************ Sermon on Matthew 20:20-28 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on July 31, 2004

People to act out the following
(Mat 20:20-28) Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. (21) "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." (22) "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. (23) Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." (24) When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. (25) Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. (26) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- (28) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

What did James & John ask for? Position and power. Worldly concept of Kingdom of Heaven.
What were they going to do with this? People serve them.
Jesus tells us secret of greatness: service.
The chief servant is Jesus.

(John 13:1-17) It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (2) The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. (3) Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; (4) so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. (5) After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (6) He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" (7) Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." (8) "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." (9) "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" (10) Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." (11) For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. (12) When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. (13) "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. (14) Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. (15) I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (16) I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. (17) Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Jesus showed them the full extent of His love. He, the King of the universe, was willing to be a servant. When we have power we have others serve us; but Jesus serves others.

Look at the tie in with Philippians 2 He humbled Himself, emptied Himself and then He was exalted.

L = Leader; P = People (students and teachers); R1,R2 ... = Selected Reader

L Let us listen to Scripture as it speaks to us about being servants.
(Luke 9:57-62) As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

L Make me a servant. What does this mean? What are we asking for?
P Make me a servant, Lord.
L To be a servant you have to follow Jesus and be His slave.
P We are servants. We follow Jesus.
L It isn't always easy to follow Jesus. Jesus expects His servants to give up anything and everything to follow Him.
R1 When man wants to serve and follow Jesus, it is costly. Jesus gives us happiness, joy, peace, healing, security, eternity. Man marvels at such a pearl and says, "I want this pearl. How much does it cost?"
The seller says, "It's too dear, too costly."
"But how much?"
"Well, it's very expensive."
"Do you think I could buy it?"
"Oh, of course. Anybody can."
"But you say it's too expensive. How much is it?"
"It costs everything you have -- no more, no less -- so anybody can buy it."
"I'll buy it"
"What do you have? Let's write it down."
"I have $10,000 in the bank."
"Good, $10,000. What else?"
"I have nothing more. That's all I have."
"Have you nothing more?"
"Well, I have some dollars here in my pocket."
"How many?"
"I'll see: 30, 40, 50, 80, 100, 120 -- 120 dollars."
"That's fine. What else do you have?"
"I have nothing else. That's all."
"Where do you live?"
"I live in my house."
"The house too."
"Then you mean I must live in the garage?"
"Have you a garage, too? That too. What else?"
"Do you mean that I must live in my car, then?"
"Have you a car?"
"I have two."
"Both become mine. Both cars. What else?"
"I have nothing else."
"Are you alone in the world?"
"No, I have a wife, two children.... "
"Your wife and your children too. What else?"
"I have nothing else, I am left alone now."
"Oh, you too. Everything. Everything becomes mine: wife, children, house, garage, cars, money, clothing, everything. And you too."
P We are servants. We follow Jesus. We put Him first in life.

L Make me a servant. What does this mean? What are we asking for?
P Make me a servant, Lord.
L To be a servant you have to imitate Jesus, you have to be like Him, you have to have His mind and His attitude.
P We are servants. We imitate Jesus.
L It isn't always easy, as servants, to imitate Jesus. Remember the time He acted like a slave and washed feet -- dirty, calloused, sweaty feet? Remember how He ate with sinners and welcomed prostitutes? Remember how He touched lepers -- today they would be AIDS patients? Remember how He spent time with unpopular people and loved even His enemies?
It isn't always easy, as servants, to imitate Jesus. He was always humble, though being the eternal Son of God. He was perfectly obedient. He put the Father's will before His own. He always respected His parents. He gave Himself, His blood, His body, His life for those whom He loved.
It isn't always easy, as servants, to imitate Jesus. To be like Jesus, we sinful fallen creatures need the equivalent of a brain transplant.
R2 French scientists have succeeded in causing chickens to sound like quail. Nancy Ross-Flanigan, writing for the Detroit Free Press, reports that researchers took tissue from parts of the Japanese quail brain thought to control the bird's call and implanted it in the brains of five chicken embryos. The experiment worked. Researchers say the hatched chicks sounded like quail rather than chickens.
But now the real miracle. God has implanted the mind of Christ in those who have accepted His Son as their Savior. Paul says,
(2 Corinthians 5:17) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
If we believe in Jesus we are new creatures, a new creation, with a new mind or a new attitude.
P We are servants. We believe in Jesus and imitate Him. His mind is ours. And so is His attitude.

L Make me a servant. What does this mean? What are we asking for?
P Make me a servant, Lord.
L To be a servant you have to look ahead, not back.
P We are servants. We look ahead, not back.
L It isn't always easy, as servants, to look ahead. To look ahead means we can't let the present distract us. It isn't always easy, as servants, not to look back. We can't look back to family and friends, waiting for their approval. James and John, for instance, had to leave all their dear ones for His sake. Jesus expects His servants to put Him first in their life -- before friends, family, sports, cars, and popularity. Jesus expects His servants to keep their eyes focused on the future and their life with Christ.
R3 Dr. M. R. De Haan told the story of how his uncle taught him to plow years ago. He said, "I watched him start preparing the ground. First he would make a 'back furrow' in the middle of the field. If this row was straight, all the others would fall in line. Finally the time came for me to try my hand at the task but my rows were always crooked. I had often seen him go across the field as straight as an arrow. So I asked him the secret of his success. He replied, 'Never let your gaze wander from a fixed goal. Just look straight ahead instead of looking behind the way you did.' Then, giving me the reins, he said, 'I'll stand at the other end and you keep your eye on me at all times.'"
That is also the secret of life of Christian service: Keep looking forward to Jesus, not looking back. Follow the Lord no matter what it costs, Christian.
P We are servants. We look ahead, not back. We keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
R4 The snow covered the ground where three lads were playing. A man came along and said to them, "Would you like to try a race and the winner receive a prize?"
The boys agreed and the man told them that his race was to be different. "I will go to the other side of the field," he said, "and when I give you the signal, you will start to run. The one whose footsteps are the straightest in the snow will be the winner."
The race commenced and the first boy kept looking at his feet to see if his steps were straight. The second lad kept looking at his companions to see what they were doing; but the third boy just ran on with his eyes steadfastly fixed on the man on the other side of the field.
The third lad was the winner, for his footsteps were straight in the snow. He had kept his eyes on the goal ahead of him.
Again, that is the secret of a life of Christian service: Keep looking forward to Jesus, not looking back.
P We are servants. We look ahead, not back. We keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

CONCLUSION (adapted from Joshua 24)
L Make me a servant. It is easy to say this. It is not so easy to live this.
P Make me a servant, Lord.
L Why do you say this?
P Because He has made us, cares for us, saves us. Because of His grace towards us in Christ.
L You don't know what you are asking. Servants must fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.
P Far be it from us to forsake the Lord.
L You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord, He will turn and bring disaster on you.
P No! We will serve the Lord.
L You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.
P Yes, we are witnesses. We will serve the Lord our God and obey Him.
L Prayer ...
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