Levi Lusko - My Apron Is My Armor
Welcome to week two of The Table. I want to begin today with a question. Have you ever in life got something that you thought you needed, only to discover it was not at all what you actually wanted? My pastor growing up, he used to always tell these stories that I thought were so cheesy in his sermons. But turns out now, decades later, they've stuck with me. So obviously they served their point. My favorite was the one about the five people on the airplane that was going down. There was five people, it goes, on a plane that was going down. There's a pilot, there's a doctor, there was the smartest man in the world, by IQ or street smarts, I don't know what the credentials were, but smartest man in the world.
Just stay with me, this is a true story. And there was a pastor, a member of the clergy, and then there was last but not least, a Boy Scout. And the pilot at some point in the flight comes into the cabin and announces bad news. He says "Really bad news. This plane is going down". And he says, "Even worse news, there are only four parachutes. And there are five of us". It was at that point that they realized he had one hand on the handle of the door, and the other hand was already holding a parachute, at which point before they could do anything, he opened up the door and jumped out, right? And they're like, OK, there are three parachutes. There are now four of us. And it was uncomfortable, the silence. Just what's going to happen? Who's going to lay their life down for their friends?
And the doctor gets up and says, "I am so sorry. I don't want to do this, really, but it's the Hippocratic oath. I have to do good and not harm. So if I die, all these people, I'll never be able to do their heart transplants, and their brain surgeries, and it's like, you know all these disciplines". But just stay with me. Are you a general physician? That's not the point. I got to save lives. And so he says, "It's for the general good of humanity that I take this parachute. It's not for me. It's for everybody I'm going to serve". And he too jumps out of the plane with the parachute. And of course you know what happens next.
The smartest man in the world says, "Look, I don't even... I want you guys to live more than I want me to live. I'm not doing this for me, but this brain. Just think of all the things this brain could do. I'm the smartest man in the world. I apologize". But he goes out with a parachute. And at this point, it's just like, you know, what in the world? The pastor though. Finally some decency. The pastor says to the Boy Scout, "Hey, listen, I'm old. I've lived my life. I've had many years serving God. Plus, look, I'm right with God, I know where I'm going to go. Son, I want you to... I want you to..". he's prepared to give this big speech. "I want you to take this". But the Boy Scout says, "Hey, quit it, preacher. It's unnecessary. It's unnecessary". Pastor is so taken aback. Like he's just offered to die for this young child, and the boy scout says, "We both can live today. The smartest man in the world just jumped out with my backpack".
I repeat, have you ever got what you think or you thought you needed, only to discover when it was too late that it was not at all what you actually wanted? I want to preach to you from Luke 22, in the second of a series of messages, the season is going to mark us. This whole holiday season. This end of 2022, as we understand and seek to understand and feel and taste really would be a better way to put it, what God has in his mind, and his taste buds, that he wants in our taste buds. That's to mark and inform how we think about, how we speak about, how we live in the midst of His kingdom. The kingdom of God is like what? It's a feast. It's a table.
And last week, we tried to do our best to paint a picture of what grace looks like. What is grace like? Grace is like having nothing, having no one, having no ability to better your situation, and to be called by a King and brought in to sit at His table, to be called His son, to be called His daughter. That's what grace is like. And my whole goal in that week was just, if you didn't listen to it, it's on the archive, but just for us to understand and remember how we got here. How we got here. How do we become Christians? How do we become followers of Christ? How did we headed to hell, enemies of God, end up with everything? With His name on us? With an identity? With a future? With a hope? Does anybody else just feel overwhelmed by the goodness of God? That was where I wanted us to begin. And where I hope by God's grace we will remain. But as we continue on, let's now talk about what pressure is there.
What responsibility is there on us, who have been on the receiving end of such kindness? What does God expect from His children who have been given everything, who've been called out of the pigsty like the Prodigal Son, and we've been given a ring we don't deserve. We've been given a robe we don't deserve. We've been given a room we don't deserve. We've been given a feast. We've been given, what responsibility is there in such costly redemption? Well, Luke 22, the story is familiar to everyone who's even has a vague understanding of the teachings of scripture, because it's the Last Supper. It's the final meal Jesus had with His disciples that He looked forward to, He said, with fervent desire. Where He took bread and broke it, and offered it up saying, "This is my body, broken for you". Where He took wine and He served it and He said, "This is my blood shed for you". This is what it takes to have a seat at the table.
