Summary: God wants us to become great in His kingdom -that’s wonderful. Sadly many of us have many missed growth opportunities to kingdom greatness. This sermon helps us how.
Theme: KEY PRINCIPLES TO KINGDOM GREATNESS
Text: Matt.20: 20-28
A. The principles of growth that we learned in our last message:
1. We should not stop aspiring what’s best, but being faithful in our mission, task, or ministry no matter how small or big it is.
2. We should be in good relationship with other people.
3. We should be content, happy and thankful with what God has blessed us with.
4. We should be willing to go through the sacrifice of sowing. We should do investment. We should be doing something that creates growth and progress.
B. Our message this morning is about how to become great in God’s kingdom. Well, I guess, all of us want to become great in God’s kingdom. The disciples liked too. A parallel passage of this incident tells us that the disciples were in argument as to who would be the greatest among them.
1. Maybe Peter had been proud of his outspoken personality; Matthew of his accounting capacity; Philip of his contemplative and evangelistic nature; John and James of their strength and bravery, etc.
2. But at the height of their argument, the Lord called them and said: “If anyone wants to be great, he must be the servant of all.” Jesus taught them the principles for kingdom greatness.
C. I have several observations of the incident:
1. v.25-26 –The fact that our Lord did not rebuke them, instead he just called them and corrected their misconception about greatness. He emphasized that greatness in the kingdom of God is different from worldly greatness. Kingdom greatness is about serving, while worldly greatness is about ruling. Kingdom greatness focuses on the people, while worldly greatness on the self. Then he gave a stern warning: “It should not be among you.”
2. v.26b –“Whoever desires…or if anyone wants…” This statement implies that the Lord promotes kingdom greatness. He wants that everybody (His disciple) would become great in the kingdom of God. Jesus might be saying it this way: “If you want to be great…ok…this is the way: serve.” Wow! God wants every member of His family, everyone of the household of faith, to be great in His kingdom.
3. It was true with everyone whom God called to do kingdom work. Take Abraham for example. God called Him to become the Father of Faith. Abraham responded and obeyed the call of God. His obedient faith made him great in God’s kingdom.
4. Another example is Moses. A fugitive to Median who met God and became the great leader of Israel. Another is David. He was the youngest or the least son of Jesse but chosen to be the great king of Israel and the royal ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Well, the thing is, both of them responded the call of God. They obeyed the voice and word of God. Many a times we ignored God’s call –promptings and convictions – so we missed many growth opportunities to become great in His kingdom.
6. The beautiful message in song this morning is giving us the picture of the Potter molding the clay into a wonderful vessel. In like manner, God desires to mold our life into something honorable and great in His kingdom. He wants us to be great in his kingdom. That’s wonderful! But what would amaze us about this greatness is the way to attain it. Jesus said: “If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all.” It means “greatness through servant-hood.”
7. To make His point clear he said: “For the Son of Man came not be served, but to serve, and gives His life a ransom for many” (v.28). The Lord outlined the key principles to kingdom greatness in this verse.
I.Q: What are these key principles to kingdom greatness?
A. KINGDOM GREATNESS REQUIRES HUMILITY.
1. Worldly greatness is about popularity; kingdom greatness is about humility. We are in a world that everyone wanted to be known believing that popularity is the key to greatness. But in God’s kingdom, the key principle to greatness is humility.
2. Our key verse says, “For the Son of Man came”.
He came –just another simple statement. But you know, herein lies the epitome of humility. The Lord of glory deigned himself by coming to flesh. And he must have given up something. He never gave up being God, but he gave up many rights –the right to comfort, acceptance, the full exercise of His deity, to call his angels and destroy his enemies, the right to save himself from the hands of his executioners, to leave men alone in their wickedness, and the right to back out of His redemptive plan. What would have happened if Jesus upheld those rights to himself? It would be devastation to us! He gave up those rights for our salvation. That was His primary concern. And that’s what humility is. It is “the willingness to giving up some of your own rights” for the right cause. And when we say “right cause” we mean the salvation of men and the kingdom of God. Jesus humbled himself for that cause. So the question then is: “Is the salvation of men and the advancement of God’s kingdom our primary concern?” Have we given up some of our own rights because of the Gospel of Jesus? Making the Gospel your primary concern makes you great in God’s kingdom. This is the reason why we should aggressively support the work of Gospel-proclamation.