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Born to Serve (final copy)

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Born to Serve

My objectives in this sermon:

1. To show the people how to have a servants heart.

2. To show Paul’s concern and how to get a servants heart.

3. To show the glorious example of a servant’s heart: JESUS!


We are all born to do something in this life. Some are carpenters, some are doctors, some are homemakers, some are nurses, accountants, plumbers, electricians, computer specialist’s etc. And almost everyone does his or her function for someone else i.e., you have a boss. And to a greater or lesser degree, you do what the boss tells you to do. He pays you. You need the money. In short, we all learn to serve someone very early in this life. We are all born to serve.

Unfortunately, because that is the case, the idea of servant hood takes on a negative connotation, but nothing could be further from the case within the mind of God and His holy word. There is no doubt that being a servant carries with it the idea of work and servitude, for when you take even a cursory look at the word within the Bible you find that labor is attached. Take for example the very first place the Hebrew word is found:

Genesis 2:5 For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till <05647> the ground;

Genesis 2:15  Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend <05647> and keep it.

Exodus 20:9  Six days you shall labor <05647> and do all your work,

It is not until Genesis 14:4 that the idea of serving someone

is developed: but the word is used in relation to being indentured to the party:

Genesis 14:4  Twelve years they served <05647> Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

Genesis 29:20   So Jacob served 05647 seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.

And not until Exodus 3:12 we have the first mention of people serving God


Exodus 3:12  So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve <05647> God on this mountain."

(Transition to O.T. overview of word)

In short, when you look at the word in the O.T. the idea of serving involved

four things:

          1. Serving the land

          2. Serving (laboring) others to whom you were enslaved

          3. Serving idols

          4. Serving God

When you come to the N.T. the word to serve in the original means: Serving with an exclusive loyalty, being completely at someone’s disposal.
Of course it still certainly pertains to God, however, a new dimension is added to the mix. That new concept is the idea of SERVING others, but not because you are physically enslaved to them but because you are spiritually bonded to them through a single cause or “mind-set”.
Let me develop this thought a little more from our text for the day.
Read text for the day: Philippians 2: 1-8

General observations: (The then and there” aspects of the text)

v   This section is a continuation of Paul’s discussion on unity “for the sake of the gospel” in the midst of persecution from 1:27-30.

v   Paul appeals to the comfort and joy that the Philippians had in Christ (2:1-2a) as motivation to straighten out any conflicts they may have had among themselves.

v   Paul then launches into a directive designed to bring about a servant’s heart.


Our outline for the day will be as follows:


I. We are born to serve (2:1-4)

II. Christ was born to serve     (2:5-8)

III. The “beautiful bother” of servitude (General comments)

(Transition to outline Pt. #1)

I. We are born to serve

A. General comments
1. Now first of all, Paul’s main point in this section is brotherly harmony, but as he usually does he builds his case in 2:1 and then moves on to 2:2. Let me explain.

2. These sentences in our English are one long sentence in the original. It is a persuasive series of “if clauses” 2:1 (protasis), which has a power of appeal, and ends with the “then clause” 2:2 (apodosis) .Paul makes an petition for unity from the following:

Chapter 2 Verse 1

          (1a) If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ

                        (1b) If there is any consolation of love

                   (1c) If there is any fellowship with the Spirit

                   (1d) If there is any affection and compassion

“By the Spirit, therefore, they are united to Christ, and in Christ to one another- and thus to Paul.” Gordon Fee

THEN        (1e) make my joy complete. (“filled up to the full”)

This shows the heart of Paul he appeals to their mutual love for Christ and Paul himself for motivation unto his main objective: again that is harmony.

 Paul continues His powerful appeal in this next section as well.

The structure builds upon itself for emphasis sake. And here we have the first of the main points of the message, i.e, HARMONY. This is how they were going to make Paul absolutely filled with joy!


1. Harmony (2:2)

(2a) be of the same mind- this speaks of  HARMONY

          (2b) maintaining the same love- this speaks of HARMONY

          (2c) united in spirit- this speaks of HARMONY

          (2d) intent on ONE purpose- this speaks of  HARMONY

In short, Paul is saying if you believe what I just stated above, then live in harmony with one-another. Note: this means “setting your mind on a certain way of looking at things, i.e. a certain “mindset”. That mindset will be explained a little further along.

 (Transition to example of Paul using this word harmony)

2. Humility (2:3)

          a. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself”

                   1. This same type of phrase is used in 1:17, 2:21

                   2. Harmony cannot be achieved without humility

                   3. Our plans must not be an end in and of themselves we must always have our brothers and sisters in mind.

Note: The above two attributes should lead to the following:

3. Helpfulness (Heart of a servant) (2:4)

a. “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but for the interest of others.”

