Sunday – December 3, 2017 Gospel of Luke – “Ending the Silence” Luke 1:5-38

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Luke 1:13-15
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”

Have you ever prayed for something over and over again, year in and year out, but God has not answered? I hope that you can answer yes, because if you say no, it only shows that you are not a praying person. If you pray, you have prayed for things that God has not yet answered. One unanswered prayer that every committed Christian should be praying is that God would send revival to our country. It is as of yet unanswered because nothing that is being described as revival today even comes close to the many examples of true revival that God has sent in times past. True revival is not a matter of hanging a banner in front of the church that announces, “Revival This Week, 7 p.m.” True revival is not a superficial, emotional response that results in a temporary experience, but without long-term fruit of righteousness.

True revival is when the living God sovereignly and powerfully breaks into human history with the good news of His salvation. It invariably begins with His people coming under deep conviction of sin and turning from that sin in genuine repentance. It always involves a recovery of biblical truth, especially the truth about how sinners are reconciled to a holy God. Therefore, it also involves a recovery of the centrality and authority of God’s Word over all of life. The renewed sense of God’s presence, power, holiness, and truth then inevitably spills out of the church and into the world, resulting in many genuine conversions.

When God sends revival, He also sends great joy. The angel announced to Zecharias that he would have joy and gladness at John’s birth, and that many would rejoice (1:14). They were not just rejoicing at the birth of the child, but at what this child would bring — good news of a great joy for all the people, the news of the Savior (1:19; 2:10). Sin always causes pain and destruction; God’s salvation and righteousness result in great joy and gladness as relationships are reconciled.

There were no extraordinary means employed, no special campaigns, but rather the normal means of prayer and the preaching of the Word. But suddenly God broke into the midst of churches so that people who before had been complacent were now gripped with the reality of eternity and everyone sensed that in deed, God was in this place. We need to pray that God would graciously send us such a visitation of His saving grace. And, we need to prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord Himself into our midst.

Sunday – October 1, 2017 Week Three: “Why Do Good People Disagree on How to Serve Church?”

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NEW SERIES: “The Church- Can We Have It Our Way?”
Week Three: “Why Do Good People Disagree on How to Serve Church?”

Word On Worship – Sunday – October 1, 2017 Download / Print

1 Corinthians 11:16
“If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice — nor do the churches of God.”

First, our differences may be matters of conviction, rather than matters of doctrine. While some aspects of church life are (at least in my opinion) non-negotiables, not all fall into this category. Some practices are simply a matter of choice. Whether or not to have a Sunday school, or to meet on Wednesday nights for prayer meeting, are not matters written in stone. Thus, some of our differences are merely matters of conviction.

Second, some truths are more crucial than others. Minor differences should not divide churches, but should be an occasion to manifest grace and to display true Christian unity. Some doctrines are what we would call “fundamentals of the faith.” The rejection of one of these doctrines has both earthly and eternal consequences. To reject the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of our Lord, or the doctrine of justification by faith would have grave implications. To differ over whether communion should be observed weekly or monthly would not have the same consequences.

Third, being biblical entails more than just using the right terms and having the right forms. Being biblical necessitates having the right heart attitudes. This is actually a summation of our series, so I will not dwell on it here. But suffice it to say that there may very well be churches that do not have all the right forms (or all the proper terms), but who have biblical attitudes, and thus they may function better than other churches that outwardly appear to get it right.

It is not my purpose to prove us right and all others wrong; it is my goal to explain how and why we “serve church” as we do, and to show how we deal with Scripture to come to our conclusions. To be honest, I don’t expect to convince everyone that we are doing it right. For some, learning how and why we “do church” may prompt them to look elsewhere for a church that functions more closely to their understanding of Scripture. But I would hope that some will find our ecclesiology (doctrine of the church) something you believe to be biblical, and thus something that you want to embrace and support.

Sunday – March 19, 2017 Genesis 32:1-32 “Unfinished Business”

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Genesis 32:9-10

Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant…”

The prayer of Jacob in Genesis 32 is one of the greatest lessons in prayer in all of Scripture. Even before Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, Jacob gives us an outstanding template to approach our Heavenly Father in our time of need. Reflecting on Jacob’s prayer, I see four elements for us to implement in our prayer lives. First, Jacob addressed the Lord as the God of his “father Abraham” and his “father Isaac.” This is significant. Jacob was beginning to understand more fully his place in God’s divine plan. His prayer is the divine pattern of many biblical prayers — to acknowledge who God really is. When Nehemiah prayed about the sad condition of his people in Jerusalem, he lifted up his voice to God and said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God” (Nehemiah 1:5a). He is a king to be honored and we must acknowledge Him as such.

