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1 Corinthians 11:23-34 A TIME WE CALL COMMUNION Intro: Ever since the early Christians met secretly in homes to remember

the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the church has been celebrating the Communion Service. Of all the things we do in the church, this one event should hold the most meaning for us, and it should cause us to be humbled by the message behind the service. I think that, far too often, the Communion celebration is looked upon as being common place. It is just something "we do every few months". In reality, it is far more than this! This time we call Communion is an opportunity for the church to worship the Lord Jesus be remembering what He did for us at Calvary and the garden tomb. It is a time when we can rehearse the message of the Gospel in the ears of those who may not know it. It is also a time to reflect upon our walk with Jesus as individuals. Today, we are going to partake of the Communion once again. But, before we do, I want to draw your attention to what these verses teach us about this special time. Allow me to point out several marks of this time known as Communion. As I do, please look into your own heart and examine your life on the basis of what the Bible says about this event known as The Lord's Supper. I. V. 23-25 IT IS A TIME OF COMMEMORATION A. These verses remind us that the Lord's Supper Service is a time for "calling to mind" the great sacrifice and victorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. B. When we gather at the Lord's Table for Communion, we are not offering a new sacrifice. We are remembering His "once for all" sacrifice, Heb. 10:10. C. The idea of remembering is more than just recalling that an event took place. It has the idea of stirring up the mind to relive with Jesus Christ as much of His life, death and resurrection as is humanly possible. It is a time to remember that: 1. He left heaven to be born in a human body - Phil. 2:5-6 2. He became poor that we might be rich - 2 Cor. 8:9 3. He bore our sins in His Own body on the tree - 1 Pet. 2:24 4. He willingly took our place on Calvary - Isa. 53:4-6 5. He shed His blood for our redemption - Rev. 1:5; Rev. 5:9, 1 Pet. 1:18-19. 6. He conquered death for us forever - Matt. 28:1-6; Rev. 1:18 7. He ascended back to Heaven to finish His redemptive work and to serve as out High Priest forever Heb. 7:25 D. It is a time to remember! II. V. 23-25 IT IS A TIME OF CONTEMPLATION

A. Not only are we to remember what Jesus has done for humanity, but we are to contemplate what His sacrifice means to us as individuals. B. Jesus died on the cross to save sinners, 1 Tim. 1:15. But, what does that mean to you? Have you been saved? Does His sacrifice move your heart toward Him in worship if you are saved? Does the fact that He is alive forevermore thrill your soul and cause you to bow before Him in humility and worship? C. We should use this time to reflect on what the work of Christ means to us as individuals. Our minds should reflect on what His death and resurrection has accomplished in our lives. It is a great time to consider your personal walk with the Lord! Is it all it should be? Are you living in a manner that pleases Him? Is your heart right with the Lord? Consider your relationship to the Lord during this special time. III. V. 23-25 IT IS A TIME OF IDENTIFICATION A. When we take the Lord's Supper, we are publically identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ. Now, it is possible for a lost person to partake of the Lord's Supper and never be saved. This event holds no saving power! However, for those who are saved, it is a time for us to declare publically that we believe His death and resurrection were for us! B. Let us who have been saved by grace boldly identify ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ! The Bible reminds us that those who know Him are not to be ashamed of Him, Rom. 10:9-11. The world may call us fools. They may say we use the Lord as a crutch. Regardless of what they say, let us take our stand with the redeemed and loudly proclaim our faith in Him and our dependence upon His sacrifice. C. The Lord's Supper Service is a prime time to identify yourself with the Lord Jesus! IV. V. 26 IT IS A TIME OF DECLARATION A. This verse reminds us that when we celebrate the Lord's Supper, we are declaring His death and resurrection to new generations of people. This is to be a time of education as well as a time of worship. We must always take the time to explain what we are doing when we take the bread and juice. This service is a prime time for declaring the Gospel message to those who do not know it. B. That is why we preach the Gospel message! We proclaim it so that men and women, boy and girls will have the opportunity to believe on Jesus Christ as all the redeemed have done. Therefore, let us determine that we will ever remind this lost and dying world that there is only one source of salvation and that His name is Jesus Christ, John 14:6, Acts 4:12. C. In a day when many churches are becoming "seeker friendly" and others are abandoning the doctrines of salvation by grace through faith alone, let us determine that as long as there is breath in our bodies, we will strive to protect the message in this church! We could compromise and draw a crowd, but I had rather preach the truth to a few than to drag a crowd behind me into a Christless eternity! V. V. 26 IT IS A TIME OF EXPECTATION A. We are also reminded that this time serves to stir up our thoughts concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The truth is, He died for us, He rose again for us and He ascended into Heaven for us. There, He makes intercession for us at the throne of God. But, let us not forget that He has also promised to return someday for us, John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:16-18.

