Which kingdom -

This is a sermon by Malcolm Peters from the Riverside Church service on 3rd August 2008.

Click here to read the bible passage. Click here to use larger text.

Please do sit down.  And while you’re sitting down, I’m going to need some volunteers to help me.  [Hands down: you don’t know what it is yet.] 

Because this morning, I want you to think about something that's very important to you.  Something or someone that you'd find it really hard to live without.  [Hands up] 

[X box;  play station;  DVD player;  mobile phone;  mum & dad]

OK hands down.  And if you haven't told me out loud, I want you all to think of something that's really important in your lives.  What’s your greatest treasure.  [pause] 

OK everybody thought of something?  Now I want you to imagine how you'd feel if you had to give it up.  How could you live without your greatest treasure?   Because that's the issue we’ll be looking at in today's service.  If Jesus asked you to give up your greatest treasure, would you do it?  How important is Jesus to you?  That’s the big issue this morning. 





But before all that, we need to remember where we’ve got to in the story of Mark’s Gospel.    And to help us do that, each month, we’ve had a picture and a memory verse that sums up the main point of the story from that month.  And you’ll find the banners from the last 6 months at the bottom of p1 of your service sheets.  


Recap of Session 1

So right at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we saw Jesus commanding some fishermen to repent.  And they did.    Because Jesus has got the Power and authority to tell us what to do.

And the memory verse was.... 
[ Memory verse 1 up]


Recap session 2

And the following month, we saw that Jesus had authority over sickness. 

With just a Word, Jesus healed the leper.  Just like that. 

Who can remember the memory verse from that month ?

Clue:  ‘the leper came up to Jesus and said:   “If you are willing, you can make me CLEAN!”  

[put up memory verse 2 and relearn.]


Recap session 3

And after that, we saw that Jesus had the authority to forgive sin. 

So Jesus said in our memory verse:    [Memory verse 3 up]

Recap Session 4

And next we did a bit of gardening as we looked at the parable for the Sower or rather the parable of the 4 different soils. 
And the point was that we need to be good soil. 

And  who can remember the long memory verse from that week?
[memory verse 4 up]

Recap Session 5

Next we saw J’s authority over nature. 

Banner 5 up.      What’s going on here?     [Engage]

That's right, with just a word, Jesus calmed a terrible storm.   And who can remember that month’s memory verse?  What did the disciples say after Jesus had calmed the terrible storm?

[Memory verse 5 up].

Recap session 6

J was doing and saying some amazing things.  So last month, we saw people investigating who Jesus was. 

[Banner 6 up]

The crowds had all kinds of ideas about who Jesus was.  So in last time’s memory verse, Jesus asked the disciples a question.  Who you say I am.   Who can remember the answer.  What was the memory verse?

[Memory verse 6 up]

[NB other item in-between]

Main Talk

Pl do sit down.   

Well this morning, I want to tell you about a boy called Tim.  And Tim’s in Year 6, although in a school a long way from here.  Hands up if you're good footballer.    Great, well so is Tim.  In fact, Tim’s so good he plays for both his local side and the county under 11s.  And last season, he had a conversation with one of these talent spotters, and he's now been offered a place in a junior squad linked to Premiership club.  And you know what that means don’t you.  In a few years, if he trained hard, he could be playing top football for top money. 

But there’s a major problem.  Tim loves Jesus and goes to church every week.  And the contract means he’d have to spend lots of weekends away from home and there’d be no time for church on Sundays.  Tim's got some hard thinking to do. 

If he can’t find a way of fitting football around Jesus, then he might have to give up that contract.  He might have to give up his greatest treasure, because following Jesus is even better. 

And that's what was going on in our Bible story this morning. 

Jesus was walking along with his disciples when a man ran after them. When he caught them up, the disciples could see by his clothes that he was rich.

Who can remember what the man said when he'd caught up with J?  [engage]  

That’s right, he knelt down on his knees and said to Jesus, “What must I do to have eternal life?”

So what was J’s reply?   Who can remember?   [engage]

That’s right:  Jesus told him:  “You know the commandments: 'Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honour your father and mother.” And the man said to Jesus “I have obeyed all these since I was a little boy.”

So who can remember what Jesus told him next?    [engage]

Well done.  Jesus said to him “There’s only one thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you’ll have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”

And that’s this week’s memory verse which you’ll find in the middle of P3 of your services sheets.   

So was the rich man pleased?    What did he make of J’s idea?  [engage]

That's right, when he'd heard J's reply, the rich man became very sad. He didn't want to go along with Jesus because he’d got loads of money and he didn't want to give it up.

The rich young man in the story thought he was pretty good. He thought, “I'm a good person. I've never killed anybody, I've never robbed anyone, I’ve always obeyed my parents.” He thought that going to heaven and being part of J’s kingdom, was just about obeying a couple of rules.

But he was wrong.  He didn't realise that following Jesus means making Jesus number one in our lives.  Jesus is the King.  But if we’re following the King, the he must come first in everything.  Nothing can be more important than Jesus.  And following Jesus means that there's nothing that we shouldn’t be prepared to give up.  Not even our greatest treasure. 

Remember those words of Jesus:   “What good is it if you gain the world, but lose your soul?”  Now the rich young man had “gained the world. If he lived today, he would probably have owned a couple of mansions, a few sports cars, probably even a plasma TV in every room.  He was a bloke with everything. 

[Banner 7 up]

And that's what this month’s banner is all about which you’ll see is next to the memory verse.   It’s a big fat bag of money.  And the point is that this young man’s got loads of money.  He's the man with everything. 

But there was a problem. [pause]  He wasn't prepared to put Jesus first. He decided that his money and possessions were more important than following Jesus.   He thought that there was something more important than being part of God’s Kingdom. He wanted the greatest treasure in this life - he didn't really want Jesus, the greatest treasure in the whole wide world.  So he walked away, feeling sad.  When he realised that following Jesus meant putting Jesus first in everything, then he said no to Jesus.  He said no to following Jesus. 

And it’s the same for us. Jesus is the King. But is he your greatest treasure?   Jesus is the King.  But are you going to follow Him as King?  Even if Jesus asked you to give up what you thought was your greatest treasure. Remember your greatest treasure we thought about at the start?

So the question is are you like this rich young man.  Your greatest treasure might not be bags of money.  It might be football, or music or car boot sales or even just an easy life.  But whatever’s your greatest treasure in this world, if you’re not prepared to give it up for Jesus, then you’re just like this rich young man.    Because whatever we think is the greatest treasure in the whole wide world, Jesus is even greater.  Jesus is the greatest treasure in the whole wide world;  why?  Because when we follow Jesus as our king we have peace with God.  And that means, just like the paralysed man, we’ve had our sins forgiven.  And that's out greatest need remember:  to have our sins forgiven and to be at peace with God.  The greatest treasure in the whole wide world, is peace with God.

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