So now we understand the grace we were given wasn't just God being frivolous and going, oh yeah, we'll just look over your sins. No, it's him saying this is the cost of your seat. This is what it's going to take for you to stand in this grace. I'm going to die so that you will live. And in the midst of all of this sacrifice, in the midst of all of this redemption, in the midst of all of this pregnant meal that He wanted for us to this day to taste and to be reminded of, I mean with all the thousands of taste receptors on your tongue. He wanted you to taste grace. He wants you to know what does grace taste like? It's sour, sweet, tang of the fruit of a vine. A grape that's been what? Crushed. Of bread that's been broken. Jesus said, "Unless a grain of wheat dies, it cannot bear fruit. But if it dies, it produces much grain".
That we stand, we have this life, only because of what He went through, what He endured for us. And in that moment, right where you would think everyone would just say thank you, everyone who has a seat at the table, who would just say for the rest of my life, I'm yours. Right? Anything you want, you got it, you've given me my life, you've given me everything. Just tell me what you want me to do, and that's what I'm going to do. And that's the exact opposite of what happened. Then and in my own heart. First 23, Luke 22. "They began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing". Oh yeah, he'd also said oh, BTW, one of you is going to betray me. Super unfortunate.
Now verse 24, after they began defending themselves they also got into a dispute about which of them should be considered the greatest. This would be hilarious if it wasn't so deeply convicting. And He said to them, and He says to us, Fresh Life "The kings of the Gentiles exercised lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. But not so among you. On the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater? He who sits at the table? Or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the one who serves. But you are those who have continued with me in my trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom just as My Father bestowed one upon Me that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel".
And Father, I pray just for a spirit of great humility to fall on us. And I pray for that beautiful sobriety that comes from seeing things as they really are, and being woken up from the delusion of our own self importance. And the brokenness that comes as a result of believing that lie. Thank you, Jesus, for your love. Thank you for the cost of the table that we sit at. We love you, and believe for you to do the impossible in this gathering, in this moment. For dead to rise, God, from their sins to life in Christ, but also, Lord, for us who are in a stupor, who are asleep at the wheel of our salvation. For You to wake us up, Jesus. And we ask this in Your name. And agreed together and said, Amen.
Come on, who's thankful for God's word? I love it. I think when we think about the Lord's Supper, when we think about the scene that we've just read described, we almost invariably have the wrong mental model, and that is because it's probably most informed by the work of Leonardo da Vinci. So just as every year I get to all your Christmas dreams by telling you the wise men probably didn't show up the same night as the shepherds. And all the other things that sort of like, wait a minute, that, you're messing with my hallmark card here, pastor. So I have to do the same for the Last Supper. Because unfortunately they did not sit in chairs. They reclined. And in fact in the texts that we've read, Luke 22, is the word reclined, sitting at this table, reclined here in this moment, is how they sat. They always sat reclined on their left elbow because the left hand was considered unclean.
And that is, of course, because they didn't have germ x, and they didn't have a real easy way to wash their hands, and toilet paper had not been invented yet. And so I'll leave it to your imagination as to what the left hand was used for in that day. It involved lots of things you wouldn't want above the table, OK? So the left hand, even if you were left handed, was never used to shake hands with, because to offer your left hand was to offer a tool that had become unclean. And so the left hand was always kind of out of sight. You would always recline on your left shoulder, always recline on your left elbow. And your right hand you, would eat with. So your feet were fanned away. And in this scene you would have, of course 12 plus Jesus, and they would be around this table reclining, and they would be eating like this, they would be laughing like this and you would of course be then leaning back on the breast of whoever was behind you.
And we know that John and Jesus were in this way oriented. And so they weren't, also sorry Leonardo, they were not all sitting on one side of the table. OK? They weren't posing for a photo. They were around this table, and it was furnished, and there was pillows. And we know from the story there was bread on the table, and there was wine on the table. And that is because they were re-enacting a feast. And the feast was the Feast of Passover. Passover was a meal that looked backwards. A meal to keep people from forgetting, and that of course was the deliverance from being slaves in Egypt. And so every year the Jewish people were to have this taste and this feel and the see moment as special, and it's beautiful, it involved the family, and of all of the children. You would have the father begin every single meal, Passover meal by asking his crew, "Why is tonight different than any other night"?
And the youngest child, it would always be on the youngest to answer. Because all the older kids had been through this a bunch. So they had to restrain themselves from saying the answers so the cuteness of the young child could come out. "Well, I don't know dad". You know, like whatever the kids say. All right? All the funny things. Kids say the funniest things. Now this past week my son Lenox told his mom Jennifer, he said, "Mom, I wish I had 100 hearts, because that's how many hearts it would take to fill up all the love I have for you". Aww. I was like, noted. That is a great line, I'm going to have to step up my game. But then in 20 minutes he got mad at her and told her, "Mom, I'm going to take you to the dump". And so you know the Lord, gives and Lenox takes away. Right?
