Summary: Christian: Are you struggling? 1. Recognize the source of your struggles (vs. 24 & 31-34). 2. Ask the Lord for a serving heart (vs. 25-27). 3. Trust our Savior to help you (vs. 28-34). 4. Share God's strength with others (vs. 32).
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 14, 2012
*Christian: Are you struggling? -- Struggling with anger, disappointment, regret, guilt or fear? Are you struggling with the people who should be closest to you? Don't be surprised by your struggles: You are not alone. You are in good company.
*We all have struggles, even the greatest Christians who ever lived. We see this truth here in Luke 22, and Paul gave us another great example in Romans 7. Paul had been following Jesus for many years when he wrote that letter, but in Romans 7:19 he said: "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice."
*John Ortberg wrote about a world where everybody did what they should all the time. It would be a world where "all marriages would be healthy and all children would be safe. . . Israeli and Palestinian children would play together on the West Bank. Their parents would build homes for one another. . . Disagreements would be settled with grace and civility. . . Doors would have no locks; cars would have no alarms. Schools would no longer need police presence or even hall monitors. . . Churches would never split. . . Divorce courts and battered-women shelters would be turned into community recreation centers. Every time one human being touched another, it would be to express encouragement, affection, and delight. No one would be lonely or afraid." (1)
*That would be a wonderful world to live in. But it's not our world. We all have struggles. Here's what to do about them.
1. First, recognize the source of our struggles.
 And the first source is sin, all kinds of sin and selfishness in our hearts.
*We get a glimpse of our sin struggle in vs. 24, which says this about the disciples: "There was also rivalry among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest."
*Jesus had just told the disciples that His betrayer was right there with them at the table. But what do we see our heroes doing in vs. 24? They began to argue about who was the greatest.
*Talk about bad timing! There they were just minutes from the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours from the cross. And they were doing the last thing they should have been doing: Arguing about who was the greatest, not just who was the best, but who was going to be in charge. Shameful pride, self-centeredness and a critical spirit were on display that night. But we struggle with the same kinds of sins, even when we are kids.
*I like these short letters some church-going children wrote to their pastors. The first is from an 8-year-old boy who lived in Nashville. His name was Arnold. "Dear Pastor, I know God loves everybody, but He never met my sister. -- Yours sincerely, Arnold"
*I remember those brotherly skirmishes very well. We never sent each other to the hospital, but we came close a few times. And notice the pride in this letter from a 9-year-old boy who lived in Phoenix. "Dear Pastor, Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. -- Sincerely, Peter Peterson" (2)
*Pride, selfishness and a host of other sins we could list tonight: Who among us has not struggled with sin? One day after kindergarten, a boy named Steve told his grandmother about his problems at school. When he told her that he had gotten in trouble, Alliene Snell asked her grandson what happened.
*Little Steve placed his finger on the side of his head. Then he gave this explanation: "You know your brain? Sometimes it just tells me to do things that get me in trouble." (3)
*Isn't that the truth! And one of the things our brain tells us to do is be proud of ourselves. Self-righteous pride is often a problem for us, and it can be an ugly thing. We see that here in vs. 24, when these disciples were arguing almost in the shadow of the cross.
*Lou Bartet described our self-righteous pride this way: "We continue to insist that we are seeking God, when in reality we are seeking to be God. We want godhood, not godliness. We want the sovereignty that uniquely belongs to God. We want to call the shots. At the very least, we want to be 'God Jr.' and have the right to rule next to Him." (4)
*Our pride is a problem. That's why God's Word is so careful to warn us against it. We hear this warning in places like Philippians 2:3-8, where Paul wrote:
3. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.