Randall Caselman

Bella VistaChurch of Christ

01/01/2017 A.M.

 

servanthood

A New Attitude For The New Year

John 13.1-17 & Matthew 25.31-40

 

Go with me to John Chapter 13… We’re in downtown Jerusalem... In an upper room.... The atmosphere is charged with anticipation.

A New Year’s type excitement fills the room.

 

The whole week has been exciting…

• It began with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

With people singing... “Hosanna!”... “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”... “Blessed is the King of Israel!”

 

• Those who had witnessed Jesus raise Lazarus were still testifying about this miraculous event... Scripture tells us that... So-much-so... That many Jews were believing in Jesus.

 

• Even the Greeks came wanting to know about this One called Jesus the Christ.

 

• And now here we are... Ready for the Passover meal.

 

We know the Apostles thought something special was about to happen. Two of them...along with their mother... had asked for places of authority... positions of political clout... when Jesus came into His Kingdom.

 

Luke tells us this led to bickering around the table that night... As to who was greatest in the Kingdom.

 

Everybody in that room was looking for a throne… Except the King!!

 

So...Jesus picks up the towel... The wash basin… And becomes a servant.

• He submits to the twelve...

• He serves…

• God washes feet.

 

Indeed…Our God is a servant… God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son… His only begotten Son…

How can it be…

That thou O God…

Dids’t die for me.

 

That night... Jesus commissions his disciples... He coMmissioned us... Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

 

Jesus’ agenda must become our agenda... I came to serve... Not be served. We are to cultivate His... attitude...Disposition... And behavior.

 

Can I say this and you not become upset with me?... I believe serving others is a salvational issue...  We are here to become like Jesus... That means We’re here to wash Feet. Do we have Scriptural basis for such astatement?... I believe so...

 

• We have Jesus saying... I came not to be served... But to serve... You should do as I have done.

 

• Paul tells us we are to... Bear one another’s burdens... Thus fulfilling the law of Christ.

 

• James says... Religion that God accepts as pure and holy is found in serving the widows and orphans... While keeping ourselves unspotted from the world...

 

• 1 Timothy 5.10 reads... Showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting ourselves to all kinds of good deeds...

 

• Peter says... Be hospitable to one another...

 

• The Hebrews’ Writer tells us some have entertained angels... Served angels unaware... By being hospitable to strangers.

 

• Philippians 2 tells us we’re to place the needs and interest of others before our own...

 

• We find Ephesians 2.10 saying... We are God’s workmanship... Created in Christ Jesus to do good works... Which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

• Paul sums it up for us in Galatians 6.10... Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


Who could deny that...

 

Washing feet... Serving...  Doing good to others

 

• Placing the needs and interests of others before our own is commanded by God... And thus becomes a salvational issue to us?

 

So...With these thoughts in mind... Let me propose that 2017 become our year of Serving.

 

Let’s allow the attitude of... Serving... Washing Feet... Doing Good to others... permeate who we are and how  Northwest Arkansas sees us.  Let me suggest that Serving others become our Mission statement this year.

Can we do that?.. Can we become like Jesus?

 

OK...Let’s see what Genuine Biblical Servanthood looks like...

 

First... Servanthood requires... a shift in our thinking... A new attitude.

It’s as simple as... If we’re  gonna be a servant... We must think like a servant... Right?

 

I like how the New Century Version translated Numbers 14.24... God speaking about Caleb... Is found saying... “My servant Caleb thinks differently and follows Me completely.”

 

Scripture tells us that King Amaziah… (AM-A-ZIAH)… Lost favor with God because he did what was right in the sight of the Lord... Yet not with a true heart.

 

Here it is church...

• God is always more interested in why we do something than in what we do.

• Attitude counts more than achievements.

 

God wants us to do right things out of a proper motive...

• Not to be first or foremost....

• Not to be known as the greatest...

• Not to satisfy our own ego...

• Not just serve out of a sense of duty…

But because we are developing... The Heart... The Mind... The Attitude... Of Jesus.

 

We live in a narcissistic culture... It’s easy for us... As God’s people... To allow the world to force us into its mold of thinking... It’s all about me.

 

Have you ever noticed how much we are like... James... John... and their mother?...

We find ourselves... Calculating... Scheming... Maneuvering... Posing... Posturing...For greatness... For positions... That are just a bit superior than a brother or sister.

 

I see that happening in the church... I see you doing it in this church... And it hurts me.

 

Then...A few days... A week or so... go by and I find myself... thinking and doing... the same thing, and I’m ashamed... Yes… We’re doing God’s will... But with improper motive.

 

Question...Just how important is attitude and motive?...

 

Jesus tells us in the Sermon On the Mount… He taught that doing our religion out of the wrong motive… To be seen of others… to increase our RECOGNITION… To be APPLAUDED by others… gains us nothing but cheap recognition.

 

Paul in the Corinthian letter makes the point vividly that Religion without love… Religion done out of improper motive accomplishes nothing… Zilch… If I speak in the tongues of men and of Angels… But have not love… I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can understandall mysteries and have all knowledge… If I have a faith that can move mountains… But have not love… I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames… But have not love… I gain nothing.

