Our services will be online for the time being. We are live streaming our sermons through YouTube (Christ Baptist Mokopane) and we’ll also continue to upload a pre-recorded audio version of the same message for those who can’t stream.

The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.

Click here: Mark 9:30-41, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Mark 9:30-41, for the video feed, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.

Mark 9:30-41, A Lesson on Humility:

  • Having read these words, one might be tempted to think that these are 3 separate sections. The whole passage fits around the theme of humility. Humility is foreign, and often times viewed as weakness.
  • And so, self-esteem or pride is seen as a strength instead. We need to learn to be humble. James 4:6 reminds us that, “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” In verse 10 he says, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you.”

 

  • Colossians 3:12 reads, “Put on a heart of humility.” Which is hard, but it is mandated. Therefore, the Lord teaches us humility, and today we’ll see how we can learn through a principle, two examples, and through experience.
  • And so our theme starts with the greatest illustration of humility.

 

  1. A Principle on Humility:
  • Text – 9:30-32
  • Explanation – Verse 32 ensures us of the problem at hand. The fact that the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus, just proves the issue of pride in their hearts.
  • The disciples needed to learn humility just like we do. Even though we are believers, we still have pride. We are trained to be proud! Proud of our heritage, our history, our achievements, etc. aren’t these bad, not necessarily, but when we take these and bury them in your heart, this form of pride will become the idol you worship!

 

  • Illustration – The disciples had grown up with Judaism, and the dominant features of Judaism were essentially spiritual pride, symbolically and practically. The spiritual leaders of their nation boasted of this.
  • They wore the symbols of their spirituality, as if that was some kind of testimony and symbol of real spirituality. They also went to give money in the temple, wanting to make sure everybody saw them, they were trumpet blowers.

 

  • If they wanted to look humble, they would fast and cover their heads with ash. When they wanted to look holy, they would pray on street corners using endless and unnecessary wording.
  • Now add to this background, the knowledge of being the followers of the Messiah. They knew that He is the Messiah and this elevated their pride and made it difficult for them to be humble.

 

  • Application – They are all so caught up with pride that in a moment, they will all argue about which of them was the greatest. And so Jesus, foretelling His death & resurrection, sets the tone on the lesson of humility, a principle on humility.
  • Jesus referring to the cross is the greatest of all humiliations. Jesus promises His suffering and His death, this is the principle – the ultimate value of humility and the standard of it!

 

  • Conclusion – Jesus who is the sovereign ruler, is given up to be murdered… This is the main thing we need to understand, “The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill Him. And when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.
  • There’s more to this. We might read the Scriptures and assume that Jesus was over-powered & surrendered to the cross. In John 10:17-18, we read Jesus’ own words as He says; “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord
  • It is a hard saying because they might be thinking that Jesus is not all that powerful; He won’t reign as the Messiah; they won’t be with Him anymore. But Jesus stresses the introduction to the lesson on humility, and that is, that He will lay down His life.

 

  • Bridge – And so the principle here is that Jesus Himself is the greatest illustration of humility. This is what Paul teaches us in Philippians 2:8-9, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…
  • This brings us to…

 

  1. Two Examples of Humility:
  • Text – 9:33-37
  • Explanation – I find it very interesting, that once Jesus spoke about His death, the disciples argue about who is the best among them. They clearly didn’t understand the principle. Maybe the discussion got heated, but what I do know is, it was an embarrassing discussion.
  • They didn’t want to admit what they were talking about, but it didn’t related to this whole idea of death and self-denial and taking up a cross. They’re self-seeking and highly competitive.

 

  • Illustration – This is what pride does, firstly, it destroys unity and character. Just look how they respond when Jesus questions them… they kept silent. Why were they silent? They were ashamed. The Lord has just spoken about His own humiliation, and all they can think about is their own exaltation.
  • Now, pride is not a private thing. It comes out like all other sin. It is conceived in the heart but it shows up outside. It is judgmental, comparative, it belittles and it demeans. It pushes others down for the sake of self-elevation.

