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Real Discipleship - The Radical Road to Greatness, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
July 4, 2022 6:00 am

Real Discipleship - The Radical Road to Greatness, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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July 4, 2022 6:00 am

The late poet Robert Frost once said, “Two roads diverged. I took the one less traveled, and that made all the difference.” In this program, Chip continues his series – “Real Discipleship” – by asking: did you know there’s only one path that leads to true contentment, happiness, purpose, and meaning? Let's discover that road together!

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The late poet Robert Frost once said, Two roads diverge. I took the one less traveled, and that made all the difference. Do you know there's only one road, one path that leads to true contentment and happiness?

That there's only one road that provides real purpose and real meaning? Stay with me as we discover together what that road is and how to follow that path. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program, motivating Christians to live like Christians. I'm Dave Drewy, and we're in the middle of Chip's series, Real Discipleship, How Jesus Chose to Change the World.

Now, before we dive in, this series was recorded many years ago, so you'll notice that Chip's going to sound a little different than what you may be used to. But the truth he's going to share from the Gospel of Mark is still relevant to all of us. So if you're ready, let's join Chip for his message, The Radical Road to Greatness.

We have an innate desire for our lives to count, don't we? I mean, to have impact in one sense of the word, in the good sense of the word, we all want to be great. Jesus Christ is going to make you an offer you can't refuse. The offer is that if you want to be great, it's attainable. The second part of the offer is that it's not just for some people, but it's for everyone.

You can be great, and every single person, if you're willing to be great, according to his terms, can be great if you follow the road that he's going to tell us we need to follow. But there's a real warning. Most people don't like this road. Most people won't travel this road. This is a road, really, that's less traveled.

But here's the guarantee and the promise. If you walk down this road with me, I guarantee you'll be great. You'll have impact. You'll be significant.

People long after your dad and during your lifetime will say, Wow, am I glad he or she was on this planet for what they did in my life. And if you open to Mark chapter 9, beginning at verse 30, he's going to explain this radical road to greatness. How can you become great in the best sense of the word? And as you turn there, I want to tell you that I don't think greatness is reserved just for individuals.

I think God wants great churches, churches of impact, of power, churches that make a difference, that it causes and demands each of us to follow this really radical road. Now, as we pick it up in verse 30, you'll remember that there was the great confession. Peter said, You are the Christ. And then after that, remember what the Lord said?

He said, Hey, guys, I'm checking out. I'm going to die in three days, then I'm going to rise from the dead. And then he gave that strong call to discipleship.

Deny yourself, not your agenda, but follow my agenda. And then after that, he said, Not only is there a great cost or sacrifice, but men, it's the greatest thing you'll ever taste in your life. Some of you here will taste the kingdom and power. And then they went up on the mountain of transfiguration.

Remember that? And he revealed himself and they realized who it was they got to serve. And then they went down to the valley and they had the struggles and the nine guys couldn't cast out the demons.

And he's starting his second prediction publicly, his third prediction, counting the time he told the three. Verse 30, They left that place and they passed through Galilee. They go out of that valley, out of that conflict. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were.

Well, why? Because he was teaching his disciples. The ministry, the feeding of the five thousands, all that stuff, all the big time convincing, is now going to fade into the background. And he's going to focus the lens of his attention on the twelve and prepare them for his death. Private seminars, private teaching that will sustain him later. So, he said to them, here's what he taught, The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.

The word means sold out. They will kill him and after three days he will rise. That was his teaching. Now, notice the disciples' response. Verse 32, But they did not understand what he meant and they were afraid to ask. You know, they're scratching their heads. No, he's going to die.

We sort of, you know, the last time someone objected to this, they got a pretty solid rebuke. So, maybe they're thinking, you know, after what Peter got, I don't think I'm going to ask any questions on this one. Just take it by faith. Now, can you imagine if you had a close friend that for two and a half years you've been out in the wilderness, you've been under pressure, you've been in the midst of near riots, you've seen him do miraculous things, you've seen him feed people and heal the sick, and you've become very close friends. And whether you understood it or not, he said, I'm going to die. Can you imagine where you would be at emotionally?

You know, boy, you know, like we've all had a friend who's got cancer, and we know that there's six months or a year or three months, and it just begins to shift your focus. And can you imagine what the disciples must be feeling at this point of his agony? Well, let's pick it up and hear what these faithful, sensitive followers of Christ, how they feel about the man that's led them. Verse 33, They came to Capernaum, and many scholars think probably to the house of Peter. When he was in the house, he asked them, what were you arguing about on the road?

