If you would, turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Mark
chapter nine. The Gospel of Mark chapter nine.
And would you stand for the reading of the Word this
morning? We won’t be long today. But while we’re here,
we’re going to glorify the Lord. Amen? Hallelujah.
In Mark chapter nine. Are you there? Looking at verse
thirty-three through verse thirty-seven. It said,
32. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to
33. And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he
asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves
by the way?
34. But they held their peace: for by the way they had
disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
35. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto
them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of
all, and servant of all.
36. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them:
and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37. Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my
name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me,
receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Let us pray.
Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for
the opportunity to be in Your house today. Father, hide Your
son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not
me. And Father, as I decrease I ask that You would increase.
Dear Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of
my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and
my Redeemer. In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name.
You may be seated in the house of God this morning.
33. And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he
asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves
by the way?
“What were you arguing about?” The disciples caught up in
their constant struggle for personal success. They were
embarrassed by the question that Jesus asked them. It was
always painful to compared their motives. And it’s always
painful to compare our motives with the motives of Christ.
It’s not wrong for believers to be industrious and ambitious.
But when ambition begins to push (glory to God) obedience
and servant-hood out the way, it becomes sin.
They were in a place where they were looking for success.
But they didn’t understand that success was in serving God.
You see, when we come to the house of God, it’s alright to be
industrious. It’s alright to be ambitious. But I’ve got to put
all things in the place of perspective. I’ve got to take all
things and put them in the category where they belong.
See, you can’t, and I can’t do anything for God and not want
to be successful. But I got to understand what success and
ambition really is. You see, if I get into the wrong motive,
pride is going to set in. And it’s going to cause me to begin to
overvalue my position. It’s going to cause me to overvalue
(glory to God) my prestige that I’m looking for.
In God’s Kingdom such motives can begin to be destructive.
You see, they were in place. But they didn’t understand their
position. You see, when you’re in the right place, and that
place is being with God, let me tell you something whether
you’re the doorkeeper or whether you’re the preacher, you’re
in perfect position for success. Oh, my God. Who am I
preaching to today?
There’s nothing wrong with ambition. But my motive has got
to be right. The only safe ambition is directed towards
Christ’s Kingdom and not our own advancement.
You see, I and you, we together have been called ambassadors
for Christ. And God has called us to move forward the
Kingdom of God. And while I’m advancing the Kingdom, I
can’t help but be advanced myself. But I’ve got to make sure
that I’m advancing the Kingdom and I’m not advancing
He said the first shall be last. And the last shall be first. You
see, If I’m going to be great in the Kingdom of God, I got to
be willing to take the low seat. Look at your neighbor and
say, “I’m taking the low seat.”
You see, the Bible says that sometimes... You see, we can get
to a place where we begin to take a seat. But see, this seat
may not be the one that I have been invited to take. Oh, you
don’t want to hear me today. But I took that seat anyhow.
But see, the Bible says it’s going to be embarrassing when
they come and tell me that that’s not your seat. You need to
But if I understand where I am, it doesn’t matter what seat
I’m in. I can be sitting in the front, or I can be sitting in the
back. Because my motive is still the same. I’m going to
advance the Kingdom of Almighty God.
There’s nothing wrong with ambition. But my motive has got
to be right. I want to have success in ministry. But I got to
keep my heart right. You see, every day is not going to be
sunshine. Do you hear what I’m saying? In everybody’s life
a little rain is going to fall. You don’t want to talk to me
Every now and then I’m going to get discouraged. But in the
midst of my adversity, I cannot allow it to change who I am in
Christ. Every now and then it’s going to seem like I’m
pushed back and set aside. But let me tell you something.
My day is coming, if I would only keep my heart right.
Ambition is a desire for success. It’s a desire for honor. And
It’s a desire for power. There’s nothing wrong with wanting
success. But I need to learn about honor. And I need to learn
how to handle the power. Because God will begin to put us in
places (glory to God) that’s going to cause us to have to be
able to handle the honor and the power that comes with that
You see, every position in, that God will give you in the body
of Christ, there will be honor every now and then. You will
be in a place of power. But how am I going to manage that
honor and that power that has been placed in my hands?
You see, I can’t allow it to begin to go to my big old head.
