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Becoming the GOAT

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2021 6:00 am

Becoming the GOAT

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 8, 2021 6:00 am

In this message from Matthew 11, Pastor Bryan talks about true greatness. We all want to live satisfying lives. We all want to leave our marks for eternity. We all want to become, in a way, great. The problem isn’t in our desire for greatness, but in the path we choose to pursue it. Will we pursue greatness like the world—in status, acceptance, or circumstances? Or will we pursue true greatness—in the upside-down kingdom of heaven?

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Well, good morning, Summit family. If you have your Bibles, I want to invite you to meet me in Matthew chapter 11. I want to draw your attention to one of the most head-scratching things Jesus ever said, and it's going to have profound implications for how you and I navigate life today. Matthew chapter 11, pick me up in verse 1. Matthew writes, When Jesus had finished instructing his 12 disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John, that would be John the Baptist, heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another? And Jesus answered them, Go and tell John what you hear and see. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them, and blessed is the one who is not offended by me. As they went away, verse 7, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John. What did you go out into the wilderness to see?

A reed shaken by the wind. What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing. Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.

What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet, this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before your face who will prepare your way before you.

Now for the shocking part. Truly, Jesus says, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates. We played the flute for you, and you didn't dance. We sang a dirge, and you didn't mourn. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say he has a demon. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, look at him, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds. One more time, verse 11. Truly, I say to you, among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Summit family, I want to talk this morning about becoming the goat, the greatest of all time. Will you pray with me? Father, thank you for your word.

I'm always amazed and struck by, Lord God, how timeless and relevant it is. I'm thinking right now of the words of Paul as he was writing to his young son in the ministry, Timothy, of the Scriptures and talking about how all Scriptures inspired and how it is profitable, it's beneficial. Lord God, we need to hear from you. Father, right now, there are people who are all over the place. Some have been coming to Summit or grew up in church, been a part of the church all their lives, professions of faith when they were young, and there are some right now, Lord God, who would say, this is my first time in church, I wouldn't profess to be a follower of you. And then there are others who are operating under the illusion of salvation. So I ask, Lord God, that your word would speak to all of us, that it would change us, that it would revolutionize our lives, save someone's soul.

Do it right now in the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen. I'm guessing most of us here in this room, we have read the Ernest Hemingway classic, The Old Man and the Sea. In this book, written towards the end of Hemingway's life, we are introduced to the protagonist, a guy by the name of Santiago, who is, well, an old man who decides to go out on the sea, and he decides to go fishing. For 84 consecutive days, he catches nothing. Now, my kids will tell you, I really enjoy fishing, wouldn't call myself a fisherman, but if I go 84 minutes without catching something, that's the end of the day, we going back to the house. Obviously, the Lord ain't in this, but this dude is 84 consecutive days, catches nothing. As you can imagine, he's really dejected, he's bummed out, and lo and behold, he decides to wait it out another day, and on that 85th day, not only does he catch a fish, he catches the biggest fish he's ever seen or heard of in his life.

He catches this huge marlin. And immediately, Santiago thinks, now my existence is justified. I'm going to take this marlin back to shore. They're going to see how big it is, and they're going to just start sending my way, praises and accolades. I'm finally going to get my just due.

Greatness is finally going to come my way, but there's one problem. Santiago doesn't have the strength, the resources, or the wherewithal to actually bring this huge marlin into the boat, and so he's got to keep it tied to the boat, and he ends up killing it, but that's when the greater problem comes. As this marlin begins to bleed out, a shark picks up the scent of blood, and wouldn't you know it, this shark starts whittling away at eating this marlin, so much so that when Santiago gets back to shore, he has nothing to show for his labors but the skeleton of this fish, and the greatness that was in his grasp is now no longer. Now, most Hemingway scholars tell us, again, this book is written towards the end of Hemingway's life, that actually the old man in the sea is Hemingway being somewhat autobiographical. Here's Hemingway, he is looking through the rear view mirror of his own life. He has accomplished a lot of things. He has experienced a measure or modicum of greatness. He seemingly has checked all the boxes, wealth, check, fame, check, romance, check, and yet here he is at the end of his life, if you know anything about Ernest Hemingway, one of the most tormented souls to have ever walked the face of the earth. He's not a picture of contentment, or meaning, or value, or significance. He's quite the opposite. He's an alcoholic who suffers severe depression.