B. The Lord's Supper service should serve to remind us of the fact that He is coming! It should stir up our hearts by reminding us that one day soon, our Savior will return from glory to take His children home to Heaven. Therefore, when the bred and juice are passed in a few minutes, remember, Jesus is coming and He is coming for a redeemed people. C. Are you ready for His coming? Matt. 24:44! VI. V. 27-31 IT IS A TIME OF EXAMINATION A. While all the other truths we have considered today are important, this final one is very serious in its warning to you and me. The Lord's Supper service is a time of reflection and worship, but it is also a time of self-examination. We are warned against partaking of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. This can mean several things: 1. It Is A Warning To The Lost - No one who has not been saved should take of the Lord's Supper service. It is a dangerous thing to do so! 2. It Is A Warning To The Backslider - When we come to the Lord's table with sin in our lives, we open our lives up to God's judgment, v. 29. He will chasten His children when they profess to be right with God, and yet they are harboring sin in their hearts. 3. It Is A Warning Against Taking It Lightly - Too often, people will come to the Lord's table and will not take the time to search their hearts for sin, nor will they consider the great sacrifice Jesus gave for their redemption. They go through the motions, but ignore the emotions. Others participate in it ritualistically and not with their minds and hearts. Others trust the ceremony to save them and fail to trust the One to Whom the ceremony points. Others come with bitterness and hatred in their hearts toward other believers. All of these are dangerous and bring the chastisement of God into our lives. B. When we partake of the Lord's Supper in a manner which degrades the truth behind the celebration, we are guilty of trampling under foot the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When someone walks on the flag of the United States in protest, they are doing more than damaging a piece of cloth. They are actually dishonoring this nation and all it stands for! The same is true at the Lord's Table! Let us be careful to examine our hearts, our lives and our motives before we receive the elements of the Lord's Supper. C. Paul's warning is serious! He reminds the Corinthians that some of there number is dead because they came to the Lord's Table in an unworthy manner, v. 30! The remedy for this is for us to examine ourselves, confess our sins and right every wrong possible, before we come to the Lord's Table! If we will take the time to judge our own lives, the Lord will not have to judge them for us, v. 31. But, even when His chastisement comes upon us, it is for our own good, and is a product of His love for us, v. 32. Conc: As a child, many of us can remember our mothers telling us to "wash up for supper." Well, that is what the Lord is telling you and me this morning! Are you in a right condition to receive the Lord's Supper today? Answer these questions right now: 1. Are you saved? 2. Is your life pleasing to the Lord? 3. Are there hidden things in your life that need to be dealt with this morning?

4. Is there ANY problem between you and another believer? 5. Can you honestly say that your heart and life and pure? 6. Are you ready to receive the bread and juice with a heart of true worship for God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?

Mark 8:10-13 DONT MISS THE SIGNS! Intro: A truck driver was taking his load to a new destination. As he drove, he was intently watching the signs leading to his exit. In his effort to find the right exit, he missed the signs warning him of a low overpass ahead. To his astonishment, his truck became stuck under the overpass. He could not go forward and he could not back up. Traffic began to back up and tempers began to flare. The police were called, wreckers were summoned and an effort began to free the stuck truck. They tried tow trucks, wenches, grease, pulleys, wedges and anything else anyone suggested. Nothing worked. The hours passed and the truck remained just as stuck as ever. By this time a considerable crowd had gathered to watch the workers in their attempts to free the truck. In that crowd was a little boy who was riding his bicycle over the overpass. He had stopped to watch the show, and after a few minutes, he called out to one of the policemen below. He said, Hey officer, I know how to get that truck out from under that bridge. The policeman looked up, but ignored the little boy. The boy, wanting to help, cried out louder, Hey officer, I know how to get that truck out from under that bridge. With a hint of irritation in his voice, the police officer said, Okay young man, tell me how. Without a pause, the little boy said, Let some of the air out of the tires. Thats what they did and the truck was able to pull free. I dont know if that tale is true or not, either way the story does teach a couple of important truths. First, its easy to overlook the obvious, even when it is staring you right in the face. Second, wise people learn to pay attention to all the signs. Signs are important in this physical world. I have missed a few turns because I missed a road sign. I have been speeding because I missed a sign that told me to slow down. Signs help you to know where you are and what you are supposed to be doing. Signs serve a valuable purpose in our lives. Just as there are signs in the physical realm, there are also signs in the spiritual arena. Those signs are even more important that the signs in the physical world. You can miss a sign or two here and things will probably turn out fine. But, if you miss too many spiritual signs, you might end up in Hell. At the very least, you will end up in deep trouble with the Lord.

This passage tells us about a group of people who missed all the signs and got themselves into big trouble with the Lord Jesus. Lets watch what happens when you miss the spiritual signs the Lord has prepared for you. I want you to see the truths in this passage as I preach on the thought Dont Miss The Signs. This is a warning that many should take to heart.

I. v. 11

A STERN DEMAND

Jesus has just finished one of the greatest miracles of His ministry. He took seven small loaves of bread and a few small fish and He fed four thousand people. When the meal was over, the disciples collected seven baskets filled with leftovers from the meal. According to verse 10, Jesus and His men immediately leave by ship and go to another part of Israel. As soon as they arrive there, they are met by the Pharisees. You might remember that the Pharisees were the religious conservatives of their day. They were very legalistic and they hated Jesus because He refused to do things the way they said things were supposed to be done. When Jesus arrives in their neck of the woods, they came out to meet Him. The Bible says, in verse 11, that they began to question with Him. The word question means to dispute or argue and the word is in a tense that suggests they wouldnt shut up. They kept on trying to drag Jesus into a theological argument.

We are told what they were trying to get Jesus to do. They wanted Him to show them a sign from Heaven. The Bible says that they were tempting Him. That is, they were putting Him to the test. They were trying to get Jesus to prove His authority and the source of His Power. After all, if Jesus is of God, then surely He could do some wonder in the sky above to prove it. Other men of God had done similar things in Israels past. Joshua had commanded the sun to be still and it had obeyed, Josh. 10:12-14. Samuel prayed during a battle and the Lord answered with strong and loud thunder which confounded and discombobulated their enemies. Elijah prayed and it did not rain for three and one-half years, 1 Kings 17:1. He prayed again and it rained, 1 Kings 18:41-45. Elijah also called down fire from the heavens which consumed a sacrifice and the altar it lay upon, 1 Kings 18:36-38. Others had done similar things in the past to prove that they were from the Lord.

What these men were really trying to do was to get Jesus to promise more than He could deliver. They knew about the things He had done with people, demons and food. They were trying to get Him to attempt a miracle and fail so that they could denounce Him as a false prophet.

