Title: The Salt of Discipleship
Focus: We are to be as salt which means we are to strive to be unified humble servants, accepting those of no status. It also means we are to do away with selfish ambition that causes a selfish exclusive attitude. Our humility should cause us first to examine ourself, not just others.
Function: To motivate the hearers to active ministry
Text: Mark 9:30-50
Intro: 1. Sometimes you can learn from the nature of God in nature a. In the early morning, what do you hear? - Birds singing b. Ever notice the large birds rarely sing? (Eagle, Ostritch, Turkey) c. The smallest birds make the sweetest music d. Does God have an affinity for small insignificant things? 2. Going to look at that question this morning 3. Text: Mark 9:30-50 a. Jesus concludes by saying we should have salt in us b. If we don’t, we are worthless c. If we don’t manifest the distinctive taste of Christ, we worthless 4. What does it mean to manifest the distinctive taste of Christ I. Having salt means to serve humbly A. The disciples were competitors more than partners 1. They each wanted greatness 2. They got a glimpse of it on the mountain 3. Now they can just taste the glory 4. But Jesus had something else in mind B. Twice, Jesus has told them how he would die 1. They didn’t ask him about it the second time a. Text says they were afraid. Of what? b. This announcement threatened their ambitions 2. Jesus redefines greatness in the kingdom a. Want to be first, must be last b. Want to be first, must be servant of all 3. Object lesson: A child - The point? a. Not that child is a model to be imitated b. Children had no power, status, titles, and few rights c. They dependent, vulnerable, insignificant d. That is the type of people we are to serve 4. Serving a great God is about serving the insignificant C. ILL: Have you ever interviewed or applied for a job? 1. References usually from superiors 2. True spirit of person from those “under” their authority 3. We will be evaluated by how we treat those “under” us 4. We are called not to be served, but to serve D. This is how we are to have salt 1. Peace through outdoing one another in humble service 2. Lk 6:33-35 - Do good, expecting nothing in return 3. Mt. 6:3 - When give, not let left hand know what right is doing 4. This helps eliminate ambitious pride Ambitious pride is what the problem was next II. Having Salt means to work together (v.38-41) A. The disciples tried to hinder the other excorcists (competition) B. They felt they should have monopoly on good works 1. This was ironic a. Disciples were not successful in previous excorcism b. Here are those who are, and they try to stop him 2. v.41 - a. They will be glad when they get cup of cold water b. No good deed in name of Christ goes unnoticed 3. (Phil 1:15-18) - Paul exhibited this humble attitude 4. Does it mean anyone who do in name of Christ okay? a. What about Jim Jones, David Koreshes etc.? b. (1 Jn 4:1) - Do not believe every spirit, test them c. How do sort this out? d. Keys - Examine own motives, jealousy, protect turf? - Recognize real enemy - not flesh and blood C. ILL: Khublai Khan and Marco Polo 1. Asked Marco Polo to send 100 to teach the Bible to his court 2. Church involved in fighting; took 28 years before sent ONE 3. Retired, aged emperor said “It is too late, I grown old in idolatry 4. Had they been working together instead of fighting, could have made significant progress in the east D. When there are divisions based on politics in the church 1. The world notices and Satan laughs 2. Hurting, suffering people do not care about hair splitting 3. They will take notice at a cup of cold water in his name 4. If going to find fault we should look to self III. Having salt means to remove stumbling blocks (v.42-50) A. Jesus speaks of 2 kinds of stumbling blocks 1. Ones that makes the little ones stumble 2. Ones that make you stumble B. Jesus uses image of radical amputation 1. Our stumbling blocks - Don’t try to tone down hyperbole a. Remember rich young ruler in Mt 19:16? b. Sell ALL you have, give to poor, follow me c. His wealth represented pride, respectibility, social status d. Yet it was these things standing between him and God 2. The little ones - What would have made them stumble? a. Selfish ambition - Little ones want no part of that b. I wouldn’t fit in there, I am a nobody c. It was clear Jesus did not care about “image” d. Tax collectors, sinners, children all flocked to him C. Interesting - Most vibrant, healthy, growing churches are serving ones 1. They get their hands dirty 2. Dorcas day, clean neighborhoods, help widows, etc. 3. Expect nothing in return 4. If people stumble over them, it likely is not from competive ambitious pride, but simply the cross itself D. Are you willing to do some self surgery? 1. If something causes you to stumble, get rid of it 2. If something causes “little ones” to stumble, get rid of it Concl: 1. The disciples needed to learn it is not about “me” a. Their attititude like the song - Want to talk about me, I, numberone b. I am not number one in the kingdom 2. Whoever causes one of these “little ones” to stumble a. It is about serving the little ones b. It is about humble service 3. Who are the “little ones?” a. Not CEO’s, don’t drive cadillacs, lexus, or corvette b. They are the ones that ambitious seeking people don’t notice c. They are the ones Jesus would notice and reach out to d. They are the ones who may not have ability to return good deeds 4. This community is full of “little ones” a. They are in prisons, they are poor, have little education, weird piercings, dress funny, etc. b. Do we really want them here? c. They may make us look bad in our community d. That is ambitious pride speaking, and it needs to be amputated 5. When you serve the “little ones” in humbleness without selfish ambition a. You don’t soar like the eagle, but you do come down to earth, and become the “least” and make the sweetest music b. YOu do become useful salt, and people can taste and see the Lord is good through you. 6. What can we do to reach out to and serve the little ones? - I am going to END on this question and leave you to ponder it 7. Invitation