When The Messiah Becomes Personal

Message 48

Mark Series

3.17.19

Mark 10:46–52 (CSB)

46 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Rabboni,”, the blind man said to him, “I want to see.”

52 Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.

Introduction: When Things Get Personal, our personal interest goes up.

A. Let’s be honest:

  1. We are our favorite people.
  2. Your family is your favorite family (although after a bunch of snow days some of you moms are tired of your own kids).
  3. Your finances are more important to you than someone else’s.
  4. Your health matters more to you than the health of a random stranger or an acquittance.

B. When something involves us, we become more interested in what is going on.

      1. The same goes for our relationship with Jesus.

1. It’s hard for us to celebrate the salvation of someone else’s brother when our own brother is lost and far from God.

2. It can be difficult praying for a miracle in someone else’s marriage when our own marriage is falling apart.

3. There is a challenge that happens in our minds when we pray for someone to be healed, and they are, when we have been praying for our own healing and the answer hasn’t yet come.

2. The amazing thing about Jesus is that He was not willing to stay an impersonal Messiah.

1. He was not some figurehead, off in the distance, echoing meaningless words that had no real substance.

2. Here was the Savior of the World who not only created universes out of nothing, but who also took time to stop and minister to a blind, beggar.

C. Today, I want to share this biblical story, and here is what I hope you get out of today:

      1. I want to encourage you to chase after Jesus harder than ever before.

a. Some of you are letting all kinds of excuses and circumstances keep you from calling out to Jesus and receiving what He has for you.

b. So I hope today that the Holy Spirit will give you the push you need to not quit.

      2. I want you to know that you are not forgotten.

a. There are some here today who feel forgotten.

                  a. You are suffering in silence, and you wonder if anyone notices.

                  b. You wonder if God cares about you.

                  c. You believe that God loves the world, but you aren’t sure if God loves you.

d. Jesus and God have become impersonal to you, and today God wants to remind YOU how much He loves YOU!!!!

3. I want you to experience a fresh start in life.

a. Some of you are tired of being known for what is wrong with you and you are ready to be made fresh and new.

Let’s look at this passage and see how this message speaks to everyone here today.

1.   The Messiah approaches Jerusalem.

  1. Remember that Jesus is leading his people up to Jerusalem.
  2. The next chapter, is called the Triumphal Entry.
  3. On that day, the crowds would celebrate the one they believed would overthrow Rome.
    1. Their picture of Jesus, the Messiah, was of a conquering and ruling King.
    1. They have prayed and dreamed of this day.
    1. The hopes of generations rested on Jesus’ shoulders.
  4. Along the road from Jericho to Jerusalem was a blind beggar.

1. He had absolutely nothing to offer society or Jesus.

2. There was no way this man could advance Jesus’ overthrow of Rome.

3. He wasn’t rich like the young ruler, or powerful, or influential.

4. He was broke and broken.

  • Therefore, they believed their Messiah would not have the time to be concerned with a blind beggar.

1. Surely, Jesus was too busy to be bothered by someone as insignificant as a blind man.

2. Once again, Jesus’ followers thought they were doing Jesus a favor by screening his appointments and shielding him from those who had nothing to offer him.

3. What the disciples failed to understand was that Jesus has always used the broke and broken to advance His cause and His purpose.

                        4. That’s because Jesus looks at people differently than we do.

2. We often cannot look past what is wrong with people.

            A. Notice how the crowds identified this man:

                        1. He was a blind beggar.

                        2. Blind is the guys adjective, beggar was his noun/identity.

                                    a. In other words, he was defined by what he could not do.

b. He could not see, and he could not buy his own food or take care of himself.

3. When the world described this man, he was a blind beggar.

            a. What other words do we use to describe people like this?

            b. Free-loader, worthless, waste of space and oxygen…

            c. We have all kinds of terms for people just like this.

            B. But Mark records something NO ONE does:

1. The man’s name and his lineage.

2. Of all the blind, the deaf, and sick that Jesus healed, almost none of them are named in the Gospels.

            a. We never know the name of Jairus’ daughter.

            b. Or the demoniac.

            c. Or any of the other healing miracles Jesus does.

3. But Mark records this man’s name and his lineage.

C. The Messiah that should have been too busy to heal a blind beggar, not only had time to heal him but also had time to know his name.

            1. Jesus places infinitely more value on people than we do.

2. Where we are content labeling people by what is wrong with them and then moving on, Jesus chooses to know our name.

a. In fact, the Old Testament tells us that before we were born God knew us.

                        b. The Bible tells us That God knows every hair on our head.

c. The Bible tells us That he knows exactly how we were created and how we are put together.

            3. Bartimaeus knew this about Jesus.

                        a. He had heard the stories of healing and deliverance.

                        b. He had heard the testimonies and he wanted that for his life.

c. And Bartimaeus was tired of being identified by his adjective (blind) and his noun, beggar.

d. In other words, Bartimaeus was thinking, “I have a name, and Jesus knows my name.”