They were also saying that all the things Jesus had already done in the power of God were insufficient to prove that He was the Messiah. They knew the things He had done, but they wanted more! Consider all the miracles the Jews had already witnessed. Jesus had healed the sick. He had raised the dead. He had delivered people from the bondage of demon possession. Jesus had walked on water. Jesus had calmed storms. Jesus had twice multiplied a meager amount of food and fed vast multitudes with it. Jesus had opened the Word of God, preached it clearly and made the meaning of the Scriptures plain to all who heard Him. The people were all talking about Him. They said We never saw it on this fashion, Mark 2:12. They said, He hath done all things well, Mark 7:37.

The Pharisees had heard enough Gospel to save the world. They had seen enough proof to convince the most stubborn of skeptics. Their problem was simply that they did not want to believe on Jesus! They did not want Him to be their Messiah. They refused to bow to Him as their Savior! We still have the Pharisees with us today. We still have the people who demand to see something sensational before they will commit to following Jesus. People thrive on the sensational. Why do you think someone like Benny Hinn has such a following? It isnt the hair! People flock to him because he promises them the sensational. Far too many people are waiting on some supernatural event to prove the existence of God. The fact is, God has already proven that He exists! While the world is looking for a sign, God tells us that He is visible in the ordinary things of this world. The things we take for granted every day are the very things that prove God is real. Let me share a few with you. Consider the heavens; Psalm 19:1-4a. God tells us that the heavens above tell us about Him. (1) Our earth is traveling around its own axis at 1000 m.p.h. (2) It moves around the sun at 67,000 m.p.h. (3) It is carried by the sun across our galaxy at a speed of 64,000 m.p.h.

(4) It moves in orbit around our galaxy at 481,000 m.p.h. (5) It travels through space at 1,350,000 m.p.h. (6) Every twenty-four hours we cover 57,360,000 miles. (7) Each year we travel 20,936,400,000 miles across empty space. (8) And every movement in the billions of galaxies in the universe occurs with precise, split-second timing. Consider the vast size of our universe. It is so vast that it takes a beam of light, (which travels some 700 million miles per hour, or 186,411 miles per second!), over 100,000 years just to cover the length of our galaxy, the Milky Way. And, our galaxy is only one among many billions in the known universe. Imagine it this way: (1) Here an orange would represent the sun. (2) A grain of sand is the earth, circling the orange at a distance of thirty feet. (3) Pluto (most remote planet in our solar system) is another grain of sand, circling the orange at ten city blocks away (Lowes Hardware). (4) Alpha Centauri (the nearest star) is 1300 miles away from the orange (Denver, Colorado). Consider how small our universe is. All matter in the universe is made up of atoms. There are so many atoms on the head of an ink pen that if an army marched past four abreast, every soldier carrying one atom, it would take that army 20,000 years to march past. Consider the marvel of the human body. David said that we were fearfully and wonderfully made, Psa. 139:14. A sperm and an egg join together to produce life. No two people in the world are exactly alike. No two fingerprints are alike. Consider the marvel of DNA. Every one of the 7.5 trillions of cells in your body contains the genetic material to make another you. And, your DNA is unique to you! You are difference from every other person who has ever lived. All of these things scream that there is a God! What more of a sign do you need? The fact is, these signs and many more, are proof positive of Gods existence. To reject Him and His Word while you claim to be waiting for a sign is nothing more than rebellion against God, Rom. 1:18-21. If you are looking for a sign today, look no farther than Calvary! That cross stands as an eternal sign of the love of God for lost sinners, Rom. 5:8. If you are looking for a sign, look

to the empty tomb. It is the eternal sign that our Savior is alive forever, Rev. 1:18. If you need a sign pointing the way to God, look at the Bible in your lap! It has survived the attacks of all the enemies of God and it still clearly points the way of salvation, Acts 16:31. If you are looking for a sign to prove the claims of the Bible and of the Lord are real, just look around you! Changed lives are all the proof a person should ever need for faith in Jesus! (Ill. Those saved by looking to the brazen serpent, Ex. 21, were proof that a look of faith could heal the body!) The Pharisees didnt believe because they didnt want to believe. Their request for a sign was a smokescreen. Even if Jesus had rent the heavens, they still would not have believed in Him. They rejected Him because He wasnt what they were expecting. Whats your excuse?

II. v. 12 A SOLEMN DECLARATION When Jesus hears their demand, He is grieved in His soul. His is a sigh of frustration and perhaps even of anger. His question, Why doth this generation seek after a sign was a question born out of amazement! After all, that generation had the greatest sign of all in their midst. They had the messiah, God in the flesh walking among them and they could not even recognize Him. They were looking for a heavenly sign and Heaven had taken up residence among them and they missed it! Jesus said, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, John 14:9. But, when men looked at Jesus, they didnt see the Father, they saw the devil, Mark 3:22. That generation had all the signs and they could not see the truth that was standing right in front of their eyes. Here is how John described it, John 1:1-14. That generation had all the signs and they failed to see the truth. Thus, Jesus told them they would be given no sign, but the sign of the prophet Jonah, Matt. 12:39-40. The only sign they would be given would be Christs resurrection from the dead. When that sign came to pass just as Jesus had said it would, they also rejected it, Matt. 28:11-15. That generation refused to believe because they didnt want to believe! Jesus knew their condition and He refused to play their game. He told them that He wasnt in the sign business. There are two basic problems with signs. First, when a sign is given, another sign is desired. Its never enough! No matter what Jesus did, these men would have never believed! He could have opened the heavens and caused myriads of angels to appear, but they would have wanted to see more. He could have done any number of signs and wonders in the heavens above and they still would not have received Him! They would have always wanted one more miracle. The same is true today! People are never satisfied. If they come because of the sensational, they will require more and more of the same. Second, signs dont save, faith does! Jesus could have done all the signs imaginable and it would never have saved a single soul, unless that soul reached out to Him in simple,

childlike faith! It isnt the miracles that save souls, it is faith. When faith touches grace the greatest miracle of all, the salvation of a human soul, takes place. Jesus isnt in the sign business! He is in the salvation business! If you are waiting for a Damascus Road experience before you come to Jesus, you will probably be waiting a long time. Most folks dont get the dog and pony show. Most folks are convicted of their sins, drawn to Jesus and called upon to respond to Him by simple faith, Eph. 2:8-9. If you are waiting on a sign, you might just go to Hell while you wait. Again, the greatest sign of all has already been given! Look to Calvary, and see a crucified Savior. Look to the tomb and see Him resurrected from the dead. If you can believe those two events and take them at face value, you can be saved, Rom. 10:9! Here is what the Lord is trying to tell you today: There shall no sign be given to this generation. If you are waiting on a sign, you are waiting on something that isnt coming! Come to Jesus now and be saved while you still can!

