October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Nearly everyone wants to be admired, either for a character quality, or for a possession. Can you think of something in your own life that you struggle with?


We are continuing our series, “Unknown gods,” identifying “idols” that may be in our lives. Today we are looking for the quest for status. We have to be honest, pride is prevalent in all our lives, but whether we quickly turn it over to Jesus as a sin, or let it grow into a stumbling block or a stronghold is something each of us has to search his life to find out. Remember that the heart “is deceitful and desperately wicked,” and it takes God’s flashlight to uncover all the hidden deceptions Satan may have placed in our lives. Let’s search to see how badly we want people to notice us, admiring us for a God-given trait, looks, or something we’ve acquired!

Key Verse: Matthew 20:28: …”just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Focal Passages: Matthew 20:20-28, 23:11-12.

The desire for status

  • Read Matt. 20:20-21b. Picture a dinner where someone very special was attending, and put this situation in that place with two guests and their mom; how would you feel? Was there any indication she thought Jesus might turn her down? What should a godly mother have done?
  • Assuming the two young men put their mom up to this performance, what would be the root cause to make them do something like this? What had to have been some of the feeling James and John had about the other disciples (or their comparison to them)? Why does it sound rather arrogant?
  • How long had they been with Jesus? Why would you not have expected this behavior from them? What did John call himself in other passages?
  • What are some of the things Christians today do to obtain status among their peers? Why do we feel the need to seek praise from them?
  • Again, what is the root cause of desiring status? Read Prov. 13:10a. What goes hand-in-hand with pride? How does God feel about pride?

An empty pursuit

  • Read verse 22. What type of Messianic kingdom did these two men still have in their mind, causing them to be misled as to God’s program?
  • In Jesus’ day, what did it mean to “drink the cup” of another? Why would James and John have no idea of the scope of suffering the early believers would endure? What are some of the things you know from church history?
  • How about us? Are we willing to go forward in church, do some good deeds, but pray, Please, Lord, keep us from suffering for being a Christian?
  • Why is it a good thing in this day and especially in this time in America, to ask ourselves whether we are willing to go through suffering for our faith?
  • If we envy someone for what they are or have, why will we never be satisfied if we set out to attain it? Also, what is envy in God’s sight?
  • Read Matt. 23:11-12. Why does this so go against human logic? When we stand before the Lord, what will our greatness be found in?

The right way

  • Read Matt.20:25-27. Why does Jesus say, “It must not be this way among you”? Who wants to be a servant or slave to someone else? Why not? If we humble ourselves to be servants here on earth, what are we exemplifying?
  • Read John 13:12-17. Have you ever washed a brother or sister’s feet? If so, how did you feel? What are some acts of servanthood that we should be doing?
  • Why does God desire humility from us? How can we squash pride?
  • Who was the one who was the epitome of beauty, and became a snare to mankind? Read Ezek. 28:14-16. How far away from God can sin take us?
  • What are some steps you can take to make certain you are not seeking status?


Everyone wants to be important to someone, to be admired by their friends or acquaintances, or given honor somewhere. We will often do extraordinary things in order to gain attention, or get accolades in some form.

Probably everyone in our church family is aware of the Barrick family, who were in a wreck in 2006, when a drunk driver hit their car at 80 mph. It nearly killed Jennifer, the 15 year old daughter of the family. Since that time, they have visited across America, as well as internationally, sharing their testimony and the miracles that God has brought about since that time. Thousands have been saved as a result.

We can look at the Barrick family and wish we could be used to win so many souls to Jesus Christ. But few of us would be willing to endure the path of suffering that this family of four has had to walk in order to be used so greatly. For example, Jennifer’s life has never been the same, the father has suffered a bout with cancer, and so has Jennifer. Their scars are deep.* The cost of suffering can have a high price tag on it, as James and John both learned before they died. John survived being boiled in a pot of oil, a miracle on par with Daniel in the den of lions.

When you’re tempted to take measures to be admired, to desire “stuff” to make others envious, it will never satisfy. Eventually someone will have a bigger car or house, be more beautiful, or be more admired for their wealth. Life is so much more than attaining status. God has prepared a place for us, that is more than we can ask or imagine; He has plans and purposes for us, if we’ll be sold out to Him—-and they will bring a lifetime of joy that nothing you can plan for yourself could bring. Won’t you trust Him today? He’s worth whatever status you have to give up!