Summary: Jealousy causes us to live life in fear, anger and pride - Christ calls us to live in peace, confidance, and humilty.
Jealous for Christ
A. In addressing the topic of jealousy this morning, I would like to start by using a story the Dr. Gary Collins wrote:
“For many years Sir Walter Scott was the leading literary figure in the British Empire. No one could write as well as he. Then the works of Lord Byron began to appear, and their greatness was immediately evident. Soon an anonymous critic praised his poems in a London Paper. He declared that in the presence of these brilliant works of poetic genius, Scott could no longer be considered the leading poet of England. It was later discovered that the unnamed reviewer had been none other than Sir Walter Scott himself!
There is a distinction between jealousy and envy. To envy is to want something which belongs to another person. "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife or his servant, his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." In contrast, jealousy is the fear that something which we possess will be taken away by another person.”
B. That is a great illustration, I believe, of jealousy – the fear that something we possess will be taken away by another person.
C. We all deal with this emotion and it demonstrates itself in many different ways. Two examples are our time and money.
1. We are jealous of our time – We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it
2. We are jealous of our money – We worked hard for this money and we will spend it how we see fit.
D. There are all different things we become jealous about. Which leads me to ask the poignant question – Are you jealous for Christ?
1. Are you as jealous about your relationship with Jesus as you are your time, money, or reputation?
2. Does that jealousy drive you to a closer more obedient walk with Christ?
E. This morning we are going to look at an example of jealousy as demonstrated through the Sadducees while contrasting that jealousy with the obedience and peace found in the disciples.
A. What an incredible story! Extraordinary faith demonstrated by ordinary people! Let’s look at how it contrasts with the belief of the Sadducees.
B. Remember, the essence of jealousy is that we are fearful to have what we have taken away.
C. With that reminder let’s look at some characteristics that are attributed to jealousy.
1. Jealousy breeds constant fear.
a. The Sadducees were afraid. Ever since Jesus showed up they were constantly in fear over the possibility of someone or something becoming more powerful then them. They were the ones who were the spiritual leaders in Jerusalem. They were the one’s who Israel looked to for guidance and direction. They were the “enforcers” of the law.
b. Then came Jesus calling them hypocrites and snakes while holding a higher knowledge of the law then they held. They thought they got rid of him by crucifying him. But he was resurrected and empowered his disciples to carry on the work through the Holy Spirit.
c. And now his disciples are doing miraculous things (v.12-16) and their following is growing larger then anything they have ever seen.
d. They were afraid that their existence would become irrelevant. That the prestige and perks that come from their position would be taken away.
e. Isn’t that one of our biggest fears – to find out that we have become irrelevant? That people don’t need us or find us important?
1e. Our children leave the house and go off to college and they don’t need us as much.
2e. We get passed over for a job promotion.
3e. Our friend goes to someone else for advice instead of us.
f. We live with this fear and it either paralyzes us or makes us do things we would never have done.
2. Jealousy breeds anger.
a. People deal with fear in all different kinds of ways. In the life of the Sadducees it bred anger.
b. The disciples were unashamed in their purpose and where unashamed about the role the Sadducees played in killing Jesus. These accusations caused the Sadducees to be very “furious” wanting to “put them to death”.
c. What does jealousy do to you? When people start taking away your dignity how do you react? When people put dents into your reputation what do you do?
d. Most of us become angered. We shake our fist at them and say, “I’ll show you. You’ve messed with the wrong person!” And we go and try to undo what has been done by hurting that person.
e. Jealousy breeds anger which breeds pain. Emotional or physical, it leads us to act ungodly.