III. v. 13 A SORROWFUL DEPARTURE The words of verse 13 are among the saddest in all the Gospel record, And He left them There was nothing more to say and nothing more that could be done. They refused to believe, and He abandoned them to their choice. Those men experienced the wrath of Gods abandonment. He turned them over to their own ways and left them in their darkness! What a horrible thought, but that is just what the Lord does, Rom. 1:18-28. He will not deal with you forever, Gen. 6:3. There will come a point when He will walk away from you, never to return. He will abandon you to the eternity you have chosen. If God has been speaking to you about being saved, you need to heed His voice! There will come a day when He will stop speaking to your heart. When will that day be? It could be today; it could be tomorrow; the fact is, that day will come. Dont bet your soul on the thought that you always have tomorrow to get right with the Lord, Pro. 27:1. Today is the day of salvation, behold now is the accepted time, 2 Cor. 6:2! Friend, no one goes to Hell because God sends them there. People go to Hell because they refuse to turn from their sins and believe on Jesus. People go to Hell because they love darkness rather than Light. People go to Hell because God is a God of love Who does not force Himself on anyone against their will. People go to Hell because God allows them to have their own way. Is that what you want? I am not trying to scare anybody today. I cant scare you into salvation. You can only be saved, and you will only be saved, when the Spirit of God is drawing you to Jesus, John 6:44. If I could scare you to Jesus, I would not hesitate to do just that.

I cant scare you into it, but I can tell you this: if you dont come to Jesus Christ and believe on Him for salvation in this life, you will spend eternity in Hell, apart from God, for all eternity! Please, do not sin away your day of grace. Come to Jesus while there is time. Come to Jesus and be saved. Come to Jesus today.

Conc: Are you still looking for a sign? Let me show you a couple. Heres one: John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Heres another: John 6:35-37, And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Heres another: John 6:47, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

There are many more signs, if you are interested, and every single one of them is found right here in the Bible. Heed the signs and Heaven will be your home. Ignore the signs and you are headed for a tragic ending. Is the Lord speaking to you about your soul and your salvation? Heed His voice and come to Him right now! Imagine a driver traveling down a highway passing sign after sign telling him that the bridge over the river ahead was out. Imagine that same driver plunging to his death in the river because he ignored all the signs. You say, No one would do something so foolish! Oh no? Isnt that just what you are doing? You are speeding down the road of life toward your death and the bridge is out. Yet you ignore sign after sign telling you to stop and change roads. Dont plunge into Hell! Come to Jesus and be saved. Come today. Come now!

Mark 10:35-45 THE HIGH COST OF FINISHING FIRST

Intro: I once heard the story of a rice farmer who saved an entire village from destruction. From his hilltop farm he felt the earth quake and saw the distant ocean swiftly withdraw from the shore line. He knew that a tidal wave was coming. In the valley below, he saw his neighbors working low fields that would soon be flooded. They must run quickly to his hilltop or they would all die. His rice barns were dry as tinder. So with a torch he set fire to his barns and soon the fire gong started ringing. His neighbors saw the smoke and rushed to help him. Then from their safe perch they saw the tidal wave wash over the fields they had just left. In a flash they knew not only who had saved them but what their salvation had cost their benefactor. They later erected a monument to his memory bearing the motto, He gave us all he had, and gave gladly. This poor farmer finished first in the eyes of his community, but it cost him everything he had. There are not many people in our world like that farmer. He willingly sacrificed himself that others might succeed. Most people do everything they can to better themselves, and think nothing of the people they step on behind as they climb to the top of the heap. This text is designed to teach us the truth that not everyone who finishes first is victorious. Sometimes those who take the last seat, those who willingly finish last, are the real winners in the game of life. I think it is clear from reading the Gospels that our Lords disciples were anything but humble men. They were always in the business of trying to promote themselves. On several occasions, Jesus sought to combat that mentality, but they never seemed to get the message. In this passage, we see selfish ambition in all of its ugliness. James and John come to Jesus asking for the top seats in His kingdom. Jesus uses this event to teach us all some valuable lessons about leadership, service to others and forgiveness. As we move through this text today, I want to preach about The High Cost Of Finishing First. I want you to see the thoughts that come out of this passage. I want you to see A Selfish Petition; A Somber Proclamation and A Spiritual Pattern. As we consider these thoughts, I hope you will see that being first can cost you all you have. I want you to see that being a servant to others is more of a blessing, in the end, than being served by others.

