Matthew 20: 20 – 28

What Is It?

  1.   A new Kingdom
    1. It is different
    2. It  is not like the kingdoms of this world.
    3. What is Kingdom living?
      1. Suffering
      2. Servanthood/slavery
      3. “You got to give it away”
        1. It is based in relationship, not duty
        2. Christ is the focus

 

Introduction:  Here at Grace Coastal Church we have 3 buzz words that describe our Biblical call and entail our body’s life in Christ.  The are:

Gathering

Growing

Giving

We have all three in this passage.

Gathering – the disciples are together and they are at the feet of Jesus

Growing – Jesus is teaching the disciples the gospel and how it is applicable

Giving – Jesus is describing and showing the disciples what life in Christ is…giving.

                Our focus today is on giving.  We are not talking about money today.

                We are talking about a lifestyle that is described as kingdom living.

                We are looking at the very words of Jesus and what is a life that has Christ as the center focus.

It is not a popular church growth strategy.  It is somewhat not understandable in our consumer driven culture of getting.  Regardless it is how Jesus teaches and then shows to be Kingdom living when we turn our focus on him.

The funny thing about this giving we are going to look at today, it really is not about the people we will give our lives to.  It is about the effect of giving on us. 

Review:  Review:  Last week we looked at the Zebedee family and their request to have the sons James and John sit beside Jesus in the new kingdom.     We looked at the truth from Ephesians 3 that we have received every spiritual blessing so therefore our call is to go live for the kingdom.  That kingdom is founded in Jesus Christ.  We are not to live in a hope of receiving a blessing.  It is already given.  We live our lives in response to the blessing of Jesus Christ in our hearts

It is a matter of living with Christ as the center focus, not us.  We cannot add anything to the cross even though we tend to do so.  Our identity is to be Christ, not all the works we tack to it to gain our significance.

This week we are going to answer the question:  If Christ and Christ alone is our focus what is the Christian walk?

 

  1. I.                     It is a new kingdom ( a kingdom that has come and is yet to come)

 

  1. a.      It is different.

                           In order to answer that question, we see that Jesus establishes that the His                kingdom is a different kingdom.

 

  1. The apostle John (who is one of the men asking for a kingdom position) writes in I John 3:16 – 18 that kingdom living is based in love.

 

John was listening back in Matthew 20.

            He defines love the same way Jesus did.  “We ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”           

–           In meeting needs of our brothers

–          It is not only nice words, but backed by our actions

  1. 2.       Jesus defines the kingdom in Matthew 22:37 – 39

Jesus does not abolish the law of the new kingdom, he fulfills it.

How does he fulfill it…by basing it on love, not duty.

Love the Lord…heart, soul, mind (love involving all aspects ofus)

Love your neighbor (love extending beyond us)

  1. Jesus makes it clear in John 15:13

    Greater love has no one than this, “that someone lay down his life for his  friends.”

   Now Jesus again describes the extent of that love.

    It is not a pick and choose kingdom. 

   Look at Matthew 20:26 – 28

      It is not self satisfying love…it is sacrificial love.

How is the Kingdom of Christ defined by the King:  Love

How does Jesus extend this love:  Grace

  1.  What now is kingdom living?

Jesus gives kingdom living two describers…suffering and serving.

If I took the time to review complete Biblical understanding of suffering and service we would easily be here around dinner time.  While the menu on the wall outside this room looks good, NHC is not prepared to serve us dinner. 

We could discuss suffering and what it looks like.

We could discuss the Biblical basis of service.

We could discuss living as Christ and leave here real guilty.

That is not the intent.  The intent is to allow us to see the greatness of the gospel story and allow God’s grace to lead us in his Kingdom.

For that reason, I want to look at a comparison with Ephesians 4:17 – 24.

Paul also says to no longer walk as the Gentiles.  Jesus back in Matthew 20 said the kingdom was not like the Gentiles.  Basically, both are calling believers to live a different life in a different perspective in a different kingdom.

When Paul says to not walk as Gentiles we immediately go to the list.  Here we go again, not only do we have our lists of what we think is “righteousness” we also have a list of what is “Unrighteousness.”

But Paul uses a phrase that tells the heart issue of the Gentiles (remember…everything is a heart issue) which is so important for us to understand the calling to live as givers.

In verse 19 he says “they have lost all sensitivity.”

In the ESV version it says “they have become callous.”

You know what Paul is saying…the real Gentile way of life is based on filling the senses because they have lost the ability to be sensitive.  Without sensitivity they have become callous.  Basically being callous means one thing…”I don’t care about you, I only care about me.”

Hold that thought for a minute.

Arno Gruen, research psycholosist, in his study “The Betrayal of the Self” writing from a non Christian view pointed out that “the actual source or our cruelty and callousness lies in the rejection of our own suffering.”

Do you see the connection is a calloused world?

           If Arno is correct (which I believe he is) than we are calloused because for some reason we don’t want to reveal our suffering. ? 

           It was said last week that the real sin is trying to be god.

           If I am god than I should not have to suffer…I can make it better.

           Let’s not stop there.  Usually as Christians we are trying to avoid suffering.

           Not dealing with suffering, makes one calloused.

           But, Jesus says in Matthew 20, kingdom living is suffering.

Earlier he says we will be hated because the world hates the gospel.

Let’s not stop there.

