"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Served By Greatness, Serve To Be Great (20:20-28) INTRODUCTION 1. What good mother does not desire the best for her children? a. The mother of James and John was no different b. She desired great things for her two sons - Mt 20:20-21 2. Yet she was not aware of the significance of what she was asking Jesus... a. Serving in His kingdom would require great sacrifice and suffering - Mt 20:22-23 b. Her request could only be granted by the Father - Mt 20:23 3. This request in behalf of James and John displeased the other apostles - Mt 20:24 a. Upon which Jesus used this opportunity to teach an important lesson - Mt 20:25-28 b. I.e., to be great in the kingdom one must serve, even as the Son of Man came to serve [This is a lesson that every Christian needs to remember, yet it goes against what the world would have us believe. To encourage us in being willing to serve, perhaps it would help to recall that we have been...] I. WE HAVE BEEN SERVED BY GREATNESS A. SERVED BY JESUS... 1. He came to serve, not to be served - Mt 20:28 2. He served by giving His life a ransom, dying on the cross for our sins 3. He serves even now, as our High Priest who intercedes for us- He 7:24-25 B. SERVED BY THE PROPHETS... 1. The prophets spent their lives in service for our benefit 1Pe 1:10-12 2. Thus we have been served by men like Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and many other "heroes of faith"! C. SERVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT... 1. It was the Holy Spirit who inspired the prophets - 1Pe 1:11 2. He also inspired the apostles to reveal the gospel - 1Pe 1: 12; Jn 16:13 D. SERVED BY THE APOSTLES... 1. They are the ones who preached the gospel to us - 1Pe 1:12 2. Through them, we have come to believe in Jesus - cf. Jn 17:20 3. Thus we have been served by men like Peter, James, John, and Paul, who suffered greatly in their ministry to us!
- cf. 1Co 4:9-13; 2Co 11:24-29 E. SERVED BY ANGELS... 1. They had a keen interest in the things being revealed - 1 Pe 1:12 2. For they had a part in the process of revelation
- cf. Dan 8,9; Lk 1:11-19,26-38 3. Thus they too have ministered to us - cf. He 1:13-14 F. SERVED BY OTHER CHRISTIANS... 1. Someone taught us the gospel, others continue to teach us and our children 2. Some have made it possible for us to assemble, and each week clean up what we leave behind 3. In times of sickness, many have prayed and rendered various forms of service [With so many rendering so much service, it is easy to feel pampered. Indeed, we have been "served by greatness"! Do we take it for granted? I hope not. We can show our appreciation by emulating those who served us. So let me offer just a few ways that we can serve others...] II. LET US SERVE TO BE GREAT A. SERVE OTHERS IN EVANGELISM... 1. Someone led you to Christ, can you not lead another to Him?- cf. Jn 1:35-42 2. Begin by being hospitable, offering acts of kindness and service 3. At the very least, invite to services, offer a Bible correspondence course 4. Hone your skills in personal evangelism, seek to improve your ability to teach the gospel to others B. SERVE OTHERS IN EDIFICATION... 1. Many have contributed to your spiritual growth, can you help others? - cf. Ep 4:16 2. Begin by being present at every service, greeting every one present 3. Take a special interest in those who are new, encourage them 4. Offer to help teach our children, even if it only means to assist another teacher 5. Volunteer whatever service you can render in the work and worship of the church C. SERVE OTHERS IN BENEVOLENCE... 1. Has anyone ever showed you kindness? "Be kind to one another" cf. Ep 4:32 2. Visit the sick or elderly in hospitals, and at home 3. Render service such as cleaning, transportation, errands, etc. 4. Minister to the poor, hungry, or those otherwise in need CONCLUSION 1. The important thing is that we be people of service... a. People who serve others, not just benefiting from the efforts of others b. People who are producers, not just consumers 2. Serving others is not just the path to greatness in the kingdom, it is also the path to happiness in life: "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Ac 20:35) Shall we not follow both the example and teaching of the Son of Man, and live to serve others?