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Logo of iShare 2017: His Power

You Don't Know what You're Asking

Nathan Shires

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Nathan Shires

Messiah's Mansion

Conference

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  • August 18, 2017
    6:30 PM

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Let's pray Father in heaven I'm just a man and all I have is words but you have the power you're the source you explained that we should pray and conclude our prayers that yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever we look in Revelation where you say that all power and all glory and all honor and all praise is going to be attributed and it should be attributed to you rightfully And here I am speaking as your instrument I pray for your spirit to take the simple words I have prepared and speak in a way to the parts of the listeners to where they hear you and not me and I skip submit myself to be used by you tonight in Jesus' name amen when we think about power in the New Testament the apostle so often fail to understand how they were to go about sharing his power in the world what would it look like to truly share his power so often the twelve found themselves posturing with each other and debating over who would be the greatest in this kingdom who would have the highest position who would exercise the most power in the kingdom of Christ but my premise tonight is that while the Holy Spirit was promised to the church to the apostles to empower them to fulfill their mission Christ's mission was to qualify them to share the power you see there's a story in the Gospels that I believe captures what Jesus was trying to convey to his disciples and the struggle inner struggle for power that was going on within this group and tonight's message is going to be based upon this story so if you take out your Bibles and if you open it to Matthew chapter twenty. We're going to be reading verses twenty to twenty eight and throughout the reading of this as we consider this biblical passage we will seek to draft three qualifications that are prerequisites to sharing his power Matthew chapter twenty versus twenty three twenty will read through this entire section and then we will begin to break it down he says then beginning of verse twenty then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons bowing down and making a request of him and he said to her What do you wish she said to him command that these my two sons may sit one on your right hand and one on your left in your kingdom but Jesus answered and said You do not know what you are asking for are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink they said to him we are able he said to them my cup you shall drink but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father in heaven and here in this the ten became indignant with the two brothers But Jesus called them to himself and said you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and the great men exercise authority over them it is not so among you but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many you see is as you put yourself in the setting of what's going on in the story you have to understand that in the preceding chapters there's been a change this come about between Jesus and us the cycles. Beginning in chapter sixteen Jesus has brought them into a closer understanding of what he's come into the world to do and as he's called the disciples near it says that he has begun to fold to them what is going to take place when he arrives at Jerusalem he's on his final journey there with his disciples and along the way he tells them three times in Matthew Chapter sixteen verse twenty one Matthew seventeen twenty two twenty three Matthew twenty seventeen through nineteen he begins to share with them that when he arrives the Drucilla there is something that is quite tragic that's waiting for him their rejection suffering and death but he says on the third day he will rise again however this prediction seems absolutely unfathomable in the minds of those cycles because they've been hearing a different story line that's been playing out over the same amount of time as Jesus spent has been trying to get across to their minds what is awaiting him and them when they arrive at the beloved city the disciples are hearing something entirely different in fact if you follow each of these instances where he tells them it's as if it goes right over the top of their heads he tells them I'm going to die in Jerusalem he tells them these things and Peter rebuke to me says no no never Lord not you we know what's awaiting you you're going to be king you are the Messiah he tells them again and they don't understand they become anxious he tells them again just before he gets to the city as he's round Jericho and this is when right after this the story occurs with Peter James and John I mean with I'm sorry James and John coming in asking for these positions and the reason is because they've been hearing things in part of what Jesus is saying what they've heard is that Jesus tells them that some of you at the end of Chapter sixteen will not see death until you see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom and then the next chapter Peter James and John see something that none of the other. Nine see they see Jesus shining like the sun in a Galilean mountain and then a little later when the rich young ruler walks away sorrowfully and they say How can anyone be saved if this man can't be saved and he says well with God with man it may be impossible but with God all things are possible. And he promises them that not one of them who have left houses and lands and father and mother and possessions will not one of them who have left it will be lacking anything but they will be given ample to repay them for what they have lost and then he promises them there that they will sit with him upon twelve thrones ruling the twelve tribes of Israel when he comes to his throne and that is the narrative that the Apostles have been hearing that leads them to this point so now as we see this story I want you to transport your mind with me and picture the scene as a mother approaches Jesus with her two sons the mother observer you need to understand