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Greatness Redefined

In the Gospel of Mark, the Lord Jesus taught His disciples what following Him really entailed. Surprisingly, even Jesus’ hand-picked twelve apostles struggled to understand this in their early days of following Jesus. Let us embark on a brief journey together to better understand what following Jesus Christ is about.

Jesus predicted three times (in Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32 and 10:32-34) that He would suffer, be killed and rise again after three days. In all these three passion predictions, Jesus’ closest disciples showed that they did not understand and could not accept that it was necessary for their leader to suffer and be killed. It was completely mind-blowing for them, because they had a misconceived notion that Jesus would stand up for them, fight their enemies and emerge victorious. Having seen Jesus’ power and authority over nature, demons, sicknesses and even death, they certainly did not expect Him to be overcome and killed by those who opposed him.

Jesus’ disciples were not on the same page with Him. While Jesus spoke about serving and giving His life for others, His disciples argued for positions of greatness and power. While Jesus counted the cost of doing His Father’s will, His disciples expected that their following of Jesus would bring them success, significance and recognition. The disciples missed it altogether! Yet, Jesus patiently taught them that the values of God’s Kingdom were opposite to the values of the world. Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first (Mark 10:31). True discipleship is not about serving our self-interest or climbing up the ladder of status and power. Following Jesus is about giving ourselves in humble service to others!

Jesus did not reject one’s desire to be great, but He redefined it according to the values of the Kingdom of God. For a person to be great in the sight of God, one must be a humble servant to others (Mark 9:35; 10:42-44). Jesus’ disciples must follow His example and serve others for their good and for God’s glory. Greatness in God’s eyes is not reserved for the highly gifted, but is attainable by any Christian who is willing to use whatever abilities and resources available to serve others, especially through simple acts of kindness and humble tasks of service to those in society who are insignificant and powerless (a prime example being young children who were considered the least in Jewish society then).

Just as Jesus came to serve by giving His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), we who follow Jesus today must similarly give ourselves in loving, humble service to others, including the last and the least in our society.

The COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced many social needs in our nation. There are many opportunities for Christ-followers to serve and be a blessing to others around us. Consider serving and helping those who are poor and marginalised in our society. Low-income families which struggle to meet their living expenses. Disadvantaged young children who are unable to read at the level of their academic age. At-risk children and youths who do not have a healthy family support system and miss out on getting a good basic education. Migrant workers who work long hours for low pay and live in overcrowded conditions.

I dream of a day when many in the general public will say of Christians: “People who follow Jesus Christ are not only concerned about themselves, their families and church activities, but they love others and are committed to do good works in our communities. They help the poor and befriend the marginalised. They have been such a blessing to the people in our nation, even the foreigners in our midst. I think their God is good. I thank their Jesus for their service.”

Written by Pastor Sharon Fong

We encourage you to check out the recommended resources below to learn more about serving the needs of others.

 

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 12:1-3

John 12:24-26

John 15:1-17

Matthew 25:31-40

Romans 12:9-13

Philippians 2:1-11

 

SERMONS

Greatness Redefined”, by Rev Tony Yeo: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1564

Let’s Serve!”, by Rev Tony Yeo: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/364

Blessing to be a Blessing”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/483

Serving the City”, by Rev Dr Timothy Keller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ziAJXT7gok

 

OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE

New Life Steady Readers Programme. Reading Intervention for Young Children

Hope Initiative Alliance. Improving the Quality of Life of Marginalised People Globally

SONGS

World Outside Your Window”, cover by Music Collision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiZM82m02QY

Waves of Revival”, by Andrew Yeo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-EBrSerBNE

Making A Difference (Won’t You, Lord)”, by City Harvest Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrPMxtUeONE

TESTIMONIES

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 4:11-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11
Tue, 29 November 2022

1-2 Thessalonians Revisited: Expecting the Parousia*

Observation:

What is the order of the significant eschatological events that we can
construct from these two texts?

Deeper Reflection
OUT OF THE EIGHT CHAPTERS IN 1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS, the Second Coming of Christ is mentioned in seven.45 This strong eschatological emphasis is a discipleship call to eschatological living with eschatological consciousness.We can construct the order of the significant eschatological events from the two letters. Since Paul’s time until today “the mystery of lawlessness” has been “at work” (2 Thess 2:7). Behind this visible “mystery of lawlessness” is the yet to appear invisible “man of lawlessness” – the antichrist (2 Thess 2:3). The end-times is marked by “lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12), and the activities of “many false prophets”, behind which is “the spirit of the antichrist” (1 Jn 4:1, 3). Then comes “the apostasy” (2 Thess 2:3a) – the falling away from the faith, as “the Spirit explicitly says” will happen “in the later times” (1 Tim 4:1). And “the man of lawlessness” will appear and come into the church and try to take control of the church by carrying out further deception in it that will lead many to fall away from the faith.46 Then eventually “the coming of the Lord”, when Christ will “descend from heaven”, and “the dead in Christ will rise first”, “to meet the Lord” together with the alive believers who will be raptured and “we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:15-17).What is eschatologically most critical is that we do not fall away from the faith. We must then diligently know the truth, live faithfully by the truth and cling steadfastly to the truth. “Your Word is truth” (Jn 17:17).
44 Parousia: Greek for “coming”, and it is used as a theological term for Christ’s Second Coming (see Matt 24:3, 27, 37, 39) 45 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 2:1-11 46 G. K. Beale, 210
Application:

What does it mean for me to live my life eschatologically?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for pastors and staff: To minister to people with eschatological hope
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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