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September 20, 2020 1:00 am
Perhaps there is no more poignant picture of Christ as when He took the basin and the towel to wash His disciples’ feet. He wanted them to know that the way to greatness was through the pathway of service.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Perhaps there is no more poignant picture of Christ as when he took the basin and towel to wash his disciples feet. He wanted them to know that the way to greatness was through the pathway of service from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Today we bring you the third in a four-part series of messages on the topic. I believe in the church.
Stay with us as Dr. Luther speaks on. I believe in serving pastor looks or comes now to open our time of worship because I have a devotional from Spurgeon which is morning and evening for every day of the year. I think that often as we begin the service were going to get a line from Spurgeon's devotional. I was reading this morning he was talking about the imperfection that is in our hearts and then he says, but there is another kind of perfection than listen to this, the church will be so pure that not even the eye of omniscience will see a spot or blemish in her so holy, so glorious, and then he quotes the words of the song with my Savior's garments on holy is the holy one, that's the message of the gospel. I believe that's our theme today. We believe the gospel.
We believe in the transformation of lives. Let's all stand together as you participate in the Scripture reading. Let's all stand and will remain standing to sing notice on 403. I will read the first part and you respond. Of course, as indicated, and we shall read those sections that are designated together. Therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and we exult in hope of the glory of God and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us for while we were still helpless at the right time Christ died for the ungodly much more than having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him, or if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life in the same way God desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable nest of his purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement. We who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us having become a high priest forever. This is God's word.
Let us now pray together and then we shall sing our father, we thank you for your faithfulness. We thank you that we have been introduced to you through the grace that is in Christ Jesus, we thank you today that when we were helpless, Christ died for us and for that, we rejoice. We thank you, oh father that we have a living hope that we have a solid rock upon which we have come to stand transform this worship service, we pray, come by your presence and meet with us. We ask in Jesus name, amen. We will sing just the marked verses on each one of the hands of the way can clarify that we like to all sing together with the same word and when you join me as we pray on going to use Psalm 46. Today is kind of the basis for our prayer, hope that you learn to pray that Wade will revolutionize your prayer life you'll never pray the same again.
When you pray Scripture. Father, we want to thank you today for your Majesty, and for your grace.
Father, but we have to admit very candidly that you are mysterious. We do not understand your ways. I'm reminded of the words of Isaiah that says very clearly that my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts, as the Lord God and how true that is. We do not understand such things as the earthquake that is taken place devastating. So many tens of thousands of people, but we thank you today father that you are our refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble that applies to the deer people in India as well as the deer people in the United States and around the world. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth giveaway and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters thereof roar and foam and quake at their searching father, we thank you that we have found an anchor that stays in the midst of the earthquakes, the floods of life. The cancers of life and the accidents of life and the happenstance is then we thank you today that you are our refuge and strength, yes. Oh father refreshes today because there is a river whose streams will make glad the city of God, the holy place with the most high dwells.
Father shows that river today because there are some people here who feel like a flower that is been crushed into the earth and father.
They need some refreshment. They need to do from heaven. We all do, how hungry and thirsty we are for you.
God is with her. She will not all God will help her at the break of day.
Certainly nations are in an uproar. We think of the Middle East today with its turbulence, but we think father God also of the potential that exists for various conflicts where young people are being sent into battle and killed father again.
We cannot understand that we cleave to this nations are in an uproar kingdom's bowl� Voice, the earth melts hello father we take comfort in the fact that the Lord God Almighty is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. I pray that that may be true for the person who is here today going through a severe trial having been betrayed those father who expected a letters and mail to arrive in their mailbox this week that did not come those who had hoped father that you are leading them in one direction who have found the door slammed in their faces. We asked today father that they might know that the Lord God Almighty is with us in the God of Jacob is our fortress come and see the works of the Lord. The desolation's.
He has wrought on the earth.
Our father help us in this moment to give all that we have to you are anxieties and our cares.
We pray you will wake us powerful witnesses of your love and grace in the name of Jesus. Amen.