that we can we can trace her name in the Gospels as Salome we know this by comparing the crucifixion account at the end of Matthew and at the end of Mark where describes the women who were with him and want to count it tells us that there were these three and then in the other can we find out that the name of the mother of the sons of the body was Salome now what you need to know about the mother of James and John is that she was one of the women who had attended Jesus as he went on his Galilean tours she was one of the women who was there at the cross and watched everything up close firsthand Still to come in this story she was one of the women who went to the Tomb of the morning of the resurrection she was involved very involved in everything that was going on but something else that you need to know in my research I came across Dr Michael J. Wilkins account his research in the N.I.V. application commentary on the Gospel of Matthew and this is what he has to say about Salome he says that the best clarification of the listings of the woman identified as Salome is that she was the sister of Mary the Mother of Jesus and you get this when you look when you compare all of the references about her and then you look at John Chapter nineteen verse twenty five this would make her the aunt of Jesus and this would make James and John his cousin his cousins on his mother's side this has a little bit of color to what's going on here. So lonely cautiously approaches Jesus almost like a young child who is coming to their parents and yet they're hesitating their heart is racing because they want to use the best words possible as they are making their request to have their favorite ice cream or to get that new bicycle or that puppy or in this in these days to get their first smartphone they want to make sure that they paint the picture in the best light possible as they come to their parents and Salome approaches Jesus with the same sense of apprehensive she wants to use just the right words she wants to go about it just the right way and behind her are James and John coming to this private interview with Jesus she bows before him she kneels with deference but yet at the same time she's come exercising her suppose it privilege of kinship with Jesus as she makes her request in Mark's account if you read the same story it was just mark records just James and John coming and what we can infer from this is that this was not only their mother's desire for them but this was also their desire as well it was something they wanted as she kneels before Jesus Jesus looks at her searchingly and he says What do you wish. With expressions of great anxiety Salome and treats command that your kingdom in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on your right hand and the other on your left it's a straightforward request she doesn't beat around the bush she's asking that her two sons can be connected with Jesus in proximity in power impressed Steve. And this request from the seventy family was likely inspired from. Matthew Chapter nine hundred twenty two thirty where Jesus said that the twelve apostles would sit on twelve thrones when he came into his glory and with far reaching foresight Salome wants to preempt for her two sons the very highest of the two thrones in close proximity to Jesus in his Messianic Kingdom Jesus reads the situation and takes it all in is not severe in his answer but in mingles firmness with probing he says you do not know what you're asking for are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink. This is initial response he doesn't condemn them for their request but he puts right before their attention the price of the request that they're asking for you see because it's often ignorance that seeks leadership and power and glory and the brothers have no idea what they're asking for the request to reign with Jesus is in fact a request to suffer with Him You see the cup that he was talking about you see he packages more completely in John Chapter eighteen verse eleven it's a cup of suffering if they wish to share in the Messiah's glory they must be prepared to share his suffering they only had a faint idea of what was yet to come for him you see that cup of sorrow to him was really a cup of joy the cross was awaiting him rather than a throne a crown of thorns rather than a crown of gold yet to Jesus his weakness was his power his humiliation was his glory and his suffering was in fact his triumph although the disciples could not see it yet you see the first qualification we're looking at three from the story the first qualification to share with Jesus in his power the first qualification for those of you raised your hands and said you want to share his power is fortitude to patiently endure suffering when you ask Lord I want to share your power you're asking to share with him in his suffering do you know what you're asking for be careful as it goes what you ask for because you just might get it there's a story of a farmer who had grown tired of working until in the ground and so one day as he was going to the market in town and he as he was delivering his produce he passed by the Town Hall and he saw that it was filled with all the people and as he was looking he asked one of them couldn't get close enough to hear or see what was going on but he said what's going on in there and I said well there's a traveling preacher is coming to town and everyone is here what he has to say even the mayor is there the farmer thought to himself and he said I work my entire life to provide food for these people in this town but nobody ever appreciates me like this man who has just come through this one time he began to grow a little jealous and he had an idea he looked up to the sky and he said Guy. I want to do something great for you like this preacher I want to be known like this preacher give me a sign of what you want me to do. I went home that day and the very next day as he was working out in his field he looked up in the sky and he saw the clouds that one of them looked like a P and one of them looked like a sea and he shit started shouting that's it that's it that's it and he went racing back to his house and he says There it is there it is and by the time he got to his house his wife was out on the