So my shine was returned, because even in my darkest moments as a husband, I've never told her that. Thought it, never, never said it. So the child would basically be expected to rehash to the family. We were slaves under a cruel king. We were in bondage. It was hard labor. It was difficult. We were removed from the promised land that God had for us, and God brought us out. How did he do so? He did so through the shedding of the blood of a lamb, and that the animal that did nothing died, and the blood was placed upon the home, and only the homes where there was blood upon it was there salvation from an angel that brought the fieriest of all the plagues, worse than frogs, worse than lice, worse than hail, the plague of the death of the firstborn only. In the home was their protection if there was blood upon the home. There was safety in the table. There were safety even if you were an Israelite, and you were outside. Outside from the protection of the blood. Not seated at that table, your life would be forfeit as well.
Just as any Egyptian who died. Animal or human alike. And so this re-enactment of that meal. It was a meal to look backwards and see what cost there was in deliverance. What cost there was in salvation. And all of those things of course were prophetic pointing forward to this moment, to when a new meal would be instituted, because we don't eat the Passover anymore. We eat the Last Supper, which he took the Passover and turned it into something brand new. He brought out of the Passover what it was actually pointing to, and that is the communion meal. The meal of the Lord's table. It's different than the Passover. Here's why. Because the Passover looks backwards. But the Last Supper looks forward. And Paul said, as often as we eat and drink of it, we remember the Lord's death until he comes. Until he returns.
When we take the bread, when we take the wine, we're looking forward because Christ isn't dead. He's not in the past. He is very much in our future. It's a meal of hope. It's a meal of expectation. He said, "I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until I do with you anew in My kingdom". So every time we eat it, we're anchoring ourselves. Yes, it's wonderful to remember that he died, but that's not the end of the story. Because he rose again. And we have a living hope, because we have a living Lord. So communion is not some somber meal to feel sad. It's a celebration of a victory and a triumph that is ours. And of a coming kingdom which was announced at a meal. It was announced at a table. All of the grandeur and hope and faith that we have for heaven and what it's going to look like, life in God's kingdom. It was announced at a table. And that's why he said with fervent desire, I couldn't wait for this meal to come. I couldn't wait for this meal to come.
And then of course, as soon as he's done it, as soon as he's announced it, there's bickering. Because he chose to invite broken people to the party. He chose to invite small, fearful, timid people to the party. Who like Adam and Eve are wondering, am I enough? Who are wondering, do I need to close myself? Or do I need to put this on to be enough? Do I need to put this on to be enough? If I wear these fig clothes. Now you have Peter and you have James and you have John all wondering, am I going to be the most important? Am I the greatest? Am I became I more important than him? And that notice the occasion for their fight about who's the greatest came as to them wondering about who was the worst. One of you will betray me. Is it I? Is it I? Is it I? And after, I notice the close connection from arguing about who's the worst, immediately then to who's the greatest. Because we tend to live in those extremes. I'm either the absolute best, or I'm the absolute worst.
Welcome to life in my mind. Either I'm amazing, or I'm nothing. It's like in the Book of Acts where you have the hero worship, the attempted hero worship of Paul and Barnabas. They tried to literally sacrifice to them, because they had been used by God to do a great miracle, and people said you're amazing. It's like the gods have come down and they tried to worship them and Paul said stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. We're just fellow servants of God. And then literally the next paragraph, a bunch of people get into an angry mob and try and put Paul and Barnabas to death. Literally they dragged Paul outside the city of Lystra and stone him to death. And then God raises him from the dead. He gets up, dusts himself off, and just goes back to preaching. Freaking Energizer bunny this guy, right? But I think in that extreme of they're either gods or they're there to be death, that's sometimes where we live. Where we have our eyes on ourselves and not on Jesus, we're either going to be the best in the world or we're the worst in the world.
Am I the one who betrays God? Or am I the greatest in the kingdom? Welcome to those two extremes that the enemy wants you to live at. What's the actual truth in the middle? We're just broken, frail people, but we have a great God who loves us. We're just broken frail people, but as long as our eyes are on our performance, as long as our eyes are on the kind of moms we are, the kind of pastors we are, the kind of employees we are, am I the greatest dad in the world, as long as we're hoping to be either the greatest or just trying to avoid being the absolute scum of the fight world and the worst, we have our eyes on ourselves. And we're making our admission into the kingdom based on us. Am I worthy enough to sit here at this table? And that's I think what we all at the end of the day fear. Am I worthy? Do I deserve a seat at this table? And the truth is, no. But it was never about that. It was always about the one that the bread and the wine points to.
