This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 9, 2007, and was taken from Mark 9:33-41.
You often hear people say “I wish we just could get back to the first-century church.” Reading along in the New Testament, sometimes I think we are there. The Bible is very honest about things, not covering up the flaws and sins of God’s people. That gives us hope, that God will be able to use us also in his divine purpose.
As our passage for today begins we find Jesus and his disciples arrived at Capernaum, and Jesus’ disciples are consumed with visions of their own greatness. On the way to their destination they were saying among themselves “Which one of us is the most important.” Their silence upon Jesus’ query, “What were you talking about?”, would indicate their shame at the discovery of their vane pride.
The church of the Lord Jesus is to be a humble, rejoicing, welcoming body of faithful servants. This passage lays out for us three marks of authentic discipleship:
- vs. 33-35: An authentic disciple of Christ joyful embraces a life of radical service. This cuts across the grain of who we are by nature, for we all desire to dominate. This cuts across the grain of the culture, then and now. Jesus said “Life in my kingdom is a little different. He who would be first shall be last.” This thinking is counter-cultural as well as counter-natural. The disciples would struggle with this the rest of their lives, as it will the rest of ours. The only way they were ever able to do this, as is the case with us as well, is through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. All or called to this radical service, and there are no exceptions. All are called to a life of sacrifice and humble service in the church. No one is too young or too old; no one is too important or unimportant. The question is “Where is that place in the church for you?”
- vs. 36-37: An authentic disciple gladly welcomes all people with open arms in loving fellowship. We should embrace all who love Jesus, not for what they can do for us, but simply because they love who we love. We should welcome and embrace any and all in the family of God.
- vs. 38-41: An authentic disciple eagerly rejoices in the spreading of the Gospel influence. We ought to rejoice in the spreading of the gospel, where ever it occurs, even if it doesn’t have our brand on it. The kingdom of God is greater than Trinity Baptist Church, or the Southern Baptist Convention.