You see, a lot of times, people are one way, aren’t they? And
you thought they were the most humblest people in the world.
You don’t want to talk to me today. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost
But give them a little power. You think they done changed
they name. Not only they name, Brother Rick. You think
they done changed their very address. Because they don’t
want you to come by no more. Because they can’t be seen
with certain folk. Oh, my God. Who am I preaching to
They’ve taken success in God and caused it to be a curse,
instead of being a blessing. You see, the light in me is there
to draw people, not to compel them to stay away from me.
But if I’m ambitious with the wrong motive, I’ll find myself
all by myself, saying that God loves me if nobody else loves
That’s how they will know that we’re brothers, because of the
love that we have for one another. They should not... God
shouldn’t be the only one that love you. Everybody else
sitting around you should loves something about you. You
can’t be all bad and be in Christ.
Ambition with the right motive, it builds, and it draws. But
ambition with the wrong motive, it tears down and it repels.
Where am I inside of me?
See, I want to do something for Christ. Like the army said, I
want to be all that I can be in Christ. But see, I’m not in the
corporate world. Somebody say, “I’m not in the corporate
world.” I’m in the body of Christ.
You see, in the corporate world they’ll pull you down to try to
rise to the top. But the Bible says that God will take down
one and raise up another. I don’t try to try to have that crab
mentality and pull you down.
Because there’s enough room at the top for... Oh, my God.
...for all of us. Mount Zion is just not for me, but it’s for
everybody that wants to lift up holy hands, without wrath and
doubting, and bless His holy Name.
In the book of John chapter eighteen and verse twelve through
verse fourteen... Go there with me, because I want you to see
the Word today. Let’s see, hear, and obey. Chapter eighteen
of John, verse twelve through verse fourteen. When you get
there say amen. It said,
12. Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews
took Jesus, and bound him,
13. And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law
to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews,
that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Listen. Caiaphas and Annas, they cared more about their
political ambitions than about their responsibility to lead the
people to God.
You see, a lot of times these days we got a lot of politicians in
the pulpit. You don’t want to talk to me today. And instead
of trying (glory to God) to bring people to a place of seeing
Christ and sanctifying God in their eyes they have their own
political agenda. And they got they own political party that
work right along with them.
You see, they were more influenced and more... What word
am I looking for, Lord? They were more apt to trying to
advance themselves, even if it meant killing the Son of
You see, we have people, even in the body of Christ that are
so hungry for ambitious position and prestige, that they’ll not
only kill you, but they’ll kill your Savior too. Instead of being
in position to lead, they were in position to tear down and to
destroy. That’s what the wrong ambition will do. It’s
destructive. It’ll cause you to be critical instead of helpful.
They said, “We going to have to get a hold of this Jesus.
Because He’s doing too much good. And if we don’t stop
Him, the people will begin to look to Him. And they won’t
look to us any more.”
A lot of times God will begin to raise up saints. And then you
got old saints in position. And I ain’t talking about age. And
when He’s trying to raise up new saints, the old saints start to
get mad about it. And instead of helping their brother and
sister along, they’ll find something wrong with them. You
ain’t going to talk to me today.
And they can pull out every fault that they possibly can find
in that saint. But they forget how they used to be. Oh, you
don’t want to say nothing. They forgot how they bust up in
the church. And everything was going wrong in their lives.
And they needed somebody to pull them up out the muck and
They become religious. Pharisees and Sadducees all over the
place. Acting like they ain’t never done nothing. And
pretending like that it’s always been all good. Putting on a
physod, and wearing the makeup that hides yesterday. Who
am I preaching to?
They would rather advance themselves than advance the
Kingdom of God. They became evil. And they were no
longer sensitive to God’s revelation. They wanted to advance
at all costs.
I don’t care what’s going on in your life. Sometimes people
are going to have to know about it. See, we hide so much.
And we put on a false sense of reality, that if you just come to
Jesus, that you’ll never have any problems.
But if you come to Jesus right, the devil going to try to bring
hell in your life. The only difference is Jesus is your Savior
and your Deliverer, and that He has promised you eternal life.
That you’re in this world, but you’re no longer of this world.
You’re just a pilgrim passing through.
And that’s why I can be of good cheer, because He has
overcome this world. And these light afflictions cannot be
compared to the glory that’s going to be revealed in us.
