We are in the midst of a heated conference in Big 10 basketball. Depending on your particular alliance, you all would perhaps choose a different team that you think is best overall. Right now the winter Olympics are being held in Norway. We take a certain amount of pride in the accomplishments of the athletes from America. That is natural. We have all heard some child say, "My dad can beat up your dad" or "My brother is bigger than your brother".
Note: Matthew 12:41-42, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."
Jesus has drawn from the highlights in Israelite history to illustrate the greatness of God. Jesus is saying:
1. Jonah was a rebellious servant who preached a great message but a whole city repented.
2. Solomon, a great man, was very wise and a great king, but there is one greater than these.
3. He is referring to Himself, the Son of God. As we think of this today, I am reminded of four areas in which Jesus is greater. I realize that the greatness of God or His Son is not limited to the three things that I am going to preach about, but these areas are what I want you to be aware of right now.
I. JESUS IS GREATER THAN ANY INSTITUTION.
Matthew 12:6, But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
A. The temple was a great and important place for the Jews, but there was One greater than the temple.
B. I believe that the ark of the covenant, the cross, and the empty tomb are important things, but there is One who is more important than them all!
C. I believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but there is One greater than America.
D. I believe that the local church is important to the life of every believer and to the mission of seeing lost souls saved around the world, but there is One who is greater than the church!
II. JESUS IS GREATER THAN YOUR SIN AND FAILURES.
A. Jonah depicts sin and failure.
1. In Jonah we find that God needed a witness.
2. Jonah failed to be that witness.
3. Jonah failed in everything except one event.
4. Four chapters written about Jonah. and three of them tell about his sins and failures.
B. There is no sin nor failure too big for Jesus.
1. Note: Ps.103:10-12
"He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgression from us."
2. Jesus forgives of all sin.
Acts 13:39, "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
3. But preacher, you don't know what I have done. JESUS IS GREATER.
4. Are you telling me Jesus will forgive me no matter what I have done? YES!
5. Jesus is greater than all your sin and failures!
C. David stands as an example of God's grace.
1 Kin 14:7-8, "Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
Acts 13:22, "And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."
D. Lot serves as another example of God's forgiveness and mercy. cf 2Peter 2:7-8 "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)"
III. JESUS IS GREATER THAN WHAT THE WORLD HAS T0 OFFER.
A. Solomon is remembered for two things: wisdom and wealth.
1. Note: 1 Kings 10:14
"Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold," (800,000 oz. of Gold)
2. Note: 1 Chron. 29:25
"And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel."
3. Note: 2 Chron. 1:11-12
"And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like."
B. Let's look at the life of Lazarus.
1. What did the world offer him? Crumbs!
2. Some have sold their soul for material possessions.
3. The rich man was wealthy.
a. Clothed in purple.
b. Fine linen.
c. Fared sumptuously.
4. He had enough wisdom to get rich, but the world's treasure is but mere crumbs to a Saint of God.
a. Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man woke up in hell!
b. Note: Mt. 16:26
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
c. Note: 1John 2:15-17
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
C. What did this world offer the prodigal son?
D. What did the world give to the rich young ruler?
E. The world has nothing to offer the child of God.
1. Jesus said of His disciples: "...they are not of the world." John 17:14.
2. Jesus overcame the world.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." cf John 16:33
3. The song says: "I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today"
IV. JESUS IS GREATER THAN THE POWER OF SATAN
A. He is greater than Satan in the past.
1. No one in this room has witnessed the full power of Satan.
2. He is still on the loose, and he is still just as powerful as ever.
3. Satan tried to destroy the godly line of the Messiah from the beginning of time.
4. He tried to destroy Christ at Calvary, and thought he had won...but up from the grave He arose!
5. Jesus is greater than Satan!
B. He is greater than Satan in the present.
1. Note: Ep. 6:11-13
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
2. Note: 1 John 4:4.
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
3. Note: Romans 8:38-39
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -12-
4. Paul names every satanic power, every satanic influence, every evil force and then says, none of these can separate us from Jesus!
C. He is greater than Satan in the future.
1. cf. Rev. 17:14
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
2. cf. Rev. 19:19-20
"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
3. After Satan was cast into the lake of fire and after sin and death are cast into the lake of fire in Rev. 20, we never see evil nor the power of Satan again. Satan is gone forever.
4. We must face him daily until then.
a. Jesus did battle with the devil and won.
b. We can claim the blood of Christ and be victorious as well.
Perhaps there are some here today who need to come to Jesus.
Because He is God. Because He has the power to give mercy. Because He has the power to render grace. You need to come to Him today! Whatever your need might be...remember: -14-
Jesus is greater than any institution. Jesus is greater than all your sin and failures. Jesus is greater than this world. Jesus is greater than Satan.