I. v. 35-40 A SELFISH PETITION A. v. 35-37 The Request James and John approach Jesus asking that they be allowed to sit with Him in the highest positions of His coming kingdom. The right hand seat was reserved for the person who was second in rank, while the left hand seat was reserved for the person

who was third in rank. These men saw themselves as the leaders among the disciples and they wanted their positions made permanent. They were literally asking for three things. They wanted Preeminence. They wanted the glory and honor that came from being elevated to a throne. They wanted Proximity. They wanted to be close to Jesus in the Kingdom. They also wanted Power. These men wanted to have positions of great authority in the coming kingdom. What made them think that they could ask for such things? There are several reasons why they made such a request. First, they based their request on their relationship to Jesus. Matthew tells us that Salome, their mother, made the request first, Matt. 20:20-21. Salome was Marys sister. Thus, she was the aunt of Jesus and James and John were His first cousins. They appealed to their relationship as family. Second, they were merely claiming the promises they had been made. Matt. 19:28. These men had been promised thrones, power and position in the kingdom and they were making a claim on that promise. That may be why Jesus did not rebuke them for their request. They were asking for what would be given to them, but they did not understand the Lords timing in the matter.

(Note: What bothers me about their request is the timing of it. Jesus had just finished telling these men that He is going to Jerusalem, to be betrayed, rejected and killed, v. 33-34. All these men can think about is climbing to the top of the pile. All they can see is their position on the totem pole. Jesus is about to die for sin and they are playing whos on first? It is a cold-hearted, self-centered, unsympathetic request! These men never did grasp the idea that their leader, the Lord Jesus Christ, was headed to a cross. All they could see was the crown. They wanted the crown without the cross. They wanted the glory without the pain. They wanted the reward without having to pay the price. The problem with the disciples is the same problem people have today. Most people are not concerned with the glory of God. All they care about is finishing first. All they care about is their own power, position and prestige. The problem with the disciples, and the problem with many of us, is that we are filled with pride. Pride always leads to defeat, Pro. 16:18; 1 Cor. 10:12. What if God gets more glory from my finishing last? A humble, submissive spirit will prevent many failures.)

B. v. 38-39a The Response Jesus responds by telling them that they have no idea what they are asking for. He confronts them by asking them if they are willing and able to experience all that He is about to endure, Ill. v. 33-34.

When Jesus uses the word cup He is talking about a life experience. When He uses the word baptism He is referring to being submerged or immersed in that experience. Jesus is saying, I am about to be immersed in an experience that you cannot imagine. Are you able to go through it too? They tell Him that they can. But these men do not understand what awaits Jesus. Their response reveals a complete lack of understanding concerning what Jesus is about to suffer and of the load He was sent to carry. Jesus is on His way to Calvary where He will bear the sins of His people on a Roman cross. Jesus is about to experience the undiluted wrath of Almighty God against sin and sinners. Jesus is about to die at the hands of the Heavenly Father, Ill. Isa. 53:1-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24.

C. v. 39b-40 The Revelation Jesus tells them that they will experience His anguish to a degree. They will die for their faith. All of them died a martyrs death, except for John and he was exiled to Patmos and greatly persecuted for his faith. These men would walk the same road that Jesus walked, but they could never endure what He was about to suffer. Jesus tells them that positions in the kingdom would not be given out based on selfish ambition, but according to the will of sovereign God. The same is true in life! What a person receives in this world in terms of blessings, usefulness and ministry are all determined by the will of God, Ill. John 3:25-30.

(Note: I see preachers all the time who are trying to make a name for themselves. They are always jockeying for position. If they can just meet this preacher, or preach in this meeting, or preach in that church, then the doors will open and everything will fall into place. That is not how it works! God knows where His men are and He promotes them as He chooses; when He chooses and where He chooses. Blessed is the person who serves where they are and allows the Lord to determine the course of their lives and the extent of their ministry.)

II. v. 41-44

A SOMBER PROCLAMATION

A. v. 41 The Exasperation When the rest of the disciples heard about what John and James were up to, they became angry. Perhaps they were angry because these fellows were trying to promote themselves over the rest. Or, perhaps they were angry because James and John beat them to the draw and asked Jesus first. Whatever the reason, they are steamed! Their reaction to what James and John did is no better than the request James and John made. The ten hear what James and John did and they react by becoming angry. People dont

always act like we think they should. And, when they dont it is easy to become offended with them. It is so easy to allow anger to creep into our hearts. People will offend us and we will hold a grudge against them. We will put on the front of righteousness while our hearts are full of unforgiveness. Let me just remind you that God cannot work in that kind of environment! When there is a problem between the saints of God, it hinders the work of God in His church. Gods will is for us to walk in absolute forgiveness, Eph. 4:32; Luke 17:1-5; Matt. 18:21-35. There are people in this room who may be hindering the work of God in this church because you wont forgive others. You have hard feelings over events that occurred 5, 10, 20 years ago or more. You need to get right with that person, so you can be right with the Lord. Others need to seek forgiveness of those you have offended. When there are hard hearts and hurt feelings among Gods people, there will be no power of God in the church house! When there is that kind of situation it tells me that we have allowed our relationships to become too fragile. If our relationships can be broken by misdeeds and misunderstandings, then they are too fragile. The Lord said that our relationships were to be marked by love, John 13:35. I am supposed to love you with an unconditional, unfailing, unquestioning love. When I do, I can forgive you and walk with you as my brother. But, when I do not love you like I should, I will hold the past over your head. The problem is not with you or what you may have done. The problem is with me. My love is not right, thus, my heart is not right. B. v. 42 The Examination Jesus doesnt allow their anger to simmer. He addresses the issue at hand and calls their attention to the Gentile world around them. He lets them, know that high seat seeking is the way of the world. Those who rule in this world rise to the top by grabbing power and oppressing their opponents. We see that mentality all around us in the world today. This is an election year and every candidate is doing everything in his or her power to come out on top. You can even find that situation in the church. It seems that every church has one or more people like Diotrephes, 3 John 9-11. There are always those individuals who like to think they run the show and have all the authority. Just for the record, I would rather allow the Lord to run His church than I would to try and usurp His authority. He wants the disciples, and us, to understand that God has a higher goal for His children. C. v. 43-44 The Expectation In these verses, Jesus simply restates an earlier teaching, Mark 9:33-37. These men didnt get first the message, and most of us havent gotten it either. But, here it is again.

