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The Newborn King & Your Quest for Power ~ Matthew 20:20-28!

December 21, 2014 ~ New City Church of Calgary ~ Pastor John Ferguson!

Intro: Tennis superstar, Chris Evert, had the best win-loss record of any singles player in history. As she
thought about retirement, she found herself staring at a crisis: I had no idea who I was, or what I could be
away from tennis. I was depressed and afraid because so much of my life had been defined by my being a
tennis champion. I was completely lost. Winning made me feel like I was somebody. It made me feel pretty. It
was like being hooked on a drug. I needed the wins, the applause, in order to have an identity.!

Evert perfectly & honestly articulated her quest for power. Can you identify with her?!

Obj: Some of us might say, I am not lured into the quest for power. Thats something politicians, or
sports players, or people climbing the corporate ladder are in to, but Im not into that.!

Illus: Day I came home frustrated, feeling tired and overwhelmed, and just battle weary of life. I opened a
bag of chips and sat in the kitchen just chomping and grinding them. Why? Was I hungry? No, but I wanted
power and control over my life, and that bag of chips was my salvation at that moment. Everybody wants
to rule the world.!

Key Question: To what do I look for a sense of power? !

Today, were going to look at the topic of our quest for power in light of the life & mission of Jesus of Nazareth.
This Advent Season, weve been looking at the significance of the birth of Jesus as King and what it means for
him to rule in all our hearts alone. Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king / born to reign in us
forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.!

In Jesus, God is not only making himself known, but is also reclaiming this world for himself. And that includes
our hearts and rescue our hearts from the things that have enslaved us: Money. Sex. Power. He wants to
liberate us and free us to join him on mission in this world. !

Whether you are exploring Christianity or are a seasoned follower of Jesus, what you are going to see today is
that power is not inherently a bad thing, but it could easily become a bad thing. And were going to see how in
Jesus, God redeems our quests for power, and redirects them with the aim of bringing shalom to this world. !

Awkward moments: were going to look at a moment in the life of Jesus that was just awkward. Jesus is on his
March toward Jerusalem to give his life for the salvation of the world, and a mom steps up to ask Jesus a very
odd question. !

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The Quest for Power is a Good Thing.!


1. Objections galore! !
Lord Actons dictum: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.!
Friedrich Nietzche, Will to Power, My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over
all space and to extend its force (its will to power) and to thrust back all that resists its extension.!
Postmodernism: every human story is a play for power. Every agenda is only a ploy to get power.!
So instead of power, we speak of leadership, influence, and authority.!
2. It was not so from the beginning. Genesis 1 is the story of Gods creative power as he calls the
universe into existence. But its also a story of delegated power given to humanity for a purpose.!

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Gen. 1:26-29, Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have
dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all
the earth and over every other creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his
own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed
them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have
dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves
on the earth. !
Simply put, humans were entrusted / stewarded with power to bring about the flourishing of this world,
or to put it another way, to extend the kingdom of God over the face of the earth. !

- OP Robertson, Made in Gods image, man has the unique responsibility to subdue the
earth and rule over every living creature. This subduing involves the bringing out of all the
potential within the creation which might offer glory to the Creator. (CofCov).!
3. Key Point: Power is good. Dangerously good (HT: Andy Crouch, Playing God). Like electricity or fire,
power can be harnessed for good things, but it can also bring about untold damage. !
The Quest for Power can be a Blinding Thing.!
1. For the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and for James & John, the quest for power was a blinding thing.
The reason is because now, post-Fall, it is a selfish thing. !
Matthew 20:25, the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them.!
The quest for power becomes idolatrous & self-serving, and the results are oppression, injustice,
addictions, back-stabbing, lies, destroyed lives, etc. !
3. Luke 22:24, 27, A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the
greatest. And he said to them. For who is greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it
not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. !

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John 13:1-5, 12-17.!
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III. The Quest for Power should be a Redeemed Thing.!
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1. The greatness of Jesus modeled: Matthew 20:26-28.!
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Jesus came to serve. Jesus shows us a different way of being human, and a different way of using
power: the bless others and work toward human flourishing.!
Jesus came to give his life as a ransom for many.!

2. The greatness of Jesus recognized by God the Father: Phil. 2.3-11.!

Main Idea: The quest for power must be pursued in line with Gods design!
and in the service of love to others. IOW, it must be selfless. !

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Application:!
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1. Take some time to do some soul-searching. !
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What is driving your life & your quest for power? In what ways do you want to rule the world? How do you
seek to control things for your own purposes? What happens when you feel you are losing control? !

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In what ways do you seek to play God? !
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2. Receive power as an incredible gift to serve others. !
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All of us have been given power. Some of us have greater & lesser power, but we all have it. !
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How can I steward the power & influence & creativity that God has given me to be a blessing to others? !
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3. Dont forget your Power Supply.!
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Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.!

Part of what it means to be a Christian is to not only use power differently, but to remember that we have
been given power to witness to Jesus, but in the way that we live and in the words that we say. !

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Friend: I had a discussion today with my co-workers on why it is not okay to hire prostitutes. !
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Conclusion: !
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Imagine: How would Calgary be different if everyone took to heart what Jesus teaches here?!
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Instead of Calgary being a place where everyone wanted to rule the world, what would it look like if
everyone wanted use their power to serve the world? !

What if everyone gladly recognized that there is only One true ruler of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ,
and we actually lived according to his example to serve and to give our lives for others? !

How would Calgary be different? Your work place? Your family? You?!

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In your role as an image bearer stewarded with power, let every heart prepare Him room.!
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And lets turn this world upside down by using power to serve others, recognizing that there is another king,
Jesus (Acts 17:6-8), who has come to make his blessings flow far as the curse if found.