The Life and Teaching of Jesus – Part 27 – What’s in it for me?

The Life and Teaching of Christ – Part 27 (Mark 10: 28-45)

What’s in it for me?

The bible teaches that salvation is a free gift. There was a price, but Jesus paid it when he died on the cross and to receive the benefits of that gift we simply trust in him. However, there is something that comes after the amazing free gift of salvation and that is walking the path of being a disciple. The problem for us is that this process of being a disciple has a cost, in fact sometimes in history or in some parts of the world it has been seen to be very costly to be a Christian Disciple. The question I want to ask this morning is the price we pay, worth paying.

In order to answer question that I would like to draw your attention to the scripture that were read for us this morning. The starts with Peter saying, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ Is this a question or is it a statement? Peter is saying, we gave it all up, what do we get for doing that. We left our homes, we left are jobs, some of us even left our families. We left everything to follow you. What’s in it for us? Jesus gives them this answer. (Mark 10: 29b-31)

The idea is you are going to leave things behind as a believer, perhaps your home, maybe even your family, or even land or jobs or careers.

One commentator says it like this, this is about being, “compensated a 100-fold for anything you might forego”. Receiving back something 100 times the value of whatever you have given up. Another said, “you are going to gain spiritually above and beyond anything physical you might have given up”.  Christians who travel often meet other Christians who become like brothers and Sisters to them. To put it simply, you are never going to out give God, whatever you give to God he can definitely give you back 100-fold. Jesus is saying you are not only going to be better off in this life, but in the life to come, and the life to come is going to be eternal. Those who invest everything in serving Jesus Christ, they are going to be internally wealthy in the life of the Spirit and in the future coming kingdom. Those who instead choose to live for themselves are going to live in abject spiritual poverty in this life and may even not get to experience heaven in the life to come. Salvation is for free, but discipleship costs time, money, energy, status, and maybe even persecution. You might be misunderstood, misrepresented, misjudged, but what you get out of it is spiritual blessing a 100-fold, both in this life and in the coming kingdom. But although they half get this, the main focus of the disciples still seems to be more about their coming glory and not any potential coming suffering.

One of the most fundamental principals in the bible is suffering proceeds glory! If you want to share in the glory, be careful what you wish for, because to receive glory, you’ve got to pay. We have to be careful we are not following Satan’s philosophy of seeking glory without suffering, rather than God philosophy of suffering being transformed into glory Jesus himself had to endure the cross before he received the crown. Salvation is a free gift, but honour and glory in the coming kingdom is gained by doing what God says. In doing what God says we forego the things of this world for what is to come and that may mean we may well suffer for a season. There had to be a cross before there was a crown. The truth of the matter is there are many Christians who look the will of God square in the face and say, “I’m not going to do that, because the cost is to high”.

The big question these verses raise is, who are the people these places of honour have been prepared for? The answer is it is prepared for those who have suffered for their faith. Quite rightly the highest honour and glory  is reserved for those who have suffered most for their faith. If you’re asking for that, then be careful what you ask for. Glory and honour in the coming kingdom is not a gift, it is a reward, and a reward has to be earned. Salvation is a gift, and is free, but glory and honour is a reward that is earned by trials and sufferings.

When the other disciples here this they are indignant (Mark 10: 41). They don’t say to James and John that is a ridiculous thing to say, you should be ashamed.  Instead they say, hold on a minute, that’s not fair, what about me? They are upset with James and John, but only because they thought they were pushing themselves to the front and talking a place they desired for themselves. But you are called to be different Jesus says; (Mark 10: 43)  Follow me and it will cost you, for some of you it will mean suffering, but for all of you it will mean you got to serve other people. It means you are going to have to put other people first, which means you are going to be last. Today people take roles in order to progress, to climb a ladder as such, to get to a position where others serve them. Jesus says in my world, in my economy you take up the position at the bottom to serve and you progress by getting to a position where you can serve more people. That’s the pattern in scripture.

Consider Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Timothy Paul, all servant leaders. Even the greatest servant of them all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Mark 10: 45) The object, the goal of the Christian faith is to serve. To be first in the kingdom, one must be a servant of all. Jesus is asking, Who, do you want honour form? From other people or from God. To receive honour from God you have to sacrifice what you want and instead live by serving God and your fellow human beings. John 3: 16 how many of you are familiar with that? But how about 1 John 3: 16, how many of you can quote that one? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters”. (1 John 3: 16)

John 3: 16 tells us categorically that eternal life is free. However, 1 John 3: 16, tells us, if you really want to follow me, then you have got to be a servant of you brothers and sisters in Christ. You are called to serve, sacrificially. You stop doing what you want and start doing what he wants. Let me sum this up for us and conclude by making two quick simple observations, one of which might surprise you. Please note, Jesus does not say, hoping for something in return is wrong. Jesus just says, when asking for something in return, just ask for the right thing. He doesn’t say wanting honour is wrong, he just says desire honour from God and not from man. But he reminds us in order to get it there is a cross to carry now, but the crown will come later.

Let me end by asking if we have been called to sacrificially serve others, then how one might we do that. I’ am going to give you one suggestion, the very simplest imaginable thing you can do to serve God, sacrificially. Something so obvious you probably never even thought about it before. In very simple practical terms sitting here this morning is an act of serving the Lord and is a way of sacrificially serving others. Attending things, being involved in things, because when unchurched Jack and Jill come into this building and see it is filled with people who are committed and attend regularly it says something to them. By attending you make a sacrifice. It says something significant is happening here, these people are sacrificing their time to be here.

It say Christianity must means something important to them and new people will see that when they come into our fellowship. Furthermor,e when you take time to get to know people’s names and you draw them into your life both inside and outside the church, you continue to add to a culture and an atmosphere that says strangers and newcomers belong here. I felt welcomed, welcomed by God and by the Christians who welcomed me in His name. By doing so in this life, you store up treasures in heaven in the life to come.

Let’s pray.

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