Ministry, Service, and Power

By Joe Boot / September 30, 2012

Series Christian Discipleship

Context Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic Regeneration

Scripture Matthew 20:20-28

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Scripture: Matthew 20:20-28

Sermon Notes:

  1. As we enter a time of coming together, it is vital to address the temptation to ungodly pride, and the desire for power.
  2. When we are prideful ourselves, then we are more upset when we detect pride in others.
  3. The non-Christian, worldly view of power is to cut down, to subjugate, and to oppress others.
  4. This kind of ungodly desire for power can consume us, apart from the work of the Spirit’s regenerating power in our lives.
  5. The Biblical view of power and authority is hierarchical and its purpose is the service of God and others.
  6. When a church denies the Scriptures and the claims of Christ, you have institutional authority, but not godly authority.
  7. Sin has brought a view that true power is to change and destroy things, destroying social peace, moral order, and freedom.
  8. All power belongs to God who empowers us by His Spirit for service (Psalm 62:11; Acts 1:8).
  9. The gospel is unchanging; it doesn't alter itself to conform to changing times and cultures.
  10. The Gospel alone is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16).
  11. We ourselves cannot change the essence of who people are.
  12. The humanist vision of the future is to bring rebirth by controlling people; the biblical vision is that the powerful work of the Holy Spirit will transform people.
  13. When we try to change people by our own power we end up sinfully dominating and controlling others.
  14. We are called to serve, not change, others. We cannot make a new creation out of anyone, only God can.
  15. Humble, godly service is power. If our service is not according to God's Word, it is not service; instead it is self-glorification.
  16. We are all Christ's bond-servants. Jesus sets out His own life as a model/example. We cannot atone for sins, but we can exercise the authority of Christ in service to others.
  17. We acknowledge we have no power on our terms. Christ is the source of all power which is mediated through His people.
  18. In seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God, we seek God's purposes instead of instant personal satisfaction.
  19. We exercise a power and authority from beyond history, for the good of future generations.
  20. If we as God’s vice-regents use His power and authority in terms of God's Word and work, we will be a blessing to others.
  21. The omnipotent power of God Himself is behind the advance of the gospel mission in history.
  22. If you want power and authority, serve. We are to love and serve in Jesus Christ and trust Him for the future.
  23. How we live our lives is not to be based on self-gratification, personal power, entertainment, etc. but we are to ask how we can serve God and His kingdom purposes.
  24. God has the power to make all things new and we are His ambassadors to the world.
  25. Whatever we may face personally, culturally, or politically, we are promised victory (Romans 16:20).

Application Questions:

  1. Contrast the world’s vision of power and the biblical vision of power.
  2. In what ways does our desire for power use others or take delight in standing on others?
  3. How does a godly desire for power manifest itself?
  4. Do we worry about changing others, or are we content to serve faithfully and to leave the outcome to God?
  5. What is the outcome of serving our own agenda? What criterion does the Word of God give for how we should serve others?
  6. On what do we base our hope for the future?  

The humanist vision of the future is to bring rebirth by controlling people; the biblical vision is that the powerful work of the Holy Spirit will transform people. When we try to change people by our own power we end up sinfully dominating and controlling others. We are called to serve, not change, others. We cannot make a new creation out of anyone; only God can. In seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God, we seek God's purposes instead of instant personal satisfaction. We exercise a power and authority from beyond history, for the good of future generations.

Sermon Notes