He's an individual who has been married and divorced numerous times. In fact, we all understand the end result of Hemingway. He is so dejected that he has not been able to hold on to greatness that he ends up committing suicide.

What Santiago and Hemingway teach us is that there is no such thing as lasting values, significance, and meaning in this life. Yet the problem for so many of us is not that we are on a quest for greatness. I actually think being on a quest for greatness is a part of what it means to be made in the image of God. This doesn't mean we're on a quest to be famous. We want our lives to make a difference.

But the problem is where we're fishing. So many people in this world are fishing and looking for the big game catches of success or wealth or status, and maybe they experience those things only to come up empty and to realize they don't fulfill. To be sure, our passage is all about greatness. And not just greatness in general, but true greatness. Again, in verse 11, Jesus draws our attention to this. He says, truly, I say to you, among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. He's writing in Greek, Matthew is, and the Greek word for greater, it's the idea of extent. It's the tallest tree. It's the biggest lake.

It's the fastest car. In that sense, we might interpret this word greater as meaningful or valuable or significant. Jesus is saying, no one else born of women has experienced more value, more meaning, more significance than John the Baptist. Now, some of you might be bristling at this whole notion that it is quite okay to say, I want to experience true greatness in life. Because maybe when you've heard of this idea of greatness, you're thinking maybe of Muhammad Ali, the self-proclaimed greatest of all time.

Something strikes you as narcissistic and prideful about that. What do you mean it's okay for me to pursue greatness? We have these goat conversations all the time, the greatest of all time. I think Hank, the guy who led us in worship, is a spirit-filled young man, except for when he gets to talking about Lebron James in basketball. And then he goes over the precipice of heresy and starts talking about how Lebron is the greatest of all time.

And I'm just like, what in the world is wrong with you? Did you notice him leading worship in a pair of Jordans? I mean, such hypocrisy. That's a candidate for church discipline. It's the Olympics. Please don't talk to me in the middle of preaching.

That bothers me as a black man. But anyways, it's the Olympics, right? And the Olympics. We've been having this goat conversation. I think Simone Biles has been really helpful in helping to lengthen the conversation. It's more than just what happens in competition. But maybe Simone Biles is helping us to see that maybe greatness is being a great teammate, cheering others on, being an advocate for your own mental health.

All over the place, we're having this discussion. What is true greatness? Jesus doesn't have a problem with greatness. However, this passage gives us a whole different set of metrics. The problem with worldly greatness is we're using a different set of metrics, a set of metrics that is temporary and not eternal. The set of metrics Jesus gives us is completely different. In fact, here's what Jesus is saying to us. He's saying that when we commit our lives to him and measure our lives by the metrics of the kingdom of heaven and not the metrics of this world, you and I will attain the goat status and live the most satisfying life one could ever live. And we will leave our marks for all of eternity. I don't know about you, friends, but that's exactly what I want.

I want to just walk you through this right now. Our text is going to show us four areas. We typically look for greatness, but greatness can't be found there.

And then I want to land on one area that greatness true greatness is found. As our text opens up, we find John the Baptist. He's in prison.

Why is he in prison? He has been embroiled in the greatest scandal of his day. King Herod, who is king of the Jews.

Don't let that confuse you. The Romans are in charge, but they they allowed Herod to experience a a modicum or a measure of authority under their rule. So here is King Herod, king of the Jews. And in a scandal that is tabloid worthy, he has seduced his own brother's wife away from his brother, leading to the dissolution of that marriage. And he has taken her now to be his wife.

Everybody else is keeping mum about this. They understand how crazy of a political leader King Herod is. But John the Baptist, being the true prophet that he is, just can't keep his mouth shut. And so what does he do? He speaks truth to power.

He calls out the immorality of that political leader. King Herod doesn't take this lying down, and so he immediately has John thrown in prison. While John is in prison, Jesus, he's one who receives the disciples of John and the disciples of John asked Jesus a question if he is the one.