The Lord wants us to know that the path to the top leads through the bottom. If you really want to reach the top, you must start out at the bottom. If you really want to be a leader, you must first learn how to serve. Jesus uses two words here that are of note. The word minister in verse 43 is the word that gives us the word deacon. That word speaks of a person who serves others. The other word is the word servant in verse 44. That word means slave. This idea is this: if we want to be recognized and respected, we must give up all ambition and selfishness. We must live out our days serving others. It means being willing to get none of the glory. It means being willing to do the most servile and menial of tasks with no thought of receiving recognition or thanks. If we want to come out on top, we must first start by being a slave.

(Note: When Jesus spoke to His men about this issue earlier, Mark 9:33-37, He used a child to teach them about service. Why a child? I think there are several reasons. First, children in that society were at the bottom of the social ladder. They were viewed as mere property and largely ignored by most adults. Second, Jesus used a child to teach His disciples about service because children really cant do anything for adults. A child cant enhance a persons position in society. A child cannot add to your success. A child cant make you more important in the eyes of the world. However, a child can teach you much about ministry! Think about it, every parent in this room knows what happens when you have a new baby. That child demands everything! From day one it must be served, every need must be met by a willing adult. Children come into our homes and they require constant care and attention. If they are ignored, they let you know all about in loud and irritating ways. When parents have children, they learn what giving and service are all about. When that child is born you give and you give and you give. When that child grows, you give and you give and you give. Often, even after they reach adulthood, you continue to give and you give and you give, often receiving nothing in return. Jesus used a child because children need to be served, but they cannot serve us in return. That is a lesson we all need to take to heart. Too often, we only serve those who can do something in return for us. The Lord would have us faithfully; selflessly serve others without giving a thought to what we might receive in return. If you are looking for respect, learn to serve. People respect those who serve them. Respect is earned, it is never demanded.

Far too many people want to be recognized for the things they do. They want their pat on the back. They want to hear thank you, and good job. They do what they do because they want to be recognized. They have their reward, Matt. 6:5. We need people in the church who could care less if they are ever recognized as long as Gods work is accomplished. We need people who can see beyond themselves to the needs of others. We need people who willingly become slaves so that others are served. We need people who will graciously step aside when the time is right so that others can serve. That is what we need! Is that what we have?)

III. v. 45 A SPIRITUAL PATTERN (Ill. Jesus uses His impending sacrifice as the ultimate example of sacrificial service. He sets the pattern all of His people are commanded to follow.) A. The Prominence The word even reminds us of Who Jesus is. He is the Son of God. He is God in the flesh. If anyone who ever walked on this earth should have been served it should have been Jesus. He could have commanded legions of angels to do His every bidding. Instead, He walked many dusty miles serving those around Him. He could have come to this world as a King and been born in a palace with servants and great wealth. Instead, He was born in a stable, in abject poverty. He did not come to be served, He came to serve. If our God is willing to serve sinful humanity, we should be willing to serve as well. Some people think they are too good to serve others. Jesus Christ never thought that! He got down into the mud with fallen man so that He could lift him out and change his condition. May God give us that same heart to serve! B. The Passion The Lords passion to serve was such that He willingly took the place of a slave. The greatest example of that can be seen the night before He went to the cross. When Jesus and His disciples finished their meal in the upper room, Jesus put a towel around His waist and washed His disciples feet, John 13:1-17. He took the place of a slave and washed the dirty feet of men who would run away before dawn. He washed the feet of Peter who would deny Him three times before dawn. He even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot who would betray Him in to the hands of His enemies that very night. Jesus freely served those who would break His heart. When the next day dawned, Jesus performed the greatest service of all when He went to Calvary to die on the cross for sinners who hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him.

Service was His passion. Service was His life. May that same passion grip our hearts! May we freely take the place of slaves and serve others for the glory of God alone! C. The Price The cost of service for Jesus was extremely high. It cost Him His very life. Jesus willingly went to His death to save those who cared nothing for Him. He suffered the shame, the pain, the humiliation, and the agony of the cross to serve lost sinners. He experienced the undiluted wrath of Almighty God to serve us. He took the place of a common criminal and was judged as rebel so that sinners could be saved. He willingly entered into death so that others might enter into life. Why did He do it? He did it because He loves me, Rom. 5:8. He did it because He hates sin, Heb. 9:26. He did it to satisfy Gods demand for a perfect human sacrifice, 1 John 2:2. He did it to please the Father, Isa, 53:10. He did it to set me free, 1 Pet. 1:18-19. What is His reward for this kind of service? It wont be found among men. The majority of humanity hates the name of Jesus and cares nothing for His service or His sacrifice. His reward wont be found in the church. Most churches and most so-called Christians have no understanding of Who Jesus is or what He did. Our Lords reward will be found in two places. First, His reward is in the changed lives of men and women who receive Him as their Savior and live out His love in the world, Heb. 12:2. His greatest reward is found in the face of the Father. Because Jesus served humanity so selflessly, God has promoted Him to the pinnacle of glory and worship, Phil 2:5-11. How did Jesus arrive at such an exalted place? It isnt because He is God! He is there because He took the place of a slave. He is there because He willingly chose the lowest place of all and God elevated Him to the highest place of all. While you and I will never reach the same place Jesus occupies, the same principle that caused Him to be exalted is at work in your life and mine. Here is what Jesus said, for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted, Luke 18:14. The Word of God also says, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, 1 Pet. 5:6.

Conc: It is a paradox, but it is true nonetheless, for the Christian the way up is always down. Is that the path you are walking? Are you actively seeking ways to serve others? We have places of ministry in this church where you can serve, are you serving in them? There are people all around us who need to know about Jesus, are you telling them? There are needs on every hand, are you seeking to meet them? Are you being a servant of God by selflessly serving others? If the Lord has touched your heart about your service, today would be a good day to enlist. If you are like the ten and you have hard feelings at other for what they have said or done, today would be a great day to make that right. I would make it right with them and then come make it right with God.