 

  • Application – There is a second example in verse 35 which illustrates that pride also forfeits respect. The proud heart wants to be elevated, to be promoted. Therefore, Jesus instructs them that the greatest is to be a servant.
  • And this is done by humbling yourself, by forfeiting your pride. Pride is when you have to have everybody serve you, humility is when you serve others. And Jesus hits the idea home by having a child sit on His lap. We assume it is a small child.
  • This child will help draw the picture, as a child has no power, no achievements, and no greatness, is weak, dependent, ignored, vulnerable, and has nothing to offer. This is a perfect illustration for a believer.

 

  • Conclusion – Children would be disregarded from mature conversation. As if they have no means to contribute. But Jesus brings their attention to an incredible illustration on true humility – receive and serve this child, and you’ll receive the reward from Christ.
  • Instead of thinking you’re better than everybody else, you’ve got to become the servant of everybody else. Isn’t that humbling? To think that you have now become an adult and that you have some special status to be constantly served, Jesus says – serve the weakest, and you’ll be great.
  • Bridge – and so that’s 2 examples on humility, and when these aren’t considered with much seriousness, your pride will only continue to grow. If this is the case, Christ will not be glorified and we will not experience humility in an edifying way, bringing us to…

 

  1. Experiencing Humility:
  • Text – 9:38-41
  • Explanation – Now, there are two ways of experiencing humility, either negatively or positively! Let’s deal with the negative first. John had a problem with someone who was not part of the following crowd that did ministry in Christ’s name. This should give you the idea that pride creates exclusiveness.
  • A dear friend of mine, who is also in the ministry, once said; pride causes separation and isolation. This seems to be what the disciples are doing in a sense. And we can assume that John said this because his conscience was bothering him.

 

  • Illustration – This person was truly doing it in the name of our Lord. This wasn’t just a guy taking a chance, like the sons of Sceva who couldn’t do it. This is someone who is a true follower, and now they were telling the guy to stop because he wasn’t part of their group. This is pride expressed in exclusivity.
  • In addition, Jesus affirms that he actually did it in His name, look at verse 39. “…for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us.
  • Jesus says they are either for us or against us, and if they’re for us, they’re for us. There aren’t competitors, they are on the same side!

 

  • Application – And so here is the positive, look at verse 41. Here’s to point, this is the key stroke. The K.O punch! These guys have reward on the brain, hence they’re arguing about greatness. Again, this exposes their pride.
  • So how should John and the others respond to the man and other who do ministry in the Lord’s name? Like this, you give a cup of water to someone who belongs to Christ, that’s humility. The idea is to show kindness toward those who bear the name of Christ.

 

  • Conclusion – Now, this might seem mediocre to the modern reader. But to the disciples, the fear was, “if I humble myself, I’m going to lose the competition, we’ve got to win, we’ve got to be first.” So the fear is, if I end up at the bottom, I’m going to lose the reward.
  • Jesus says, if you experience humility, you don’t lose the reward, you gain it. In Philippians 2:1 Paul repeats the lesson in his own words; “if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

  • Bridge – Paul goes on to say, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 

 

  • And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” Therefore, God gives grace to the humble. God humbles the proud and exalts the humble.

 

Application:

  • So in summary, our lesson on humility has taught us more about our natural inclination to pride, but Jesus teaches us a principle on humility by pointing to His own death!
  • This doesn’t mean that this is the standard we all need to achieve because we won’t… and pursuing it would be pride as it is folly to think that we can.

 

  • We also saw two examples on humility; the first revealing that pride destroys unity and character. And secondly, pride forfeits respect, seeking self elevation & promotion. Therefore, Jesus calls for servanthood, which is done by humbling yourself, forfeiting your pride.
  • And finally, we looked at the negative and positive experience of humility. The negative refers exclusiveness, causing separation and isolation. The positive, is to show kindness toward those who bear the name of Christ, and I’ll go a step further, as we’re called to love our enemies.

 

  • So what do we take home? Humility in the Christian context means we need to embrace and trust Jesus. This is what the disciples had to do when Jesus referred to the cross. Secondly, let us learn the consequences of pride from today’s account, and consider how we can kill pride. Finally, let us embrace Christian counsel that humbles us, as this will help us kill pride and become more like Christ in our serving of others.