4. For those of you who feel forgotten and lost in the shuffle, I declare to you that not only does God know your situation, He knows your name.

3. Bartimaeus was tired of being identified by what he couldn’t do.

A. To begin with, Bartimaeus couldn’t see Jesus but he could call out to Him.

                        1. When you get desperate, nothing stops you.

                        2. Desperation can be a good thing:

                                    1. It causes us to push ourselves further than we thought we could go.

                                    2. It causes us to pray harder than ever before.

3. Desperation can be a powerful motivator, moving us closer to Jesus than we have ever been before.

4. “The kingdom of heaven, it has been said, is not for the well-meaning but for the desperate. Bartimaeus is desperate, and his desperation is a doorway to faith.”[1]

B. You have to get to the point where you are tired of being known for what you can’t do.

                        1. For his whole life, Bartimaeus was known for what he couldn’t do.

                        2. And he knew this was his chance.

                        3. Because Jesus was known for what He could do, not for what He couldn’t.

                                    a. When we think of Jesus, we think of Him in terms of what He can do.

                                    b. He can save, heal, transform, empower, tear down, and lift up.

                                    c. Through Jesus, all things are possible.

                                    d. What might be impossible for you is possible with God.

            C. May our weakness motivate us to call out to Jesus.

                        1. V.s. 47 says that when Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus, he began to cry out.

                        2. Although he had lost his eyesight, Bartimaeus found his voice.

                        3. You don’t have to be able to see Jesus in order to cry out to Him!

                                    a. So Bartimaeus used what HE had, and he cried out to Jesus.

                                    b. In your prayer time, cry out to Jesus.

1. When the Holy Spirit moves in a service, don’t be afraid to cry out to Jesus out of desperation.

                                                2. Don’t miss your opportunity.

                                                3. Don’t miss your chance.

                                                4. And don’t let the enemy stop you.            

D. The crowd and some of the disciples tried to hold Bartimaeus back.

1. They warned him to be quiet.

2. They threatened him.

3. They mocked him.

4. They shouted over him.

5. They acted very unlovingly and unchristian.

6. But nothing worked. Nothing would stop this man from crying out to Jesus.

a. My prayer is that we become more like Bartimaeus and less like the crowd.

            b. I want there to be passion in my prayers and my worship.

c. I want my prayers and worship to have a sense of desperation and hunger about them.

d. It isn’t that I just “want” Jesus, I “need” Him.

                        7. Bartimaeus’ need of Jesus stemmed from his view of who Jesus is.

4. Bartimaeus was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, the promised Son of David.

A. An important sign of the Messiah would be the healing of the blind.

1. Of all the miracles, raising people from the dead and other healings, healing of the deaf and blind was reserved as signs for the Messiah.

2. Bartimaeus’ conviction was evidenced in the cry, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

3. The title, “Son of David”, was a historical phrase that expressed the hope that Jesus would be the one who would set the captives free, release prisoners from their slavery, and heal the deaf and blind.

            B. In other words, if Jesus wasn’t the One then Bartimaeus had no hope.

                        1. Have you ever been in that place where Jesus is your only hope?

2. That place where you are completely dependent upon God acting on your behalf?

            a. What Bartimaeus needed was not luck, fortune, or chance.

            b. He didn’t need a millionaire to write him a check.

            c. He didn’t need someone to give him the keys to a mansion.

d. He needed Jesus to be the Son of David, the Messiah, the deliverer, and the one who causes the blind to see and the deaf to hear.

3. And if this wasn’t who Jesus was, Bartimaeus would forever be known as a blind beggar.

            C. Out of that conviction, Bartimaeus continued to cry out!

                        1. Son of David, have mercy on me.

                        2. Son of David, don’t ignore me.

                        3. Son of David, I need you now!

4. Jesus, before you triumphantly enter the city, would you please show me mercy.

D. It is my prayer that each of us will find the same kind of conviction to call out to Jesus in this way!

            1. And when Jesus does respond to our cries,

            2. We must be willing to throw aside everything in response to Jesus!

5. Bartimaeus was willing to throw everything aside in response to Jesus’ call. 

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” 50 He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

            A. Why would Bartimaeus throw off his cloak or overcoat to go to Jesus?

                        1. Could it be because he didn’t want anything to hinder him getting to Jesus?

2. He didn’t want to be held back from him responding to Jesus as soon as he could.

            B. The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us throw off everything that entangles us…”

1. When Jesus calls, there can be nothing to hold us back from responding to Him.

a. Men, how many times do your wives ask you to do something right in the middle of watching a show or you are engaged in a game?

b. And then they don’t like it when we wait to until there is a convenient time to respond!

                        2. Too often we are too distracted to respond immediately when Jesus calls.

                                    a. Bartimaeus didn’t want anything to hinder his response to Jesus.

                                    b. Anything that slows down your response to God’s call needs to go.