porch and she was saying there what is there what is what is it and he said Don't you see it's a sign I ask God for you see the P.C. there God is telling me he wants me to go and preach Christ so he hung up US tools and put away his farm implements and he saddled up his mule that very day with a lot of enthusiasm he went out and started travelling around to the new neighboring towns to preach Christ not even a month they're gone by and he came back home and he was a bit more dejected than when he left and when he got home he had was hanging shoulders were saying and his wife said what happened you're going to preach Christ and he said well I musta missed something because every town I went through when I preached people slept when I rode between towns people or it rained and when I sang people laughed and I just couldn't take it anymore so I came back and she said well what about the sign P.C. and he said well I don't know for sure but he says one thing I do know is I didn't mean preach crisis he said well look at him and he says plant core sometimes when you ask for recognition you don't know what you're asking for you don't know what you're getting yourself into the first qualification for sharing in his power is to make sure that you have the fortitude to patiently endure the suffering the disciples rather quickly responded when he asked them Are you able we are the very fact that they were all too ready and eager to give that response betrayed the fact that they were not at all ready. What was coming is you guys not looking for the most educated he's not looking for the most talented he's not looking for the most confident he's not looking for the most daring ones to be the ones to share his power often he chooses the most helpless the most distrustful the ones who everyone else is written off and this is why many people who have looked at the biblical story and looked at the instruments that God has chosen to use and they say God does not choose the qualified but what he qualifies the called if you feel today like you're ready to say Lord bring on that power because I'm glad Lee going to suffer for you that's evidence of the fact that you're not already boisterous Peter Brash fully declared that he would never deny Christ yet that very night he found himself alone being bitterly over his denial of his Lord you don't know your heart as well as God does careful what you ask for if you think you're ready that's pretty good evidence that you're not you don't know how you'll react when you're put in the situation that God does There was a story of a preacher who was in front of his congregation preaching and right in the middle of service the back door burst open and in came two masked men carrying semi-automatic weapons and they said everybody get down and the pastor start preaching and everybody frozen nobody knew what to do and they walked to the middle of this church and they begin to point the guns around everyone who was in the room and they said if you're a Christian you get out if they said if you're a Christian you stay where you are but if you're not if you don't believe in God then you get out of here right now the pastor was surprised to see how many people left that church so quickly but when he found himself as one of the few left in the church he didn't know what to expect was coming next but then the two masked men took off their math and set down the their weapons on the pews and sat down in the front row and said All right Pastor it clear out all the hypocrites you keep going you don't know your heart as well as God does you don't know what you're really going to do and this is why I believe Paul penned the words in First Corinthians ten twelve therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall now I'm spending a little more time on this point of suffering than I will on the on the following points because there is some of you in this room I know who are saying wait a minute but what about me I'm not asking for anything great. I'm not asking for anything special So why is God allowing me to suffer I know there's somebody here who's had that thought I've got to tell you I've got to be honest it's not an easy question to answer some of the greatest minds of this world has seen have wrestled with this question I've struggled with it I'm not one of the brightest minds in this world and sometimes I found the most useful thing when somebody asks Why is God allowing me to suffer this and to experience this suffering the best thing I can do is to quietly and sympathetically listen and pray in my heart that God will bring comfort into their life because sometimes words actually are counteractive to what they really need what would you have said to Joseph if he came to you and said Why did I have to experience my own family's betrayal and when I tried to stand up for God He rewarded me by throwing me into this prison for years now what would you have said to him had you not known the rest of his story what would you have said to Daniel if you asked why would God allow me to become a eunuch I've been trying to be faithful for me here I am in the service of new beginnings or king of Babylon would you have said to him had he asked you why would you have said to Esther if she asked why they got allow her parents to die while she was still a young girl in the Persian empire without the benefit of knowing the rest of their stories it would be nearly impossible for us to truly answer their questions but with the benefit of the full biblical narrative to inform our world view I believe that when God's providence allows you to experience suffering today the as with Joseph as with Daniel as with Esther he has some greater good in mind and he is using the suffering in your life to qualify you for the opportunity to share his power in some special way. And I believe that if we can somehow bring the outlook of Joseph that while you intended this for evil God intended this for good and make that our mindset we can learn to become qualified to endure suffering with fortitude in patients. Who experience many horrific things in the Nazi concentration camps in fact sometimes she ask us why a sometimes she became bitter towards God But it was the words of her sister Betsy that truly captured what fortitude to