And Jesus wants that to sink in for his disciples. And Jesus wants that to sink in for me, and for you too. And so came an object lesson. As Jesus is famous for. The Bible tells us that Jesus rose from the table and he took it temple towel. He took an apron and he tied it around his waist. He didn't announce that he was doing it, he just rose from the table and he took up a towel, and he tied it around his waist. And then he went around the table one by one and washed his disciples feet.
Now Luke doesn't record this. Luke records the sermon he gave on the back end of it. After having finished this, and of course, as everything with Peter, it was not easy. Even washing Peter's feet. He's like, "Never, Lord. You will never wash my feet". and Jesus said, bro, if you don't let me wash you, you'll have no part in me. And Peter said, well then don't just wash my feet, give me a sponge bath head to toe, and Jesus said, "Even the Son of Man has limitations". All right? I'm not doing that. All right? He said look, if your feet are clean, you're totally clean. All right? And so he wanted to wash the disciples feet, and this, by the way, this washing of the feet took place before Judas left. It always hits me hard to think of Jesus sitting and washing Judas's feet, looking him in the eyes, perhaps one last chance. Perhaps one last opportunity. And with a look of love and the look of kindness, he even washed the feet of his enemy.
So he finishes washing the feet. And as the argument breaks out, he uses that as an opportunity. An object lesson. An opportunity for him to discuss what true greatness in his kingdom looks like. As he says, who's more important? The one who sits at the table, the one who serves at the table? And of course human wisdom would say, well, obviously it's the one who sits at the table. It's not the waiter, it's not the busboy, it's not the hostess, it's the person who's the VIP actually at the table. And he says, but that's using carnal understanding. That's using human wisdom. I've introduced an upside down kingdom where the way to have your life is to lose it. The way up is down, the way to life is death. In my kingdom it shall not be like it is in this world. He said in the Roman Empire, there's this thing called benefactors. Benefactors. I looked it up, is this, in fact, it's the first and only time of this word is ever used in the entire Bible. It's a word that means doers of good.
And that's like who can't get behind that? Doers of good? But apparently in the Roman Empire, someone who was a doer of good was giving a favor the way Don Corleone gives a favor. I mean, I'm giving you a favor, I will do this kindness for you, but there shall come a day when you shall receive a call. And when you receive my call, you're going to find out the strings that were attached to my gift. You're going to find out I only did that for you because I expected some quid pro quo. I expected something in return. There's going to come a day when this doing of good I did for you, you're going to wish it had never been done, because what I'm going to ask for you is going to be something you're not going to want to give up. Jesus said that's the culture that you have been raised. That's your understanding of doing good. You have to take, you have to get, you have to have yourself in your mind. He said, but that's not how it works at my table. At my table, I want you to understand that you putting yourself up and puffing yourself up and putting yourself first, that actually puts you in a place of great danger. But in fact, I want you to understand the power of humility.
And I'm going to give you the title of my message. I want you to understand Jesus is saying that when you're in my kingdom, you can say this out loud, you can say it believing it, it's true from the bottom of your soul. My apron is my armor. My apron is my armor. Jesus, preparing to go to the greatest battle of his life, and understanding and aware that he was sending his disciples on to the great battles of their lives, wanted them and you and me to understand, when we're a part of life at his table, we are weak if we're putting ourselves first. We are weak if we're walking in pride. But to the degree that we foster the humility of service, we are protected from any weapon that hell can throw at us. My apron is my armor. The protection. I want to talk to you today about the protection of humility. And this story of course, is very masculine. It has that kind of tone to it. You have Peter and James and John, kind of this, who's the greatest? Like who's the greatest? Like Jesus, just clear it up for us here. What's the pecking order in the apostolic lineup here? Like, who's on the starting team?
Like that's amazing, you're going to introduce a kingdom in your blood. That's fantastic. You're going to the cross in just hours, Jesus, but just let's, just settle a bet, Jesus. Settle a bet. And I was thinking that for some personality types, that is like noxious. And I was thinking about how I would preach to some today who would just be like, this doesn't convict me, and I'm actually trying to convict all of us. So I want to be an equal opportunity convictor. And I knew that there would be some today, male and female, who just say that's just not, that doesn't relate to me. In fact that's appalling to me. And so I was thinking about how similar this is to another story that Luke concludes in his gospel. It's a story that goes, you have to just flip a few pages back to Luke chapter 10.
In Luke chapter 10 there's another table setting. And in this table setting there's a very similar dynamic taking place. We're told that Martha, a woman of means, opened up her home for Jesus to be welcomed at for a meal. And verse 39 says, "She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus's feet and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me". Of course at this point, we're like I can't argue. Martha's got a great point. That is so lazy of Mary. I mean there's a lot to be done. She needs to get her lazy butt out of the living room and do some work. Martha can't be expected to shoulder all of this burden alone. And just when we're about to begin Martha scolding Mary, Jesus takes Mary's side. It's unbelievable. "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her".