6. Our prayers reveal our perspectives toward Jesus.

  1. What do you want from me?
  2. The very next passage is the triumphal entry.
    1. On that day, the people celebrated a conquering hero.
    1. They praised Jesus for the coming kingdom they believed He was enacting.
    1. They celebrate Jesus for the upcoming victory they believed were coming.
    1. In essence, they are asking Jesus to be someone and to do something He wasn’t yet called to be.
    1. He hadn’t come to overthrow Rome but to overthrow the power of Death, Hell, and the Grave.
  3. What we ask for demonstrates our heart towards Jesus.
    1. That is why Jesus asks Bartimaeus this question.
    1. He wanted to reveal Bartimaeus’ heart.
  4. Bartimaeus could have asked for riches, position, power, or pleasure.
  5. But any great man or ruler could bestow these things.
  6. But only the Messiah, the Chosen Son of God, could bring sight to a blind man.
  7. Jesus responded, “Your faith has saved you.”
  8. Salvation was not found in begging, for people beg all the time.
  9. Salvation was not found in asking, for everyone asks for something.
  10. Salvation was found in believing that JESUS IS the SON of GOD!
  11. And with salvation came miraculous healing.

C. What are you asking Jesus to do for you?

            1. What are your prayers saying about Jesus?

            2. Are you treating him like a genie in a bottle?

3. Often, we pray prayers that, if answered, means we don’t need to trust God any longer.

                        a. Think about it:

b. Lord, if you would just give me more money then I wouldn’t have to pray so hard.

                        c. Lord, if you would take my pain away, I could stop bothering you.

4. If Bartimaeus had asked for power, money, position, or prestige, he would have been asking for the very same things that people asked of earthly rulers.

5. But Bartimaeus asked for the one thing that knew only Jesus could do: Only Jesus, the Son of David, could heal a blind man like him.

a. Isn’t it time that God’s people started asking for things that only God can provide?

                        b. Isn’t it time that people of faith started acting in faith?

7. And when God answers your prayer, are you ready to follow Him?

            A. The Gifts of Salvation and Healing are given with the responsibility of Discipleship.

52 Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.

                  1. As soon as Bartimaeus received his healing, he started following Jesus.

2. Some of you have been praying for something and you are still waiting for the answer to prayer.

a. If God was to answer your prayer today, are you willing to follow Him with everything you have?

                              b. Remember that God’s gifts have responsibilities.

                              c. God’s gifts are only for those who are willing to follow and be disciples.

3. If you don’t plan on serving Jesus, then don’t plan on your prayers being answered.

      B. The first thing Bartimaeus did with his newfound life was follow Jesus!

                  1. The blind beggar was now a seeing disciple of Jesus.

2. The Messiah was no longer something hoped for, but now someone he saw with his own eyes.

3. And when Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem to the shouts of the happy crowds, there was a former blind man named Bartimaeus shouting with them.

4. And to Bartimaeus, Jesus wasn’t some impersonal Messiah who was going to save Israel, but he was a personal Messiah who had already saved him.

5. Bartimaeus did not squander his healing, but used his new sight to worship Jesus and to follow him.

Closing:

A. My prayer for many here today is that Jesus will become personal.

      1. Maybe Jesus is nothing more than the God of your parents, or your country.

a. For many, Jesus is someone we give respect to at a rodeo or when a tragedy strikes.

b. Then you don’t think about Him until another tragedy or event.

2. Many in the crowd that followed Jesus only saw Him in national terms and what they hoped he would do for their country.

                        a. But Bartimaeus saw Jesus as a personal Savior and Messiah.

                        b. Someone who could not only set Israel free, but could set him free too.

c. Today, I want you to know that the same Jesus who gave new life to a blind man is the same Jesus who is able to give you new life too.

B. So that is my prayer today:

1. That whatever it is that you are struggling with, that you will have the boldness and the courage to tell that to Jesus and be made whole.

This Wednesday, I felt impressed to pray for 2 groups of people:

The Lost and the lonely.

      2. Maybe your “Adjective” right now is lost:

                  a. That could mean you are far from Jesus.

                  b. That could also mean you are simply lost:

1. You don’t know where you are, what you are doing, or where you are going.

2. You feel like you have no direction.

3. Maybe you are like the lost son in the story of the Prodigal, and you find yourself in a place you never wanted, surrounded by junk and mud and everything that you said you never wanted for yourself or your family.

c. In a moment, if you feel like you are “lost”, I want you to come to your right of the stage (my left) to be prayed for.

                                    1. And it will be my prayer that you will be found.

                                    2. That, like Bartimaeus, Jesus will call for you and change your life.

            3. Maybe your adjective is “lonely”.

a. Although you may be surrounded by people, you feel like you are alone and nobody notices.

                        b. IT feels like your cries for help go unnoticed or maybe shouted down.

                        c. You are wondering, “Does God even see me?”

                        d. Does God really know my struggles, my pain, my fears?

