Summary: Part 11 of "Being the Church," focusing on the importance of humility, integrity, and servanthood.
Stephen N. Collins
Being the Church
Part 11: Greatness in God’s Eyes
Scripture: Acts 18:18-23, 19:1, 7
Icebreaker: Eugene was feeling somewhat blue and lonely so he decided to cheer himself up by going to Google and looking at all of the different reference about him on the Internet. When he typed his name into the famous Google box, he didn’t get the usual page that contains multiple potential references. Google simply sent back a one-word response, "Why?"
Adapted from Sky.FM
Intro: Some people define their significance in life by how many people know their name. Some people equate “fame” with “greatness.” Let me ask you, what comes to your mind when you hear the word, “Greatness?” Greatness in athletics = Michael Phelps. But what does greatness in life look like? To some people, it looks like climbing the corporate ladder in their career. To others, greatness looks like having more than the next guy. Some people think that to be great you have to beat everyone else.
-But doesn’t that all seem kind of superficial? What really makes someone great? What does God think of when He thinks about human greatness? Well, to find the answer to that question, we’ve got to look at things through His eyes. So that’s what we’re going to try to do together this morning.
"It is not enough to be very good if you have the ability to be great."
-Alberta Lee Cox
3 Guidelines for Becoming Great in God’s Eyes
1. Resist the temptation to adopt the world’s view of greatness. (Mark 9:35)
Illustration: Olympic world records, wrestler throwing down bronze medal.
Main Point: When we talk about “being the Church,” we have to realize that greatness in the Church and as a believer has a very different look to it than greatness by the world’s standards. The Church is not a corporation with a CEO. There aren’t any junior executives, either. And no, there’s no union laborers. The Church is a family in which no one person has more value than another. In the Church, greatness is measured not by growth charts, programs, and image. It’s measure through the family meeting each other’s needs. Ultimately, our only measure for success is the question, “Are we serving one another in love?”
2. Keep the whole body of Christ in focus, not just a small part of it. (Eph. 4:1-16)
Main Point: Here’s the key about the body of Christ: a pastor doe not make a church great. Servants do. People who are willing to use the gifts and abilities that God has given them to help His work in the world.
-Howard Snyder wrote:
“We depend on our structures and our superstars. And we know the workds – just look what the superstars are doing in their superchurches! We have the statistics and buildings and the budgest to prove it. There is only one problem. There are not enough superstars to go around. Thousandds of churches, but only hundreds of superstars. The Church of Jesus Christ cannot run on superstars, and god never intended that it should. God does not promise the church an affluence of superstars. But He does promise to provide all the necessary leadership through the gifts of the Spirit.”
-God’s ideal for the church is the whole body ser ing one another with their God-given gifts.
3. Emphasize the significance of being a servant. (Matthew 23:11)
Illustration: Cap’s nurse
Reggie McNeal - I was sitting on a bench on a beach boardwalk late one afternoon, resting after an hour walk. I had passed a woman in a green uniform pushing a broom several times. She came toward my bench doing her meticulous sweeping of the sidewalk. Suddenly she stopped, wiped her forehead, and rested on her broom. I called out to her: "You do a great job."
"Thank you," she replied. Then she added something that explained why the sidewalk behind her was spotless. "I just believe people want to walk on a clean sidewalk."
I was humbled to be in the presence of a worker who viewed her task with such significance. Whatever the park service was paying her, there’s no way they could have demanded the excellence she brought to her work. That kind of motivation comes from within.
Reggie McNeal, The Present Future (Jossey-Bass, 2003), p. 98
Main Point: You know, if we’re honest, Jesus’ message that “the last shall be first” cuts across our grain, doesn’t it? I mean, how can being last help us be first?
-Well, we have to look at things through His eyes. What is servanthood? What does Jesus really mean when He tells us the last shall be first? What it doesn’t mean is an attitude of insecurity that hangs its head and says, “Aw shucks. I’m just a servant. You can step on me if you’d like.” No!