And in good to be here with God's people sing to him to realize that he is God you have so much to sing about in your bulletin and the signs close out with tonight. The I think it's true to say that all of us have aspired to greatness would all like to mean something to somebody we would like to be able to live our lives in such a way that might we might even be remembered that somehow we want to do what is significant in that desire for significance is actually God given. We were born with that desire because God put eternity in our hearts. The problem is that in our fallenness. We look for significance in all the wrong places. Some try to find it in wealth. For example, then they are significant. Some try to find it. In such things as cellophane men becoming well-known being somebody and they become addicted to approval.
Others find it in power.
They want to be able to control people and somehow they think that if if they can get enough control Bill had that thing cold significance was, you know this is a series of messages titled. I believe in the church and today were going to speak on.
I believe in serving as were going to find out where true significance lies in that all of us can be significant. Take your Bibles and turn to Mark chapter 10 an amazing story in the Scriptures of some young man who wanted to achieve significance Mark chapter 10 were going to take a little walk with Jesus along the Jericho Road. Actually there on their way to Jericho and from Jericho. Jesus is going to come to Jerusalem but in route we notice this in chapter 10 of Mark verse 35 then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said that teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask. Reminds me of my kids dad dad if I ask you something, will you say yes. First of all tell me what you're going to ask okay what you do notice that this is the search for greatness on the part of these disciples and Jesus does not promise ahead of time.
He simply says what do you want me to do for you. Let's get to the point.
I like that. Bottom line kind of man you know. He says that verse 37 they said let one of us sit at your right hand and the other on your left in glory. And we may think that that was a little law ostentatious haven't use that word for a long time, but it appears appropriate here.
But Jesus, I promise them that they would if you look at the Matthew account just before this he said that the 12 of your gonna sit on 12 thrones ruling over the tribes of Israel. And so there was that there was that promise. And so what they wanted to do is to ask the question, can we sit on your right hand and on your left. Why did they ask it couple of reasons. First of all, we don't get this from Mark but Matthew shows us that their mother's saloon was there. In fact, it says she came kneeling before Jesus and was part of the question. Can these my sons rule with you in your kingdom. One on the right hand of the other on the left. So what mother has not aspired that her sons might become great.
There's another reason and that is perhaps James and John, whose father was Zebedee. As I mentioned their mother was alone on maybe they came from a higher class they were from a better neighborhood. You know it says in that the book of Mark chapter 1 that Zebedee. For example, had hired servants will not everyone had hired servants and so he did so maybe maybe they felt that they deserve that kind of honor as a matter fact I think that also the real reason though, was this they wanted to get to Jesus before Peter did, because they knew that he was thinking this knowing Peter, he'd like to be both on the right and the left simultaneously and so what they're doing is they're coming to Jesus. And they're doing an end run and they're saying, you know, is it okay if James and John were brothers will sit on your right hand and on your life, the places of honor. Jesus gives them a very interesting answer. He doesn't blow them out of the water.
Even though I think we would all agree that there their request was somewhat what shall we say it catered to that which a prideful spirit, but notice what Jesus said you don't know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I baptize with what Jesus is saying is you want to rule what you're asking for. Suffering you want glory. I want you to know that before you get to glory. There's a lot that has to happen is a matter of fact it is going to be the cross that is going to precede the crown.
Are you willing to go that route.
What Jesus meant was this drink the cup. That's the active part of his obedience and then to be baptized. What does the word baptism mean it means to immerse can you be immersed in the deep horror and rejection and grief that is going to be part of my experience.
If you want to roll with Mary willing to come with me. That's what Jesus is talking about and you'll notice they perhaps too self-confident, but nonetheless they say we are able. They didn't understand exactly what they were saying. But Jesus, in effect, confirmed that they would. You will drink the cup I drink, and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with and that Jesus, in effect, is predicting that James is going to be martyred.
That's what your sister he says happened to him and John is going to be exiled to the island of Patmos and is going to give us the book of Revelation as it is revealed to him in that context. So Jesus says that yes, you can go through that difficult baptism and you will but then he makes another point he says, but a he says to grant you your request, I cannot because these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared what he saying is my father's already worked out the seating arrangements I can tamper with it. In other somethings there's no use even praying about, because Jesus said, not even I can change it now if he really wanted to he got to talk to the father and get that worked out, but there is some things that are predetermined. Then he says that the arrangements have been made and that is not my designation. That's his designation and I'm not going to tamper with the name plates on the thrones. Now it's very interesting to notice that the 10 the Bible says in verse 41 they heard about this and they became in indignant with James and John.