What were you disputing? Often he would walk ahead of him or walk behind him, but they kept quiet. Because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Now get this, the leader, the savior, the master, I'm going to die, guys. And they're walking in groups of two and three.

And what's wrong? They're talking about who's the big shot. Who's numero uno? Hey, when he checks out, who's going to take over?

You know, who's the big cheese? And you can almost hear him. Yeah, well, we are. I mean, we went up on the mountain with him. Yeah, the reason you guys had to go up on the mountain, because he knew you needed extra attention. We were down doing the work.

Yeah, I saw your work. We came down, you couldn't do anything. Oh, shut up, Peter. Hey, don't tell me to shut up.

I was the first one to say who he really was. Get off my back, Andrew. And that's what was happening. They're arguing about who's numero uno. Now, this is ugly. You know what this is? This is jealousy of one another. This is a desire for prestige. This is a desire in pride.

This is a desire for position. This is a me-first mindset. They've got me-first glasses, kind of like we do.

You know, we want the best parking spots and the shortest lines and the nicest stuff and the best waitresses and the food just perfect. And we hate it when people cut in because now we're second. And see, they've got this me-first mindset right in the midst.

Golly, if it wasn't so much like us, we could be so critical of them right about here. Now, let's hear how the Lord is gonna respond. Now, I want you to notice when he responds what he does say but also what he doesn't say. Verse 35, sitting down.

That means it's serious. That's the official position of a rabbi when he taught his students. Sitting down, Jesus called the 12 and said, Condition. If anyone wants to be first, the numero uno, the big cheese, you want to be great, you want to be significant, huh?

Okay. Here's the road, the radical road to follow. He must be the very last and the servant of all. It's where we get our word for deacon, dikaios. It's also the word we get for minister, translated in the New Testament.

He must be a minister or a servant to all. Now, notice what he didn't say. Did he say there was anything wrong with that innate desire to want to be great and significant and have your life count?

No. What did he do, though? He encouraged their greatness, but he redefined how to get there. They wanted to be great, but they were going on this road, and he slams on the brakes to their spiritual car and says, Hey, if you want to be great, you go on this road. You need to be last and the servant of all. Greatness is encouraged but redefined. And basically, the principle is, is that greatness is obtained by serving others as an act of worship to the Father.

You really want to be great? Become a servant. Take those glasses off that have a me-first mindset and put them down, and then take some glasses on and put them on in one lens that says a Father-first mindset and an others-before-me mindset. Father-first. What would you want me to do, Lord?

Others-first. Oh, go ahead, lady. It's okay.

I mean, it means a whole two and a half seconds. It's not my money. It's not my stuff. It's not my thing. It's Father.

What do you want? Father-first mindset. Others-before-me. Consider others as more important than yourself.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, right? Remember Philippians 2? Have this attitude, this way of thinking, this lifestyle in what? Yourselves that was also in Christ Jesus who, although He existed in the form of God, very God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied or availed Himself and took the form of what? A bond-servant. Becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, here's where the greatness comes in. See, Jesus came and there's only one person on the planet that could say, hey, you know, serve me. I'm God.

And what did He do? He took on the form of a servant. Therefore, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name and that had His name every knee should bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God. The way up is down. Humble yourself in the sight of God.

What will happen? He'll exalt you. It's not by what you drive. It's not by how we look. It's not how spiritual people think we are. It's when we're servants. It's when we put the needs of others and only say, Father, what do you want us to do?

That is the road to greatness and impact. And then He illustrates it in verse 36. He took a little child and He had him stand among them, taking him in His arms, He said, whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name for my sake, the idea, welcomes me.

In fact, here's the bonus. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but the one who sent me. Every time you take off your me-first mindset, my way, my money, my stuff, my thing, and you put on a father-first, other-first mindset, and you do it not just for people who can pay you back, not just when people are going to look, but when you do it for the least, like to a child, He says, you are welcoming.

You're actually doing it for me, and not only me, but you're welcoming the one who sent me. Now, why do you think He used a child? Let's make a couple observations about children. One, how many children, when you do something nice for them, can they pay you back? When you do something really nice for a child and they say, hey, Dad, here's my credit card.

Take Mom out to dinner. They can't pay you back. Secondly, the social status in their day, they were the lowest person on the totem pole. You know, get out of the way, kids. Only a servant was less than a child in that day. And the third observation about kids is they rarely understand how much sacrifice it takes to do for them what you do for them.