patiently suffer what God allows to come she said to her sister Cory soon shortly before she died she said we must tell them what we have learned here we must tell them that there is no pit so deep and yet God is not steep deeper still they will listen to us Corey because we've been here and we've experienced it and it was in a she attributes credit to those words in her in her book The hiding place as later on in life she went out of that concentration camp and she set up a rehabilitation center for a concentration camp survivors she began a worldwide ministry that took her to more than sixty sixty countries she received many tributes including being knighted by the queen of the Netherlands and in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine she wrote her bestselling book of her experience during World War two which was titled The hiding place the first qualification to share his powers fortitude to patiently endure suffering this morning I was sitting on a plane next to a woman named Donna and I'll never forget Donna she shared with me a heart wrenching story about how when she was sixteen years old her newborn baby had been stolen kidnapped from her house by someone who she had trusted in both of them and disappeared for the last many years she's been looking for her son that had been kidnapped from her and she shared with me some of the sister to use of the excitement of maybe this is him maybe it's not him and I asked her I said what some of the things that you learned as you went through this. Awful heart wrenching experience of your life she said Well many to first I blamed God I thought he's letting me down but she said eventually I realized that I needed something in she said she began to go to church and she said many times she wanted to know the rest of the story and see the future and of course God doesn't let us see beyond where we're at at that moment she said she had to learn to lean on him and to trust him and with the peace of God and the calmness of joy on her countenance she shared with me the story she shared how she's recently found someone who she thought was her son who is living in Germany he had been sort of abandoned sold there and he doesn't have any papers really a unique situation and she said that for a while her hope was up over a year she thought he was a son they had the blood test and they came back negative but she said she's realized that her experience has uniquely qualified her to be there for him and now she's doing many things to help him and she says that the reward is greater than the sufferings that she's experienced along the way qualifies you through suffering to share his power in some way but the story continues back in your minds to that account of James John and their mother who came to Jesus Jesus looks at them he fixes eyes upon James and John and when he begins to answer their request on their own terms he says to them you show drink my cup James would be the first of the apostles to die John would endure suffering the longest of any other possible and be the last to die after he was finally released from the Isle of Patmos Jesus continues his response by opening to the mind of James and John one of the most important yet rudimentary principles of his kingdom he says to them but to sit on my right in my left hand is not mine to give but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my father you see the second qualification to share his power. Is submission to the source of power we've got to come to the point where we stop grasping for power and we trust to bestow it on who he's prepared for we're going to come to the point we stop complaining about who God put in power and trust that he is the one who removes kings and sets them up and he knows who to put where at the right time and he's in control of everything here Christ begins to explain how position and power are be stowed in His kingdom in the kingdom of God position isn't gained through political maneuverings or favoritism neither is it earned or bestowed in any arbitrary way in fact it is not something that you and I can grasp at all it is only given on special grounds Jesus says and he assures James and John and by extension you and I here today that they and we are seeking to share his power will indeed drink of the cup of his suffering but this will not assure us or them of any of the choice of seats in his kingdom because God alone will select the candidates who he chooses to honor Jesus points out that the way to greatness in his kingdom is not as we think as they thought by means of a mirror to create on his part NO NO NO NO NO God has prepared special positions for special people and he knows just how to qualify them for those positions the fact that power position and greatness in Christ Kingdom may not be grasped by anything that you or I can do turns everything that the world says about power on its head I want you to consider this for a moment that there is two modes of power in the world that you live in. One of them is going to endure forever and the other one is going to soon come to an end one began in heaven in the heart of Lucifer was self-seeking and he said I'm going to ascend I'm going to exalt my throne and he thought the throne of God was something that he could grasp a hold of and put himself in that position if you exercise the power that he had Genesis three tells us how that same mode of seeking after power entered our world when our first parents thought they could reach some more exalted position if they did things their own way as the old song goes they thought we can become more powerful and then sing I did it my way since the fall of humanity greatness has been defined in terms of power pristine. And Glory and people are bent climbing over each other doing whatever it takes to grass more power for themselves is it possible that you and I have been guilty of the same thing at times the motive power here is about control and influence This is one of the modes we're going to consider the second in our next point Max Weber wrote some definitive assessments of what power truly is this was this definition he said ability to control others events or resources to make happen what one wants to happen in spite of the obstacles resistance or opposition power is