Kingdom Greatness

On Sunday, May 8, 2011, it was my privilege to preach Mark 10:32–52 at Kenwood Baptist Church, “Kingdom Greatness.”

An excerpt:

What are some characteristics of Christ-like service, servant-greatness, slave-first-placeness?

  1. It doesn’t do this to get attention, and in doing it, doesn’t draw attention to itself.
  2. The consideration of the interests of others outranks the consideration of its own interest.
  3. The joy brought to others is counted worth the pain and loss that comes with the humiliation of service.
  4. There is a trust in God that motivates it, a belief in what God has promised that unplugs self-promotion and energizes the conviction that greatness comes from service.

Who do you want to imitate? Jesus or Donald Trump?

I see so much greatness at Kenwood Baptist Church. Do you know how much un-thanked, un-noticed, un-requested service happens at our church?

  • Someone prepares the elements for the Lord’s Supper every week.
  • There are people who come early every week to print and fold the bulletins.
  • There’s a couple that you’ll see sweeping the floor and wiping down the tables after pot-luck every week.
  • Someone cleans the bathrooms (I hope!).
  • Someone goes to the grocery story and buys the plates and forks and knives and all the stuff we need for pot-luck.
  • There are people who make the great food we eat every week.
  • Josh does a great job planning the music we’ll sing every week.
  • The others get here early to practice the music.
  • Faithful people prepare to teach Sunday School every week, for adults and for the kids.
  • There is someone behind the curtain organizing everything that needs to happen in the nursery, with the women’s ministry, and there are a whole lot of folks ministering to the Nepalis.
  • There are folks who prepare, sacrifice to be here, and miss the Bible Study and prayer meeting every Wednesday night so they can serve children.

There is greatness, Christ-like greatness, servant of all greatness, last but shall be first greatness all over the place at Kenwood Baptist Church, and I praise God for it. Members of Kenwood, thank you for showing me what it means to follow Christ, for being such good examples, such inspiring brothers and sisters. Thank you for living out the gospel.

Don’t you want more of this greatness? Don’t you want to be even more like Jesus, in even more areas of your life? What do we need in order to know how to come to Jesus, in order to embrace the greatness that comes from service? We need our eyes opened.

In Mark 6:52 we read that the disciples had hardened hearts. Then in 8:17 Jesus asked them If they perceived or understood—if their hearts were hardened, in 8:18 he asked if they had eyes but couldn’t see, ears but couldn’t hear. All of this is reminiscent of the quotation of Isaiah 6:9–10 in Mark 4:12 and Isaiah 29:13 in Mark 7:6–7.

And this whole section of Mark 8–10 is surrounded by healings that symbolize in the physical realm what the disciples need done for them in the spiritual realm. In Mark 7:31–37 Jesus gives a man his hearing. In 8:22–26 he heals a blind man, and now again at the end of this “On the Way to Jerusalem” section of Mark 8–10, Jesus heals a blind man.

If you want to see that true greatness is to serve, not to be served, you need Jesus to give you sight.

If you want to be one who lives out the truth that you don’t come to Jesus to correct him, to get a list of things to do to inherit salvation, or to demand your place of privilege; if you want to be one who comes to Jesus to cry out for mercy because you trust him, if you want to live that out, you have to come to him like blind Bartimaeus does in Mark 10:46–52.

Click the blue words (or maybe they show up underlined–the ones between the quotation marks) to hear more about “Kingdom Greatness” from Mark 10:32–52.

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