If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, today would be a good day to bow before Him and receive Him as your Lord. He will receive you, change you and use you for His glory. Do what He would have you to do today?

Mark 11:1-11 DONKEYOLOGY Intro: This amazing passage records the Triumphant Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. It was this very Sunday morning that Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecy of the prophet Zechariah. Many centuries ago, Zechariah had written these words about the coming Messiah: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass, Zech. 9:9. That prophecy was literally fulfilled on this occasion. The primary emphasis of this passage is the revelation of Jesus to Israel that He is their long awaited Messiah and their King. The common man rejoiced in the appearance of the Lord Jesus, Mark 11:7-10. But, the leaders of Israel rejected Him, and before the next Sabbath day, Jesus would have been crucified. Israel rejected their King, John 1:11. The teaching in this passage is glorious, but I want to focus in on one little aspect of our Lords Triumphant Entry. I want to focus in on His relationship with the little donkey He rode as He entered the city. I am interested in that little donkey. The Lord needed that donkey to fulfill His mission here on earth, v. 3. Isnt that amazing? Jesus is God and He could have done this anyway He chose to, but He chose to use that little donkey. By the way, He is still using little donkeys to get His work done on earth. He uses the likes of you and me. He certainly does not need us, but He has graciously chosen to make us part of His plan! He could have assigned the task to angels, but He chooses to work through human instruments. I am glad to be a part of the Lord business. I am glad He can use a little donkey like me! Let me mention a few important facts about that little donkey. I think there is some help for our hearts in these verses and I do not want to miss it. Most of us have heard about Theology, Soteriology, Christology, Eschatology, Ecclesiology, and Pneumatology. Today, I want to talk about another ology that doesnt get a lot of attention. I want to preach about Donkeyology.

We dont much about the donkey Jesus rode that day, but the Bible does reveal a few facts about him that I would like to point out. Let me share those facts with you as I try to preach about some Donkeyology.

I.

THAT DONKEY HAD TO BE REDEEMED

According to the Word of God, that donkey was only alive and available to the Lord because it had been redeemed by the blood of a lamb, Ex. 13:13; 34:20. The same could be said of us today. In our natural state, we are dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2:1. In our natural state we are Gods enemies, Rom. 8:7. In our natural state we are given over to the lusts of the flesh, Eph. 2:2-3; John 8:44. In our natural state we are under the condemnation of Almighty God, John 3:18-20, 36. In our natural state four Roman Nones stood between us and usefulness to the Lord, Rom. 3:10-23. In our natural state we were fit for nothing but the fires of Hell, Psa. 9:17. In our natural state we were useless to God and separated from Him by a wide gulf of sin, Isa. 59:2.

That was our natural state! That may be how the Lord found us, but that is not the way He left us! When He saved us by His grace, changed us completely. He gave us His life Eph. 2:5-6. (Ill. Everlasting life, new life, Heavenly life, abundant life, John 10:10.) He delivered us from the penalty of our sins Col. 2:13-14; Eph. 1:7. He bridged the gulf between us and Him Eph. 2:13-16. (Il. Job 9:33 The Daysman!)

That is the only reason you and I have any usefulness to the Lord today. Praise God for the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus! Just so we understand, redemption is not an option, it is a necessity! Jesus put it this way to Nicodemus in John 3:7, Ye must be born again. Without the new birth, you are lost in your sins.

You will notice the Lord did not say be baptized, join the church, turn over a new leaf or do good things. The Lord told Nicodemus that he needed a new life! Redemption is not something that happens because you joined a church and were baptized. It is not something that comes to you because you stopped committing a sin. It is not something you get be being a better person. Salvation comes when a lost sinner is convicted of sin, John 6:44, and looks away by faith to the Lord Jesus for salvation. It is an encounter with the grace of God, totally unconnected with any works of the flesh, Eph. 2:89. Have you been redeemed? You and I will only be useful to the Lord when we have been redeemed by His blood from our lost condition. When we are, we become the Temple He occupies, 1 Cor. 6:19 and the Tool He used, Eph. 2:10; James 2:18.

II.

THAT DONKEY HAD TO BE RELEASED

When Jesus told the disciples about the little donkey, He told them they would find it tied up, v. 2. They were to untie the donkey and bring it to Jesus, which is what they did, v. 4. That little donkey was bound and it needed to be set free before the Lord could use it. When Jesus found us, we were just like that little donkey! Before you and I can be of any use to Him, the chains of our sins must be broken and we must be set free. I dont know if you know it or not, but we are born into this world as slaves to sin, Eph. 2:23. We are children of the devil and his will is what we do, John 8:44. In that condition, we are useless to the Lord. We cannot serve Him. We cannot live for Him. We cannot bring glory to His name. We are useless in that bound up, tied down condition. We need to be set free! I praise His Name that is just what He does for His saints. He comes to where we are and He gives us liberty. He delivers us from the bondage of our sins, Rom. 6:14. He gives us a new desire to follow Him and serve Him. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, Titus 2:14. He makes us a new creature in Jesus, 2 Cor. 5:17. He moves in and takes up residence in our bodies, 2 Cor. 4:7. He gives us freedom from sin, self and Satan, John 8:36.

I dont know if the Lord Jesus has ever released you from anything, but I know that if He has, you need to praise Him for it. I know if your life has never changed, you need to be saved. It doesnt matter if you are a church member or not. If you know Him, there will be the evidence of a changed life!