a thing that is hello coveted seized taken away lost or stolen and it is used in what are essentially adversarial relationships involving conflict between those with power and those without this is why we have these things money is power is a whole industry around how you can gain more power through money knowledge is power often people go to university to grasp a hold of this power sex is power some say sex appeal the whole beauty industry much of it is built upon the idea that you can have more power over others depending upon how you utilize your sex appeal and science is power certain communities say as well the perspective of using others as stepping stones or their obstacles or their competition for your individual quest for power the underlying philosophy here is me first self-seeking is an old word picture that was given about the difference between Heaven and Hell the principles of Heaven and Hell they said in Heaven and Hell there's two tables and both of the tables have long spoons but in heaven people are well fed and in Hell people are starving. The difference is that the spoons are too long for you to put in your own mouth but in heaven everyone's busy feeding each other whereas in hell everyone's worried about where their next bite is going to come from self-seeking this is the mode of power that we see around us in the world I have to ask you a question again I ask your question of the beginning how many of you want to share is power a lot of hands went up this is a question for introspection you don't need to respond to this think about this in your own heart why you want to share his power Why do you pray for the Holy Spirit in the outpouring of the Latter Rain and want it is because you want validation for your belief system is because you want notoriety and influence that comes as a result of the accompanying signs that you expect to result with the Holy Spirit is because you want the excitement of supernatural experiences and to watch the healings and all of the signs and X. is it because of the material benefits that you think could no doubt accompany this it taming of power as Simon Magnus did when he asked Peter if you could give him power if you could give him money and get the power that Peter had why is it that you want to share his power it is a question we all have to ask ourselves the second qualification for sharing his power is submission to him as the true source of power stop grasping and submit to where he places you but the story continues Matthew continues to record that when the other ten Apostles heard what James and John had done they were filled with great indignation. But the indignation that they experienced was more a jealous indignation than the type of indignation you feel when you see somebody being oppressed when you see a bigger bully picking on a younger weaker more helpless child no no it wasn't that indignation at all we tell you I was in New York a few summers ago and it was a great experience I've never been there before and as I was going to New York one of the things that frustrated me and I had to get used to was the fact that the stoplights and all of the signs and all the traffic rules were merely suggestions there and you just had to decide what you were going to do and stick with it once you started because ever if you stopped and hesitated you were going to mess everything up when in New York and as I was leaving New York I bet was there for three weeks back to back and as I was leaving New York we're driving out you know there's all if you've been there you know there's all those toll roads and it's the highway robbery if you go anywhere there you got to pay toll for every bridge you cross and every road you drive down and you know I came back with a lot less money than I went with just on tolls but as I was leaving we're going through a toll booth and. We had been in traffic from leaving Brooklyn where we were at all the way to this toll booth and it was like four o'clock in the morning you know they call it the city that never sleeps for a reason and where they're going to the told with and we've been in bumper to bumper snail pace traffic for over an hour and then we see somebody driving in the lane that you're not supposed to drive in past everybody else and he's about there up to almost the front of the line and I have been watching him come all the way up and he starts Everyone's I mean they're like you know inches between your bumper and the bumper ahead of you Nobody's letting anybody else in and as we watched him went by let me tell you about every car in that line the driver I could sense it they were being filled with indignation as they're watching this driver come in trying to press his way in and nobody was going to give him an inch and let him in. There was at least one nice New Yorker let a man and boy how I was filled with a lot of indignation and that was more the type of indignation that the disciples were filled with because I was watching him I had to be honest with myself and say the indignation I was feeling was that I would rather cut this whole line of God in with him then have been sitting in the whole line myself the cycles the ten hear what James and John have done and I can almost hear boisterous Peter again exclaiming as he confronts James and John you had your mom do what and boy things break out then because James and John you know them the sons of thunder they said. After some some exchange occurred you said what about my mama things got intense Jesus walks into the scene and he sees it as a teachable moment at this critical juncture self-seeking was threatening to fragment the group of Apostles and Jesus calls them together and he says you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and the great men exercise authority over them but not so among you he begins the reference here to the Gentiles would immediately have evoked in the minds of the Apostles the Roman occupation and torture us day by day annoyances that they were subjected to of carrying burdens for the Romans and everything that they brought with them they knew well how the Romans lorded it over them and exercise the authority that they had Jesus says they do this but this is not the way to greatness among Christ's followers no no no no no the