Summary: Pentecost 15 (C) - Believers willingly follow Christ in self-denial with heavenly humility and with genuine generosity.
FOLLOW CHRIST IN SELF-DENIAL (Outline)
September 13, 2009 --
PENTECOST 15 --
INTRO: The childhood game “Follow the Leader” is a part of our daily lives. Unless we are the leader each one of us will be following a leader. Throughout our lives someone is in place as an authority over us in our everyday lives. The authorities that are in place exist by the will of God and for his purpose. Now, earthly leaders all too often make promises they cannot keep. They make commitments that they fail to fulfill. The believer soon realizes to follow the only Leader is the mission of Christian living. But our Leader does not promise a life of ease. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it"(MARK 8:34,35). The believer loses his life to the world in order that he or she might live his or her live for the Lord. The Christian life reveals self-denial.
FOLLOW CHRIST IN SELF-DENIAL:
I. With heavenly humility.
II. With genuine generosity.
I. FOLLOW CHRIST WITH HEAVENLY HUMILITY
A. Verse 1. The church leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes) are carefully watching Jesus.
1. They are not watching to hear, listen, or learn. They want to trip up, to trap Jesus in his words.
2. In verses 2-6 Jesus heals a man. They question Jesus if healing can be done on the Sabbath.
B. Verse 7. Jesus directs the leaders’ attention back to themselves and back to their hearts and actions.
1. Verse 8. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Parables were to teach.
a. Hearing ears, believing hearts would learn. b. Sadly, others would reject Jesus’ teachings.
2. Pharisees acted very self-important. Verse 9. Seeking honor they are sent to the least place.
3. Verse 10. Jesus’ solution is to start at the least important place. Their pride was a curse.
C. Verse 11. The proud will be brought low. God will exalt the humble. The humble seek to serve God.
D. “Pride goes before the fall”. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world. In their pride they considered themselves better than God. In their disobedience they ate from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What did they hope to gain? They already knew everything good. They could, would, and did only learn evil. Each of us are still proud and sinful. We like to think of ourselves of being important to one degree or another. A Christian life will reveal self-denial not self-importance. "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you"(ROMANS 12:3). In humility we confess that we only deserve God’s judgment but are given grace.
E. A proud man once came to Jesus and wanted his opinion on the most important commandment. Jesus reminded him: “Love God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This was very disappointing news to one who was proud and very selfish. The Apostle Paul raises the standard of God a little bit more for the sanctified follower of Christ. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (PHILIPPIANS 2:3). We deny ourselves as we consider our neighbor better than ourselves. This is heavenly humility that comes from faith.