Jacob prays on the basis of two things: God told him to return to his homeland, and God promised to bless him. He isn’t appealing to God on the basis of his own performance, but solely on the basis of God’s promises. Jacob stands on the promises of God because he knows that God keeps His Word. Many of our prayers fall short because there is none of God’s Word within them. This is because there is so little of God’s Word in us. Yet, both prayer and God’s Word are essential.

Now Jacob’s arrogant self-confidence is gone and he finally acknowledges that he is completely unworthy of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness. This is a big step for Jacob. He has come to the point of recognizing that he stands by God’s mercy alone. Sometimes we have to hit bottom before we can see our true condition. Only as we recognize that we stand by mercy will we be prepared to act mercifully toward others. When you pray to the Lord, it is critical that you confess your sin, keep short accounts with Him, and acknowledge that you are undeserving and nothing without Him.

Finally, Jacob asks God to specifically save him from the hand of his brother. He doesn’t mince words; he’s clear and specific. Unlike his actions before going to live with Laban, when he took matters into his own hands to wrest away Isaac’s blessing from Esau, Jacob now realizes that he must depend totally on God in order to secure his own well-being. It is worth noting that Jacob requests God’s protection for himself and his family. He’s showing some semblance of concern for someone other than himself. We must follow Jacob’s example and learn to pray specific requests. When we do so, God tends to respond with specific answers. Today, will you make a commitment to pray for yourself and others in this way? Will you also pray first, instead of as a last resort? As you do, it will go well with you.

Sunday May 31, 2015 “The Man Who Won a War Without Fighting” 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

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2 Chronicles 20:5-6
“Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, and he said, “O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.”

The story of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, provides us with helpful instruction on the subject of prayer and trusting God when we face severe trials. Jehoshaphat was basically a good king who sought to follow the Lord and bring God’s people back to Him (19:4-11). He ruled in the southern kingdom at the same time that the wicked Ahab ruled in the north. But although he was a good king, Jehoshaphat had a character flaw: He made wrongful alliances with the godless Ahab. His motive in these alliances may have been good, to reunite the divided kingdom. But he was unwise and wrong.

One morning Jehoshaphat was shaken when his intelligence sources came running in with the horrifying news: the enemy army was about 15 miles south of Jerusalem, on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Jehoshaphat’s life and his entire kingdom were on the brink of extinction. What would you do if you heard some threatening news that affected your future and maybe your life? This godly king did the right thing: He called a national prayer meeting and encouraged the people to trust God in the face of this overwhelming crisis. They did it, and literally won the war by prayer alone, without swinging a single sword.

It’s easy to read this story and miss what a great thing it was for Jehoshaphat to call the nation to prayer over this crisis. It would have been very human to panic. When he heard the news of this army within his borders, we could understand if he yelled, “Call all my top generals. Get the army mobilized immediately. We don’t have a second to waste.” As soon as the troops were mustered, if there was time, he could have stopped for a quick word of prayer. But for Jehoshaphat to turn his attention to seek the Lord and to call the nation to prayer and fasting was not automatic.

God never fails those who trust Him and obey His Word. That is not to say that He delivers everyone who trusts Him from suffering or even death. There are many who have trusted God and lost their heads (Heb. 11:36-40)! But this earthly life isn’t the final chapter. All who suffer loss for Jesus will be richly rewarded in heaven or God is a liar. Just as Israel was enriched literally by the spoils of victory, so we will always be enriched spiritually through our trials if we recognize our great need, pray to our great God, and trust in Him alone, not in the arm of the flesh.

Sunday April 26, 2015 “The Man Who Was Always Singing” 2 Samuel 22

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2 Samuel 22:25-28
“Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness according to my cleanness before His eyes. With the kind You show Yourself kind, with the blameless You show Yourself blameless; with the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the perverted You show Yourself astute. And You save an afflicted people; but Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase.”

David, the man after God’s heart, sang many of his prayers to the Lord. David composed at least half of the psalms, which, we need to remember, were to be sung, not just read. He was always singing, even when he was in a cave, hiding to save his life (Psalm 57). David has much to teach us about prayer and, especially, about the aspect of praise in prayer-our next lesson on prayer from the Old Testament.

Becoming a person of praise may not be at the top of your priority list – you’ve got practical problems to solve – but it ought to be! As the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” or, as John Piper rephrases it, “to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” One of the main ways we glorify God is through praise. The brief glimpses Scripture gives us into heaven indicate that a major part of eternity will be filled with praising God. To the extent that that activity strikes us as a bit boring, we lack understanding of the infinite perfections of God and of the tremendous joy of praising Him. We all need to become people of praise.