Now of course at this point, we're like, Jesus, this is, you are making a huge mistake here. I mean Mary's sitting at the table, and you're scolding Martha for serving. But then 10 chapters later, we have you scolding the disciples because they stay at the table, and they don't get up to serve. Which is it? The point is you can lack humility in your heart serving or sitting. So it's not exactly the seat or the standing that's the issue, it's really what's going on in the heart. Is there humility in your heart? God wants there to be a humble heart for all those who are at his table. And the humble heart can be shown in the way that we serve, and it also can be shown in the way we sit. So sitting and serving, serving and sitting, what's the answer? The answer is God has called us to do both. Not just one, and not just the other. We must, if we've been invited in to be his adopted sons and daughters in his kingdom, at the price of Jesus's blood and body broken, we must demonstrate that posture of humility both by sitting at the table to hear his word, like Mary did, but also with the mentality that arises.
Like, I don't think he wanted Martha to not serve. And I don't think he wanted Mary to not sit. I think he wanted them both to see there was something to learn from each other. And he wants us all to see what his disciples needed to see, and that is in this battle if we don't have our apron, we don't have protection. My apron is my armor. Humility, it protects us. And Jesus wanted Peter especially to understand this, because he knew the trial that was coming for Peter that very night. In fact, if we keep reading in Luke 22, we didn't get the chance to read it for time's sake, but they just changed the rule you're allowed to read your Bible out of church, so this week you can finish Luke 22, and see that Peter is singled out, out of all the disciples. Peter is singled out and Jesus says to Peter, Peter I got bad news. You're going to deny me three times tonight. And Peter, who just has been prophesied about by the Messiah, humbly says like, well, what can I do about that? What can I do about that? Give me help. Pray for me. But no, that's not how the text goes. And instead he says, not so, Lord. Not me. You got the wrong one. I think you mean Bartholomew. They sound a lot like Bartholomew, Peter. I would never betray you.
Jesus says, you're going to betray me three times before the rooster crows twice. And Peter says, doubling down on his bravado, even if I have to die I will never turn on you. And so he goes into the battle of his life with no armor. He has a sword, we know that. And he has his fists that were fists of steel from being a fisherman. But he didn't put on his armor, and so he goes into the battle with no humility, and he is destroyed by the enemy who comes to sift him as we eat that very night. And he has some time to think about it before writing his epistle. He has some time to soak and marinate in those lessons by the time he writes his epistle. And if you jot it down and you can read it on your own time, first Peter chapter 5 verse 5, he's summing up his epistle, verse Peter 5, and he says at the end, yes, all of you should be submissive to one another. That posture.
And notice this is first Peter five, five, and be clothed with humility. Wear humility as clothing because you'll need it. Verse eight at first Peter five. "Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour". I love an older Peter, restored by Jesus, an older Peter who's been through some things. He tells all of us, just make sure no matter where you go, no matter what you do, to clothe yourself with humility. That word clothe, it's a verb. Clothe yourself with humility. It's a very interesting word. It's the verb form of a noun that refers to an article of clothing that has strings that dangle off of it. Clothe yourself with humility. He's saying, when you get dressed in the morning, don't forget to put on the clothing that has strings. Clothe yourself with humility. And the only time that word would be used is describing a servant who would put on an apron before showing up for work.
Listen to me. Peter is saying there is an enemy who is coming for you, who wants to destroy you, he wants to disembowel you, to absolutely make a wreck of your testimony, of your marriage, of your ministry. He wants to chew you up and spit you out and when he comes for you, I'm telling you, if you are proud, you will fall. Why? Because Peter said, God opposes the proud. Literally, that word means he sets his armies in assembly against you. That is bad. Very bad. God sets his armies against someone, they fall. He set his armies, his angel armies against Jericho, it fell. He sets his armies against the Philistines, they fall. So when you as a Christian live a life of pride, God sets armies against you. But he gives grace to the humble. What a thing. To think that when I adorn myself in humility, not what can come against me? If God's my defender, which is what happens when you walk in humility, where you. Humbly say, God, I need You, I trust You. Who can come against you? The Lord is your defender. The Lord is your shield.
So I'm David, and Saul says you need to wear my breastplate in need to wear my shield, and have my helmet, and have my spear, and David says I'm good. I'm good. I've got a slingshot, I've got a shepherd staff, I smell like lamb poop. But he says I've got humility because I'm trusting in the name of the Lord. He said, Saul, you don't understand. Goliath's going to fall today. My apron is my armor. I trust in God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, don't you want to bow down and worship the image the king made? If you don't, you're going to fall into the fiery furnace and die. We're good. God's with us, they said, my apron is my armor. And if you live a life of humility.
