The Heart of The Christian: Recieved, Rewarded, and Redeemed

Mark(ed) for Action  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:00
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What do Wilt Chamberlain, Mohamed Ali, Alexander the Great, and Paul the Apostle all have in common? Each of them are arguably touted as the greatest in their fields. Each worked very hard, held themselves to the highest standard. And they each call, challenged, and motivated others to achieve more.
Working hard and for a worthwhile goal is great. But being prideful and arrogant about it is not.
Today we’ll look at the path to true greatness.
Mark 9:33–50 ESV
33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” 38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. 42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Jesus had just taken three of the disciples up to a high mountain to see the reality of who He was. They saw His glory reveled. coming down from the mountain, they encounter the other 9 disciples who were having all sorts of trouble. Once Jesus accomplished what they could not, the moved on down from that mountain down to Galilee.
On the way, the disciples began to argue. Peter, James, and and John were chosen to go up the mountain. The other disciples were not. They were selected to see Jesus reveal His glory, the others were not. They were Jesus’ favorite, the others were not. They would have been able to cast out that demon, when the others could not.
This is likely the context of the discussion they were having behind Jesus’ back.
How often do we get prideful behind Jesus’ back? How often do we bicker behind Jesus’ back? I don’t know if you know this, but Jesus is listening! And Jesus was listening to the bickering disciples.
His response was to call them from where they were, into what He could use.

Christ Call Us To:

Receive His Acceptance. (v. 33-37)

Jesus reminded them that it wasn’t for their high position He chose them, and it wasn’t for their high position the Father would accept them.
They wanted the acceptance of the King. But He showed them that they must accept the needs of a child. What they sought in accolades, they could only find in humble service.
Greatness in God’s economy is not to the famous or the one with much. Greatness in God’s economy is humility and service to one who has nothing to give in return.
You might think that the blessings of God are placed on a shelf, on above another. Reaching higher and higher to receive them. But His goodness and blessing are placed on shelves, each lower than the one before. We receive His acceptance when we stoop ever lower.
When the disciples stopped looking for greatness in their own actions but instead in their service and sacrifice, God could use them.

Be Rewarded When We Are For Jesus In All Things. (v. 38-41)

But what about those other people? In what might seem like a disconnected teaching, John brings up this other follower of Jesus who was not following them.
Jesus had taught many people in many places about many things. Are we to believe there are those who did not leave their homes and follow Him who did not believe Jesus’ words?
The disciples attempted to enforce an exclusivity of Jesus… “because he was not following us.”
Jesus’ reply is in three statements.
The first addressed the result of the person and the heart of the person.
The second views the standard of such a person as being against us or else for us. As in all similar expressions, middle ground is not an option. but this is stated in opposite structure than some instances in the Bible.
Luke 11:14-23 is one such moment. This is given in response to the pharisees accusing Jesus of casting our demons because He is under the power of the prince of demons.
In Luke, Jesus is addressing those who are adversarial to God’s work. If we (or they) are opposed to the work of God in Christ, then we are on His side, or we are against Him
But, in Mark, the questions isn’t about one opposed, but one in alliance. If in alliance, then the burden of proof shifts from allegiance (Luke: showing gathering, not scattering) to the negative (Mark: are words (“speak evil”) and results there?).
The third is the key to the connection, and the key to what Jesus is teaching. Someone else, when they serve you, will not loose their reward.
This places the disciples in the rhetorical position the child was in just a few verses earlier. They are now the ones being served and in need.
It affirms ministry outside of what the disciples are doing.
It places the standard of “following Jesus” outside the small circle of immediate influence.
We are rewarded when we are in alliance with God, speak well of God, and serve God by serving His servants.

Be Redeemed Through The Planted and Penetrating Word. (v. 42-50)

We see in this section one of these phrases that tie this section together - ‘little ones’. We have seen how we enter fellowship with the Father when we accept and serve them. But here we have a warning when we cause them to stumble.
In Dale’s devotional this week, he reminded us of the hyperbole of this section. It’s not calling us to physically cut off parts of our bodies. But it certainly is calling us to cut our of our lives anything that causes the new believer to fall away or the unbeliever to reject Jesus.
It’s not a call for mutilation, but don’t mistake the gravity. ‘it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.’ It would be better if our life was cut off rather than being anathema to someones faith.
We are to plant the seeds of the gospel, not pluck them up. We are to bring the light of Jesus to the world, not cover it up. We are to be the salt of the earth, but when we loose the function of salt we become less than useless.
We should not eat too much salt. It’s not healthy. But did you know you can eat too little salt?
From too little salt can cause hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia is a condition characterized by low levels of sodium in the blood.
Its symptoms are similar to those caused by dehydration. In severe cases, the brain may swell, which can lead to headaches, seizures, coma, and even death
When we act like salt, look like salt, and pass ourselves off as salt, but have lost the function of salt, we are causing spiritual hyponatremia. Headaches, seizures, coma, and death. I don’t think we have to look too hard in the church as a whole today to see these symptoms.
So that leaves the question - what the heck is the salt talking about here?
“For everyone will be salted with fire.” This speaks of judgement/determination of our actions. What is not done in the Lord will be burned up.
The salt is the Lord’s presence and favor as we align with Him, the fire is the determination of our works whether in Him or not. If we come to align with God but don’t make Him our Lord, we might have some results, but can easily be washed away.
Everyone will be salted - the slat (other places - the seed) will be placed ON everyone. But what does Jesus call His disciples to have? Salt IN them. What is on can be washed away. What is in is made part of the whole.
The Word of the Lord is impactful to all those ON whom it is scattered. But it provides redemption on for those IN whom it has penetrated.
How did that work out in Paul’s life?
Philippians 3:3–6 ESV
3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Paul said he had every reason to be confident in his own works. Just like Wilt Chamberlain, Mohamed Ali, and Alexander the Great. When the seed penetrated Paul’s heart, we see a shift from pride and self and reaching that higher shelf to something much greater.
Philippians 3:7–11 ESV
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
This is Jesus call on our lives.
To receive Him and be received by Him in humble service.
To understand our reward is when we are for and with Jesus in everything - regardless of our position.
And to let the redemptive power of the gospel penetrate our lives as we seek Him; seek His righteousness; and seek His peace with the world around us.
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