Summary: What does it take to be "great" in God's Kingdom?

Guidelines for Greatness

The Book of Mark

Mark 9:20-42

I. Introduction:

A. How do you define greatness?

B. Some people spent a lot of time and energy attaining greatness.

1. In the business world your position is determined by how big a name you make for yourself.

a) The greater you are the more money you make.

b) Sometimes in order to reach greatness in business you have to step on other people.

c) It is every one for him self.

2. Political greatness is akin to that.

a) The greater you are the more well known you are the more perks you get.

b) This greatness often comes with the sacrifice of family and friends.

3. Those who are involved in ministry are faced with this temptation too.

a) The recognition of our peers.

b) The desire to have a bigger and more well-known church.

c) It can have the same effect on family and friends.

C. God’s way to greatness is far different than ours.

D. That is what our passage addresses today.

E. Vs.30-32 Jesus continues His plan of spending as much time as possible alone with the disciples in order to inform them about what lies ahead in Jerusalem.

1. This is the second recorded revelation of His impending death.

2. Here He mentions being delivered into the hands of men.

a) Already the heart of Judas may have been turning against Him.

b) His words may have a more general meaning also.

3. As before he also tells them about the resurrection which they never seem to get.

F. Vs.32 indicates that they were still confused about all of this and even afraid to ask Him about it.

1. Perhaps because they didn’t want to seem thick headed.

2. Probably because they really didn’t want to hear about His possible death.

3. Matt.17:23 says that they were exceedingly sorrowful over this revelation.

4. It is a remarkable thing considering the events that have taken place over the last couple of days.

a) The transfiguration.

b) The healing of the demon possessed boy.

G. Their lack of understanding is further indicated by the conversation that occurred on the road to Capernaum vs.33.

1. Jesus was aware that they had been disputing along the way and were still when they entered the house.

2. He asks them about it vs.33 and they refused to say at first.

a) The dispute could have arisen because of Peter, James, and John being the only ones who went to the mount of transfiguration.

b) Matt. tells us that they eventually told Him.

c) Luke indicates that Jesus already knew what was in their heart.

3. What a contrast.

a) Jesus was focused on the cross and they were focused on their position in an earthly kingdom.

b) One commentator put it this way, “He went before, thinking His deep thoughts, they followed thinking their vain thoughts.”

c) Jesus was teaching about His humiliation and they were talking about their exaltation in the same time frame.

H. Their argument gives Jesus the opportunity to teach them and us what true greatness is.

I. Guidelines for greatness.

1. The fundamentals of greatness.

2. The application of Greatness.

II. The fundamentals of greatness vs.35.

A. Humility

1. This is something we find hard to understand.

a) We recognize it in other people sometimes.

b) How do you act like a humble person?

c) About the time you think you have become a humble person you have to start all over again.

2. Vs.35 Jesus gives a good definition of humility.

a) The one who is desiring to be 1st let him be last.

b) It seems contradictory doesn’t it?

(1) It is by the world’s standard.

(2) They look at someone like that as being weak.

(3) Unable to stand up for himself.

3. How do you define humility?

a) Ro.12:3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

b) Three aspects of humility.

(1) Self-awareness

(a) Bernard a 12th century monk said humility is “The virtue by which a man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness.

(b) This can only come about when you are honest with yourself about yourself.

(2) Christ awareness

(a) The right standard of comparison.

(b) We must not compare ourselves to anyone but Christ.

(c) Chess in Spain.

(3) God awareness – the realization that without God we can do nothing.

c) Three examples.

(1) Moses Numbers 12:3

(2) Paul – 1Cor.15:9-10.

(3) Jesus – Phil 2:5ff.

d) Humbleness is: Esteeming or thinking or considering others to be, not greater but more important than yourself

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