I'll come back to that in just a few moments. Jesus then preaches the eulogy of John the Baptist and notice what he says about John the Baptist. While John the Baptist is in prison, he says, I want you to understand that John the Baptist is the goat. He is the greatest of all time. He says that to him while he's in prison.

I love it. One of the things Jesus is teaching us is that greatness can't be measured by our circumstances. Greatness can't be measured by our circumstances. If you're new to the summit, you need to understand one of the things I absolutely love about our church is we have several of our locations that are actually inside prisons. It's amazing to me to think that there are many individuals right now who are watching this sermon and maybe they're looking through the rearview mirror of their own lives and lamenting some of the choices that they've made. Maybe they're wondering, can God use me? Well, you need to take a page out of the Bible in Matthew chapter 11. Jesus says of an incarcerated individual, that's true greatness.

Again, greatness cannot be measured at any time, good or bad by your circumstances. My wife and I have some dear friends of ours. These friends of ours have just been going through the ringer. It's been kind of like a job like journey that they've been on. Seems as if Satan has thrown everything at them, including the kitchen sink. I checked in on them the other week just to see how they were doing in the report.

The report that I got was absolutely worse than what I had initially heard. Things have gotten so much worse. They've lost their job. They're struggling financially. They're looking for housing right now. There's family drama that they're going through.

It seems as if the sky has caved in on them. And yet in the middle of all this, the wife says to me, she kind of throws this zinger of a line at me. She says, Yeah, but Brian, as bad as things are, we are learning that circumstances are a horrible foundation to build our lives on. Circumstances are a horrible foundation to build our lives on. Listen, I don't know where you are in your in your own walk in life. Maybe things are going well for you. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but keep inhaling and exhaling and problems will come our way.

James says it this way in James chapter one, want it all joy, not if, but when trials come your way. It's just a fact of life. Maybe some of you right now, this is exactly where you're at. Maybe you got diagnosed with cancer or some kind of long term debilitating physical disease. And man, you're just really struggling right now. I want you to understand that that your value is not tethered to your circumstances. Maybe someone else you're here today and maybe you're dealing with issues of infertility. Maybe if I take that a step further, maybe there's a sense of shame that you're feeling right now is you're just struggling through this valley.

I don't make light of that at all. I'm not going to give you any kind of platitudes, but I want you to understand your sense of value or self worth is not ultimately found in your circumstances. Here is Jesus, he says to an individual who is locked up that this person is the greatest of all time.

Greatness is not a byproduct of my circumstances. But if you'll just permit me to park here for just a few more moments, I want to press into something because here is John. He's finding himself in jail and man, he's down.

He's discouraged. We know that because he commissions his own followers to go tag along with Jesus and to give Jesus a message. He has his followers say to Jesus, hey, Jesus, John wants to know, are you the one or should we look for another? In other words, John is saying, are you the long awaited Messiah? The implication is if you are a brother, I need you to work your magic and get me up out of here.

Now, the question is unbelievable. Here is John, the cousin of Jesus, asking Jesus if he is the Messiah. You want to go, wait a minute, John, your mother is Elizabeth and Jesus is your cousin. His mother is Mary. I remember the time when in utero, here is Elizabeth. She goes to meet Mary. Mary is pregnant.

Your mother is pregnant with you. And at the very sense of the Messiah in utero, you start doing cartwheels and backflips. What do you mean are you the one? You want to go, wait a minute, John, I saw you at Matthew and Matthew Chapter three. You were the one who baptized Jesus. You were there when the heavens open up and the spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove. You heard the word of God saying this is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased. What do you mean you're doubting if he's the one? All of your preaching, all of your proclamation about Jesus and you are doubting if he's the one? Ever been there?

Ever been there? Listen, I'm a church OG. I grew up in the church, man.

My dad planted two churches in two different states at the same time. Every time the doors of the church were open, I was there. I go back to flannelboard days.

I go back to Awana car days. And yet for all my learning, for all the sermons I've heard preached, for all my Bible college and seminary training, when we had to spend five years at St. Jude's over a sick child, there were times I'm driving down Poplar Avenue there in Memphis and in my own way I'm going, are you the one? Are you really who you say you are? Ever been there? For all of our information and learning, there are times in our lives when life will wind us and we'll be filled with doubt.