In 2 Samuel 22 (and Psalm 18), we don’t know whether David was writing about a specific incident, or just lumping together his many narrow escapes from death. In poetic language he describes (18:4-5) a man who is in turbulent water over his head. Weeds or vines are wrapping around him so that he cannot break free. In the terror of the moment, all he can think is, “I’m going to die!” He had come to the end of himself.

God has to bring affliction into our lives to humble our pride. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). When God humbles us so that we no longer trust in ourselves, then we call out to Him for salvation and He gets all the praise because we know that it was all due to His grace, not at all due to our merit. It’s a lesson we must learn in coming to God: We cannot save ourselves. We must come to the end of ourselves and call out to God. Then, when He saves us, we will sing His praises. It’s also a lesson we must keep on learning throughout our Christian lives. We are so prone to trust in ourselves, but we cannot praise God while we trust ourselves. The lower we see ourselves, the more we exalt God. So, God lovingly keeps bringing us into situations where we are helpless, where we’re forced to trust in Him alone.

Sunday – December 28, 2014 1st John 5 verses 14 to 17 “Confidence in Prayer”

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1 John 5:14-15
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

Over the years, I have to admit my “prayer batting average” is pretty low. I have prayed for the salvation of people who have not gotten saved. I have prayed for the restoration of sinning Christians, who have not repented and been restored. I have prayed for the reconciliation of many Christian marriages that have broken up. Many people have tried to encourage me by telling me, “God gives people free will.” But if God cannot subdue a sinful person’s will, then He can’t do anything! That means that sinful man, not God, is sovereign! If God promises to answer our prayers, then He has the power to answer them!

Many who do not know God pray, but they are not seeking God’s will in prayer. Rather, they are trying to use Him (whoever they conceive Him to be) to get what they want. But biblical prayer is not trying to talk God into giving us what we want. Rather, it is submitting our will to His will. It is praying, as Jesus instructed the disciples in Matthew 6:10, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

It would be the height of stupidity to pray for your will to be done as opposed to God’s will. Yet we do that very thing when we “command” God to give us what we think will make us happy or to take away painful things in our lives. For one thing, it would mean that you know better than God what is best for your life. But He knows everything and He has assured us that He loves us far more than the best earthly father loves his children. So it only makes sense to submit to and pray for His will for your life and for others.

But, the difficulty is, how do we determine what God’s will is so that we pray in line with it? Are we talking about His will of decree or His will of desire? God’s will of decree is what He has determined to do. In this sense, God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). Here’s the difficulty when it comes to praying for God’s will: It is God’s will of desire that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Yet, we know that in His decree, God has willed to save only His elect (Rom. 9:9-24). So it would be going against God’s will of decree to pray, “God, save everyone in the world.” But, we should pray, “God, save my loved one,” and, “Save my neighbor.” The problem is, I cannot know in advance whether or not He will do it, because I do not know His will of decree. So I ask, but I have to say, “Not my will, but Yours, be done.”

Sunday – October 6, 2013 “Spiritual Warfare and the Armor of Prayer”

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Spiritual Warfare and the Armor of Prayer from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

And yet the command of Scripture is for us to be persevering in prayer. Perseverance means we do not give up when we do not see the result we want – but we faithfully continue to wait on the Lord. This is one of the aspects of prayer that I find most difficult. We are to pray with “all perseverance.” Jesus told the parable of the widow who kept pestering the hardhearted judge, until finally he relented just to get her off his back. Jesus assures us that God is not uncaring like that unrighteous judge, but He will bring about justice speedily for His elect who cry out to Him.
Join us as we conclude our study into spiritual warfare and the armor of God as we look at prayer in light of the spiritual battle. May our time in Ephesian 6 bless you and enable you to stand in these evil days.


Word On Worship – Sunday – October 6, 2013 Download / Print

Ephesians 6:18-20
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

I confess that prayer is one of the most difficult topics for me to preach about because it is difficult for me to understand and practice. On one hand, I know the only reason God has enabled me to persevere as a pastor is His grace that has come to me through the prayers of His people and through my own desperate cries to Him for help. Not a week goes by without my feeling overwhelmingly inadequate for this ministry. I could not endure without prayer. Yet on the other hand, the longer I am a Christian, the more acutely I am aware of my own shortcomings in prayer.

The Christian life is not about making ourselves happy and comfortable yet it is often the theme of most of our prayer time. I often wonder if the angels know what I will ask based on the first three words because the Christian life is a battle with the unseen forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. To stand with God against this evil enemy, we must be people of prayer, not just with a blessing over a meal or uttered as a matter of last resort, but to have a prayer for every season of our lives.