Why, what's their problem. Why didn't they rejoice and say to themselves. Now wouldn't that be wonderful to have James and John sitting right next to Jesus that some wonderful idea to that I didn't think of it myself. I really hope that Jesus grants it to them. What's the problem.
The simple fact is you and I find it difficult to rejoice over those who have been blessed more than we have. We become envious of spirit because Adam wrote every one of these disciples was thinking the same thing asking the question, why can't it be me. That's the problem. That's why Jonathan Edwards says when we get to heaven.
We are going to be so free of envy that we will actually rejoice over the success and the blessing of others as if that blessing were our own.
But the disciples aren't there yet so they are indignant. What we've spoken about the quest for greatness. Now let's look at the mark of greatness notice. Jesus said he called them together and he said look, let's huddle you guys because there's something we have to get straight you know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first. I had the first you must become the slave of all. What Jesus is saying is worldly people. The do all that they possibly can to be in authority they want to control and when they control they hang onto their positions until their knuckles turn white.
There's nothing that they are going to do to let go of that they will say to themselves. I want to be Ohno Lucy tried to teach me that this morning and so I thought I tried on.
I want to rule by intimidation.
I want to try to take charge and I will stay here and if you become a threat to me. I will destroy you. I will destroy you through gossip. I will destroy you by planting seeds of doubt in other people's mind about you. I will do all that I possibly can to keep you underneath me.
I'm not talking merely about kings and presidents and the like. I'm speaking about people with whom you work, not people with whom I work as I work here at the church.
We don't have anything like that. And what Jesus is saying is that the people of the world may believe that the more people who serve you that that is greatness. But the opposite must be true that the more people whom you serve is really the mark of greatness.
So you people in the world who climbed the ladder of success wronged by wrong they will get ahead. Honestly, if they can dishonestly if they must get ahead they will.
Jesus is it's not to be that way among you, as a matter of fact among you, it should be entirely different.
I what you must do is to learn to serve if you wish to be great. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be great. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be first but please understand how God defines it, within the context of his kingdom. Now you as to the well can a person run for political office and be a committed Christian.
The answers yes Jesus is not saying that there should be no rulers but what he saying is, most of them are there for their own good, no matter how often they talk about being the good of the people, but there is such a thing as servant leadership. There is such a thing as God leading certain people to rule for the best of the community and for the best view and the values that he himself as God espouses. Often times you know that old expression that says power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There's something within us that says we want to be first, we want our names engraved in their so that's the badge of greatness. It is service. Ruth harms caulk and wrote to these wonderful words you know Lord, how I serve you with great emotional fervor in the limelight.
You know how I eagerly speak for you in women's clubs. You know how I ever best when I promote fellowship groups. You know my genuine enthusiasm at Bible study, but how would I react. I wonder if you pointed to a basin of water and asked me to wash the callused feet of the Benton wrinkled old woman day after day, month after month in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew Jesus said you want to be great.
You be a servant Ellis look at the example of greatness.
This is verse 45. Jesus says these words, for even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. Jesus said to I didn't come to this earth to have people run errands for me. I didn't come to this earth is some great potentate and expect all of my servants to grovel before me.
I did not come to this earth to bark out orders. Expecting people to jump. I did not come taking advantage of my awesome power as God of very God. I did not do that.
I could have but I didn't. I came to serve and the way in which I served as I gave my life instead of a ransom, let me clarify that I gave my life for the many instead of the many I gave them as a ransom. What he means is I gave myself as a payment so that people could be redeemed and that's the way in which I served them how you think of all that that involved you think of the cross you think of the fact that he came to die for us and suffer so pointedly and so so directly and were going to be speaking on the cross in just a couple of weeks and all of its implications, but what Jesus Christ is doing is he saying you know, use me as your example and that payment that he made was a payment made to God the father not to Satan, he ransomed he bought a salad out of the slave market of sin. He paid the penalty I have to say this because I may not have an opportunity to do that in the rest of this message very briefly. If you are here today and you do not know God and you do not know Christ as your Savior.
That ransom then is of no value for you. He said I did it for the many so that we can be saved. He died so that we could be saved on the basis of his merit.