I love it. Nowhere in our text does Jesus ever scold John for his doubt. Jesus can handle your doubts.

Let me press into this just a little further. These disciples come to Jesus and they go, look, John's in prison. He wants to know if you're the one, if you're the long awaited Messiah. Jesus then gives him a cryptic message. He says in our text, verse four, Jesus answered them, go and tell John what you see and hear. The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear and the dead are raised up and the poor have good news.

Preach to them. And both scholars tell us that this is a cryptic message loosely based on the first sermon Jesus ever preached at the start of his ministry. That sermon is found in Luke chapter four, verses 18 to 19.

Listen to what Jesus says. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind to set it liberty.

Those who are pressed to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. In both of these parallel passages, Jesus says loosely the same things. Listen, I've come to preach, I've come to heal, I've come to do justice, but notice what Jesus leaves out in his message to John in verses four and five.

He leaves out the part about the captives being set free. In other words, what Jesus is saying to John is, yes, I am the one and no, you ain't getting out of jail. Friends, don't you see what Jesus is doing now is pronouncing the eulogy to prosperity theology. What is prosperity theology?

Maybe some of you you have in your minds just, you know, the crazies over there. They're the preachers on certain, you know, Christian networks and, you know, ultimately they say things like if you have enough faith, you'll never get sick. You'll get the brand new luxury car with 26 inch rims, rims, African American colloquialism for hubcaps, and you'll have all that stuff. If you really have enough faith, you'll never get sick. Prosperity theology, I hate to say this, but it's true. It really kind of takes a foothold in impoverished communities, gives them a false sense of hope. But I want you to understand a little bit of prosperity theology lives in all of us. The end of the day, prosperity theology is equation theology. It says do good things over here, get good outcomes over here. At the end of the day, we've got to be careful because prosperity theology is idolatry. It replaces the Messiah with the material benefits that we think comes with following him. The problem with prosperity theology is when the equation doesn't work out. What happens when I tithe over here but get cancer over here?

What happens if I'm faithful in my leadership over here but get terminated from my job over here? What happens when I'm doing the best that I can and doing good over here but suffering and evil come knocking on my family's door over here? Bit of prosperity theology lives in us. Here is Jesus. He's saying to John the Baptist, I am the one and your situation will not change. Matthew 14, he gets beheaded while in jail. Am I still worthy of your worship?

Is that you, friends? Are you following Jesus for the benefits package or are you following him because he's worthy? Can you say with Job, even though he slay me, I will still follow? Where's greatness found?

It's not found in circumstances but secondly, it is not found in status. He gives the message, this cryptic message to the disciples of John the Baptist. They then turn and go away and he now preaches his eulogy.

Verse 7, he says, as they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind.

What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing. Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses. The idea of soft clothing, you saw an individual, they were wearing outfits like this, you associated them with the king. They were the king's couriers.

They delivered messages to and from the king. You saw this clothing, you associated them with the king, it tells you they were people of status. Jesus is saying, by the world standards, John had no status. We know this to be true from Matthew chapter 3 verse 4. Look at it with me on the screen. It says, now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist and his food was locusts and wild honey.

The idea here is John had no status. Now dads, work with me on this one. Imagine you're sitting in your living room one day, there's a knock on the door, you open it up and you're looking at an individual, they're wearing camel's hair with a belt around their waist, they've got bedhead, they look disheveled and they say to you, yes sir, I want you to know I've been dating your daughter and I'm here to ask permission to marry your daughter. You're like, what in the world? I've never heard of you before, never seen you before, let me ask you a few questions, what do you do for a living? They tell you, I'm a preacher, where's your church? Out in the wilderness, we don't have a building, where do you live? I live near my church in the wilderness. Really, how are you doing financially?

Not that great, I'm eating locusts and wild honey right now, can't you smell it on my breath? You Google this individual and you find out that they are a convicted felon. You tell them this ain't gonna work. Undeterred, a couple days later they come back with their cousin. Their cousin, you find out, is 33 years old, is homeless, has been rejected by most people and in a few days is going to be executed on a cross.