Paul in Philippians 3 says he wants to share in the suffering of Christ…why…

    So he can know the power of the resurrection and become like Christ in death.

    Death being the act of laying our lives down for the sake of a brother.

Well, that is not a gospel heard preached too often.

The reason the modern day church is losing ground is because it is not relevant.

Relevance is not trying to be liked.

Relevance is not making the gospel sound good.

Relevance is being in touch with the suffering.

Brothers and Sisters, when we avoid suffering we are actually becoming insensitive and calloused and that is the opposite of kingdom living.  It is the opposite of the gospel.

Why?  Why suffering?

The pattern is obvious.  We steal God’s glory.

Suffering leaves us no place to go but back to the cross.

The truth is we cannot fix us.  We can put bandaids on things.  We can fain obedience.  We can disguise ourselves on Sunday real good. 

Suffering rips off our false identities and brings us back to the only identity that redeems and that is Jesus.

Let me give you a four insights that help define “laying down our lives for another” as we suffer with and for Jesus. 

  Every time Family Promise roles into our building there is a family that volunteers to do whatever, whenever.  That is not the cool part.  They usually end up sleeping the night which most of us simply do not want to suffer through.  But that is not the point. They bring their kids.  They are leading their kids into a life of suffering.  They are exposing them to people who are needy and showing their kids what kingdom living looks like.  Instead of isolating the family from suffering and need, they are bringing their family and children into it. 

There is a family that has been through troubled times.  They have chosen to let the kingdom values of love and grace win the day.  To this day months and months later, the spiritual battle continues.  It is not that they are drawn back into their issues,  It is a battle for no time in my lifetime have I seen such a battle.  Why is there such a battle?  When we choose love and grace to win the day, the evil forces of Satan do not want to see it win the day.  Every day there is battle.  Every day there is suffering.  The gentile world tells this couple to toss it in, go your own way.  Instead, they are in suffering and what is at stake is the very essence of the gospel.

I want to tell you what truth and honesty looks like in a life of suffering.  There is a family of believers in which the four children had issues with my mom.  They never asked and they had never heard her story.  Basically, they did not know her and they did not respond gracefully to her regardless of her “issues.”  They waited too long to ask her.  Walls were built.  Hurt affected their lives.  Each learned to handle the problems with their mom in unique but not necessarily loving ways.    

When she was in her 70’s and damage had been done, after an hour of tears and battling, she told her story.  She told how her sister died at the age of 4 on Christmas Eve.  She told how there was no Christmas after that.  She told how her parents literally switched identities.  She told why she had trouble loving.  In those days there were not psychologists and counselors.  Families kept things to themselves.  As a young girl, she had to try and figure out life…a confusing life. 

Once she told her story, she changed.  I think it freed her to suffer this way.  The people that changed the most are the family members that heard her story.  
They can now look at their mom and with understanding and can now apply grace.  See, the suffering of such an honest loving meeting was not to change her, it was to change the listeners.  It was to free us to be graceful based on honesty and truth.  What is honesty and truth in kingdom living if we are not free to use it?  Everyone has a story.  It is in that story we can apply the gospel and literally display the grace God wants us to.  It is what Jesus did.  He listened.  He accepted the person for who they were.  Why?  He knows.  He also knew he was and is the only way to find relief from our suffering.  Crazy thing…in order to find relief from suffering we have to suffer.  That is the way it is.

There is a guy I see weekly.  He is a mess.  He does not respond to the gospel.  I have been told that he is a lost cause.  He has a mountain of issues.  He has lost everything in his life.  He is bitter, angry and more than anything alone.  I go weekly to give him a few minutes of my life as a friend.  A friend that lets him say what he wants.  I also get phone calls from him during the week about nothing.  Why?  He is lonely.  I have been told that it would be o.k. to drop him.  I can’t.  Why?  I have shared the gospel with him repeatedly.  Over the years many people have.  Every one of them are gone.  I want to be the gospel as well as speak the gospel.  You know what he does, he reminds me of the gospel.  I will simply wait to see if and when God wants to open that mans heart.  If he doesn’t that is o.k.  I learned more about the gospel by serving this man, than I would have reading Christian books and listening to Christian music.

Somedays it is suffering.  This man can be and usually is quite repulsive and arrogant.  That is o.k.  That is me with Christ.  He befriended me.

See, the gospel is not keeping our comfort zones as the sons of Zebedee wanted to sit by Jesus in the kingdom.

As we saw last week it is not adding our stuff to the gospel.

The gospel is found in sacrificial living and suffering. 

The best place to start is getting a grip on our own suffering or lack of it.  That is why we have small groups and purpose to be a people driven instead of a program driven church. 

That is why we look at parenting differently.

That is why we purpose to be relevant to our community by serving them.

It is not to make a name for ourselves.  Instead it is to give our lives away…we have every blessing we need as we saw next week.  Why keep anything of this Gentile world to ourselves? Nowhere in the Bible does it say to stop giving. 

Our new building is to be given away. 

We formed Crossroads Community Support Services to be an avenue for us to get into the community of need and give our lives away with the gospel as truth, deed and word. 

Let me tell you something no one else tells you in this world.

It’s  o.k. to suffer.   Jesus said in his first sermon second line

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Let us mourn for the King, let us be comforted in our giving.

Advertisements