I'm telling you something. Nothing the enemy throws out you will prevail. You'll be more than a conqueror. And I want, just as we close this time down, to single out some things that God wants your apron to protect you from. Jot them down. The first is a small life. God, through the generosity of humility, the humility says, I want more people. I'm not arguing over which seat I get at the table. I'm just thankful I have a seat at the table. And I want as many people as possible to have a place at that table. If that's your heart, then let me tell you something. You're going to be protected from a small life. The devil wants your life small. How small exactly? Literally, just you. To be the only thing you ever think about, ever care about, ever talk about, ever post about, ever worry about, ever pray about. Just me. How's life for me? Are my needs getting met? Am I being seen? Am I being recognized? Am I being heard? Literally your life just you. And that's very, very small.
Someone said, imagine how big your world could become if you became smaller inside it. And you started to notice other people, and care about other people. And that kind of generosity can only come through humility. That's why Proverbs 11 says the world of the generous just gets bigger and bigger, but the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The enemy wants to shrink your world, and shrink your impact, and shrink your peace by making you just focus all on yourself. But when there's humility, God can take you places you would never have dreamed and do things through you that will blow your mind. And it will happen with Him getting the glory, and Him getting the credit, and you'll just be able to go, I'm grateful we're here. I'm great, yay being on team Jesus. Yay being on team grace. Secondly shut it down. He wants to protect you from an anxious mind.
An anxious mind the proud life is a stressful life. Because it's all about you. And you have to keep up. If you're really the greatest... am I the greatest in the kingdom? Right? Am I the greatest in the kingdom? And you're defined by what you've done, where you are your accomplishments, where you are your press clippings, where you are your report cards, where you are your GPA, where you are the size of your house, where you are how great your Instagram follow? All of that it's very stressful. Because whatever got you there, you got to keep it there. You've got to stay there. Solomon put it this way in his book Ecclesiastes. Where goods increase, so do those increase who eat the goods. Biggie put it this way. More money, more problems. Right? So you get the thing. Now you have to keep the thing.
And so there's an anxiousness that comes. In fact, I don't think it's any coincidence that in Luke, I'm just quoting from Luke like crazy today, in Luke's gospel Jesus said, do not seek, seek, Luke 12 29, do not seek what you should eat, or what you should drink nor have, notice, an anxious mind. Do not seek what you eat, what you drink, and do not have an anxious mind. Why would he put these things together? And those of you who are just going to hell now who are already planning where you're going to have lunch today, do not seek what you eat, what you want. Hold on a second. Hold on a second. The word seek is the key. You see it? Seek. Seek. Where have I heard that word before? Oh, that's right, Matthew 6-33, seek ye first the what? Kingdom of God. And His righteousness. And all these other things. The things that the people of this world clamor for, and chase after, and are defined by. They'll be added unto you.
Seek is a word in the Greek that actually means to hunt for, to search for, and there's implied within it significance that comes from hopefully obtaining it. Jesus says, don't seek after that next meal, or that experience, that bucket list kind of life, where you're hoping to be defined by what you think is at the end of that rainbow. Your career rainbow, your creation rainbow, right? Whatever you think, if I can just get that. I'll be enough. It'll fill up that hole inside of me. That deficiency that I've always felt in my whole life. Don't seek to do that in carnal things. He says that's just going to lead to what? An anxious mind. I find it interesting that Martha, who was worried that everything was perfect for Jesus in her home, everything had to look just right. Everything had to feel. It needs to feel like Martha Stewart and Joanna Gaines had a baby. That's what I want it to look like this party.
Forgive me for the metaphor. That's my house. But notice that her obsessing over such things led to her Jesus said being troubled. Trouble. Where you're defined by how clean your home is, how well-behaved your kids are. Where now you're not you may not say I want to be the greatest of the disciples, but you're hoping that you have the greatest home, you have the greatest this, you have the greatest that. That just leads to being trouble. Jesus is trying to protect you from the futility of being satisfied by something that cannot help but fill the hole you're trying to shove it into. That just leads to an anxious mind. He's trying to protect you with your armor of apron from relational discord, too. Relational discord.
Notice the disciples are all now fighting. Is it you? It's probably you. You're the worst. I'm the best. You're the worst, you're the worst, I'm the best. They're pointing fingers across the table. But that's the exact opposite spirit of what Jesus was trying to communicate through this meal, which was what? A new family. Something that's even deeper than blood. This is an interesting thing. That they're eating this meal together. Why? The Passover you only ate with your family. The Passover was eaten only with your family, your biological family. This is a smattering of random group of people. They had nothing in common. Zealots, fishermen, a tax collector thrown in for good measure. And Jesus is a carpenter. They have nothing in common. He's saying that's the church. That's the church.