And yet the command of Scripture is for us to be persevering in prayer. Perseverance means we do not give up when we do not see the result we want – but we faithfully continue to wait on the Lord. This is one of the aspects of prayer that I find most difficult. We are to pray with “all perseverance.” Jesus told the parable of the widow who kept pestering the hardhearted judge, until finally he relented just to get her off his back. Jesus assures us that God is not uncaring like that unrighteous judge, but He will bring about justice speedily for His elect who cry out to Him.

And yet, Paul’s word about perseverance as well as our experience, shows that Jesus’s promise of God answering speedily must be interpreted by God’s view of time, not ours.  I can’t give you a rule for when to go on praying and when to conclude that God isn’t going to answer. I have prayed for one request for many years now that has not been answered. So, I modified the request and keep praying. I have scratched some people off my prayer list after years of praying with no visible results. If God brings them to mind, I’ll pray, but I don’t pray for them regularly anymore. But when I do stop praying for someone, it is not because I doubt God’s ability to answer. Rather, after years of praying, it just seems that God is not going to answer me personally and so I leave it with Him and His sovereign will.

Sunday – May 26, 2013, “The Essence of Hell”

May 26, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Essence of Hell from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Mark’s record of the Gethsemane scene is the darkest of the four gospels. Matthew’s account describes Jesus’ grief as simply grieving while Luke omits all references to Jesus’ grief entirely. The lack of description in the other gospels has caused many to wonder why Mark includes this description of anguish and wrongly concludes that Jesus suffered from an eleventh hour crisis of nerve. Join us as we look at Mark 14 verses 26 to 42 and learn the lessons of the Garden of Gethsemane and explore the “Essence of Hell” as Jesus prays to His heavenly Father.


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Mark 14:33-36
He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Mark’s record of the Gethsemane scene is the darkest of the four gospels. Matthew’s account describes Jesus’ grief as simply grieving while Luke omits all references to Jesus’ grief entirely. The lack of description in the other gospels has caused many to wonder why Mark includes this description of anguish and wrongly conclude that Jesus suffered from an eleventh hour crisis of nerve. How can Jesus challenge James and John to drink His cup when He now seemly shrinks from it Himself?

If we attempt to discount the strong emotions of Mark’s description then we fail to see that Jesus has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Many explanations have been suggested to explain His trembling and tears. Did He know the sins of the world were to be laid upon Him? Maybe it was from contemplating dying by a cursed method of hanging from a tree? Others suggest it was being abandoned by His closest friends when the disciples lose faith and scatter leaving Him alone.

Jesus’ mental torment during the waiting in the garden was yet another temptation He had to face. The suffering Jesus experienced at the beatings and floggings were a physical ordeal. But it is the anxiety of waiting that can make one fall to pieces. Jesus knew infinitely more about the holiness and righteousness of God and what would be required to pay for the sins of the world. Jesus was not worrying about the future as we do. He is not exaggerating possibilities. He knew precisely what the future held. What He anguishes over is exactly what He will experience and knew He must call upon His Father and to entrust Himself to His will.

So what do we get from Mark’s gospel which is not included in the other gospels accounts of the long night of Gethsemane? Mark allows us to see Jesus following His own teaching to the disciples – praying and drawing closer to His Father. Hearing Jesus pray at this moment of great crisis is the example He wants each of us to follow. Satan battles for every human heart and we are hardwired by sin to try to save our own lives. The disciples are no example to us as they flee in the night when Judas changes sides and Peter denies Him publicly. Jesus, our Great High Priest, resolves the anguish by coming to His Father in prayer and obediently submitting to the will of the God.

Sunday – January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Jesus & The Original Occupy Jerusalem Movement from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Sadly most readers, and many commentary writers, are shocked to read that Jesus could be so spiteful to curse a poor fruit tree. Instead of seeing the guilt of an unproductive tree in full leaf, many people instead think Jesus is being irrational and petulant as He curses the tree. Yet would they wring their hands in disbelief when a chicken farmer assigns a chicken that no longer produces eggs to the stew? What we fail to see is both the fig tree and the activities of the temple failed to produce the very thing they created to produce. The tree was created to produce figs and the temple was created to be a house of prayer for all nations. What should the Master do when the when the proverbial chicken does not produce what it was created to produce?
Join us tomorrow as we continue in our study of the Gospel of Mark as we look at “Jesus and the Original Occupy Jerusalem Movement” from Mark 11 verses 12 to 26.