                        e. If so, I want you to know that, Yes, Jesus knows you and loves.

f. If you are lonely, and want prayer, I’m going to ask you to come to your left (my right) and would you allow these pastors and elders and deacons pray for you?

      4. Let’s Pray


[1] James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Mark, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002), 330.

Astonishment, Fear, and Kingdom Leadership

Astonishment, Fear, and Kingdom Leadership

Mark Series

Message 47

3.3. 18

Mark 10:32–45 (CSB)

32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. 33 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.”

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.

37 They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.”

38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We are able,” they told him.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. 40 But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41 When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”,

1. Jesus is leading his followers up to Jerusalem.

A. Israel is not a flat land.

1. The Dead Sea is −1,368 ft below sea level.

a.  The Mount of Olives (around Jerusalem) is 2600ft ft above sea level.

b. This is a change of almost 4,000 ft in about 20 miles.

2. What I love about this picture of geography is that nobody goes uphill by accident.

a. Jesus is purposefully leading his people up to Jerusalem.

b. Jesus is leading His disciples with supernatural purpose and direction.

1. What is getting ready to happen in Jerusalem is not by chance but by Divine Direction.

2. What happens in the next few chapters of Mark is the unfolding of God’s great plan to bring salvation to humanity.

B. Throughout Mark, Jesus is surrounded by people.

1. There was always a crowd around him.

a. There was always people ahead of him.

b. Beside him.

c. And behind him.

2. But this trip is different.

a. Jesus is upfront, walking ahead of his followers.

b. There is now a noticeable distance between Jesus and his closest disciples.

c. This was Jesus’ idea to go to Jerusalem.

d. He wasn’t being pressured or persuaded.

e. Jesus is walking with purpose: Not a victim, but a victor.

3. Jesus walked to Jerusalem with such purpose that those watching reacted in amazement and fear.

a. I have a tendency of walking quickly.

b. If I’m on a mission around this place, good luck catching me or stopping me.

c. Jesus was a lot like a woman marching into Walmart to get one thing:

1. Don’t talk to her and don’t stop her.

2. The best thing to do is, “get out of the way”.

d. At this point, you could tell by the way Jesus was walking and talking that He was on a mission.

4. Jesus’ followers responded in two ways: astonishment and fear.

a. Why were some astonished or amazed while others were fearful?

b. I think the difference in reaction between the closest disciples and the crowd has to do with closeness of relationship.

c. Let me explain.

2. I Believe that Disciples follow Jesus in Astonishment.

A. Mark writes that the disciples were astonished.

1. They are shocked and amazed.

2. But they weren’t fearful, at least not yet.

3. They had spent 3 years following Jesus.

a. Although they still held out hope that Jesus was going to overthrow Rome, they were amazed to watch their leader march into Jerusalem.

b. There was something awe inspiring about the way that Jesus walked.

c. The role of the disciples was to follow Jesus wherever He would go, including Jerusalem.

B. True disciples of Jesus follow Him in awe and wonder.

1. I know that, for myself, following Jesus has definitely not been boring.

a. The longer I serve him, the more astonished I am by who He is and what He can do.

b. The beauty of being a disciple of Jesus is being close enough to be led by Him.

c. Throughout the Gospels we find that the Crowds chased after Jesus but the Disciples were led by Him.

d. The difference is in the nature of the relationship.

e. It is only natural that we share the most information with those we are closest to.

2. That explains why Jesus, while on the road to Jerusalem, reveals for the third time that He was marching to His death and resurrection.

a. Jesus was not only preparing His disciples for His death but for their eventual deaths as well.

1. All of these men would experience suffering and persecution for the cause of Jesus.

2. James and John didn’t realize what they were accepting when they asked to drink of Jesus’ cup and be baptized with Jesus’ baptism.

3. James was beheaded and John experienced torture and exile for the cause of Christ.

4. This calling to suffer for Jesus is shared by every believer:

Mark 8:34 (CSB)

34 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

b. To be a true follower of Jesus is to follow Him to places of certain pain and suffering!

1. The same hands that healed the sick were the same hands that were nailed to a rugged cross.

2. It is a great paradox of Scripture that the same hands that brought great healing to people in pain experienced great pain for our healing and salvation.

c. We have a saying within Christianity that we are to be the “hands and feet of Jesus”.

1. I remind you that it was the hands and feet of Jesus that were pierced and nailed upon the cross.

2. To accept this calling is to be willing to suffer with and for Jesus for the redemption of our communities and world.

3. I make you aware that one of our missionaries, that we support, is currently in prison in a foreign country.

4. The calling to suffer with Jesus is still in play.

C. Discipleship is always a “we” proposition.

1. Not only was Jesus going to Jerusalem, but He was taking and leading His disciples with him.

2. Not only was Jesus going to suffer, but so too would His disciples.

3. This is symbolized by the cup and by baptism that Jesus mentioned.

a. To be baptized is to symbolize death to our old life, old ways, and our old desires.

b. Jesus had to die in order to experience resurrection, and so do we.

c. To take part of Cup, or Communion, is to pronounce that Jesus suffered, bled, and died for us.

d. To drink of this CUP is to proclaim that we, too, are willing to bleed, suffer, and die for Jesus.

