Summary: This sermon deals with the #4 purpose

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Mathew 20:20-28

Purpose #4: You Were Shaped For Serving God


A. Who here will have the highest ranking in heaven?

B. Maybe it will be me. The pastor. A Pastor is close to God right?

C. Maybe it will be one of the Elders; after all they are the head of the church?

D. Maybe it will be our deaconess, they are very godly servants right?

E. Well 2000 years ago the disciples were arguing the very same question

F. And of course they all wanted to be the one with the highest rank

G. If we are honest with ourselves, we struggle with the very same thing today

H. Speaking of today, we are going to look at how to earn the a high ranking in heaven

I. In looking at the text we notice

a. The two wanting Honor

b. And then the Ten wanting honor

c. And each of their request and how Jesus responded to their request

I. The Two Wanting Honor (20-23)

A. Their Request

1. Explanation

a) The first thing that you notice that may seem a little funny here is that this whole request is made from James and John’s Mom

b) The first time I read this my immediate thought was how childish of them

c) I went on to study it more closely and I found two good explanations for why they

(1) You notice that this same story recorded in Mark 10:35-45 that the mother is not mentioned, this could be because Mathew goes to great lengths to try and not make the disciples look foolish. He tries to make them look good

(2) It also is possible (and probably more so) that Zebedee is an Aunt of Jesus. She is family. What better person to make a request like this then family

d) Notice she does something, she kneels down. There is a reason for that. That is to show respect for Christ. She is admitting that he is King

e) She then ask God to place her sons and the right and left of him. Now understand that this means to make then number one and number 2 in command behind Jesus

f) Then Jesus ask them a personal question “Are you willing to drink the cup that I am going to drink”

(1) Now when we are talking about the cup here: In the OT is regularly used as a metaphor of punishment and judgment (cf. Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15-29; Rev 14:10; 16:19)

(2) Jesus is telling them that their will be times of suffering

g) Now they were both ready to go through this suffering

(1) And indeed they both will face this suffering later on in their life

(a) Acts 12:2 James becomes the first apostolic Martyr

(b) Rev 1:9 John will suffer exile

2. Application

a) Becoming a follower of Christ will not be an easy path

b) Becoming a follower of Christ will often entail that you will drink of the cup

c) The cup being on of punishment and suffering

d) If you were in James and John’s shoes would you have been willing to answer that way?

e) Would you have been willing to say I will suffer with you o Lord?

3. Illustration

a) The people who produce the commercials for our Armed Forces are quite smart if you stop and think about it.

b) They tell you what you will gain from the military. They do not tell you at what price. They do not tell you about the trials you will go through. I don’t blame them; they are trying to get people to join.

c) The question that Jesus asks probably would not bring many new recruits however, the question is completely true?

d) Are you willing to suffer as the Lord did?

B. The Lord’s Reply

1. Explanation

a) After James and John respond that they are willing to suffer with the Lord. The Lord responds

b) You can tell that he is impressed with their willingness to suffer

c) However they forgot a something important.

d) The Bible leaves room to understand that their could be (not saying that there is) higher positions for some then others

e) But that should not be the focus

f) The place you sit in heaven should is up to the Father

g) That is His decision, and His alone

2. Illustration

a) Let me give you and example. If you are hired to do a job, you concern should be to do the job the best you can. Chances are you will receive a promotion eventually but that should not be your goal. Your goal should be to do the best you can.

b) When you finally do receive the promotion, your goal should be do to your next job the best you can, not another promotion.

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