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Mark 11:12-14
On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.”

The last miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark is the most unusual. For the first time, a miracle of Jesus brings about death, not life. Needless to say, this raises many questions. How is it that Jesus can tell the disciples where to find a colt tied up from outside the city and yet He can’t see from a distance whether a tree has edible fruit? How is Jesus able to feed five thousand people with five fish and two loaves but one fig tree frustrates Him to the point of cursing it?

Sadly, most readers and many commentary writers are shocked to read that Jesus could be so spiteful as to curse a poor fruit tree. Instead of seeing the guilt of an unproductive tree in full leaf, many people think Jesus is being irrational and petulant as He curses the tree. Yet would they wring their hands in disbelief when a chicken farmer assigns a chicken that no longer produces eggs to the stew? What we fail to see is that both the fig tree and the activities of the temple failed to produce the very thing they were created to produce. The tree was created to produce figs and the temple was created to be a house of prayer for all nations. What should the Master do when the proverbial chicken does not produce what it was created to produce?

Jesus has taken the place of the temple during His ministry. Jesus announced in John 2 that He is the Temple. From there, Jesus proclaims throughout the gospels the forgiveness of sin, healing for the sick, and the restoration of people to society. He has replaced the tables of the money changers, where worshippers had to pay for atonement, with the Lord’s Table, were He presents the free offering of His life on the cross as payment for the forgiveness of sins to all who come to the Father through Him.

And that leaves one last question for you and me. What were we created for? Were we merely created to make sure we make arrangements with God to get our fire insurance in order? Or should we have learned from the parable of the soils in Mark 4 that the desired end is for our lives is to be people of the fourth soil producing fruit? The Lord is very serious about His people growing in maturity so that we produce good fruit. Do not miss the lesson of the fig tree. Realize how God deals with things that do not produce ­– especially when they outwardly profess to be fruit bearing.

Sunday – January 6, 2013

January 6, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

James & John Make Their Pitch and Strike Out from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Jesus did not choose His disciples because they were more qualified or more compassionate than others. Human nature has not changed over the years and the gospel has not eliminated pride and selfish ambition from the people of God. You will still find people in the church put meeting their ego needs before meeting their obligations as a disciple. Somewhere along the way, we have taken the cross out of discipleship and replaced it with a purpose that meets material and egotistical needs and thus produces fruit of selfishness and materialism in the church.
The church cannot thrive when the people in the pews are competing with one another for positions of power. Too often we look to the world of business for role models when we should be looking to Jesus. The life and teaching of Jesus Christ turns the world’s understanding of what is great on its head. The greatest work ever done was accomplished by One who gave His life for others. It is not as the world judges great things but through self-dying service that greatness is recognized by God. Only those who give of themselves for others will be recognized by God as great in His Kingdom.
Join us tomorrow as we explore Mark 10 verses 32-52 and See”James & John Make Their Pitch and Strike Out”.


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 Mark 10:35-38
James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”

Once again the disciples are competing for first place, looking for ways to outmaneuver their brothers for power and advantage. They are interested in dominion not humility and service. They want a Messiah who is beyond suffering and will offer them their heart’s desires. But no one can understand Jesus Christ without understanding His suffering and the cross. It is the cross that distinguishes Jesus as Messiah and ours as disciples. To know Jesus as Messiah is to accept Him as One who dies for others and accept that destiny for ourselves.

Jesus did not choose His disciples because they were more qualified or more compassionate than others. Human nature has not changed over the years and the gospel has not eliminated pride and selfish ambition from the people of God. You will still find people in the church put meeting their ego needs before meeting their obligations as a disciple. Somewhere along the way, we have taken the cross out of discipleship and replaced it with a purpose that meets material and egotistical needs and thus produces fruit of selfishness and materialism in the church.

The church cannot thrive when the people in the pews are competing with one another for positions of power. Too often we look to the world of business for role models when we should be looking to Jesus. The life and teaching of Jesus Christ turns the world’s understanding of what is great on its head. The greatest work ever done was accomplished by One who gave His life for others. It is not as the world judges great things but through self-dying service that greatness is recognized by God. Only those who give of themselves for others will be recognized by God as great in His Kingdom.

We cannot forget that Jesus holds Himself up as the example to be followed. He does not explain atonement as much as He shows the disciples the way of atoning life. The only way the disciples, and ourselves as well, can live up to the demands of Jesus is to realize He has gone before us, broken through and cleared the way for others to follow. We can either look to Jesus as our example, or James and John. Hopefully, looking at James and John in this passage will be like looking in a mirror where we see the reflection of our own selfish and foolish thoughts.