Sermon Detail

Happiness Revealed The Upside Down Kingdom

June 18, 2023 | Buster Brown

“And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, 'You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'”  Mark 10:41-45

This passage involves a request from James and John (sons of thunder - Mark 3:17) regarding a privileged position of power and authority in the coming kingdom. Their request elicits an angry, indignant response from the other disciples. In that context, Jesus talks about true leadership in the kingdom of God.

The beginning reference point for the disciple of Christ: the universe is not a tangled mess of nothingness, but at its core it was graciously spoken into existence by the eternal triune God. Therefore, instead of despair there is overwhelming hope and anticipation.

New City Catechism

Q1: What is our only hope in life and death?
A: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Q2: What is God?
A: God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.


1. There should be a desire to seek the empowering presence of the living Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.

There is an ominous responsibility placed upon these men regarding servant leadership that will extend to the end of the earth and endure to all ages (Matthew 28:18-20). This command/exhortation was given to a group of people that were designated as “uneducated and common men who speak with boldness who have been in the presence of Jesus.” (Acts 4:13; Exodus 33:13-15).

Therefore, two operative adjectives in the life of a disciple of Christ are j___________ and d__________________________.

2. A disciple must die to the postulates of the world regarding power and authority. Instead of exercising hierarchical authority the disciples should be called out servants for the glory of God.

3. The disciple lives under the high calling of being a child of God. They have discovered they are living for the sake of Christ and the gospel (Mark 10:29). 

4. As called out people, Christians follow Christ as the “trailblazer” who has gone before them (Roman 8:29; 2 Peter 2:21). 

5. There is a kingdom of light and hope (John 1:4-5, 16; Ephesians 4:23-24) and darkness/confusion.

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."  Romans 1:20-21

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart."  Ephesians 4:17-18

"I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."  Jude 3b-4

Following Christ will entail the necessity of speaking with broken compassion to the culture around us (2 Peter 2:21-24; Matthew 10:24-25).

In order to live out the gospel in all that we do...

  • We submit to the Bible
  • We are a family
  • We serve others - We have been both secured by Jesus’ service to us and equipped with spiritual gifts, that we might freely serve both the church and the world. Our members are called to pour themselves out in a variety of ways, as well as to consider their entire lives to be spiritual acts of service.
  • We make disciples


1. What is the basic fundamental building block for a Christian world and life view and how does that impact our understanding of servanthood and authority?

2. Why are two operative adjectives for a disciple of Christ joy AND desperation?

3. Why “joy”? Why “desperation”?

4. How is serving in the upside down kingdom of Christ informative regarding being a father?

Answers: joy, desperation.