If disciples follow Jesus out of amazement, then I believe that:

3. Crowds follow Jesus out of Fear.

A. The Disciple John wrote that “Perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18

1. When we are close to Jesus, we do not fear His leadership.

2. But when we are far away from Him, we fear and question what He is doing.

B. Two quick examples:

1. Many of us will admit that tithing can be really hard.

a. Because tithing is a spiritual discipline, it doesn’t make economic sense.

b. And when we are not convinced that Jesus loves us, cares for us, and provides better than we can, we approach tithing as something fearful.

c. But when we trust Jesus and know that He is good and has promised to provide for our every need, we can tithe not out of fear but out of amazement.

d. The difference in perspective is our proximity to Jesus.

e. The closer we are to Him, the more our fear is replaced with Love.

2. Another example is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

a. Nothing makes a person in a Pentecostal church more nervous than when the preacher talks about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

b. Why?

1. Because we are AFRAID that the Holy Spirit is going to make us do something weird.

2. This is the idea many have towards the Holy Spirit.

c. However, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is referred to as a GIFT and a Promise, not a curse and a threat.

1. In other words, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a good thing.

2. The closer we get to Jesus the more we will desire Him to lead us and empower us.

3. And the more our fear of the Holy Spirit will be replaced with Awe and Amazement.

C. The Crowds did not have the same relationship with Jesus and, therefore, did not have the same response.

1. They saw Jesus marching to Jerusalem with purpose and reacted in fear.

2. The closer you are to Jesus, the more we will respond to Jesus’ leadership in amazement and obedience, instead of fear and reluctance.

a. This is how Jesus wants to lead us.

b. He wants to lead us through a relationship of trust and amazement.

4. Jesus’ interaction with James and John demonstrates that Jesus wants us to lead differently than the world does.

A. James and John wanted to be in a position of power and authority.

1. They wanted to lead people in such a way that everyone knew who was boss.

2. They wanted the best positions in the New Kingdom.

3. What they failed to grasp was that Jesus’ style of leadership was different than anything they have ever seen.

B. Because Jesus wants to lead His people through a relationship of trust and amazement, the disciples are to lead in the same manner as the one they serve.

Mark 10:35–45 (CSB)

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.

37 They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.”

38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We are able,” they told him.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. 40 But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41 When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”,

  1. The responsibility of Christian leadership is to lead others in the style and Spirit of our Master.
  2. This means that the way we lead our homes, our businesses, our personal lives, and even our kid’s sports teams should be different (and better) than those who have a worldly model of leadership.
  3. Very quickly, I want to show you 3 leadership principles from this passage that applies to all of us.

5. 3 Kingdom Leadership Principles for Believers

A. First Principal of Kingdom Leadership: Lead from among the crowd during the good times and upfront in the hard-times.

1. When Jesus’ time came to go up to Jerusalem, Jesus did not hide or allow himself to be pushed, he got up front and led.

2. Many of you are going through difficult times at home or at work.

a. The easy response is to let someone else lead.

b. Maybe you have people telling you that you have every right to give up, quit, or to take it easy.

c. And yet, something deep inside you, is telling you to lead.

3. That voice of the Spirit of God in you is leading you to:

a. Pray like never before (that’s what Jesus did).

b. Get up in front and model integrity for those you are leading. (That’s what Jesus did).

c. Not quit because, although you can’t see it, you believe that victory is right around the corner.

1. We have no reason to believe that Jesus had ever seen the tomb that He would be resurrected from.

2. Jesus had never died before, and he had never been resurrected before

3. But He knew His Father and He knew that although pain may last for a night, joy comes in the morning.

d. So Jesus didn’t quit, He didn’t shrink back from leading, He didn’t grumble and complain.

e. Instead, He pushed himself through the crowd, got up front and marched onward!

4. You were not called to lead from the back but from the front.

a. The harder things are, the more those around you need to see you leading.

b. The more your kids need to see you, the more your church needs to see you, the more your leadership needs to be seen.

c. Some of us here need to learn to praise louder during the difficulties.

B. Second Principal of Kingdom Leadership: Those who seek personal glory go to the back of the line. 42-45

1. Jesus taught His disciples that those who want to be first go to the back of the line.

a. Often, when teaching in elementary, we will have the kids line up.

b. The young one love to be at the front of the line and many will do whatever it takes to get up there.

c. What they haven’t realized is that the teacher will always send the kids who run or push their way up front to the back of the line.

2. The same is true for adults and the Kingdom of God.

a. If you make getting noticed or promoted your #1 goal, you will lose every time.

b. For Jesus notices everything, not only the public things but those done in secret and He has no problem sending the glory seekers to the end of the line and promoting the shy and quiet to the front.

