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 10:35-45, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Mark 10:35-45, for the video feed, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.

Mark 10:35-45, A Lesson on Servanthood:

  • Pride dominates our modern-day, it dominates our culture! This is the defining sin of humanity. All other sins feed pride. All temptations, all invitations to do evil of any kind and every kind are based on self-glory.
  • See, the reason a temptation is a temptation is because you want to do it, as it appeals to your personal fulfillment, your personal desire, and so you believe you have the right to do what you want in order to be fulfilled, and this is typically an expression of your own pride and self-love.

 

  • But pride comes before the fall, as we’ll see in a moment! Now, before you wish to justify your selfishness, please note, we cannot use Bible verses to support our self-esteem. Scripture tells us that God hates pride!
  • Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate pride.” Proverbs 16:5, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” And thus Proverbs 21:4 says, “A proud heart is sin.”Romans 1:30 says that a pride is an element of the unsaved mind. 1 Timothy 3:6 says pride comes from the devil.

 

  • 1 John 2:16 tells us that pride is a characteristic of the world. 1 Timothy 6:3 tells us it is a mark of false teachers. Yet, on the other hand, James 4:6 says, “God gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 15:33 says, “Before honor is humility.
  • So that’s’ just a few definitions concerning the issue of pride, of self-glory! Yet today’s text is all about humility, about self-sacrifice! See, at the peak of Jesus’ teaching about salvation, two of the disciples draw near with an attitude of self-glory.

 

  • Jesus’ response once again knocks the air right out of their lungs as He corrects them on servanthood and how it relates to the kingdom. Therefore, in our lesson on servanthood, we’ll look at two positions of elevation that reveal whether we inherit the kingdom or not! Let’s read together in Mark 10…

 

  1. Position one, Self-promotion:
  • Text – 10:35-42
  • Explanation – the request of James and John is a blatant example of one’s natural self-promotion! They stand in direct contrast to Jesus’ humility and self-sacrifice. But how does this happen? What puts one in this position?
  • From our text I can see at least three characteristics that play an overwhelming role in this position. And so the first is determination! Look at verse 35 again, as the sons of thunder, they were bold men.

 

  • Illustration – They were also in the inner circle, meaning they were more intimate with Jesus than any of the other disciples, apart from Peter. And so they were close to Him on a regular basis, and maybe they now assume that they have gained some advantage by this.
  • They were there with the transfiguration, they enjoyed many more private conversations, and so this has come to the place in their minds where they’re bold enough to ask for privilege in the coming kingdom.

 

  • Application – But it’s not just them. Matthew 20:20 tells us their mother came with them. Why would you bring your mother? It’s not so much that they brought their mother, it’s who their mother was. She was one of the 3 women who stood by the crucifixion of Jesus! When the apostles had fled she hung in there, she was at the cross. We assume she was a strong, faithful woman.
  • Matthew calls her the mother of Zebedee. Mark calls her Salome. John calls her the sister of Jesus’ mother. So this is a family deal. They’re playing the family card here! This shows us their determination! They want this as a family, 2 courageous men – with an even more courageous mother!

 

  • Together, mother and boys, they said to Him, “Grant that we may sit one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” This is really brash, they aren’t even in the zone of humility. This is their determination! That is what pride looks like in the world.it is determined to get it’s way!

 

  • Explanation – The second characteristic can be identified as overconfidence. Verse 36, “We want to sit one on Your right hand and one on Your left, in Your glory.
  • Before dealing with the negative, on a positive note; here we see that they do believe that Jesus is the Messiah and even recognise that He will reign.
  • But the fact that they thought they were worthy of being seated next to Him shows us they didn’t fully grasp it all. This should give us an actual indication of the condition of their hearts.

 

  • Illustration – See in actuality, in the ancient times, kings elevated the people who were the very highest to their right and left hand, this would be the most intimate associates of the king. These two brothers thought they might have been entitled to it, worthy of the elevation.
  • So look at Jesus’s response, “Do you know what you’re asking? Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” Surely they knew what this meant. More so, drinking the cup and being baptized are references to suffering.

 

  • Application – Therefore, what Jesus is saying is, “You want glory, you don’t want suffering.” They didn’t want anything to do with that. They didn’t want any suffering for Him, they didn’t want any suffering for them.
  • In addition, the expression; “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” is an Old Testament phrase for taking in something, draining it. And so what is the cup? Isaiah 31, the cup of God’s fury! Can they handle this cup?

 

  • With much foolishness and overconfidence, they express their ability. However, in Matthew 26, when Jesus was praying in the garden, He said: “Let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done!
  • With reference to the baptism, Jesus does not mean Christian baptism. He is referring to being immersed into suffering! This is strong imagery. Jesus asks, “Can you literally drink it all in and be submerged in it?” Why the drama? Because that’s what they were asking for… if you want the glory, you have to suffer!