Come on, give God a handclap of praise today.
They should have known that Jesus was the Messiah, about
whom the Scripture had foretold would come. They should
have pointed the people to Him. But they were pointing the
people away from Him.
Am I pointing people in the right direction? Am I leading,
not just with my mouth, but by example? That is the
Am I willing to lay down my life, that someone could come to
Christ? That their life would be changed. Because they know
how I used to be. And they can see the difference in me. Or
is it when they get around me, I’m the same? They don’t see
nothing different about me. What is it? What is it?
They were trying to advance self. Jesus should be on the
throne. But self was on the throne.
In the book of Judges chapter nine... Go there with me this
morning. The Spirit of God is moving. Judges chapter nine.
Hallelujah. We’re going to look at verse one through verse
six. It said,
1. And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem
unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and
with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,
2. Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem,
Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal,
which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that
one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and
3. And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all
the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined
to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.
4. And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out
of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain
and light persons, which followed him.
5. And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew
his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten
persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the
youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.
6. And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the
house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the
plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.
Israel’s king, Abimelech, he wanted to be lord and not man.
He wanted God’s position. Oh, you don’t hear me. You see,
he came into a place. Instead of allowing God to rule that
place the way God wanted it to be ruled, by all of the
brethren, all seventy of them, he wanted position for himself.
His ambition reached into a place of murder, where he took
out God’s plan to establish his own plan. All seventy except
one of his brothers were slain. He became ruthless.
You see, when I come to a place of being self centered and
not God centered, it’ll cause me to be ruthless. It will cause
me to get to a place where I want to advance at all costs, no
matter who is hurt. And whatever I have to do, and whatever
I need to do to get into that place, then that’s what I’ll do.
And I’ll wipe my mouth. And I’ll wash the blood off of my
hands, as long as I’ve been advanced.
I’m preaching this word today because that spirit will try to
get into people when they think in their own mind that they’re
not being done right. (Tongues.)
See, when a person thinks that it’s man that is their god, it’ll
cause them to mess up. When God wants to raise you up,
can’t no man, can’t no devil in hell stop God from raising you
up. Oh, my God. When you get to heaven, and you haven’t
done what God has called you to do, what you going to say?
“Brother so and so, or sister so and so stood in my way”?
How is He going to say, “Well done, My good and faithful
servant,” when I ain’t done nothing?
How do I want to be advanced?
In the book of Numbers chapter sixteen... We’re almost
finished. There was a man. And he was a Levite. And his
name was Korah, K-o-r-a-h. And Korah decided that he
wanted to lead a rebellion against Moses.
And Moses said, “Now wait a minute. You’re already a
Levite.” But instead of allowing God to use him, because he
was significant right where he was, he wanted Moses’
See, I’ve got to realize that I’m significant right where I am.
See, I’ve never... I haven’t always been the pastor. See,
when I first got saved, I used to come to the house of God
were I was in Atlanta, on Saturday evening with the brothers,
and sweep and mop the floors, and clean out the toilet. You
don’t hear me today.
And when I looked at my pastor, I admired him. Not for what
he had, but that he was a man of God. And it intrigued me to
the point where it drew me to want to become a man of God.
And I’ll never forget. They were moving chairs in the
sanctuary on Bible study night. Now he got over ten thousand
members. You don’t hear me.
But they were moving the chairs. And I walked up to him.
And I said, “Pastor, you know I want to help.” And he looked
over in me, inside of me. He didn’t look on the outside. He
looked inside of me. I felt his eyes go in me. They penetrated
And he said these words to me. He said, “You can help. But
you got some things down in there that you need to clean up.”
I said, “Okay, pastor.”
He said, “Now go on and move those chairs.”
But instead of it causing me to draw myself back, it caused
me to draw myself closer. I didn’t want his position, but I
wanted to be a man of God.
And God began to raise me up in that very place. We had a
roster full of ministers. Had at least twenty-five to thirty.
And I was the last one on the roster. But God would use me
in a mighty, mighty way. Because I wasn’t ambitious to try to
get position. But God put me in position anyhow.
If I keep my motive right, I don’t have to want to be T. D.