3. Many of you are trying to get ahead but don’t like the way God is promoting you.

a. You feel like Joseph did in Pharaoh’s prison:

b. You think you have been forgotten and unnoticed so you are trying to ask the cupbearer and the bakers of life to promote you instead of God.

c. What you haven’t figured out is that Jesus is the one in charge of the line and that He is not interested in you receiving glory.

4. Because all glory belongs to Jesus.

a. When I seek the praise and glory, I am robbing Jesus of what is His.

b. When I take credit for what God has done, I am robbing God.

c. I give Him glory for everything that is good.

d. “Those who are not content being at the back of the line won’t find contentment at the front of the line either.”

C. Third Principal of Kingdom Leadership: The Servant’s towel is stronger than the tyrant’s sword.

1. James and John wanted to use the sword of power to exercise rule and authority.

a. And why not.

b. That is what Rome was doing, so why not them?

c. Peter felt the same way when he cut off the servant’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane.

2. Jesus understood something we never get:

a. The purest form of leadership is not found in the tyrant’s sword but in the servant’s towel.

b. “Whoever wants to be great must first become a servant.”

3. On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, what did He do for His disciples?

a. He took the position of the servant and washed His disciple’s feet.

b. If the disciples were going to change the world through violence, Jesus would have taught them how to use the sword, or a nuke missile, or some other weapon of power.

c. But NO, Jesus didn’t teach His disciples how to use a sword but a servant’s towel.

4. The greatest form of leadership you can practice today is servant leadership.

a. What is the biggest difference between an experience at Chick-Fil-A and McDonalds?

b. At McDonalds you are an inconvenience to the employees but the employees of Chick-Fil-A recognize that they are there to serve you.

c. Look around the people you are called to lead and ask yourself, “Are these people here to serve me, or am I here to serve them?”

5. Servant Leaders recognize they are placed in positions of leadership and influence in order to serve and better those they are called to lead, not the other way around.

a. For this is the way of Jesus’ Kingdom.

b. This is the way we are called to impact and change our world.

Closing: Two Questions:

  1. First, how are you and Jesus today?
  1. Are you close enough to Him to be led by Him in love and amazement?
  2. Or has some distance crept in and you find more fear in your relationship and less love?
  3. I can tell you that it is God’s will for you to draw closer to Him than you have ever before.
  4. So, here in just a few moments, I’m going to ask all of you who want to be closer to Jesus to come to the front and pray and be prayed for.
  5. Second, how are you leading those you are called to lead?
  1. Do you currently find yourself leading by manipulation, fear, and threats?
  2. Are you not as loving as you want to be?
  3. Are you getting cranky when you have to serve others instead of them serving you?
  4. I believe that God is calling many of you to be leaders in your home, your workplace, and your church but you have to get rid of some of the ways of leadership you have seen and used for a long time.
  5. If so, in just a moment, I want to pray for those of you who want to be the leaders that God has called you to be.

Would the elders and pastors come to the front? When I finish praying, I am going to ask those of you who feel called to pray specifically for your relationship with Jesus to come to the right side of the stage (your right, my left) to be prayed for. If you are coming to be prayed specifically for help in leadership, I ask you come to the left, my right, so we can pray specifically. If you want prayer for anything else, please come to the middle.

I believe today is a day of change for many of you, and I am excited about what God is going to do here in just a moment.  Let’s pray.

Fresh Start: Getting Past The “Unusual” Hang-Ups

Mark Series

2.27.19

Message 46

Mark 10:17-31

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

1. Everyone here has a desire to be a better follower of Jesus.

A. That’s why we are here.

1. We may have a hard time explaining exactly what we want, but we all want to be a better Christian.

2. We want to be better people.

3. We want to experience all that God has for us.

B. Along the way, we all have things that hang us up.

1. Our hang-ups are those actions, thoughts, or behaviors that keep us from growing as we are supposed to.

2. Early on in our Christian walk, our hang-ups are more obvious:

a. Your hang-up might be your addiction.

b. You might be engaged in some long-term sinful behavior and you know it isn’t what God wants you to do.

3. Maybe your hang-up is your past: You just can’t seem to outrun what you did years ago.

C. If so, you are in good company.

1. These are all usual hang-ups that we all have had to deal with.

2. It’s easier to look at the obvious sins and know what we need to fix.

3. But what if our hang-up is not so obvious and blatant?

4. That is where the story of this rich young ruler comes in.

2. The young ruler didn’t have the usual hang-ups.

A. He didn’t cheat or steal, he hadn’t killed someone, he hadn’t broken the “law”.

1. He was a good, solid, person.

2. In fact he looked to be the perfect example of the kind of disciples Jesus would want:

a. Rich, young, and successful.

b. But these very qualities led to a few hang-ups no one had told him about.

c. He didn’t need God.