one who is is steam the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who drinks most deeply from the spirit of self sacrificing love the Romans use brutal force to accomplish that what they want to Jesus says that's not the way it's going to be with his followers at all how often and even tempted to use force to accomplish what you want to happen you see powers it's a lot like integrity if you have to constantly remind people that you have it then you don't is an old fable by up the Greek philosopher of the writer and he speaks about how there is an argument that broke out between the north wind and the sun of who was truly the most powerful and. The sun went behind a cloud the Wynn took the first position and as they saw this man this old man walking along the road they said whoever can get their robe off of them first is the most powerful so the wind begin to blow in all of its fury and worked up almost a tornado but the harder the wind blew the tighter the man clenched his robe as he pressed on course eventually the wind war itself out and said All right I've had my share is your churn son comes out from behind the cloud and begins to being down upon the gentleman and it's not even a few moments before he takes office jacket and the sun looks at the wind says you see gentleness and kindness are always stronger than powerful for the something that I really love in Child Guidance. Page one sixty one paragraph four this is something that you don't want to miss strength of character consists of two things power of will and self-control many youth mistake strong uncontrolled passion for strength of character they think they're the loudest they can make things happen the way they want this is what strength of character is but the truth is she goes on that he has mastered by his passions is a very weak man very weak woman. Whoever has mastered by their passions is not strong but weak the real greatness. Continues and nobility of a man is measured by is power to subdue his feelings not by the power of his feelings to subdue him the strongest man is he who while sensitive to abuse will yet restraint passion and forgive his enemies Wow Wow That's something that I want more of in my life one thing I like a lot about George Washington is that he was a man who had some true greatness of character. George Washington after the American Revolution heard that there were some generals who a disgruntled because they had received their back pay from Congress and so he heard that there was a coup that was being threatened and so he went there to try and sort things out and he got there and used a lot of persuasion to try and convince them not to rebel but to remain loyal This would have been the only rebellion in American history of amongst the military who have been the only coup so he travels to Newburgh New York he treats with them but he realizes very quickly that his arguments are falling on deaf ears so he's a geisha shifts gears he reaches into his pocket and he begins to pull out a letter from a congressman who has promised to help them make sure they get their back pay and as he takes it out to read it to them he takes off his glasses or he takes out his glasses to put them on and in very simple calm language he says to them Gentlemen you will permit me to put on my spectacles private not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country when he said this The officers were absolutely thunderstruck by his simple words and simple gestures they had never seen this from a general before some of them were even moved to tears the account says immediately all talk of military revolt was stopped Washington's force of actions and character had won out there's another story of George Washington that I believe captures this point after the colonies had finally finished the revolutionary war against England they begin to express hope that Washington would become the new American king or even a dictator some of them suggested but instead in December eighteenth thirty three eight hundred eighty three Washington went before Congress and announced that he was officially resigning the military duties and returning to private life this was a crucial abstaining of power and when the British King George the third heard this from Washington he said some very powerful words that it would do well for us to pause and ponder for a moment he says if he does that he would be the greatest man in the world one has to posture and think deeply about what George the third was saying when Washington showed restraint. Well he might have seized power his self-denial in the name of his country was a great gift that he gave to this young nation one that shortly after Napoleon the great an example that he did not follow there's a vivid contrast between human ambition and Christian self-sacrifice greatness in the world consists of lording it over others whereas greatness in the kingdom of heaven consists of self sacrificing service for him and others let's look at the final message of Jesus as he concludes this meeting of council with his twelve apostles he has them all together he now says the last verses of chapter twenty verses twenty two twenty eight starting with first. Twenty six it shall not be so among you but whoever would be great among you must be your servant whoever would be first among you must be your slave even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many servant in this word is a different Greek word than is translated as slave uses both he says if you want to be great if you want to have a great position and true greatness is defined by service but then he says slave which is not merely service for others but it is humiliating service the lowest possible position he says if you want to be great then you serve but if you want to be first then you've got to be willing to become the least the humblest form of service Christ was the greatest servant of all the humblest servant and we're asking ourselves the question tonight what does it truly look like to share his power Christ was the most complete model of this kind of greatness he shared his power with our world from a manger from a carpenter shop among tax collectors harlots sinners healing the sick releasing those who are harassed by demons Christ truly not