Summary: A sermon on humility and how to respond to people the way Jesus did.
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor, Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN graceumcsd.org
In John 2:35-37 John the Baptist is with two of his disciples and when John sees Jesus passing by, he says, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
At this these two disciples of John left John in order to follow Jesus.
In John Chapter 3 some of John the Baptist’s disciples went running to him wringing their hands in worry.
Lots and lots of John’s disciples were jumping ship to follow Jesus instead of John.
John’s reply to this?
He talks about being overjoyed, and then adds, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
There is a true loveliness in the humility we see in John the Baptist, is there not?
It’s a loveliness that we don’t often see in our ego driven, power hungry world.
Sadly, it’s the kind of loveliness that outsiders sometimes do not see exemplified in and by our churches…
…it’s the kind of loveliness that newcomers miss when brothers and sisters in Christ quarrel and fight for position in church meetings…
…or when brothers and sisters raise angry voices at each other when it comes to discussing money or plans for the next evangelism event.
It’s the kind of loveliness that people miss in us when we gossip and talk badly about others behind their backs.
John Wesley wrote: “Those who love others are so far from making their faults or failings the subject of conversation that they never speak at all about an absent person, except to speak favorably.
A busy-body, slanderer, gossip, or evil-speaker is the same as a murderer.
One would just as well cut a neighbor’s throat as to destroy his or her reputation.”
We should be embarrassed ‘even at the thought’ of speaking badly of another person in their absence.
As Wesley so rightly proclaimed, the Love that comes from an intimate and growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ should humble our souls to the dust!
It should dissolve all self-adulation.
It should prompt us to rejoice in being the lowest of all, the servant of all.
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus declares, “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist.
Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!”
God’s Kingdom and the kingdom of the world are absolute complete polar opposites are they not?
The last finish first in God’s Kingdom.
The one who serves rather than the one who is served is the greatest in God’s Kingdom!
How does that fly in our dog-eat-dog world?
So many of us are trapped in jobs where gossip is the native tongue, pushing others out of the way IS the ONLY WAY to get ahead.
What a miserable existence, indeed!
But in the Kingdom of God, that kind of stuff is the most foolish mess of all!
In school, kids put on a tough-guy or a tough-girl image in order to protect themselves and gain respect from what often appears as a pack of wolves.
People ignore the loner, are embarrassed to be “seen” with the “unpopular” kid who doesn’t fit in…
…but in the Kingdom of God…
…that kind of mess is complete nonsense!!!
In the Kingdom of God, the coolest thing one can do is hang out with the loner, the outcast, the marginalized, the unpopular!!!
And what a relief that is!!!
What a relief!!!
In the Kingdom of God we are set free to be truly human…
…and truly humane!!!
And my friends, if you are living as a resurrected follower of Jesus Christ…you are a member of the Kingdom of God, right here and right now…
…and this Kingdom living is not a mask we put on when we enter the doors of the church building and then take off as soon as we leave!
No, this Kingdom living is no mask at all!
It is who we are to be, and how we are to live at work, at play, at school…everywhere!!!
And we are not left alone to try and be this way on our own.
Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is with us every step of the way…
…we can always count on that!!!
When you are faced with a decision…
…how do I live in this moment as a member of the Kingdom of God?...
…stop, pray and listen for God’s still small voice to lead you in the Way!!!
A friend of mine who works at Panera Bread Company told me that when she started there, the other workers warned her that the Sunday-after-church shift is the absolute worst!!!
“That’s when the Christians get out of church, and they are the most rude, arrogant and demanding of all customers.”