B. To this point, following God hadn’t cost him anything.

1. The other disciples had given up homes, family, and careers.

2. This “rich, young ruler” didn’t have to sacrifice like that:

a. His wealth made it possible for him to be extremely religious without being fully devoted.

b. The American Church is wealthy enough that we can afford to be religious without being fully committed followers of Jesus.

C. Therefore, Jesus asked the young man to give up the “one” thing that would cost him.

1. Jesus recognized in this young man that the one thing that made him desirable in the world, his wealth, was the main thing that kept him from being a truly, devoted follower of Jesus.

2. Mark 10:21–22 (CSB)

21 Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

3. Jesus asks this young man for a trade: his worldly wealth for treasure in heaven.

a. In other words, Jesus asked this young man to give up the one thing in this world that he loved the most.

b. In his wealth, the young man found:

1. Safety,

2. Identity,

3. Direction,

4. Meaning.

c. As long as the young man found all of this in wealth, he would never find these things in Jesus.

d. As long as we find our safety, identity, direction, and meaning in anything other than Jesus, we will never find them in our relationship with Jesus.

D. Notice the young man’s response:

1. The young ruler “grieved” over Jesus’ words.

a. This means he was distressed and sorrowful.

b. This was not mere disappointment or frustration.

c. This was an internal response that shook the young man’s very internal world.

2. I can hear the internal conversation now:

a. Why did Jesus have to say that?

b. I was willing to do anything, but that.

c. It’s like the soundtrack of the old Meatloaf song, “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”

3. Having heard Jesus’ request, the young man walk away from a life of discipleship and followership.

E. This is exactly what Jesus does to us.

1. Jesus looks into our life and he demands the one thing we don’t want to give up.

a. He doesn’t ask for the replaceable, the extra, or the outdated.

b. Jesus asks for that which we love the dearest and he makes that the condition of our discipleship.

2. If your identity and safety is found in money, then Jesus will challenge you in that area the most.

3. If your identity and delight is found in your family, then He asks you to trust him with your family. (We must never allow our family be the reason we don’t say a full YES to Jesus.)

F. Jesus’ motivation for asking is love.

1. “Looking at him, Jesus loved him…”

2. When God asks you to follow him, He is not asking out of anger, hatred, or any other motivation.

3. Jesus’ motivation is love.

a. For He knows that HE is asking you to exchange the temporary for the eternal.

b. Often we act like the kid who has a pocketful of pennies who won’t exchange it for 1, $5 bill.

c. We overestimate the value of what we have in our possession and we devalue what Jesus is offering us.

4. Jesus is calling many of you here, he is challenging you, he is pushing you out of your comfort zone.

a. And you think that God is being mean.

b. You think He is being unfair.

c. What you don’t realize is that Jesus’s greatest concern is for our salvation not for our comfort.

1. That is why the greatest Gift that Jesus has given us is the opportunity to follow Him in the now and in the future.

2. And that Gift has responsibilities.

3. God’s gifts have responsibilities.

A. The disciples were watching this interaction between Jesus and the Rich young ruler.

1. And they heard Jesus say that it is very difficult for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of God.

2. If wealth and status couldn’t earn them the kingdom, then what could?

B. The answer is found in Jesus’ use of the word “child”.

1. Has anyone noticed how often Jesus used “child” to demonstrate his Kingdom?

2. Jesus refers to his disciples as children:

a. This refers to their present condition and to the previous passage.

b. Children are dependent upon someone else to provide for them.

C. If a rich person can’t buy or earn their way to heaven, then, how can they?

1. Only through the gift of God.

2. Being a child in the kingdom means that we receive the benefits of the kingdom as a gift.

3. We enter the kingdom of God as a gift.

4. We can’t earn it, buy it, or achieve it.

5. Our entrance into eternal life is completely dependent upon the Grace and Gift of God.

D. Yet, the kingdom of God has responsibility.

1. No illustration is perfect, but think of it like this:

a. If someone gave you a brand-new car, could you afford it?

b. Can you afford the taxes on its value?

c. Can you afford the insurance?

d. If it was a foreign car, could you afford the upkeep?

e. Although the car is a GIFT, the GIFT has responsibilities.

2. The kingdom of God is a gift with responsibilities.

a. Jesus was glad for the rich young ruler to enter the kingdom.

b. But the gift required discipleship on the part of the young ruler.

c. And for the young ruler, Jesus asked that he give up his wealth in order to receive the gift.

3. This seems like a paradox.

a. How can gifts also have “requirements”?

b. But the problem isn’t with God but with our modern-day culture.

1. Our culture wants “free”.

2. Free education and free opportunities.

3. Free from responsibility, free from work, free from effort, free from cost.

4. Millennials, listen up: Our parents and grandparents were right when they told us that there “is no such thing as a free lunch.”

a. Our salvation is a gift, but it wasn’t free.

b. Our healing is a gift, but it came at a terrible cost.

c. Entrance into the kingdom is a gift that has responsibility.