Chances are you're gonna double down and say there's absolutely no way you can marry my daughter. These two individuals, John and Jesus, were individuals who by the world standards had no status. And yet, what does he say of John the Baptist with no status, no sense of esteem in this world?

He's the goat. Truly, I tell you, no one has been greater born of women. And in some senses, friends, on the continuum of eternity, that's all of us.

Writing to the Corinthians, Paul says, for consider your calling brothers. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards. Not many were powerful. Not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

I gotta be careful here. He's not saying if you're wealthy or if you do have status by the world's eyes that God can't use you. The Bible is filled with individuals who had wealth and status in the world's eyes and they did profound things for the kingdom of God.

Thinking of individuals like Abraham and Lydia and Philemon and Esther and so on and so forth. However, what Jesus is saying is you cannot be obsessed with pursuing status in this life and at the same time pursuing status in the kingdom of heaven. Those two things don't mix. So where is greatness found? It's not found in my circumstances. It's not found in my status.

But this is a big one. It's not found in my religion. It's not found in my religion. The book of Matthew is peculiar because what makes Matthew different from Mark, Luke and John is the audience Matthew is addressing. Matthew is writing his authorized biography on the life of Jesus. He's writing his gospel to the Jews. Individuals who went to synagogue every week, who went to the temple on high and holy days, who went to the temple to offer sacrifices for their sins, who memorized the Torah. That'd be the first five books of the Bible. They memorized Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Leviticus, Leviticus numbers in Deuteronomy. They memorized that.

The average Jew gave almost 20% of their annual income to the Lord. And yet the fact that he writes his gospel to religious people tell us that not only are those two things drastically different, but you could be religious as the day is long and headed to hell at the same time. This is our text. As our text winds down, Jesus likens him and John to children playing in the streets. He says to them, Listen, I want you to understand John and I played the flute for you and you did not dance.

This is a reference to what would happen at weddings. At weddings when you heard the flute, that was your cue to hit the dance floor, do the do the wobble, the cupid shuffle, the electric slide. That's what you did when you heard the flute to the left. That's what you did. He says, We did that. You didn't respond. You sat down at your tables when we played the flute for you.

He says, Okay, that didn't work. So we sang a dirge. This is an allusion to what happens at funerals. At funerals when you heard the dirge, that was your cue to mourn. He says, We sang the dirge. You didn't mourn. We played the flute. You didn't dance. We sang the dirge. You didn't mourn.

What is he saying? John and I came to you religious people giving you gospel truth and you did not respond. You said, I will have my religion at the expense of the gospel. The fact that religion and the gospel are two different things is evident.

Religion says I do. The gospel says it's done. Religion is works driven. The gospel is grace driven.

Religion is about me. The gospel is about God. Jesus said, We came to you giving you the gospel, but you refused to accept our invitation. With that in mind, now we're ready to rightly divide when the most perplexing verses in all of the Bible. Verse 12, Jesus says, From the day of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and the violent take it by force. What is Jesus saying? Jesus is saying the kingdom of heaven is being abused in context.

Who is it being abused by? Religious people who refused to repent of their religion. The spirit of religion says I can get to God on my own terms. Spirit of religion says I will do it. It is me centered. I will have it my way.

Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is being abused by church folk who come to church but who are very religious, whose hearts are as far away from him as the elder brother's heart in Luke Chapter 15. Now let me give you a sophisticated analogy to cement this in your mind. Imagine I come to you and I say, hey, I want to bless you. I want to take you out for a wonderful steak dinner. My dime.

Let's hang. We go out and the waiter comes by, takes our order, and you order the motherload of all fillets. I high five you.

That's what I'm talking about. Then the waiter asks you how do you want it prepared? And you have the audacity to say, I want it well done. I said, let me stop you right there, brother. That cow did not die for you to burn it. You are ruining the experience.

It's supposed to be medium, maybe even medium rare, but not well done. I'm begging and I'm pleading with you. I'm playing the flute. I'm singing the dirge. Well done is not the way it's supposed to be. But you persist. You got to have it your way. And you ruin the whole purpose of it. That's what Jesus is saying. I came offering you a whole different experience.

But you thought the kingdom of heaven could be had on your terms. It can't. How do we see this today? Let me give you three examples. We see this all the time today, and you'll forgive my directness.