 

  • Conclusion – Let’s turn to verse 41, as we look at the third characteristic: competitiveness. You might have thought that James & John are competitive, but lo & behold, the rest of the 10 show off their hearts too!
  • They are upset that they didn’t get to ask this first, or for not thinking of this first off. But the Lord is patient, “Calling them to Himself…” Why? To teach them the Biblical position of service!

 

  • Application – but first, where does this competitive spirit come from? From the pagans, as Jesus says; “the rulers of the nations, lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.
  • Jesus is saying that these pagan rulers were ambitious, self-promoting, confident, arrogant, and competitive. They would rule as oppressors! They want the top. They want to climb on top of everybody. They want everybody to serve them and honor them and respect them!

 

  • Bridge – this is an unbiblical position! This is pride. It is made up of a vain determination, a foolish self-confidence, and an unnecessary competitiveness! And sadly, this position leads to an unwanted final destination.
  • Folks who are given to this pride and who do not submit to the Lord in humility, will not inherit the Kingdom of God! But there is a position that does,

  1. Position Two, Self-Denial:
  • Text – 10:43-45
  • Explanation – In response to their exclusive request, Jesus instructs the Twelve that the economy of God’s kingdom is not based on power and control but on service and giving! In John 18:36, Jesus says; “My kingdom is not of this world.
  • The pagan approach works in the world, it doesn’t work in the kingdom. It’s just the opposite, as Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.” This is a huge contrast! If you want to be great in the kingdom, you must serve!

 

  • Illustration – With the contrasting words, “But it shall not be so among you,” Jesus introduced a contrast of the world’s practice of leadership by dominance and demand with God’s kingdom practice of leadership by serving and sacrifice.
  • This is the natural contrast of those who deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ. And we see Jesus use two words to describe servant leadership: diakonosand doulos.

 

  • Diakonosis the word from which we get the word deacon. It refers to one who attends to the needs of another. The second word can be translated either “bondservant” or “slave.”
  • Jesus’ point is that true greatness in the kingdom of God is measured by how low one bows, not how high they climb. But to do so, one needs to be willing to put the needs of others first.

 

  • Application – This does not mean putting the elite forward, such as the supposed ‘man of God’, but the lowly! Jesus leaves no room to pick and choose to whom we will be a slave. Instead, he says, “you must be slave of all” because each member of the kingdom is royalty.
  • This is the position, be a self-denying servant! Be a ‘Diakonos’!Give your life giving people what they need. “If you want to be first, then be the slave of all

 

  • Conclusion – Not only do you have the opportunity to serve, you have the obligation to serve. Look at verse 45 as Jesus shows us the perfect example. Jesus didn’t come to be served. He didn’t come to be Lord and Master alone, He came to do His Father’s will. He came to be the servant.
  • As an applicable example, in Philippians 2:3 Paul says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit. But with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves.” That’s exactly what our Lord is saying.

 

  • Don’t only look to your own pleasures… but the interest of others. And here it is, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a doulos, the form of a slave. Humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on the cross.
  • And what happened to Him? “For this reason God highly exalted Him.” He made the greatest sacrifice, so He was the most exalted. “God gave Him a name above every name.” That’s the model, that’s the pattern.

 

  • Bridge – You want greatness in the kingdom? Deny yourself! As Jesus paid for your freedom with His life! Jesus becomes the ransom, the substitute. Jesus dies a vicarious, substitutionary death on behalf of sinners.
  • Therefore, the path to glory in God’s kingdom is through humble sacrifice, seeing yourself as a servant and a slave. May we give our lives in service as slaves to all, even as we are slaves to Christ.

 

Application:

  • Let’s bring this home! Today we’ve seen two positions of service that reveal whether we inherit the kingdom or not! The first being unbiblical position! It is pride which is made up of a vain determination, a foolish self-confidence, and an unnecessary competitiveness! The second has to do with the position that leads to inheriting the kingdom of God, and that is self-denial!
  • Did the disciples learn through this? Yes! Peter learned this lesson, as in 1 Peter 5:3, he encourages that church elders must not lord it over the sheep. Peter would tenderly shepherd the flock of God.

 

  • As for the Sons of Thunder, James was the first martyr and for John, the last martyr. James had his head cut off! His suffering was fast. John’s suffering was slow agonizing, as we was banished to the island of Patmos after being boiled alive!
  • They did drink the cup, they were baptized with the same baptism. More so, in his ministry, John even rebukes and warns the church about the supposed leader, Diotrephes “who likes to put himself first” (3 John 9). Once a “son of thunder”, he became known as the apostle of love.

 

  • What transformed him? The truth about the only position that matters, self-denial servanthood. How did they get there? Through the redemptive power of the gospel! Through bowing the knee before the one who came to set the ultimate example of servanthood, so that we can serve Him as we inherit the Kingdom of God!