That's how we have assurance that were going to get to heaven, he died for us on our behalf, and he says that's the standard and that is the lesson to be learned well. We hurried through the text, but what I'd like to do is to give you some life-changing lessons that I think Jesus would want us to know today and apply them to ourselves and to our church. Number one, and this is such good news. Anyone can be great. Anyone can be great and amazing you don't need money to be great. You don't need fame to be great. You don't have to be written up in the newspapers to be great all that you need to do is to serve and in the process of serving you become great because the kingdom inverts all of our values. It is a pyramid that is stood on its head to so to speak where Jesus is saying that we can be great to serve one day someone asked Lorne the sanity of the navigators back when he was president of the navigators. They said how do you know when you are a servant and he said you'll know that you have the heart of a servant by the way in which you respond when you are treated like one. You see, in order for us to become servants.
There has to be a death to self. There has to be undying to to worldly ambition.
There is a place I believe in the Christian life where we can be ambitious for God, but oftentimes that spills over very very easily into being ambitious for ourselves and as a result, we have this drive for power. This drive for significance and were finding our significance in all the wrong ways and in the wrong places. And so Jesus said number one. Anyone can become great, and you can become great by serving in obscurity in a place like the poem I just read where nobody sees and where nobody knows and those kinds of acts are most precious to God to give you a second observation servants see needs and meet them. They see needs and meet them. That's what servants do. Jesus saw our need and came and died for us. Listen very carefully. If it is service that makes a person great and Jesus said it's okay to want to be first. It's okay to want to be great but if it is service that makes a person great then it is really service that makes the church great is not simply coming to the morning worship services. It is not simply being involved in. Perhaps your own little world, though you we can certainly serve the Lord Jesus Christ. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but it is a sacrificial attitude of service within the context of God's people, and God's ministries this morning. You are here for the opening you know that we are beginning an awesome ambitious ministry of the sidewalk Sunday school as we learn we need hundreds of people to be involved this summer hundreds of people to give up part of their Saturdays and perhaps occasional meeting for the week and we don't know where those people are all that were doing is were praying that God would bring them to his wife because either would be first among you, let him be the servant of all those who are willing to expend themselves on the part of others that says Jesus is greatness. We have to think about that a little bit because its implications are far-reaching. For every one of us, particularly those of us in the public ministries I think for example of the Philippines, you know, we have greeters and we have parkers and those who are helping in the ministry. That's only a small slice but what were looking for is people who are willing to say IC and need and I can connect the need with my own particular gift. Now I could've preached on gifts today. I chose not to because all of us are gifted. The Bible says that each of us as a gift from God. As a matter fact all gifts have the same source.
They come from God and they are given for the same purpose, the common good. Said Jesus and as a result of that we fit somewhere in the body 90. There are some of you who because of geographical reasons or other reasons, find it difficult to get involved, but I just want you to know this.
As you look at the book of acts, and as you look at thriving churches what you find is the sense of commitment and involvement and sacrifice and are willing to investigate and a willingness to help us to help you to know where you fit so that we can be a serving church.
Sometimes you'll get credit for it.
Sometimes you won't probably most of the time you won't nobody will know about it. But what a difference it makes. This past week I read a story about a man who had been so angry with the church. He never attended church. He said all that they want is my money all that they want as they want to save me so that I can be another statistic and had a deep bitterness in his heart, but as he was dying of cancer and was 75 pounds when he was unable to speak and he looked at all of the flowers that were there in the hospital room and he saw all of the cards that the people of the church of Santa.
Many saw all of the outpouring of love.
He took a pen and wrote on a Kleenex box with his daughter present. I was wrong my dear friend there a lot of people out there.
We have to prove her wrong.
They have conceptions of us that aren't true, they think that all that we want is numbers are all that we want is them for this or that and they don't understand that we really do want to love.
We really do want to serve.
We want to really represent Jesus well in this community, as we frequently say in this church because we understand that even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. And he said that's the standard that's the way you evaluate service be first but the first to be a servant, and then you will be great in the kingdom is 1/3 lesson in the third lesson is this, that those who serve are the ones who rule those who serve are the ones who rule you say well thankfully Jesus served when he was here on this earth but now that he's in heaven sitting on his throne.
And now that we are going to get to reign with him no more of this service anymore.
That's what I would think you know some of you may struggle with whether or not the Bible is the word of God.