The old way of thinking is just my family, just my biological family. Us, us four, shut the door, no more. He's saying I'm introducing a brand new paradigm where I'm going to set the solitary into family, and there's going to be unstoppable unity. From the poor and the rich and this person politically, this persuades, this way of thinking. I'm going to bring them all together. And they have very little in common in some ways, but everything in common in the way that actually counts. And where there's that kind of we're in one accord, even though we don't look the same, we don't even like the same sorts of things. But we say we are one because one Jesus brought us into one body through one Holy Spirit, one Lord, one Savior, one faith, one baptism, one heaven, forever. I'm telling you, where we have that kind of humility, there's unstoppable unity. So the enemy is trying to attack that through a relational discord which divides. And if he can divide us, he will always conquer us. So humility, an apron of humility, will protect us from that.
Number four, unfulfilled potential. Unfulfilled potential. I do not believe that Jesus was offended by their desire to be the greatest. I think Jesus was trying to redirect how they would get there. He knew what they were trying to do, to get the thing they deep down wanted, was not what they needed to get there. Let me explain. Jesus put it within all of us to seek after greatness. That doesn't offend God at all. But he knew what you and I need to know, and that is to get to greatness by being greater than each other is putting a backpack on and jumping out of an airplane instead of a parachute. You can't get to your greatness by pulling other people down and benchmarking yourself by other people. The way you get to greatness is tying one of these around your waist, and helping your brother, and helping your sister, and helping your friend. You get to your greatness when you help me get to mine. I get to my God given greatness when I serve you, and help unlock greatness inside of you.
So by trying to rank ourselves by ourselves, we keep ourselves from our God given greatness, and we fall short of the potential for all of us. And the action potential for all of us is to become like Jesus, who put an apron on, though he was the greatest ever existed. The G-O-A-T, that's Jesus, baby. And he served them, helping them get to their God given greatness, and he knows the key to ours is doing the same. Fifthly, jot it down. Missed opportunity. Missed opportunity. Our apron, if we put it on, will protect us from the missed opportunities all around us. Not the least of which for the disciples was the fact that they sat at the Last Supper, something that the master painter years later would paint about, and they missed most of what happened because they were bickering about things three levels below where they should have been focused, which is what? What should they have been focused on? They're at the Last Supper! The New Kingdom of Jesus just got introduced to the world. And they can't see past themselves to realize they're in a painting. But such is the story of me.
How many times have I sat there with Jesus present, with Jesus, missing everything that was going on? Focused on what I'm doing with my Martha mind, missing the chance to sit at the feet of my Savior like Mary knew, I'm not missing this message. Tim Keller pointed out that it's interesting that none of the Gospels that tell the story of The Last Supper include any story of a lamb being served. In the Passover, always had a lamb. And we know they didn't just forget. They got what Jesus told them to get, but there was no lamb at this table. On this table. Why? There was a lamb at the table. Who was putting blood above all of our homes. Let's not miss the presence of the King at our table because we're worried about where we get to sit, and how we get to serve. And then lastly, and we'll close with this, and pray that God will touch our hearts deeply as we prepare to come to the table. This apron of humility will keep us from future heartache. Future heartache. This is why I think it's so interesting.
As soon as he finishes correcting and adjusting their attitudes, he immediately points their expectation to heaven. The future coming kingdom. You guys are going to sit at my kingdom and rule and reign forever. Just keep that in your heart. Keep that in your mind. Future heartache. What heartache is there? I think heartache that comes 10 seconds after we die, and we look back on our lives and go, oh, can I please get a crack at that again. And the answer is no. Eric Clapton once sang, will there be tears in heaven? And I can tell you, the Bible says that throughout heaven there will be no crying, but there will be tears that He will wipe from the eyes of the Saints as they arrive. I'm convinced the tears we will shed that he will wipe from our eyes before all tears and crying and sorrow is banished come from us realizing the glory of heaven, and the glory of our Savior, and the kindness in His face and looking back on our lives at every selfish moment that we squandered, where we bickered at the communion table instead of just serving to get more people to pull up a chair.