only Christ truly did not come to be served but to serve even to his very last breath. Follow him from the city as he passes through the jeering rabble listen to him as he looks at the sorrowful women his says Do not weep for me for those will be lost in the city at its coming destruction watch as he suffers the excruciating torture on the cross he feels the weight of sin yet he prays forgiveness on his enemies draw nearer still and listen as he loses sight of his suffering so that he can bring the assurance of salvation to a dying the let your heart be moved as you hear him look down upon his mother Mary and he looks at John and he says John behold your mother mother behold your son he came to serve even to his very last breath and to give his life as a ransom for many he came as Jesus the one who would save his people from their sins it's the one who drinks most deeply from the spirit of this loving service that is truly the greatest and most powerful in the kingdom of heaven and here's the third qualification for sharing his power transformation of your character from a spirit of self seeking to a spirit of self sacrificing service what does it look like to truly share its power one night there was a group of men who were drinking on the weekend the night when they would always get together they would drink and as is often the case in these occasions. You know this is a joke about this and they go on in there competing with each other and Deering and so on and all of a sudden one of them brings up well I've got the best wife and boy that sparks the conversation you know how it goes one of them looks and he says no no not at all mine is the most beautiful of them all and someone else is not well Mine's the smartest she's got her Ph D. someone else says that is absolutely nothing Mine is there for me no matter what I need and boy she is the best cook in the world and it goes on and on until one of them finally stands up and says you have no idea what you're talking about my wife is the absolute best wife in the world. He seemed pretty confident and quiet things down a bit when I find this is what you say that he says well we can get up from here right now and we can go to my house and we can I can yell at my wife to get out of bed and she's going to come down and cook us a meal at one o'clock in the morning and they all laughed and they said you are ridiculous put your money where your mouth is and he says All right let's go. So they got out from that house where they've been drinking they walk through the streets have a designated driver walk through the streets and they got to the house he walks in. Of noxious he shouts up to the room the bedroom where she sat and he says well I get out here my friends are here we want some food. Tell the here's a soft voice come from the bedroom it was laughing carrying on softly says all right I'll be right down in a minute. They think well OK that's a good start she's going to come down here and she's going to let him have it you just wait and see that's what everyone else's wife would have done but every one of them is astonished and begins to grow a little quieter when they watch her come out. She has a robe on. Downstairs she goes into the kitchen she asks if any one of them would like some water some juice some milk she is to bring things out she starts cooking. At one o'clock in the morning not a complaint not a curse word not even a frown. These guys are starting to sober up a bit. They couldn't even stay and eat the meal they end up leaving. Just the man sitting there silent and his house silence was deafening that night she comes out she brings in the food pushes the plate away from him and he says I cannot take I am so mean to you there's not a woman in the world who would act to me so kind the way that you do why do you do it she looks at him and she look of compassion and kindness on her face she smiles and she says Dear. You know I'm a Christian I invite you every week to come to church with me down every every day since the day we were married we walked out of those doors you haven't set foot in a church again. She says I'm a Christian and I know that when I leave this world in my life here is done I'm going to have an eternity with Jesus in heaven and. You're not going to have that because you except that she says I want you to have your heaven here on Earth because mine still ahead of me and it doesn't matter what I experience here. She went up to bed he could not sleep the next morning she came out all dressed for church. And sober in a suit. And they went to church together that morning and you know what that man gave his life to the Lord and that's a true story that. Is what it looks like to be the greatest and most powerful in the kingdom of heaven so those of you who raised your hands with me at the beginning of this message I've got a challenge for you you may not have known what you were asking for when you said I want to share his power but those of you who say you know what I don't know if I'm able to do it I don't know if I'm able to do that but I want to share with him and his power if you will help me. To ask you to raise your hands but I'm going. With me the posture of a servant as that's what it means to share in his power. Father in heaven. There's a lot of us that still in us that doesn't want to. To be a servant when we're provoked. But Lord we do want to be. Your servants. And we do want to share your power and while the Holy Spirit. Is promised to empower us for the mission Lord May your mission to qualify us for your Holy Spirit effective in our lives please bring these qualifications into our lives that we've seen in the story. Tonight of being having the Ford's toot to endure suffering. Of submitting to you is the true source who bestows power. And of. Being transformed from a spirit of self seeking to a spirit of self-sacrifice. Or you alone can do that work and please do it and all of us. May tonight's message that you've given prepare us for the coming messages this week in print Jesus' name in. This media was brought to you by audio for us a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio or if you would like to listen to more servant leader Visit W W W audio verse or.

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