Do they? I mean, when's the last time, those of you that have kids, a kid walked in and said, Mom, Dad, or Mom, or Dad, or whatever. I like a little talk with you. I've been doing some thinking.

You know, you guys get up early. My clothes are clean. There's food on the table.

I read an article that's going to cost you $150,000 to $200,000 to get me from zero to 18 alone. There's been sacrifice. It's interrupted your relationship. I just want you to know that you two are incredible and you're swell.

Thanks. See, kids don't say that, do they? After you give, they say, hey, how come we didn't get this too?

Right? Now, as we're laughing, now listen very carefully why Jesus illustrated with the child. He's saying, here's the test, the acid test of our servanthood.

Here it is. The acid test of our servanthood is our motives. You see, if you're willing to serve a little child, if you're willing to serve people who can't pay you back, who can't take you out to lunch, who can't affirm you, who can't give you a visible position, who can't do something to let everyone know what a great servant you are, then you must be doing it for only one reason, for the Father, as an act of worship. See, go back and look in nurseries and four- and five-year-olds and elementary rooms and Awana, and you find the people that work there, you know something? Those kids, you know, can you imagine what one of those Awana kids say? I just want to tell you, you're making a significant eternal impact in my life.

I really appreciate it. You know what they say? How come we didn't have more snack?

Where's the lemonade? And they learn. And the people who work with children, you know what? You know what their motivation is? Do they get a lot of recognition? A lot of visibility? I guess they're doing it for the Father. Now, if you have a spiritual seat belt, fasten it real mildly because I'm going to take the scalpel of God's Word and I'm going to just put it right in between some of your ribs into your heart. I wonder why there's always a great need for people to minister from the crib through sixth grade, junior high, and often even high school. Mostly the early grades. You know why?

There are no strokes to be found. There's little visibility, mostly in gratitude. You know what it requires? It requires a heart for God. It requires sacrifice. It requires taking off the me-first mindset and the hassle and saying, to the least of these, I do it, not for them only, but for you, and the Father welcomes me. The Lord now shifts gears and after giving this acid test of what makes a great person, and basically the question is, why do we do what we do? That's what He's getting down to, the motive, the heart. And as we get there, He reminds us we're not in competition with one another.

Isn't that great? Comparison is always the root of carnality. If you're trying to figure out whether you read more or give more or serve more or do more, you know something?

That's just carnal, because I don't know God's agenda for you, and God really doesn't want me to know His agenda for you, but He wants me to have a Father-first, others-before-me mindset and come to Him and do what He wants me to do. You know, the only reason that keeps us from sacrificial giving of time and talent and treasure, you know what it is? A me-first mindset.

My schedule, my stuff, my bills, and often many of our bills are things that in an impulse when we're feeling down, we went out and bought that we didn't need and can't afford and have payments up to our eyeballs to soothe the pain for a while. And the Lord is cutting through this and saying, there's a road to greatness. It's a radical road. Not a lot of people travel it, but you get on this road and take off that me-first mindset and put a Father-first, others-before-you mindset, you will be great. The second thing now He's going to say is that this isn't just for the elite, for the insiders. This isn't just for people who've been to seminary or Bible college or on the inside or leadership or close to Christ in some way, however you define that.

This is for everybody. Notice how John, verse 38. Now, I'm not sure whether this is a confession or whether a diversion. Conviction has occurred. He's got the spiritual dagger in his heart. It's being gently twisted, I think.

And he's either confessing, Teacher, oh gosh, if we're supposed to teach little children like this, I've got to tell you, you can't believe what we did the other day. We met some people and they weren't in our group and they were actually casting out demons in your name and doing ministry in your name successfully, unlike us. And so we told them to stop because they're not part of our group. They don't run around with us. They don't go to our church. They don't go to our church or not even our denomination or our non-denomination.

And so, you know, we told them to stop. Jesus now is going to teach that this jealousy of others, this exclusive attitude and competition with other people is to also be forbidden because it is rooted in a me-first mindset, too. Verse 38, Teacher said, John, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he's not one of us. Answer, do not stop him, Jesus said. No one does a miracle in my name and can in the next moment say anything bad about me. For whoever is not against us is for us. In fact, emphatic, I tell you the truth. I tell you the truth. Not only people who are doing ministry and big time things like casting out demons, but I tell you the truth. Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name, a small, teeny, bitty bit of father first, other's first sacrifice, anybody who does a tiny little thing in my name and gives it because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose their reward. We are not in competition with other people and we're not in competition with other works.

Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, The Radical Road to Greatness, from his series, Real Discipleship. In recent times, it seems like more and more Christians are falling into the traps of hypocrisy, scandal, and corruption.

So how can we change that? In this series, Chip reveals that it comes down to two words, real disciples. As he teaches through Mark chapter 6 through 10, he shares how we can authentically follow after Jesus and avoid the obstacles and distractions that so easily entangle us.

Don't miss how genuine disciples of Christ can radically change our world. For more information about our resources for this series, go to or the Chip Ingram app, or call 888-333-6003. Well, before we go any further, our Bible teacher, Chip, has joined me in studio now to talk about an issue that's been on his heart recently. Chip?

Well, thanks so much, Dave. For months, the world has been witnessing the tragedy of the war in Ukraine. No sane person hopes for war. But when you're in one, you want soldiers in the fight who are both passionate and well-trained for battle. As Christians, we're in a spiritual war against the powers of darkness. Ephesians 6 details the importance of preparation and training and readiness for the fight that we're in.

Listen to what Paul says. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's evil schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. This is what we're training for, and we need warriors who equip with the truth, who are able to speak light into this world. At Living on the Edge, we are absolutely committed to helping people go deeper in the truth to put on the full armor of God and to be men and women who are not passive, but enter the battle for the souls of their children, for our country, and for the future.

Here's my question. Would you help us? Would you help us disciple people, equip the next generation, and help pastors in this battle that we're in, not against political issues, not against cultural issues, but against the spiritual forces of darkness behind so much of the evil that we see? Would you pray with us, and then would you consider making a financial contribution between now and July 7th, as every gift will be doubled dollar for dollar? I want you to know that myself and our team are all in, and we want to make a difference, and we need your help. Thanks for doing whatever God chose you to do.

What a great challenge. Well, if you want to help us pursue our mission to teach God's Word, now's a great time for you to become a financial partner, because right now, thanks to a small group of friends of the ministry, every gift we receive between now and July 7th will be doubled. To make a donation, just give us a call at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. Or if you prefer to give online, visit

App listeners, just tap Donate. Thank you for praying and doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, here again is Chip to share some final thoughts from today's message.

Thanks, Dave. You know, today we heard the disciples do something that, if we're honest, we all do it, right? We kind of bicker, and we talk, and we compare, and, you know, we get this idea that I'm better than you, you're better than me, and I think for a lot of us, we don't really say it out loud, at least for me. It's a lot in my mind, and I find myself comparing myself with other people, and let's just face it. It's just human to want to be important, to want to be significant, to want to be number one, and yet Jesus taught those disciples that comparison always leads to carnality. The fact of the matter is that God has a plan for you, and He's got a plan for me, that God's given you gifts and abilities and a background that's like no one else in all the world, and what He wanted those disciples to see and what He wants us to see is that we're tempted to measure ourselves by other people, but He says there's a different measuring stick, and it's His, and it's counterintuitive. It's the kingdom way instead of the human way, and it's considering others as more important than ourselves.

In the words of Paul, it's doing nothing from selfishness or vainglory, but with humility of mind, considering the needs of others as more important than your own. And so here's what I want you to do. I want you to do a little test for me today.

Are you ready? As you're driving today, you only have to do it today, but just consider others as more important. Let people in. Don't get upset when someone pulls in front of you. Actually act like, oh, they're more important.

It's like some famous person is ahead of you. Or how about at work? Maybe you can't do it until tomorrow, but pick up coffee or pick up bagels or pick up donuts or just do some baby step, some small act that puts other people ahead of yourself. Or if you want to get a little bit radical, take a $5 or a $10 bill, and when you get your coffee or when you see someone that's hurting, just pause and walk over to them and put it in their hand and just say, I just want you to know God is thinking about you and Jesus loves you, and then just walk away. Those tiny baby steps of putting others first will do something in your mind and your emotions, and here's what I'll tell you. You will have an experience where you'll say, Wow, I feel great.

That did maybe more for me than it did for them, because that's the Jesus way. Are you ready? Try it. Then let me know how it goes. As we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is, and we'd love to hear how it's going. Would you take a minute to send us a note or give us a call?

Either one is easy. Email us at chip at, or give us a call at 888-333-6003. Well, I'm glad you've been with us, and until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 01:00:52 / 2023-03-28 01:11:57 / 11

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