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Topical - Servant

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Introduction:

Luke 22:14-27— It’s almost frightening to think that after Jesus has poured three years of His life into these men; after they have seen the character of Jesus on display in almost every conceivable circumstance; that now, at the final hours before His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, they are arguing - about which of them is the greatest!  (Matt.18:1; 20:20-26; Mark 9:33-34; Luke 9:46)

When Jesus began to teach the disciples what it meant to be the “Greatest in the Kingdom”, He was teaching about His own nature, for indeed He was, and is, the greatest in the kingdom.  By that time the disciples had the opportunity to observe the servanthood of Christ, and they understood what He meant. 

       A Servant’s Job Is To:

1)        Do all he can to make life better for others & to free them to be everything they can be. 

2)        To not think of himself but others (Phil.3:3-4). 

3)        Yet, enslavement is not what I am talking about.  Servanthood is a loving choice we make to minister to others.  It is not the result of force or manipulation.   

       To manipulate is when people take matters into their own hands and try to get what they desire through their own efforts at controlling others.

A.     At Your Service

1.       Don’t Fall Prey to Manipulation (Mark 12:13-15).

a)        He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them,  “Why do you test Me?

               The Chief Means Of Resisting Manipulation is: humility—knowing who we really are & facing it.  Don’t listen to idle flattery, which is usually offered in an attempt to manipulate or control you, because they have an ulterior personal motive.  There is nothing wrong with receiving true affirmation, but humility is sensitive to flattery & knows when it is occurring. 

1)        Manipulation Destroys Our Ability To Choose. 

Manipulation Forces Us To Serve Rather Than To Serve By Choice.  When Jesus stated that he chose to lay down His life and that no one was taking it from Him (John 10:18), He was describing the basic element of love.  You can only love by choice.  True love cannot be the result of either force or manipulation.  Anything that I do to deprive someone of the right to choose is a violation of his personhood.  When I sense that my own right to choose is being threatened, then I know that I am not being loved, and the doors are not open to ministry.     

b)        Your Service Is To God Not To Man (Galatians 1:10).

               Yes, we are to serve the people, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”, however (Mark 10:45), we are not the peoples servants. 

1)        If the object of my ministry is to please the people then I will be tempted to compromise. 

2)        If the Lord is the object of my ministry I will not compromise (1Thess.2:1-12; 2Thess.3:7-9).  

               Serving God Is A Wonderful Thing but we must understand what it is & how God does it through us.  Ministering for Jesus Christ can be uplifting & exciting, or it can be burdensome & boring.  No matter how difficult the work or how many times we feel like quitting, we can keep going and growing if we minister the way God tells us to in His Word.

The Example of Jesus

Jesus…saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them

B.     I Would Rather See A Sermon Than Hear It.

The most effective form of Christian leadership is leadership by example.  Jesus did not say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Rather Jesus demonstrated what we are to do; He let us see a sermon in action.  Now lets see what Matthew records in His gospel concerning this crucial truth.

 

1.       Leadership By Example.

a)        Jesus Condemns The Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-7, 11-12).  

b)        Paul Condemned the Jews (Romans 2:17-21)

c)         Jesus Never asked the disciples to do anything that He had not done first by example (John 13:12-17… Jesus told us to pray for our enemies & He Did on the Cross … 1 John 2:6).

1)        Paul’s Example (1Cor.10:33-11:1). Paul had lived and ministered in Corinth for eighteen months, and the believers there knew him well.  Paul’s goal was to bring people to salvation.

2)        The Gospel is Received “in word” from lips & “in deed” from life (1Thess. 1:5-6). 

(a)      The gospel had a powerful effect as people heard the message and watched how the messengers lived their lives. Their verbal message was made clear in the outward lives of the believers.  It changed them in five ways:

1.         Turned from idolatry and began serving God (v.9)

2.         Anticipated Jesus’ return (v.10)

3.         Followed Spiritual Leadership (v.6)

4.         Exhibited Joy (v.6)

5.         Became Examples to Others (v.7).

a.         Is your life on that others would look at and follow?

b.         If everyone in the church were just like you, what kind of church would it be?

c.         Are you maturing in such a way that you are becoming and example to others?

 

(b)      The reason Paul was so confident and successful in his Christian living before others was that he was an imitator of Christ. 

1.         Jesus was the supreme example of One who set aside His rights for the sake of others, the One who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond–servant” and “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Phil. 2:7–8).

2.         Paul called the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitated the God–glorifying condescension of Christ (Phil. 3:17).

3.         Paul also called the Ephesians to “be followers of God” (Eph.4:32-5:2).

4.         Paul told Timothy what a servant of the Lord is not to do (2Tim.2:24-26).

2.       Jesus Seen The Need of the People (Mark 6:34).

a)        Jesus saw a great multitude… they were like sheep without a shepherd (v.34). 

1)        Sheep Need A Shepherd for Without A Shepherd Sheep Will Become:

(a)      Prone to wonder away (Ps.119:176, 67; Is.53;6); Weary and Scattered (Matthew 9:36); in great trouble (Zechariah 10:2-3) & destroyed by wild beast (John 10:12). 

(b)      This is what we were like until Jesus came and rescued us (1Peter 2:23-25).

(c)      Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16) who laid down His life for us (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16).

(d)      A true servant of God helps others whether they themselves get anything out of it or not. The hireling flees because he does not care about the sheep.  The hireling takes advantage of other peoples needs to benefit themselves (Ezekiel 34:1-16; Zech.11:15-17).  

