Summary: A challenging message to believers on the requirement of following Christ.

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Do You Want to Be Great?

Luke 9:23-26

Question: Do you want to be great? Do you want to be great for God?

Reality: Do you remember after the resurrection when Jesus approached Peter after Peter had denied Him three times? Not that I or any one of you have consciously denied in this last week, month, or year. Nonetheless, Jesus asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter answered, “Yes Lord, I love you.” Almost immediately Jesus asked him again, “Peter, do you really love me.” Jesus asked the same question of Jesus three times – but not for emphasis – but for His love for Peter.

I Most People Want to Be Great for SELF.

Idea: The aspirations of many people are to obtain some level of stature or respect – but usually they desire it for their own greatness. They desire for others to tell them how great they are. With greatness comes power, prestige, etc.

Problem: Greatness does not come through gain but through sacrifice. It doesn’t come from selfishness but through selflessness.

Idea: A teacher does not become great b/c of his selfish pursuit but through his selfless investment into the lives of his students. The achievement of his students determines his effectiveness as a teacher.

II Some People Want to Be Great for OTHERS.

Idea: Some people are able to move beyond themselves to care for others – literally to live for others. We see this truth lived out daily as parents make sacrifices for their children and for their families – yet this is not the highest level of life.

III Few People Want to Be Great for GOD.

A Your Name is Known in HEAVEN.

Idea: Has your name been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Do you know that you know Jesus is your Savior? Does you life and character bear resemblance to Him?

Are you on the starting team? When God needs a player in the game, are you the person who comes to His mind?

Story: 9th Grade – I was called up to play varsity football – I didn’t get to start, but I wanted to play. All week in practice I gave it my all to show the coaches that I was ready to play. At game time, I stay right next to the coach just to make sure that if he needed a player I would be the first guy he thought of. And sure enough, there in the middle of the game, Coach needed a player (see I was a player – not b/c of my skill, but b/c of my desire to be in the game) and he put me in the game.

B Your Name is Known in HELL.

Verse: Acts 19:13-16 Jesus and Paul I know but who are you. The demon knew Paul, but he didn’t know these fakes.

Idea: Does hell shudder when you fall to your knees – when you speak in the name of the Lord? Is your name known in hell for God?

C Your Name is Know in HUMANITY.

Text: Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

If I am going to be Great for God… I Must:

1 GIVE Up Deny myself

Idea: I have to surrender – I must surrender my plan for His plan.

2 GRAB Up Take up my cross

Story: A friend of mine recently lost his job as well as his 401K. He was devastated. He began to worry and groan and complain – until just recently he began to realize God was at work in him and through him. He has family, friends, and colleagues watching him to see how he bears this cross – how he handles this cross will determine what others think about his Jesus and his faith.

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