A community of believers
Scripture: Matthew 20:17-28
Aim: To help the believer understand that he is a member of a community of believers.
Golden Text: “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
A basic principle that Jesus intended to characterize the Community of Believers, the Church of Jesus Christ, is that each member is to be a servant of God and have a heart to serve others inside and outside the community of believers. The very basic spiritual regulation within the church and among the members was intended to be “service.”
This writer has been a preacher for 55 years. The service of preaching and ministering has been the life I have lived. Often the service is unappreciated. It mostly is unrewarded and many times is “un-thanked.”
Now, should I have entered into the ministry with any other motive but to be an obedient servant of Jesus Christ, my life is a total failure. However, I learned early on that success was to find out God’s will and then do it. Therefore, servitude to others has been a joyful journey through life regardless of the my less-than-spiritual attitudes and outlook at times.
Some one says, “Yes, that is the job of preachers, but that is not my job (to be a servant of others).”
That seems to be the attitude of James, John and their mother, Salome. They all thought James and John ought to be most important in the coming Kingdom of Christ. The other apostles seem to have had the same personal idea about themselves; so, they got angry at James and John (see verse 24)!
That does not sound like much of a service attitude, does it?
Sounds more like many in our churches today.
I. Jesus gave the apostles insight into His coming death (Matthew 20:17-19). On the way up to Jerusalem, Jesus took His disciples aside and informed them that He was going up to Jerusalem to be betrayed to the Jews, condemned to death, mocked, scourged, crucified and then rise from the grave three days later. What a plain statement that was!
II. Salome, mother of James and John, asked Jesus to let her sons sit on the right and left side of Him on the throne (Matthew 20:20-24). That Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die did not seem to register with them. The disciples were thinking about Jesus going to Jerusalem to be made King of the Jews and take up His throne in Jerusalem as the Son of David. They were desirous of special honor and treatment. They were self-centered with a superior attitude about themselves.
III. Jesus recognized the great need to again instruct them in the basic principle within the community of believers (Matthew 20:24-28). First, Jesus pointed out that in the world of men great authority over others was sought and vied for (vs. 25). In this world “authority” and “position” are premium things to be sought.
Second, the principle that was to govern the Church was “ministering” and “serving” (vs. 26-27). Jesus would teach them this again in the Upper Room at the last supper. The members of the New Community, which He was in the process of organizing (the Church), was to be a community of servants, serving others and therefore serving God in the purest way.
To emphasize this, Jesus pointed to His own life and ministry. He came to serve others (vs. 28). If He was a servant, and Christians follow Him (as His disciples did); then, the members of His Church ought to be servants as well.
“Everybody else is an ‘Indian,’ Jesus alone is the ‘Chief.'” There is no room in the body of Christ for “big I’s” and “little yous.” All are servants of Christ!
Each and every member of the is expected to be a servant of God by serving others.