Sermons

Summary: THIS IS A MESSAGE ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, AND THE NECESSITY TO OVERCOME PRIDE IF WE ARE TO BE GREAT IN BUILDING JESUS' KINGDOM

THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM

MATTHEW 18:1-10

MARCH 24, 2019

IN THE 1960’S THE BOXING WORLD WELCOMED A RELATIVE NEWCOMER TO THE HEAVYWEIGHT RANKS. WITHIN A MATTER OF MONTHS HE HAD DEFEATED THE CHAMPION, TWICE, AND WAS NOW THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. HE HELD THE TITLE FOR A LONG TIME. THERE WAS NOONE WHO COULD REALLY MATCH UP WITH HIM. HE WAS KNOWN FOR BEING ARROGANT AND EVENTUALLY WOULD PRONOUNCE HIMSELF “THE GREATEST” BOXER WHO HAD EVER LIVED. HIS NAME WAS CASSIUS CLAY, BUT WE GREW TO KNOW HIM AS MOHAMMAD ALI.

IT IS NOT WRONG TO STRIVE TO BE THE GREATEST. SPORT TEAMS WANT TO BE THE CHAMPIONS IN THEIR SPORT. INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN SPORTS LIKE MOHAMMAD ALI, WANT TO BE THE CHAMPION IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL SPORT. CANADIANS HAVE BEEN DOING WELL IN THE SPORT OF FIGURE SKATING AND HAVE HAD A NUMBER OF WORLD CHAMPIONS.

THE ISSUE WITH DESIRING TO BE THE GREATEST, IS THAT IT IS VERY EASY FOR PRIDE TO BECOME PART OF OUR LIVES. THIS HAPPENED TO THE APOSTLES AND IT COULD EASILY HAPPEN TO US. A STRONG CHRISTIAN IN MY HOME CHURCH WOULD OFTEN SAY WHEN SOMEONE SPOKE IN A PRIDEFUL WAY, “TRY YOUR LIGHTS, YOUR HORN WORKS FINE.”

OVER THE PERIOD OF EIGHT DAYS JESUS HAD TOLD THE DISCIPLES THAT HE WAS TO TRAVEL TO JERUSALEM WHERE HE WOULD BE KILLED. TWICE DURING THIS TIME JESUS REBUKED PETER FOR HIS PRIDE. HE DIDN’T WANT JESUS TO GO THE WAY OF THE CROSS. HE WAS AFRAID OF WHAT THAT WOULD MEAN TO HIM. WOULD THEY CRUCIFY HIM NEXT?

WHAT WOULD JESUS DEATH MEAN TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEW KNIGDOM HERE ON EARTH? IT SEEMED OBVIOUS THAT IF THE KING WERE DEAD SO WOULD THAT DREAM. THE POSITIONS OF PROMINENCE THAT HE AND THE OTHER DISCIPLES WOULD BE GONE.

WHEN JESUS SAID TO PETER GET BEHIND ME SATAN, HE WAS REBUKING PETER FOR TRYING TO BLOCK THE PLAN OF GOD. THE WORDS OF ISAIAH COME TO MY MIND:

ISAIAH 55:8: FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NEITHER ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS,” DECLARES THE LORD.

THEN JESUS TOOK PETER, JAMES AND JOHN WITH HIM AND AS THEY ASCENDED MOUNT HORAB, THEY WITNESSED HIS TRANSFIGURATION. THERE PETER WANTED TO BUILD THREE SHELTERS, SUPPOSEDLY FOR JESUS, MOSES AND ELIJAH.

THE REALITY IS THAT HE WANTED TO BUILD THE THREE SHELTERS FOR JAMES, JOHN AND HIMSELF. THEY DIDN’T WANT TO COME DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN, AND ONCE AGAIN PETER HAD INTERFERED WITH THE PLAN OF GOD, THE PLAN OF THE CROSS.

THE DISCIPLES IN THEIR PRIDE WOULD TAKE SOME OFFENCE IN SEEING JESUS SHOW WHAT APPEARED TO BE PREFERENCE TO PETER JAMES AND JOHN. THEY HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT JESUS WAS GOING TO SETUP A PHYSICAL KINGDOM AND THAT THEY WOULD HAVE PROMINENT POSITIONS IN THE NEW KINGDOM, BUT THE QUESTION ON THEIR MINDS WAS, WHICH ONE OF THEM WAS THE GREATEST. FINALLY THE APOSTLES JUST ASK JESUS WHO IS GOING TO BE THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM.

JESUS RESPONDS TO THIS QUESTION IN A STRANGE WAY, OR WHAT WAS FOR THEM A STRANGE WAY. JESUS DIRECTS THEIR ATTENTION TO A CHILD AND TELLS THEM THAT IF THEY WANT TO BE GREAT IN HIS KINGDOM, THEY MUST BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN.

CHILDREN DURING JESUS’ TIME WERE SEEN AS INSIGNIFICANT AND UNIMPORTANT. THIS WAS NOT TRUE OF OUR SAVIOUR. THE PICTURE BEING PAINTED FOR US HERE IS JESUS TAKING THE CHILDREN BY THE HAND AND LIFTING THEM UP, AS IF THEY WERE PART OF THEIR FAMILY.

JESUS WAS ESTABLISHING THAT THE DISCIPLES NEED TO BE CHILDLIKE IN THEIR FAITH NOT CHILDISH IN THEIR BEHAVIOUR.

1 PETER 5:5-6:

IN THE SAME WAY, YOU WHO ARE YOUNGER, SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO YOUR ELDERS. ALL OF YOU, CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH HUMILITY TOWARD ONE ANOTHER, BECAUSE, “GOD OPPOSES THE PROUD BUT SHOWS FAVOR TO THE HUMBLE.” 6 HUMBLE YOURSELVES, THEREFORE, UNDER GOD’S MIGHTY HAND, THAT HE MAY LIFT YOU UP IN DUE TIME. 7 CAST ALL YOUR ANXIETY ON HIM BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU.

IT IS FROM CHILDREN THAT WE CAN LEARN SOME OF THE BASIC LESSONS OF LIFE. CHILDREN ARE VERY BASIC. THEY EAT, SLEEP, POTTY, AND CRY WHEN ONE OF THESE IS OUT OF SYNC.

LITTLE CHILDREN ARE NOT AFRAID TO BE DEPENDANT ON ADULTS AND HAVE NO PROBLEM ACKNOWLEDGING THIS. IT IS THIS DEPENDANCE THAT LEAD CHILDREN TO TRUST. CHILDREN CANNOT PROVIDE THEIR OWN FOOD, CLOTHING OR SHELTER, BUT THEY NEVER DOUBT THAT THEY WILL RECEIVE THAT CLOTHING FOOD AND SHELTER, AT LEAST NOT AS LITTLE CHILDREN. THEY JUST KNOW IT WILL BE THERE.

I HAVE YET TO SEE A ONE OR TWO YEAR OLD, KISS HIS MOTHER AND FATHER GOOD-BYE AND TELL THEM THAT HE WAS OFF TO WORK. JESUS ASKED THE QUESTION OF PEOPLE EARLY IN MATTHEW.

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