Sermon Title: "Getting Down"
September 2, 2018
Mark Schlonger

Scripture: Matthew 20:20-28

And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt,  out of the land of slavery. (Exodus 20:1) 
 
Notes: The words above begin the Ten Commandments, the foundation of the law that God gave Israel through Moses. These commandments show God’s people what a relationship with God and others should look like. Although boundary markers in relationships are necessary, they can also be stumbling 
 
blocks if they are disconnected from their purpose. That is, these commandments were meant to preserve healthy relationships, not to burden or prevent them.  

From Mark Schloneger: "It’s here that Jesus tells his disciples not to emulate worldly ambition when it comes to leadership. In the church, disciples’ ambition should not be for positions of authority and power. Rather, they should seek to serve one another. It seems like this is a lesson that the church needs to keep re-learning. Churches can easily be tempted into “celebrity worship” of a leader or to use questionable methods in the name of evangelism. One needs only read recent news articles to know the pitfalls of leadership without proper accountability (Willow Creek/PA report on clergy abuse in Catholic diocese). Our culture encourages people to strive for “upward mobility,” but Jesus teaches and embodies the opposite. Throughout the gospels, he is portrayed as serving others, and his greatest service was his life given over to God in death. Whereas the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard warned against spiritual pride, his response to his disciples here warns against our ambition for greatness.  This ambition gets rewarded in business, athletics, and education – but it is a pitfall when it come to the church. As a correction, we should strive to serve and not to be served."

And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Exodus 20:1) 
 
Notes: The words above begin the Ten Commandments, the foundation of the law that God gave Israel through Moses. These commandments show God’s people what a relationship with God and others should look like. Although boundary markers in relationships are necessary, they can also be stumbling 3 blocks if they are disconnected from their purpose. That is, these commandments were meant to preserve healthy relationships, not to burden or prevent them. 

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,  “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you,  and with every living creature that is with you,  the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you,  as many as came out of the ark.  I establish my covenant with you,  that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Isaiah 2:4) 
 
Notes: (from Leader) An everlasting covenant is made between God, the people, and every living creature. God’s intentions for relationships with the earth are as wide and broad as the rainbow, the sign of this covenant. How are we invited to broaden our understandings of God’s covenant and what would that look like in our relationships with God, our neighbors, and creation? 


Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,  “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you,  and with every living creature that is with you,  the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you,  as many as came out of the ark.  I establish my covenant with you,  that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Isaiah 2:4) 
 
Notes: (from Leader) An everlasting covenant is made between God, the people, and every living creature. God’s intentions for relationships with the earth are as wide and broad as the rainbow, the sign of this covenant. How are we invited to broaden our understandings of God’s covenant and what would that look like in our relationships with God, our neighbors, and creation? 

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