4. And the responsibility is to follow Jesus.

4. There is no such thing as different levels of discipleship.

Mark 10:28–31 (CSB)

28 Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

A. The disciples were wondering if Jesus was going to set up a different set of requirements for this young ruler.

1. Peter, James, John and the rest had left everything in exchange for Jesus.

a. They had held nothing back.

b. They gave it all and risked it all for the opportunity to follow Jesus.

2. Now they were wondering if there could have been a less expensive option.

1. No one ever wants to spend more money than they have to for the same result.

2. We want the most we can get with the least cost.

3. One of the worst feelings in the world is to buy something only to find it on sale somewhere else.

3. Peter told Jesus, “Look, we have left it all for you. Was it necessary?

B. There is no such thing as a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level of discipleship.

1. God is an all or nothing kind of God.

a. You can’t hold back part of your life and expect the whole to be blessed.

b. You can’ be obedient in one area in your life and disobedient in others and expect to get the same result.

2. There cannot be different levels of cost and sacrifice.

a. Jesus demands either all of our life or none of it.

b. When we say “Yes” to Jesus, we are signing the dotted line of a blank-contract.

5. For many of us, it isn’t the “hard” stuff that is keeping us from following Jesus with all of our lives.

A. Many of us are like the rich young ruler.

1. We don’t steal.

2. We go to church.

3. We haven’t killed anybody lately.

4. We must be good in the Jesus department.

B. Sometimes, it is the good stuff that gets in the way of the great.

1. It is the pursuit of good dreams that get in the way of great dreams.

2. It Is the accumulation of “stuff” that keeps us from saying Yes to Jesus.

3. When our lives are too full of stuff, our yes’s become maybes and our maybes become no’s.

C. Sometimes our “hang-up” in giving our all to Jesus isn’t the “bad” stuff but the marginally good.

Illustration

1.  In high school, I was accepted to Central Bible College.

a. This was not only my dream, but it was the only school I applied for.

b. I knew I was called to be a pastor, and every good pastor must go to Central Bible College in order to make it.

c. This is what I believed.

2. I remember one day after graduating high school, riding with my dad to Poplar Bluff, that I fully realized that I was not meant to go to CBC.

a. I had applied for the loans, I had toured the campus, everything was getting ready to go.

b. But instead of being excited, I came to a different realization.

c.  I remember, being in that car, telling my dad that I had changed my mind and that I wasn’t sure why, but God had different plans for me.

d. I feared his rejection or scorn, but instead he smiled and basically said he knew that but was waiting for me to figure it out.

3. For a time, I grieved.

a. I grieved missing out on my dream.

b. I grieved the loss of a dream I had worked for.

c. I grieved change and a sense of failure.

d. I grieved, that while many of my colleagues were going, that I would miss out.

e. I grieved, just like the rich young ruler, about what God was asking me to do.

4. That was 2004. 6 years later, I realized why God had changed my path.

a. Because if Julie and I had gone to CBC, and taken on the $60k+ in debt we would have, I would have missed out on what God had for me:

b. That was for me to pastor this church.

5. God’s plans for my life were so much more than the plans I had for my life. A. But, in that instance, I couldn’t have it both God’s way and my way. B. Both God and I wanted the same thing: to lead the local church by being a pastor.

c. But my plans were different than God’s plans.

D. Jesus and this rich young ruler both wanted the same end result:

1. They both wanted eternal life for the rich young ruler.

2. But the rich, young, ruler wanted eternal life without discipleship and followership.

3. You can’t follow Jesus without sacrifice.

4. You can’t follow Jesus and not be willing to walk away from it all.

E. In the kingdom of God, there is no such thing as an “unreasonable” sacrifice.

1. Paul talks about this in Romans 12:1 where he says for us to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

2. Whatever God asks of you is reasonable.

a. Your life, your dreams, your finances, your family, your comfort.

b. Nothing, He asks of you is unreasonable.

c. Hard, yes. Painful, yes. Costly, yes. Unreasonable? Never.

3. Think about this: If the government of the United States can ask men, and women, to fight and die for their country, how can we refuse God’s asking of us for our lives?

F. On a positive note, look at what Jesus promised!

1. No one who has left it all for the sake of the gospel, will not be rewarded in this life and in the next.

2. I truly believe that God’s plans for me are greater than my plans for me.

3. And I know that God is a rewarder, and that no sacrifice goes unnoticed.

4. Whatever you do or sacrifice for Jesus here will be worth it all.

What is my Next-Step with Jesus?

A. As we pray here in a few moments, I want to give us a few minutes to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

1. Would you ask Jesus to show you what He is asking from you.

2. Then, as He drops that in your heart, would you pray for boldness to respond?

B. Many of us are being held back.

1. But it isn’t the usual hang-ups.

2. Many of us are being held up by the good when God is calling you to great.

3. This morning, let us ask Jesus to help us be fully committed followers and disciples.