 

Genuine servanthood… Genuine religion… Genuine worship and service to God… Must come from the proper motive… LOVE and LOYALTY to Jesus.

 

Church...If we are going to have the word ServAnthood describe us in the coming year... We will have to start thinking like Jesus... I came... I am here... Not to be served... Not to climb ladders... But to serve... To wash feet.

 

Listen to Jesus’ thoughts in Matthew 20.25-28... Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant... Whoever wants to be first must be your slave. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served... but to serve... And to give his life as a ransom for many.

 

This brings us to our second point... Biblical Servanthood begins with humility.

Real ServAnthood is self-Forgetful.

 

Pride inhibits servanthood...

Humility enables servanthood.

• Biblical Humility allows us to... Yield to God’s commands... Submit to His will.

• It allows children to be obedient to parents.

• Wives to be submissive to their husbands.

• Humility enables a husband to love his wife as his own body... As Christ loved the church.

• Pride thinks of self... Humility allows us to think of others.

• It enables us to prefer one another... Submit to one another... To consider others better than ourselves.

 

Paul brings this humility to the forefront in Philippians chapter two... Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit… But in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest… But also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus… Who being in very nature God… Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped… Hoarded… Held on to… He made Himself nothing… Taking on the very nature… Form… Of a servant… Being made in human likeness… And being found in appearance as a man…He humbled Himself and became obedient to death…Even the shameful death on a cross.

 

Here’s the problem... I think most of me!!... This is why Servanthood is such a struggle. The opportunity to be a servant confronts us dozens of times a day...We’re given a choice... Deciding between meeting our own needs or the needs of others.

 

Indeed...Humility...Self-Forgetfulness... Self-denial... Becomes a core issue in servanthood.

 

We’ll never be the church... The people and person... God wants us to be until we become the second incarnation…Until those around us……

• Our spouse and children… Parents and grandparents…

• Extended family…

• Our friends… and neighbors…

• Working… and school... companions…

• Yes… Even our enemies…

Can see Jesus in us… Can see that we have... died to self… And have taken on A New heart... A new disposition... and behavior... That of Jesus.

 

Peter admonishes us with... Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because...WHY?.... Because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

 

It was James who wrote... God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble... Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

Thirdly… Servants know who they are.

John 13.3 reads... Jesus knew the Father had put all things under His power...And that He had come from God and was returning to God... He got up from the meal... Took off His outer clothing... Wrapping a towel around His waist... He began to wash their feet.

 

Jesus knew who He was... And His purpose in the world.

 

People who do not know who they are… are continually scrambling for thrones.

Those in the church… who don’t know who they are... are always looking for Preeminence and AFFIRMATION… They want to be seen and heard by others.

 

Can I ask a series of... Challenging…insightful… Sobering… Questions?...

• Are we comfortable with who we are?

• Are we comfortable in our own skin?

• Or are we always trying to be somebody else?

• Are we constantly trying to outdo otherS in the church family?

 

Genuine Servants know they are unconditionally loved and accepted by God’s Grace...So they don’t have to constantly prove their worth to themselves or others.

 

They no longer have to posture and positions themselves.

Like Jesus... They are willing to accept any Kingdom Task... Even washing feet.

 

Here it is... Servants who know who they are... Are Secure in Jesus.

You see church... If our identity and worth are based upon our relationship with Jesus...

• We are freed from the expectation of others... Let them think what they will!

We are freed from needing AFFIRMATION... Our affirmation comes from above.

• We are freed to serve... To Wash feet!

 

We no longer need walls covered with plaques and awards to validate our work.

We no longer insist on being addressed by titles.

We don’t wrap ourselves in robes of superiority.

Servants no longer need a string of initials after their name.

Servants know who and whose they are... And that they are secure in Jesus... AMEN?

 

Then finally Servants are ready to serve... anybody… anytime.

Jesus washed the feet of those who didn’t deserve having their feet washed... Peter… Judas… Thomas… To name three... But Jesus did it anyway.

• Judas betrayed Him…

• Peter denied Him…

• Thomas wouldn’t believe Him.

But Jesus was not prejudiceD in his serving… Neither should we be… Neither should we be!

 

Today...This morning... This New Year... Our song should be...

 

Make me a servant... Lord... Make me like you.

For you are a servant... Make me one too.

Make me a servant... Do what you must do.

To make me a servant... Lord… Make me like You.

 

Church… Can we sing this song with integrity?...

Can we really ask God to do what He must do

to make us like Jesus in this New Year?...

I pray we can.

 

I’m asking again... How importANT is Servanthood?... Is it really a salvational issue?

 

Let me read from the lips of Jesus... And each of us will have to decide for ourselves...

 

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

 

If you’re here and not a child of God… You must know that Jesus came to die to make your salvation possible by... faith…Repentance… Confession… And New Testament baptism.

 

Perhaps most of us… As children of God... Our challenge is... to be ABOUT OUR FATHER’S KINGDOM BUSINESS... THAT’S SERVING THE JESUS IN OTHERS.

 

Come live like Jesus… as we sing this song together.