If Anyone Desires to be First

As I’m sure everyone knows, the Olympics just finished a week ago in Beijing.  Most of us probably watched a number of competitions during the last couple weeks, and now the festivities are over.  And when you think of the athletes, I’m sure many things stand out, but one thing inevitably does.  If you are an Olympic athlete, you most likely desire to be first.  That’s the whole idea of a sports competition.  That’s why they give out medals.  That’s why they keep world records.  You train, and you work hard, you get coaching, and you do that over and over again for years, until you finally compete, and you desire and hope to be first.  That’s not only natural, but it’s certainly a good desire.   There’s nothing wrong in one sense to want to excel in whatever you do, especially in a sports competition.

But what about the disciples here?  We find them having a competitive attitude with each other.  Jesus catches them arguing among themselves about who is the greatest.  And Jesus then even instructs them on how to be first.  Well, is this desire by the disciples a good desire or a bad one?  Was it good that they wanted to be first or bad?  What does Jesus think about this?

Passage: Mark 9:30-37
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 08/31/2008 in Novato, CA.

Click here for the manuscript.

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O Faithless Generation

Has your faith ever faltered?  Have you ever had any doubts about your faith?  Well, if we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say yes.  Our faith is often lacking.  This can quite commonly come during a difficult trial in our life, but our faith can also be lacking during the ordinary times of life too.

In our passage for today, we see Jesus cry out, “O faithless generation!”  Those words were especially directed toward the disciples, but they obviously apply to all humanity.  And in our passage, that is what we see.  We see a number of groups of people and all of them show a lacking faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ.  And so as we look at this passage, we’ll see how Jesus not only heals a demon-possessed boy, conquering the demon in this boy, but we’ll see how he also conquers unbelief in our lives.  And so let’s look at how Jesus confronts unbelief in this passage.

Passage: Mark 9:14-29
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 08/17/2008 in Novato, CA.

Click here for the manuscript.

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They Came Down From the Mountain

When I was on half dome last week in Yosemite, it was easy to look around, and see the glory of God’s creation. There are few things more awe inspiring than sitting on top of a mountain peak like that and seeing for miles in every direction. It was just amazing and glorious. For Christians, such earthly glory should draw us to consider God as our mighty creator. In our passage for today, Peter, James, and John saw an even greater glory on top of a mountain more than anything Yosemite has to offer. For they saw the transfigured glory of Christ, not only as the creator, but also as the one who would be our savior!

Passage: Mark 9:1-13
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 08/10/2008 in Novato, CA.

Click here for the manuscript.

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