(Note: In verse 6, the phrase and straightway he will send him hither, means The Lord will send the donkey right back as soon as He is finished with him. In other words, Jesus tells His men to tell the people who owned the donkey that He will return their property as soon as He is through with it. When that donkey came back, it was better than it was when it left. When it left, it was unbroken and untried. When it came home, it was ready for the saddle. Thats just what the Lord does! He takes when we give Him and when He gives it back, it is far better than it was when He got it. Give Him your crabapple and He will give you back a golden delicious. Give Him your acorn and He will give you back a mighty oak. Give Him an Abram, a lost pagan, and He will give you back an Abraham, a mighty man of faith. Give Him your Jacob, a schemer and a trickster, and He will give you back an Israel, a Prince of God. Give Him your Saul of Tarsus, a mean, cruel man, and He will give you back a Paul, a mighty Apostle of God. Give Him you Simon, a weak, vacillating man, and He will give you back a Peter, a rock for Jesus. Give Him your broken, sin-scarred life and He will give you back a new start, a new life and a home in Heaven!)

III.

THAT DONKEY HAD TO BE RULED

Someone had to take charge over that donkey. Verse 2 tells us that the donkey had never been broken to ride. It was a wild animal. That little, wild donkey needed a master. It was wild; yet it submitted itself to the Lord Jesus and yielded to His control. That donkey wasnt frightened by the crowds or by their noise. It simply surrendered itself to the

Lord totally. The very fact that this little donkey has never been broken, and that Jesus is riding it, is a miracle in itself. Of course, Psa. 8:6-8 tells us that He has dominion over this creation. That little donkey surrendered to the Lords sovereignty and yielded to His authority. That is exactly what He expects of us! He is looking for total submission and total surrender from our lives, Rom. 12:1-2. Lets face the truth; some people have a real problem with authority. There are folks who just have a hard time the idea of someone having authority over them. Whether it is their parents at home; their boss at work; or their Pastor at church; they have a hard time with authority. The fact is, there is always someone over us! In the home, the husband is to be over that home, Eph. 5:23. I know that idea is oldfashioned, but you need to take that up with the Lord. In the home, the parents are to have authority over their children, Eph. 6:1-3. I know that the children rule the roost in most home, but that is not Gods way. On the job, the boss is the person in authority, Eph. 6:5-8. I know most people think their job exists for their benefit and that they can do as they please, but that is not Gods way! In the church, the Pastor is the person in authority, Heb. 13:7, 17. Authority in the church does not rest in some Deacon Board, the WMU, an influential family, or any other person or group. Authority in the local church rests in the Lord Jesus Christ and He gives His authority to lead to the man He calls as the Pastor of that assembly. I know that idea is foreign to most Baptists, but it is still the Word of God! This week, I am under the authority of this Pastor. I preach here these few nights at his pleasure. You would do well to get under your Pastor and let him lead you into the future God reveals to Him. Ultimately, our first and final authority is the Lord Jesus Christ. When He redeemed us from our sins, He purchased us unto Himself. Now, if we are saved, He owns us completely, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. When we are submitted to His Lordship in our lives, we will have no trouble submitting in the other areas of our lives. You show me someone who is not submissive to the authority figures God has ordained in their lives and I will show you someone who is not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You show me someone who refuses to get under those God has placed over them and I will show you someone who is probably not even saved! Why? Yielding to the Lordship of Jesus is an essential component of biblical salvation, Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9. He is the Lord Jesus Christ! His identity as Savior cannot be divorced from His identity as Lord. Who is your Master today? Is it you? Or is it the Lord Jesus Christ? Can you honestly say that Jesus Christ is your Savior and your Lord?

I hope you understand what I am saying today. If we are saved, He owns us completely. We do not have the right to use any part of our being, whether it is our body, our spirit or our mind for our own purposes. We are His and only He has the right to tells us how we should live our lives. I do have good news for you today, if you are submitting yourself to any other mater today, Jesus can and will help you to change your allegiances.

Conc: One of the most amazing statements in the Bible is found here in verse three in verse 3, and it has to do with that little beast. It says, The Lord hath need of him. When did God ever need anything? Here is what God had to say about His Own needs, Psa. 50:9-12. But, that was the paradox of our Lords earthly life. He was rich, yet He became poor, 2 Cor. 8:9. He owned all things, yet He possessed nothing. He created the stars, yet He had nowhere to lay His Own head, Matt. 8:20. He fashioned everything there is out of nothing, yet He had to borrow a boat from which to preach His Gospel. He created every drop of water that exists in the world, yet He cried I thirst as He was dying on the cross, John 19:28. He created every tree, but He died on a borrowed cross. He created every rock, but He had to borrow a tomb in which to be buried. He used the clouds as His chariots, Psa. 104:3, yet He had to borrow a donkey on which to ride. That is the paradox of His life! He was rich, yet made Himself poor so that those who believe on Him might enjoy His riches!

The Lord could save sinners and accomplish His work on earth just fine without us. Yet, He chooses to use frail, human instruments for His glory. When we are like that donkey, Redeemed, Released and Ruled, He can use us too. Being a little donkey isnt so bad when Jesus is your Master. Look at what that donkey did. He got to carry the King of Glory into Jerusalem. The Lord used Him as His vehicle to get glory to His name. Thats what He wants to do with you and me! Lets yield to Him and let Him rule us as He sees fit. By the way, when that little Redeemed, Released, Ruled donkey walked by

with Jesus on his back, nobody saw the donkey! All eyes were on the Lord Jesus. Thats how it should be all time. If the Lord has spoken to you on any level through this message, you need to respond to Him. There are some here that need to be Redeemed. You need to come to Jesus. There are some here that need to be Released. Sins and the flesh hold you captive. Come to Jesus, He specialized in delivering the captives, Luke 4:18. There are some here that need to be Ruled. You need to submit to the Lordship of Jesus in your life. When you do, you will have no trouble submitting to the authorities the Lord has placed in your life. If Jesus has spoken to you on any level, you need to hear Him and heed Him today. Will you do that right now?