RESPECTtomorrow 20 September marks the date when FCD Wyneken arrived at Friedheim for the first time in 1838
Keep, we pray O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
R-e-s-p-e-c-t. Aretha Franklin the queen of soul sang about giving it. Rodney Dangerfield the comedian complained that he never got it.
Often we too, may feel that we get no respect – from our peers, from our parents, from our teammates, and from others around us.
People often resort to bizarre means to get respect from others, but so often they end up as fools, still crying for – respect.
We are so concerned about getting respect from other people. What about respect from God? God respects all people in the sense that we all are important to Him. After all, He created us in still preserves us.
Are we respectable enough by God’s standards to be in heaven one day with Him? How do we get from God the respect that makes us worthy of eternal life? Today our lesson asks the question - how we get respect in God’s sight.
I. God’s respect is not earned.
A. Our humility and service do not measure up to God’s perfect standard.
1. Like the disciples, we would rather be served then serve.
2. Even when we serve, our motive is often self-serving.
3. We make comparisons: “I have served more than you have.” Pride creeps in to stain our service.
B. We labor under the false pretense whenever we think we can earn God’s respect by our humble serving.
1. Jesus refused to seek people’s respect under a false pretense. “(As) They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, (v.30)
2. The way to God’s respect is opened by honest admission that in ourselves we are not respectable people. Rather we confess with lips mind and heart, “I am a poor miserable sinner.”
II. God’s respect is a gift.
A. Christ earned it for us.
1. He humbled Himself all the way to death on a cross to atone for our pride. “For he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” (vs.31)
2. His rising from the dead guaranteed our respectability before God. Notice Jesus’ clear words, “And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
B. When we believe that Christ died and rose for us, we can be sure that God respects us as heaven-worthy people.
1. Christ has given us His humility in exchange for our vain attempts to become proud, insolent, impudent, impenitent persons.
2. Christ has bestowed on us His greatness in exchange for our smallness.
III. God’s respect is demonstrated through service.
A. When we serve people who do not deserve our respect.
1. Willing to place ourselves last. “And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (v.35)
2. Willing to serve without recognition or praise and thereby foregoing greatness as the world sees it. “But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.” (vs.34)
B. When we serve people who are not in a position to reward us for our service.
1. “And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, (36) Little children are not in a position to reciprocate our service to them any more than we are able to pay God back for having served us in His Son.
2. Yet, when we serve even the least of God’s children, God respects our service for Jesus’ sake and graciously rewards us. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. “(v.37)
A woman of some means gifted a great sum of money to charities and missions in her church. One day she decided to take a trip to visit some of the mission projects her money had so generously endowed. She visited a hospital where wonderful help was afforded to needy natives. She stopped at an orphanage where little children of the street were cared.
She went to a leper colony where a loving nurse was treating those who were suffering from the putrefying disease. She commented, more to herself then to the host, “My, I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.”
The nurse who was treating a patient answered, “Neither would I.” In the service of Christ to us, exemplified in the nurses’ service, we find the secret of greatness and the way to get respect in God’s sight.
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