1. Does not this verse presuppose a natural inclination to self?!

2. But, brothers and sisters, I proclaim to you this morning that you have been liberated from the evil one and sin… BUT liberated unto servitude. In short, you and I have been freed to be a slave to one-another.

a. Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love *serve one another.

*NOTE: 5794 Mood-Imperative

The imperative mood corresponds to the English imperative, and expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding.  Thus, Jesus’ phrase, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel" # Mr 1:15 is not at all an "invitation," but an absolute command requiring full obedience on the part of all hearers.



But Paul is not finished with us, without missing a beat, he continues his argument but raises it up to a very, very high level. He says in 2:5

“Have this attitude within yourselves that was in Christ Jesus.”

Then he makes mention of one of the most incredible theological truths to back up his exhortation.


NOTE: It is interesting that within one of the most practical books of the Bible there is this mammoth verse on the Deity of Christ.

(Transition to

It is also interesting to note the degree of argumentation Paul uses with the Philippians in order to persuade them to serve one another. I just find this fascinating that Paul went to this extent to get their attention, which speaks largely to the fact that people have innate inability to deny self!

(He presses on by making his climatic point in the person of Christ)


II. Jesus Christ the Messiah was born to serve

A. Paul’s threefold example from the Godhead (The 3 H’s are here too)


1. Harmony within the Godhead  (vs. 6)

a. “Who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (robbery: the only placed this word is used in the whole N.T.)

1.This was not a “selfish ambition” as in 1:17, 2:3, 2:21.

This was not something He was trying to be. He was God eternally.

a. “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Word, the eternal and true God who is of one substance and equal with the Father.  He took on Himself man’s nature, with all of its essential properties except sin: Being conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, He embodied two perfect and distinct natures in one person. He is truly God and truly man, the only mediator between God and Man.” (F&O Article 4-1)

2. There was unity within the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one in purpose, and the appeal of Paul to the Philippians, and to us, is from this very fact. We should have unity as well!


(Transition: Paul continues his argumentation and sets up the biggest contrast ever known to the universe. God the Son, the Son who had eternal glory, becomes a man. This ladies and gentleman is the greatest example of humility ever known to mankind.)




2. Humility within the Godhead (7a)

                   a. “He emptied Himself”

1. This is not to say He laid aside His deity while on earth. This is a metaphor used to illustrate that he emptied Himself of Himself for the sake of others.


(Transition: Paul continues his thought)


3.Helpfulness (Heart of a servant) (7b,c)

a. “taking the form of a bondservant and being make in the likeness of men.”


General observations:

1. Here again, God becomes man, but even more profound He has come in the form (morphe) of a servant.

a. Again this is Paul’s driving point Jesus: the Son of God came, took on the form of a servant to serve you. How much more should you be serving each other.


2. “he took on the essential quality of what it meant to be a slave” this is “divine selflessness: God is not… grasping and seizing, but self-giving for the sake of others” Gordon Fee

a. Matthew 20:28  "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

b. Luke 22:27  "For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

                                      1. See Christ’s example:

a. John 13:4,5 He rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 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.

(Transition to application of both sections of our text)


III. The “beautiful bother” of servitude (Application of both sections of our text)

General thoughts:

1. The idea of Christ being made in the likeness of man is exactly what Christmas is all about. The “baby in the manger” was God incarnate at that very point. He was born in humble a setting. He was raised in a humble setting. And He died in a humble setting as Philippians 2:8 reads: “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

2. Do you understand the magnitude of that verse? Have you thought of what it means?

3. Have you experienced the “true joy” of the Savior by believing in more than just His birth, but also His life and Death?

4. I would implore you to seek Him while He may be found!


Some closing thoughts-

Chrsitians, what is the best way to show your understanding of all that has been said today?


1. By giving of yourselves to God and others! This is especially pertinent during the Christmas season.

a. You will find the most joy during Christmas when you enter the whole time with a servant’s heart.

(Transition to conclusion)

IV. Conclusion:

We have been charged from the Scriptures to sacrificially serve one-another. We must follow the example of our Savior, who for the joy set before Him, made the ultimate sacrifice by becoming flesh and dying at the hands of His enemies. If we are going to experience true Joy this Christmas, we must be denying ourselves for the sake of others.

Now go, serve God and others and experience the true joy of the Holy Spirit that is not just to be exhibited during the month of December, but all year round!


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