Ambitious Service | Nov. 13, 2016
We saw James and John operating from a perverted ambition (self-serving) and the other ten disciples operating from a paralyzed ambition (self-protecting) In what ways do you see people operating from paralyzed or perverted ambition?
Scenario question: A person gets hired as a new employee and immediately begins trying to jockey for a higher position, which in and of itself isn't terrible. The tactics he uses to accomplish this include lying, manipulating, harassing. Would you say this person is operating from a paralyzed ambition or a perverted ambition?
Scenario question: A person in the Church feels that they are musically gifted. However, after observing the musical talents of those who are already a part of the worship band, they're not nearly as confident as they initially were. No one who is a part of the worship band currently has heard this person play, but they are very talented. This person decides to not pursue involvement in the worship band because of their fear of not measuring up to the other people in the band. Would you say this person is operating from a paralyzed ambition or a perverted ambition?
In our sermon series on the book of Mark "Man of Prediction, God of Presence" our Church Planting Resident Matt talked about ambitious service, from Mark 10:32-45. In this passage, we read about Jesus' last of three predictions of His coming betrayal and death. This was the most detailed of the three predictions and was followed by Jesus teaching His disciples a lesson about the values of the Kingdom He was establishing. This interaction started with Jesus answering the questioning of James and John. James and John had ambitiously asked Jesus to give them whatever they wanted. They wanted to sit at Jesus' right and left hand in the Kingdom of God. Jesus responded to them very graciously giving them a better understanding of what exactly they were asking. Jesus didn't rebuke their ambition, but rather redirected their ambition to reflect Kingdom values. We talked about the ways we, in our desire to be served, operate from paralyzed ambition (self-protecting), and perverted (self-serving) ambition.
The pinnacle point of the sermon was the Gospel declaration that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. The one who came most deserving to be served, came not to be served but to serve. Jesus in drinking the cup of God's wrath that was rightfully ours experienced what we deserved so that he might liberate us from the captivity of our sin. In his death, many were ransomed, and in the resurrection, the Holy Spirit brings transformation to the very people he ransomed who live and serve motivated by selfish ambition for the purpose of self-exaltation into humble servants who can now live and serve one another for the glory of God. It is in the death, burial, and resurrection that we have hope and power through the Holy Spirit to live according to Kingdom values not influenced by the demands of the culture we live in.
We summarized the entire sermon like this, greatness in the Kingdom of God is marked by, and displayed in ambitious service. In response to the gospel Matt encouraged us to:
- Ambitiously Serve
- Selflessly Serve
- Sacrificially Serve
- Jesus came not to be served but to serve. We learned that true greatness in the Kingdom of God is displayed in service. How can we ambitiously, selflessly, and sacrificially serve each other and serve our communities in the same ways together?
- What is one thing we could do ambitiously as a community that would require God to show up as we serve our neighbors? Who are the people we are boldly praying would come to faith in Jesus? Why aren't we praying more earnestly for the unbelieving people in our lives?
- We saw James and John were operating from a perverted ambition in their questioning of Jesus regarding their position in the Kingdom. In what ways have we found ourselves operating from paralyzed ambition (self-protecting) or perverted ambition (self-serving)?
- We saw James and John were operating from a perverted ambition in their questioning of Jesus regarding their position in the Kingdom. In what ways have you found yourself operating from paralyzed ambition (self-protecting) or perverted ambition (self-serving)?
- What is one thing you would like to accomplish that would require God to show up if it was to ever happen? What is holding you back from doing it?
- What is serving others emotionally, physically, and financially currently costing you? How could you serve more ambitiously, and sacrificially?
- What is one thing your family could do ambitiously as a family that would require God to show up as you serve your neighbors? Who are the people your family is boldly praying would come to faith in Jesus?
- Who are the people around you that your family is actively serving? In what ways are the people your family is serving benefiting from your service?
- What is one thing you would like to accomplish as a family that would require God to show up incredibly if there was any chance of this thing ever happening? What is holding your family back from doing it?