It's okay to struggle with it as long as you keep reading it. I tell you something.
There's no way that anybody would make this stuff up. There is absolutely no way that anybody would come up with what is in the Bible unless it were inspired by God because there's a passage in the book of Luke that says this it says be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door to him there to talk about the second coming of Jesus Christ. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth that he master that is Jesus will dress himself to serve, and will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. I say God I can.
Not I can. Not believe it. I believe it but there's a part of me that says, how can this be to realize what it's saying that when you and I are in the kingdom Jesus is going to say will you know you had a hard time. It on earth you lived in the city. Woody church was in all that you thought it was winter a lot of heart ache people around you died, you went through a lot of suffering.
Now it's time for you to just relax you recline and I'm gonna put on my garments and take a towel and I'm going to serve you at the at the dinner Jesus doing and some of us will walk out of this church today without ever having really genuinely sacrificed for anyone in the last month or two and Jesus at all circus that service does not even end in the coming kingdom of thinking to myself what would happen if everyone who is a member in a tender ability, church honestly and truly began to take upon themselves the role of the servant. I'm trying about beginning with myself and the staff and the elders and the leadership then all the way down. Can you imagine the number of lives that would be touched if everyone of us were to say I want to touch two or three lives by service significantly significantly sacrificially this year two or three. Some can do a half-dozen. Some can do 10. Some were involved in children's ministry is going to do it for hundreds but when we all began to say when I see a need. I'm going immediate there someone in the hospital. I'm going to visit them or write them or give them a card. If I if I see a specific financial need.
I'm going to help. I'm going to look for opportunities to serve. Yes, those who serve are the ones who rule AE Whitham has an imaginary report on a visit to the new Jerusalem. He says in my wandering, I came upon the museum in the city of our dreams. I went in and the attendant conducted me around. There was some old armor there much bruised with battle. Many things were conspicuous by their absence. I saw nothing of Alexander's or of Napoleon's there was no pope's brain, not even the ink bottle that Luther is said to have thrown at the devil I saw widow's mite in the feather of a little bird I saw some swaddling clothes, a hammer, three nails and a few thorns. I saw a sponge that at one time had been dipped in vinegar and I saw a small piece of silver and one was turning over a simple drinking cup which had an honorable place. You know Jesus did say that if you give a cup of cold water in my name, will not lose your reward while I saw this cup, which had an honorable place. I whispered to the attendant. Do you have a towel and a basin among your collection. They said no because they're still in constant use. Jesus said look to relinquish your desire for power. If God gives it to you. Fine but don't don't worry about the people at work were trying to undermine you. Don't worry about the people who would like to try to do something to cut you down. The Scripture says, seek is now great things for thyself. Don't seek them. Don't seek them, seek them not got sister Jeremiah if God wants to give you great things. Let God give you great things be released from that hassle because he who would be first, he who would rule. Let him search because even the Son of Man, Jesus said did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. And Jesus is saying please please use me as your standard. An example let's pray our father today. We do want to thank you that Jesus came to give us an example of greatness. We thank you that even in the kingdom. Though we do not understand it.
He showed Gerda tell and ask us to recline at the table and come and serve all father today break us down from our selfish narrow lives and make us a church that flourishes with good deeds and sacrificial service. We pray today father and those needs that are represented, some of which we've referred to grant old God many to come our way and to say whatever it takes whatever the cost. I'm here to serve do that. Lord unleash the power of your church by becoming great through service.
In Jesus name, amen.
Thinking of what the challenge that Jesus Christ gave us. I was thinking of the 387, 387 old to be like the blessed Redeemer and that's that's our calling folks is to be like Christ in the neighborhoods in our work in our communities in our churches represent him to serve like he did 387. Jerry commonly displays on today's Moody Church over Dr. Erwin Lutzer brought the third of four messages in his series. I believe in the church we heard about how serving one another is a visible mark of our being true Christians. Baptism and the Lord's supper are vital components of every believer's spiritual life. Next week join us as Erwin lutes or speaks on. I believe in the ordinances gambling, pornography, greed and lust. They're all pathways to addictions can cripple any of us. We need to understand the devil's tactics. Dr. Luther's book 7 snares of the enemy is our gift to you in return for your gift to support The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001 and ask for your copy. That's 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin lutes or the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago