Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In our text, we see some well meaning people who made some mistakes and how Jesus responded. 1- The mother’s request 2- The Savior’s comeback 3- The disciples’ reaction 4- The Savior’s example

INTRO.- Well meaning but wrong. Ever happen to you?

ILL.- A young preacher said, “I was completing my first funeral service in my first congregation on the plains of Kansas. The words of committal for a dear, aged mother had been spoken and a prayer following concluded the graveside service.

“Unexpectedly, one of the sons of the family approached me and asked me to thank those who had been of help to the family during their bereavement. As a nervous and frustrated young preacher, I announced, ‘In the name of the mourning family I want to thank all the neighbors and friends who have made this funeral possible.’”

That young preacher meant well, but said the wrong words. Did you ever do something like that? Your motive was good but your method was poor?

ILL.- It’s kind of like the American Idol wannabe’s. That most popular TV show started again on Jan. 16 and 17th. They had two hours each evening and yes, I watched them. And I heard some of the most miserable singing in the world. Some of those young people couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Some were horrible and of course, Simon Cowell told them so. They were well meaning but sadly and badly mistaken.

Brothers and sisters, we are not much different. We may mean well in what we do but sometimes we’re sadly mistaken.

ILL.- For example, I have often looked back and thought about some of my previous ministries, particularly when I was a young man and I made some bad mistakes. I remember at times chewing out my people in sermons when it was totally uncalled for. I regret that now. And I am thankful they were willing to bear with a young preacher. I meant well but I didn’t do well.

We all do things like this. It may be in our work or in dealings with family members or other people.

ILL.- I remember working at Safeway in Joplin, MO, over 40 years ago. I was a new Christian and eager to evangelize or witness to everybody. We had another employee who was a Mormon boy and I thought he was wrong about some things. We discussed the Bible many times, but one day while we were in the backroom he made me so mad over his belief that I wanted to hit him in the mouth.

I meant well in wanting to witness but to argue and/or fight was totally wrong.

PROP.- In our text, we see some well meaning people who made some mistakes and how Jesus responded.

1- The mother’s request

2- The Savior’s comeback

3- The disciples’ reaction

4- The Savior’s example


Matt. 20:20-21 “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

Isn’t this just like a mother to ask on behalf of her children? Mothers do look out for their children. They are quick to defend them, help them, encourage them, and sometimes even ask on their behalf.

ILL.- Preacher G. Campbell Morgan had 4 sons and they were all preachers. Someone once came into the room when all the family was there. They thought they would see what Howard, one of the sons, was made of so they asked him this question: "Howard, who is the greatest preacher in your family?" Howard had a great admiration for his father and he looked straight across at him and then without any hesitation he answered, "Mother." Most of us had preaching mothers.

ILL.- When Thomas Edison was a young boy his teacher sent him home with a note which read, “Your child is dumb. We can’t do anything for him.” Mrs. Edison wrote back, “You do not understand my boy. I will teach him myself.” And she did, with results that are well known. He became a great inventor and businessman. Thank God for supportive, loving mothers.

In our text, the mother of Zebedee’s sons meant well, but she didn’t realize what she was asking. This might be like some mother asking the President of the US, “Please let my son be your vice president!” It wasn’t going to happen.

She wanted something good for her sons. She was asking the right person but asked the wrong question. She was asking for something that was completely out of the question.

And sometimes we may well ask for some ridiculous things from the Lord. Like, “Lord, please help me win the lottery or if not that, then the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstake.” Or “Lord, I’d sure like to have that new car. Could you work that out for me?” And we may know that it is actually nonsense or ridiculous.

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