But I say this to us in love. I've got a buddy of mine who a group of people left his church a few years ago. They were ticked off because they said he was talking about sin too much. They left his church and they planted a new church, constructed this church in their own image. Got a pastor who would preach the sermons the way that they wanted it. They ordered the kingdom of heaven well done.

And they did violence because of their refusal to respond and conform to gospel truth. We see this now when preachers and leaders give a biblical vision of sex and sexuality and they say the Bible says it can only happen this way. And you get individuals who have left the church, started denominations, started churches because they refused to conform to biblical truth and have in the process ordered the kingdom of heaven well done.

And they've said no, marriage can happen between anybody. If I can press even further, all my life I've given myself to ethnic unity and a biblical vision, not a cultural vision, a biblical vision of ethnic unity. I've preached Ephesians 2, Revelation 5, Revelation 7, honoring the text and I can count on every single time I do it people complain or people leave.

Why? Because the biblical vision is cutting against the grain of how they were culturally formed. All these and more are cases of individuals saying I will have the Bible and the kingdom of heaven according to my preferences.

Jesus said when we do this, we are abusing the kingdom of heaven. Greatness cannot be found in circumstances, status, religion, as we round third and head for home. It can't be found in people's opinions of us. Can't be found in acceptance. Again, Jesus says John and I came to you and we played the flute, you didn't dance, we sang the dirge, you didn't mourn.

What is he saying? You all rejected us and yet in spite of you all rejecting us, two of the greatest who have ever lived. John says of Jesus that he came unto his own and his own received him not.

Other people's opinions of you is no appropriate commentary on your worth. Well, where's greatness found? If it's not found in my circumstances, if it's not found in my status, if it's not found in my religion, if it's not found in acceptance, where is true greatness found?

Answer as we close, it is found only in Jesus Christ. Verse 11, he says, Truly I say to you among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. I spent years pastoring in Memphis. If you know anything about the city of Memphis, city of Memphis is typically ranked in the top 10 for murders per capita.

It is murder ville. In fact, so many murders happen in the city of Memphis, it's the bane of the Memphian that that city has been profiled on a television show called The First 48. Murder after murder after murder after murder, yet for all of the murders that have taken place in Memphis, I only know of one murderer by name.

You know this murderer too. His name is James Earl Ray. Why do we know James Earl Ray?

We don't remember what he looks like. He was an average individual, his biographer says. Why does James Earl Ray have a legacy for a murder he committed on April 4th, 1968? His legacy is that he killed Martin Luther King Jr. Because King had a legacy and he is linked with that legacy, he has a legacy. Jesus, how in the world can you say John the Baptist is the greatest of all time? What about Moses, that legendary liberator who opened up the Red Seas? Or what about Esther who spoke truth to power for such a time as this? What about Elijah and Elisha? Their ministries were marked by the supernatural.

John didn't have anything on them. How can you say he's the greatest? Jesus says the difference between John the Baptist and Abraham, Moses, Joseph, the patriarchs, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, and everyone else is, is that his life's calling was inextricably tied to me. Because he is inextricably tied to me and I am the greatest that ever was, ever is, and ever will be.

He likewise is the greatest. Oh friends, true greatness in life, Jesus says, you and I can experience the same goat status. He says, and I tell you, the person that is least in the kingdom of heaven can be the greatest of all time. If you're in the kingdom of heaven, how'd you get there? You didn't get there by your own good works. You didn't get there by your choices. You didn't get there by church attendance. You didn't get there by your moral strivings. You got there by Christ and Christ alone.

Because your life is tied to his. I don't care if your daddy walked out on you. I don't care what your circumstances may be. I don't care if you are esteemed as having no status in this world. If your life is in Christ and Christ is in you, you are great.

You can leave your mark for what really matters. So Father, I thank you. I thank you for your word.

I thank you for the truth of it. Forgive us for fishing in the wrong seas. Forgive us of our idols of trying to find greatness apart from you. Father we renew our commitment to be inextricably linked to Jesus. Over a hundred times in the New Testament we are told we are in Christ, in Christ, in Christ. May we live into that we pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-07 23:02:38 / 2023-09-07 23:16:56 / 14

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