Servanthood

Posted on 08/17/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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RIVER OF LIFE

I've got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I've got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.


EVEN THE MOUNTAINS

We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high

Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name

I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above


TAKE ME IN TO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Take me into the Holy of Holies
take me in by the Blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
take the coal, touch my lips, here I am

Take me past the outer courts
into the Holy Place
Past the brazen altar
Lord, I want to see your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
and the priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness
and it's only found one place


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


I hope and pray what I say will bless all of you. Some of you who are new may have never been here when I have given the message. I call them “fire side chats.” Short sermons that I believe and, Lord willing, bring a thoughtfulness to the topic on which I will speak. Today's topic is Servanthood.

We go about our day not really noticing what other people are doing. We may even totally ignore the people around us. Do we see the opportunities to serve around us?

Maybe you say: “I serve by cleaning the bathrooms at church.” “I serve by helping at VBS.” “I serve by being on this committee or that one.” These are all good things, but what about outside the church? Just think about it, but not for too long.

Let's shift gears a bit. Let's go back in time. I read this story in Our Daily Bread on August 12 of this year. It's a story about D.L. Moody. If you don't know who he is, he was an American evangelist during the 1800s.

*** listen to the audio to hear the story ***

I am sure that D.L. Moody did not do this act for the recognition. No, he was helping those pastors who were far from home. He probably did not think that his actions would spur others to do likewise.

Do we do things that encourage others to serve people, too? Do we do things like D.L. Moody did? Do we do things like Jesus did?

Jesus. The servant king. Born in a manger. Born to save the world. Do we do things like He did? Do we serve others? Or do we just reject the idea of helping?
Are we humble enough to serve people, even those who can never repay us? Do we have the heart of Jesus the servant?

I must admit that when I read verses such as Isaiah 42 verses 1-4 which talks about God the Father calling Jesus “My Servant” and “My Beloved” I realize that Father God had a very, very special relationship with Jesus. And you know what? Move in a bit closer. Closer. Closer. I want to tell you something. It's very, very important. You'll like it. God calls you His beloved, too. And He'll call you His servant if you do what He says.

Throughout His life, Jesus was a servant. From birth to death to resurrection, He embodied what servanthood means. He showed us a detailed picture of what being a servant is all about.

In Mark chapter 9 verse 35, Jesus says “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” He was describing Himself! No. Jesus was never vain, arrogant, or any of those types of things. That's satan's character. Jesus did, however, put everyone before Himself. He was the epitome of a servant. If there were dictionaries back when He walked the earth, there should have been a picture of Jesus by the word servant.

Let's move onto Mark chapter 10. This is where the sons of Zebedee ask to sit on Jesus' right and left in His glory. The other disciples get upset when they hear about it. Later in the chapter, Jesus calls His disciples and at the end of His little speech He says “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” That's found in verse 45 of Mark chapter 10.

Of course, we know that Jesus was talking about Himself here. He came to serve not to be served.

One of the main passages that talks of Jesus serving is when He washed the disciples feet. We'll look at John chapter 13 verses 1-17.

13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Even in this washing of the feet, Jesus showed them and us so much of His character. Such a humble servant.

If you call yourself a Christian, don't forget what that means! Christian means Christ-like, Little Christs. Little Jesus. Do you do the things Jesus did?

Do you wish to be called servants of God? I know I do. I want to be like Jesus. I want others to see me as a person who has a servant's heart. Not because of anything I have done necessarily, but because of Jesus who lives in me. I want to be a servant of God. Someone that serves others with their whole heart and does it without wanting or needing recognition.

1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 1 says Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Wouldn't you want others to call you a servant of Christ Jesus? I am not ashamed to be partnered with Christ Jesus. He has done so much for me that I would feel honored to be called His servant.

If we could release our worry and care and rely on God, we could serve others and not worry what people think.

I remember going to Baltimore Discipleship Center when I was in 11th grade in high school. We were there for awhile (I can't remember how long). We did some serving of the community. I even learned how to mop a floor there. :) And I learned what life can be like for those who are homeless. I gave a homeless man a dollar in coins and he thanked me for it.

Another time, I was in Peru for 5 weeks. I visited my aunt and uncle who are missionaries there and still are. I went there in 2000 after I graduated high school. I did a bit of serving there, too. I helped them get ready for the new school year at the academy they run there. I also saw many things. I will never forget the look on the little boy's face when I shared a coke with him. After he put lots of slobber on it, I let him drink the rest :) I will never forget that. I even left some money so that the little boy, he was no more than 5, could have another soda. It was a treat for him.

See, little things. Things we take for granted that we may do for someone else can be serving them. So what can you do for someone else?

The last scripture I want us to look at is in Philippians chapter 2 verses 5-11.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I want to re-read these verses. (Look at them closely)

Jesus is a true servant. He wants us to be servant-minded. Can you do that? Can you give of yourself that way? Think about what you can do for someone else.

Maybe you are thinking that servanthood isn't important. Well, Jesus said that He can to serve not to be served. Who are we to argue with Him? :)

Let's gather at the altar. Let's ask God to help us to be more like Jesus, the servant. Help us, Father, to be more like Jesus, to be more servant-minded. Help us to be humble in mind, body, and spirit.


*** listen to the audio for closing prayer ***