Jakes. I’ll be Chris Abernathy. Oh, you don’t hear me. I
don’t have to be Bishop Paul Martin. I’ll be Bishop Chris
Abernathy. Oh, who am I preaching to today? I’m an
original. And there’s nobody else like me.
But Korah... (Tongues.) He got to a place where he led a
revolt of two hundred and fifty men against Moses. And
Moses got up and said, “Now wait a minute, Korah. You
already operate in the priesthood. But now you want to take
over the priesthood. God hasn’t called you to take over the
He got into a place of rebellion. And that’s why when we
pray and we say we bind the spirit of Korah, we’re binding
that spirit of rebellion that would want to rise up in somebody,
to take something that is not theirs.
And he was destroyed. See, God doesn’t operate like the
world. See, if you take somebody’s position in the world, but
you can do the job better than them, they’ll say, “Come on.”
And they’ll pay you.
But see, even if you can do the job better than who God got in
position, if you try to take your position, God will squash you.
He will bring you to a place that you will understand that you
are not in control, but He is in control.
The spirit of ambition has got to have the right motive.
In the book of Joshua. We getting ready to close. Chapter
one and verse eight. He told Joshua to be strong and very
courageous. He told Joshua, He said, “This is what you need
to do. You need to meditate in My Word day and night. And
then will you make your way prosperous and have good
I don’t have to push myself forward. In other words, He was
telling Joshua, “Just be obedient. And I’m going to pull you
You see, obedience is always going to pull us forward.
Obedience to God and His Word is always going to cause us
to make progress.
You see, a lot of times we get in a place of complacency.
And we’re not moving. Because we’ve come out of a place
of obedience. Because we begin to think that we know how it
But God said, “My ways are not your ways. And My
thoughts are not your thoughts. What you did yesterday
might not be enough no more. I might be calling you to
another level of obedience.”
You see, what I was getting by with yesterday is not enough.
Hello, somebody. He’s calling me to another level of
submission and surrender. And He’s breaking me down to
that place where I would say, “Lord, not my will, but Thy will
See, we’re not just going through things just to go through
them. God is trying to teach us a lesson. Because He’s
calling us to a great work. You’re not struggling just to be
struggling. You’re not lonely just to be... Oh, my God.
Lonely. Glory to God. He’s calling you to something great.
That’s going to require you to understand that place.
So when you’re in that place of greatness, and that place tries
to come up again, you will begin to recognize it. You say,
“Oh, I know that place. I’ve been there before. I got the
victory over you. I’m going to lift up my hands and thank and
praise God. Because I know that He that’s in me is greater
than He that’s in the world.”
There’s nothing wrong with ambition. There’s nothing wrong
with it. But it got to have the right motive following it. I can
be spiritual and I can be quiet. I can be the most spiritual
person in a place. But I don’t have to let everybody know.
Hello. I can walk into a place and be just as quiet. And then
people will just be drawn to me, and they won’t know why.
And then the Holy Ghost will just start moving.
I know why I needed to talk to you today. See, it’s not always
walking into a place... It’s not always about that. Don’t
worry. It can seem like they overlooking you. But God see
you. Because you that vessel that He’s looking to use. Little
do they know in the midst of them they have the greatest of
these, right there in the midst. And they don’t even know it
yet. But God knows it. He already knows it.
Don’t try to make man recognize your greatness. Because if
you do, most of the time you going to turn them away from
you. “Oh, there they go again.” Hate to see you coming.
“Here they come.”
You know they don’t feel like seeing you when they drop
their head like this. They walking. Then all of a sudden they
see you. They... “Oh, hey.” They done changed they face
then. Or they turn their head like that. “Oh. So blessed to
see you today.”
But when I can come to my brother and be like, “Brother,
how you doing, sir? I’m so glad to see you today...” And you
can feel the sincerity of a person when it’s real. Even when
they embrace you, they don’t have to have their chest all up
on you. They can embrace you even with their arms. The
way they do it, you can feel it. You can feel it. Sometimes
you don’t even have to say a word to one another. But you
know it is well.
There are people I haven’t talked to in years. But I can call
them on the phone and get together with them. And it’ll be
like we were together yesterday. It is well.
Ambition and being industrious is fine. But I’ve got to have
the right motive behind it.
Come on, give God a handclap of praise today. Oh come on,
bless God in this house.