him”…even to their death.
As 11 out of the 12 disciples were killed for their faith
And he reminds them again (we saw this twice last week) that they will one day “eat and drink” at this great Wedding Supper of the Lamb at the end of normal human history when we all enjoy life together in heaven on earth.
And in those days, as we sit at the great feast…there will be a time to be served, a time to sit back and feast.
But our time to sit at the table comes later.
Right now, our time is to serve.
There are people to reach for Christ.
We need to show the world who he is and his love for them
And this passage speaks deeply of His humility and love
It reminds me of another time the disciples had this exact same argument about which one of them was the greatest.
And that time, in Mark 10, Jesus responded by saying this:
(Mark 10:44-45) – NIV
44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 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.”
When you really love someone, you serve them.
Think of a mother with a really sick child
She’ll do anything
Get them water, clean up their mess, make them special food…anything.
She serves them because she so deeply loves them.
And Jesus comes to serve us…because He loves us
Even though we are sick in our sins…with all sorts of messes and mistakes.
He comes for us, and it says, “gives his life as a ransom for many”
Meaning, we were trapped in our sins…
Our sins deserved punishment, and what we, quite frankly deserved was hell.
But Jesus dies on the cross for us, as a ransom payment.
His death is purchasing our freedom from that place
And it’s our belief in him, and His love, that cashes in that ransom and sets us free.
That’s how much God loves you.
Do you know that?
You may feel like you’re a mess, like you’ve messed up way too many times…
…but I want you to see the heart of God.
He’s a servant who comes in love…offering His own life for yours.
And you can know God, and have a relationship with Jesus, and be forgiven…by choosing to belief He died for you.
And confessing your sins to Him, asking Him to forgive you and come into your life
And I want to give you an opportunity to do that right now
Let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes.
If you’ve never made this decision before, and you want to let Jesus pay your ransom.
To set you free
To forgive you or your sin…
To invite Him into your life to make Him your leader.
You can do that today.
He died on the cross for your sins, to save you from hell, and you can be ransomed, saved, and have him in your life…through believing in Him and inviting Him to be the leader of your life.
And you can do that right now.
Do you need to do that?
Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life?
If you need to be forgiven to invite Him into your life as your leader, as a way to mark this day, and tell Him that you believe, I want you to stand up where you are right now.
Everyone has their eyes closed, so don’t think about that.
If you need to tell Jesus that you believe, and you need His forgiveness…
If you’re ready to surrender to Him…
Stand up right now.
For those of you standing, we want to pray with you.
Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.
You won’t walk out there alone.
There are others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you
And I, and our follow-up team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, you can all go now.
As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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