New Hope Notes

Sifted Unto Greatness

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Pastor Jon Burgess
February 5, 2017 - W1706

Pastor Jon Burgess:

Good morning and thank you for taking time to attend our service. We will be talking about greatness and what it meant through the eyes of Jesus.

Let’s turn to the Bible in Luke 22:26-27.  

Now this is at the last supper and Jesus is about to give His life for all of mankind. But the disciples are sitting around the table talking about who's the greatest among them. So Jesus tells them His definition of greatness:

"...the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves."

  1. Greatness is determined through serving.

    As Pastor Wayne puts it, “We don’t graduate from serving; we graduate to serving.

    Jesus said,

    “…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28)

    It’s not like the longer we’re a Christian, the less we have to serve. On the contrary, it’s the opposite. Jesus gave His life through His service to us so that you and I are no longer in bondage.

    As we read in Matthew 23:11-12,

    "The greatest among you will be the servant, and those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

    So Jesus wants His servants to be humble in their life and in the way they treat others. Then He will exalt you.

    Therefore, we’re called to serve everyone. Certainly it’s easy to serve those who are nice to you. It’s easy to serve when you feel like serving. It’s easy to serve when it’s not 4:30 in the morning. But Jesus happened to die for everybody, and He calls us to love everybody that He brings across our path. Whether they are nice or bad, whether you feel like serving or not, or whether it’s early in the morning or late in the day, you must serve them.

    The greatest test of a servant is how he responds when he is treated like one.

    The natural inclination is to let them have it when someone is rude to you. But if we want people to see Jesus in us we need to be humble and not retaliate.

  2. Greatness is only achieved through sifting.

    Pastor Wayne Cordeiro:

    Thank you Jon. When you choose to come to Christ and follow Him in earnest, you will experience the highest highs you will ever experience in your life, and you will also experience the lowest lows you will ever experience in your life.

    And at the beginning it's always wonderful to talk about God, but when you become a servant, you understand that it's always easier to preach the cross than it is to carry it.

    But when you become a servant, you learn to carry the cross as well, and so you're going to have the highest highs and the lowest lows. But the cool thing is God is going to bring you to greatness through sifting just like a diamond.

    You see, there isn’t much beauty in an uncut diamond. But after it is sifted, ground, and cut, it becomes a brilliant beautiful diamond.

    Jesus said,

    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

  3. But Jesus is praying for you.

    Will He take away the tough stuff? Nope. When you come to Christ, you're going to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but it's all a part of sifting, and God is building your faith. When you first become a Christian, you are excitement and enthusiasm will sustain you and you will stay with the church. However, you have to stay with Jesus even through the tough times and build a strong faith so that when the even tougher times come you will not falter.

    A lot of us never get there. You know why? Because we drop out right when the tough times come. We think, “Well, if that's the way they're going to be, then I'm out of here. If that's the way you're going to treat me, then I'm out of here.”

    When I was in the sixth grade, I had a teacher named Mr. Hayes, and I don't know why, but Mr. Hayes took me on as his favorite student. He liked me. And he'd always make sure that I had the assignments correct, and I guess because I wasn't a great mathematician, he felt sorry for me and he kind of helped me and pretty soon, there was just a wonderful friendship.

    And I remember one final exam. It was the toughest questions I ever had on an exam. And he'd ask me and probe me with questions. He never gave me the answer, but he was praying for me. You understand? He was rooting for me. That is how Jesus is with you. He will guide and root for you but He will not do your job for you.

    And Jesus said to Simon, "I'm not going to take it away from you, but I'm going to pray that your faith not fail." The trials and tribulations of life are part of the sifting process that will make you a stronger and better Christian. If you can keep your faith growing and get past the tough times, your faith will be great, your joy will be unspeakable, and your ministry will have begun. And when you understand this process, you'll begin to understand the beauty of being sifted unto greatness.

    You have to stick with Jesus even through the tough times so that your faith continues to grow strong enough so that you no longer need the excitement and enthusiasm to sustain your walk with Jesus. God will do wonders when He can build on your strong faith.

    Let me pray for you.


  1. What is Jesus’s definition of greatness?

  2. How is greatness determined?

  3. Why must we go through sifting?

  4. What is Jesus doing as we are going through sifting?

  5. Can Christians get around the sifting process and not          

    have to go through it? Why?