You know what will never give us future heartache? Anything we do to set that table. Anything we do to help it happen. Any act of generosity. Anything we do, which is why we end a year of saying, how can we reach more? Because you know what? God's done a lot in the years of our church, a lot. 25,609 salvations a lot. 25,609 salvation galore. Which is praise God, right? A number so big you can't even get your head around. 25,600, that's the number as of this morning. And it's always happening. Someone watches a random YouTube sermon from four years ago, and just says, I just got saved. That's the ones we know about. But to get your head around that number, like I was like, what can do that? And no NBA stadium will work. The largest NBA stadium in the entire country is where the Chicago Bulls, play United Center. Here's a photograph of this stadium. It's fantastic. It's enormous. That's though short. That's only 20,917. And we're talking about that, plus another 5,000 people, plus, plus, plus. You see what I'm saying?
So we're like praise God, looking back on the years of our church, praise God for salvation, praise God. Think about that stadium full to the brim with people from all across the world who have made decisions for Christ, up to the years of this ministry. That's fantastic. But what about just one more? What about just one more person who doesn't have it? One more person who doesn't know Christ. One more person who needs to be at that feast, who needs to be at the table. Levi kind of imposing things now, I get the humility thing. And man that's a real pride check, great, thankful for that. Got to decimate the ego, never bad for that. But I just don't see generosity in this text, Levi. Don't see a giving. I don't see an offering. I don't see that. And this season, I see what you're doing, we should all give to more can be saved. You don't see it. You don't see the generosity in the table? I see it. I see it at every seat. I see it at every level.
And I'm not just talking about the blood and the body broken. That's generosity. I'm talking about the table. Oh, you probably know, Jesus and the disciples didn't own a big real estate portfolio in the city of Jerusalem. And yet how are they eating this meal? When the text tells us they were in a large, nicely furnished upper room, here's how it happened. The disciples said, where are we going to have Passover? You keep talking about how excited you are to have this meal with us. Where are we going to have it? Jesus said, here's what I want you to do. Go walk around the city until you find a man carrying a pitcher. A water pitcher. And you're like, wait, that's going to be tons of that, right? No, actually only women carried pitchers in that culture. Only women went to get water from the well. But if you see a man carrying a pitcher, that's my kind of guy, Jesus said. That's a man with the heart of a servant. That's true greatness. You find that guy, you tap him on the shoulder, and you tell him I need to speak to whoever is the master of your house.
And so the guy carrying a pitcher takes them to this beautiful home, and the master of the feast comes out, and a couple of disciples say, hey, the master needs the room, and wants to know if it's ready. And working for Jesus, they just stopped even wondering. Like what's today going to be like? You know? And the master says, as they come, the master needs your room. And the owner of this house says, I will show it to you right now. And he showed them to this scene. That according to tradition became a meeting place from the church from that point forward. It was there that Peter, after he got sprung from jail by an angel, would come back to and be left at the door by the servant girl Rhoda, who was telling everybody Peter's out of jail, which is the very thing they were praying for. And the generosity of this man.
Here's the revelation I want you to walk away with from this moment. You don't have to be in the scene to be a part of the story. That man both the man with the pitcher, and the one who owned the house, got to be a part of The Last Supper. Leonardo didn't put him in the painting, but they're a part of the scene. They're a part of the story. They're a part of the bigness of this moment. We in heaven will get to meet these individuals. And you and I will never get to meet every single person who filled up that stadium in these years, nor will moving forward we necessarily get to know every single story of the way God uses our generosity.
As we move towards December 4th, as we see an offering, as all of us live with this above and beyond spirit, bringing our ties, bringing our offerings, with what prayer in our heart that there may be food in God's house. Malachi 3:10. Food in God's house. Food at the table. My generosity, I'm so grateful God allows me, as humble as I am by even my invitation to the table, that God would use me. God would use us to allow more people to have a seat. Is anybody grateful in the house?
So Father, we ask for you to help us to not go to battle without our armor. The armor of our aprons. The armor that has strings hanging off the back. And I pray God, knowing that our marriages, our lives, our families will be blessed where there's a greater dose of humility.
If you're here today and you're in on that, I want humility to mark my heart, my life, or there's just a sense of I've blown it in ways where my arrogance has gotten in the way. Can I just ask for just a response? Church online, put a emoji chat, with your hand up in the air. Just right, I'm in. I'm all in on this. I want my apron on. Those who can hear me at our church locations, raise your hand up right there where you are. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. You oppose the proud, but you give grace to the humble. So today we receive your grace. We need you God, help us. Help us, God. You can put your hands down. I want to now invite anybody who's not made a decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior to do so. I'm going to pray with you. I want you to pray with me, right where you are, God hears you. He's with you, in your living room, He's with you in Fresh Life, Bozeman, God's with you. He sees you. He loves you. Say this to Him. Church, say it with us:
Dear God. I know I'm a sinner. But I believe Jesus died for me. And rose from the dead. Please come into my heart. Make me new. I give myself to you. In Jesus' name.