“Who Is the Greatest?”
Pastor David Moore
Old Testament reading: 1 Kings 2:1-12:
When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
“Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.
“But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai of Gilead and let them be among those who eat at your table. They stood by me when I fled from your brother Absalom. “And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”
Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.
Theme: An aspect of being human that we all struggle with is a desire to be IMPORTANT. The disciples are struggling with their human concept as well as the Jewish community during Jesus’ days.
New Testament reading: Matthew 18:1-9
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come. If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Before a man can be saved, he must first learn that he cannot save himself.
Children can freely receive without the need to give back. God gives to us, there is nothing we can do to balance the scales to make us on the same level as God. Freely we have received, Jesus said, “I freely give”; we receive grace, we receive eternity with God. We receive from God like children. ~D. Moore
Jesus wants thankful servants.
Philippians 2:5-11: In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
“Christians in this Gospel are not so much called to be full and taste the whole range of human experience as we are called to be real and to sacrifice those parts of our lives that diminish faith and love. Certainly, some television, movies, music, literature, and new places give us wider experiences of life and more complete knowledge of what the world is like. But if any experience diminishes our sense of loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ–the crucial relation–then it is better to be unfulfilled and loyal than to be full and disloyal. In Jesus’ picture, it is better to go into life with only a portion of the experience of which some boast than to go, filled with many experiences, straight to hell.” ~friend of D. Moore
As a servant God is calling us to do the little things, listen to the unimportant people, keep a calm and pure heart, being a blessing to others. Greatness in God’s eyes is through serving, obedience, receiving God’s grace and finally realizing we are dependent on God.
This week: humble yourself, listen to that silent voice inside and allow yourself to depend on God.