2)        Loving The People And Maintaining The Heart Of A Servant Is The Basis For Christians Service.

(a)      Go after the sheep when they go astray (James 5:19-20).

(b)      Apply healing oil (God’s Word) when the sheep have been cut or bruised (Psalm 107:20).

      

3.       His Heart Was Moved With Compassion Because Of Their Need.

a)        He saw a great multitude & was moved with compassion for them (v.34)

               Jesus and His disciples desperately needed rest (Mark 6:31); yet the needs of the multitudes touched His heart. “Moved with compassion” literally means: “to have one’s inner being stirred.” It is stronger than sympathy. The word is used twelve times in the Gospels, and eight of these references are to Jesus Christ. 

1)        In His Life, In His Teachings, & In His Death, Jesus Is The Perfect Example.

      Jesus was moved with compassion when:

(a)      He Saw The Multitude Were Weary & Scattered (Matt. 9:36).

(b)      He Beheld The Hungry Multitudes Without Food (Matt. 14:13-14) Note: this is after He heard of the death of His cousin John the Baptist (see 15:32).

(c)      He Saw The Two Blind Men (Matt. 20:29-34) the leper (Mark 1:40-41) and the widow at Nain (Luke 7:11-16).

(d)      He Cast Out A Legion of Demons From A Man (Mark 5:19)

(e)      The King Had Compassion On His Bankrupt Servant And Forgave Him His Debt (Matt. 18:21-35).

(f)       The Samaritan Had Compassion On The Jewish Victim And Cared For Him In Love (Luke 10:25-37).

(g)      The Father Had Compassion On His Wayward Son (Luke 15:20).

       We are to have compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tender hearted (1Peter 3:8)… weep with those who weep (Rom.12:15)

4.       Jesus Met Their Need (Mark 6:34)

a)        He began to teach them many things (v.34)—Jesus Did Not Look At These People As A Problem But An Opportunity To Minister & Glorify God.

1)        He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34)… Luke says, “They followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing (Luke 9:11).  Note: Jesus sent them away after He met their needs (Mark 6:46). 

5.       The Response of the Disciples (Mark 6:35-36)

       John’s Gospel only tells the response of Philip when Jesus asked him the question, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (6:5).

a)        The hour is late.  Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat (v.35-36)

              

The Disciples Had Two Suggestions For Solving The Problem: either send the people away to find their own food, or raise enough money to buy a bit of bread for everybody. As far as the disciples were concerned, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and nothing could be done!

 

b)        Sending the Multitude Away Was Not the Response Jesus Was Looking For. 

1)        In Spite Of The Interruption To His Plans, The Lord Welcomed Them, Taught Them The Word, And Healed Those Who Were Afflicted.  As servants there are not interruptions, just opportunities to minister the love of God to others.  Jesus seen the need and was moved with compassion for them.  The very opposite was true of the disciples.

2)        To Them, The Crowds Were A Problem, Perhaps Even A Nuisance, The Disciples Wanted To:

(a)      Tell Jesus What To Do (Mark 6:35-36)

(b)      Get Rid Of The Very People God Wanted Them To Help (Matt.15:21-28; Mk.10:13-16; Lk.18:15).  They wanted to avoid the problem, ignore it, and just let it go away (Psalm 55:6; Jer.9:2).

(c)      Tell Those Who Needed Help To Be Quiet (Mark 10:46-52).

(d)      Call fire down from heaven and consume people (Luke 9:51-56).

(e)      Do Nothing About It—That is what the Priest and the Levite did when they saw that battered Jew dying by the side of the Jericho road (Luke 10:25-37; Prov.3:27-29; 1Jn 3:17-18).

(f)       They Were Blind To The Needs Of Others (Philippians 2:3-4).

(g)      Note this: After Jesus met their need that is when He sent them away (Mark 6:46).

  

3)        We Are Also Tempted To Do One Of Several Things When We See People In Need

(a)      Give Them Physical Food But Not The Spiritual.  Jesus said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4 cf. Ps.19:7; 2Tim3:14-15).

(b)      Give Them Spiritual Food But Do Nothing To Meet The Physical (James 2:14-16).  We can do as Jesus did (Matthew 25:31-40 cf. Mark 9:41).

(c)      Jesus knew the spiritual need is more important than the physical need (Matt.9:2; Jer.3:15), He met both.

c)         For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves (Luke 22:27)?

1)        The world regards the one who is served as greater, but Jesus showed us that true greatness is in serving, more than in being served. 

(a)      Cultures have always envied the person who has many people serving him. In ancient China, the rich grew long, long fingernails, so long they could do nothing for themselves - and this was seen as a sign of status. 

(b)      But the people who are really great in our lives are the servants. If the President took a month off, no one would really miss it; but if all the trash collectors in the country took the month off, we would miss it! Jesus is trying to re-arrange our thinking, our priorities. 

2)        Living as a servant really is the best way to live.

(a)      We are no longer concerned for our own honor and credit; we don’t walk around with hurt feelings and disappointed expectations, because all we want to do is to serve. We can always do what we want to do, because we can always serve somehow. 

1.         Don’t we think that Jesus knew the best way to live? 

2.         Jesus isn’t saying that if you serve in a lowly place, you will be given a great place. He is saying that in God’s eyes, the lowly place is the great place. 

3.         How much of a servant are you? We should measure ourselves against Jesus; but another good indicator is to see how we react when we are treated like a servant.

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