The formula for greatness

Mark 9:33-37

“The formula for greatness”



    • Comments as we walk through the text
    • 33 spiritual L because not praying, lack of faith and pride
    • Verse 34 kept silent
        • Knew better, Jesus has been talking to them about humility
  • Argued with one another  about who was the greatest
      • Ironic, but understandable
        • Think about what they were doing
        • Temptation for the successful and/or the competitive
      • All’em was arguing, even Judas
      • At some point, some body shouldve shut it down, no, Jesus is the greatest!

“The formula for greatness”


Why is this text important?

  • We are constantly confronted with this choice daily, weekly, even hourly
  • We are called to be great in the kingdom
    • John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
    • Ephesians 2:8-10 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
    • (do we care about being great in kingdom) 
      • Is it important to you?
      • Like Jesus, do you say, my meat and drink is to do the will of the Lord and Finish His work?
      • Are you a driven disciple to please Jesus or a complacent one that is just thankful to be on that train to glory?
  • It is counter cultural, therefore this isn’t our default
    • Me and mines
    • My $
    • My time
    • I am number 1, I am the best, I the goat


Whats this text about?

  • Being great in the kingdom The rebuke wasn’t in desiring greatness,  but the approach
  1. To be great in the kingdom, we must be last
  2. To be great in the kingdom we must be a servant
  3. To be great in the kingdom we must practice our lastness and servanthood with the least of these


  • Being great in the kingdom
    1. To be great in the kingdom, we must be last
      1. What does it mean to be last?
        1. To not put yourself first
          1. 1 Corinthians 10:24 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
          2. Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
          3. As Christians, it is not only about us any more. Period.  
          4. Illustration of the body
    2. To be great in the kingdom we must be a servant
      1. Its easy to be a servant in the kingdom when you realize that you are nothing without Him
        1. Paul asks rhetorically in 1 Corinthians 4:7, what do you have that you did not receive?
      2. Luke 17:5-10 Jesus expounds on the idea of doing kingdom work with a servants identity
  • Luke 22:24-27 sister passage
  • But not so with you
          1. You will not be position and title chasers
          2. You will not seek to have authority in the kingdom
        1. Youngest-least qualified
          1. Take this posture of humility
          2. Even though you are experienced, have conversations, listen as if you were the least experienced and least qualified
          3. Don’t flex because you can
  • Let the leader be a server
          1. Jesus models this in John 13:12-17
    1. To be great in the kingdom we must practice our lastness and servanthood with the least of these
      1. Back to text vs 36
        1. Why a child?  Receiving this child, ministering to this child is a one way street.
          1. They can’t pay you back
          2. They can’t brag to others about how well you treat them
            1. James 1:27a Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction
          3. Seemingly insignificant, not receiving a king, not receiving the president, not receiving JD Grier, not receiving Lebron, but I care about how you receive the least of these
  • He took the child in HIs arms
        1. We are all children of God, we are called His children, In fact throughout the gospels Jesus calls His disciples little children
          1. Jesus is saying, the way that you receive and treat one of my children, one of your brothers and sisters in Christ, you are treating me
    1. Luke 14:12-14 least of these


Now what?

  • Check your heart
    • Am I number 1 or do I put other people first
    • Am I a servant?
  • What are some ways and arenas in which I can cultivate this
    • Serve at the church
    • Serve and put others first at work
    • Serve and put others first in your home dynamics

Where’s the Gospel?

    • Jesus made Himself last and was a servant
  • Mark 10:45  45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
  • Philippians 2:3-11
  • Jesus was the greatest

Sermon notes on Mark 9:33-37

who is the greatest shonuff

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