Nov. 27, 2011 INTRODUCTION – Review the Disciples’ reward in 19:27f Mark 10:30 “but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mother and children and farms, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.”
If you have known the Lord for a while, and are familiar with this promise, you might have a few questions rattling around in your brain. 1. Why if this is true, am I finding it so difficult to find adequate housing and income in this region?
2. Why if this is true, have I worked for so long at so and so business, and not really made my mark ,and achieved the success and prosperity that once or several times was prophesied over me?
3. Why if this promise is true, regarding God’s blessing on families, did I just have to spend another holiday with one of the most dysfunctional clans on the planet?
4. Why have I faithfully for many years sought to put the Lord and His kingdom first; and other Christians whom I have known and watched for years clearly have not; and yet they are prospering and experiencing apparent blessing and favor more than I?
Word to the Wise: You need to know as you wrestle with the truths of this reward passage, and the one we will be meditating on today that immediately follows it- – that there has probably never been a time in our nation’s history where so many people – or where such a large percentage of our population have bought into the lie that life should be fair and just (according the latest sense of fairness and justice in popular culture) , and that they deserve an equal share of everything. This mentality is very pervasive in our culture. It is at the root of the same sex marriage movement and the occupy movement in my opinion, though I have some compassion for the pain in both camps.
And while I will be the first to admit – there is significant greed and injustice at places in our culture and society – – this mentality that I deserve what everyone else has is from the pit of hell; and it is designed by the evil one – to make you an envious, angry, frustrated, blaming, unhappy person, which will then pollute your family and everyone you associate with, and will hopefully (in the demons’ minds who inspired it) cause you to take matters into your own hands, and at least destroy someone else’s property; if not – ideally to take someone else’s life, or maybe even your own. Very few people – if any -in our society who are trapped in this poisonous mindset – have any idea who the real leader of their ideology is.
Let’s see how Jesus introduces this poisonous mindset: Matthew 20:1-12
As is the case – with every other area of life wherein our society and culture are crumbling and self destructing – the kingdom of God in this arena has the answer and is definitely – good news for those who have ears to hear. And here is the first principle of nine or so of that good news: I. Jesus Christ owns it all, sees it all, controls it all; and can be trusted with it all. Vs. 1, 8, 15
Like the landowner, as Psa. 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. The world, and those who dwell in it.” All the stuff you think you own, really belongs to Him, and is on loan to you. If you own a lot; then you need to remind yourself who it really belongs to; if you don’t own hardly anything and are in great need this morning – – be encouraged – – Our Savior and Master both owns it all and knows how to get what you need into your hands.
II. Jesus Christ will tell you what you need to know and will not trick you. He will fulfill His promises, and will give you what you need. He will not do you wrong, though it may seem like it at times. Vs. 13
III. We err when we get envious of His merciful, generous and sovereign dealings with others. vs. 14, 15
IV. In summary, in the kingdom of God, often the last shall be first, and the first last. vs. 16 repeated from 19:30 “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”
Jesus Christ – the captain of the armies of God; the head of the church; the King of the kingdom of heaven on earth – – has a certain way of doing things; and at times it won’t seem fair. But He has eternity in mind; we tend to live for the moment… and that’s where much of our angst comes from.
V. Jesus is the prime example of one who resisted the world’s sense of entitlement, and instead embraced this kingdom mentality vs. 17-19.
VI. People who do not understand this will try to force their way to the top, or in some cases – someone else will try to make it happen for them. vs. 20-21
VII. Jesus will deal with them faithfully and justly in His time and way vs. 22-23
VIII. It is my lack of trust in Him to do that for me, that gets me all hot and bothered vs. 24
IX. The way of this upside down kingdom is that the way to the top is to serve and be a slave to those in your sphere of influence; not to clamor for your place and fairness, and justice, and equality based on the world’s entitlement mentality. vs. 25-27 Ultimately servants lead at the end of the day – – they are the ones with true authority.
X. Jesus again is the model vs. 28
SOME QUESTIONS: 1. Does this mean if I work for a business or corporation and I am treated unjustly, that I should just trust the Lord, and not do anything about it?
2. Since God calls the shots; why try? How can I resist or overcome God’s sovereign will? Why should I knock myself out at work or on a school sports team or some other extra curricular activity – – if God has possibly already decided I will not advance and be promoted?
3. Those of you who are involved in ministry, and who want to be used of the Lord more and more – – you need to know that Satan and his demons will come at you at every opportunity with a comparison that could eat your lunch if you let it. Whatever team or ministry you are on or lead or are involved in, there will from time to time be others on your team or involved in the ministry you are involved with – or with similar ministries – who seem to be receiving more blessing and favor and advancement and resources and reward than you are.
My encouragement to all of us is twofold: First – like Peter and like the guy who had worked all day – let’s go to the source with our questions and our complaints. Jesus was glad to answer Peter’s question there at the end of ch. 19. And just as the landowner was very gentle and patient with the laborer, who complained to him, so will Jesus be with us when we go to Him with our complaints. Sometimes we waste a lot of time and energy talking and complaining to other fellow subjects of the kingdom, when we have direct access to the landowner or King Himself! Also, when you find yourself all hot and bothered over some inequity, know that He knows and sees it; and like He did with the 10 – if we have ears to hear – He will restore perspective and understanding to us.
Second, I have found it very helpful to remind myself from time to time, that the only thing I really deserve is hell; and Jesus Christ has very mercifully rescued and delivered me from that destination. Everything else is really downhill from there. When you get in touch with this, you will realize – anything else I receive in this life is icing on the cake.
If you are here this morning – perplexed by the hand that has been dealt you – – and wondering why the Lord seems to be ignoring your sacrificial service – and your faithfulness- and why He is rewarding others who haven’t put in the time and sacrifice – there is no better place than to come to the Lord’s table – – and let Him restore to you – -the righteous perspective you and I so sorely need to rule and reign with Him in this life and in the life to come.
CONCLUSION – THE LORD’S SUPPER – Philipians 2:5-11