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John #35 How To Be A Servant

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That you may Believe and Have Life #35

John 13:1-17

Today I doubt very much that 90% of you will learn anything NEW … However some of you will, but ALL of us will be forced to look into the Mirror that is the Word of God and determine if we are coming in line with what we see

We are not learning so much as we are taking spiritual inventory today

You and I will take a look today at the Author and Perfecter of our Faith

We will look at Perfection and see how close we are

We will study the original and the highest example of a servant and decide if we are Really Servants

And then we will also decide today whether or not we will make the necessary adjustments to come in line with the perfection that we see. 

So, let’s dive back in to John in the 13th Chapter … and we will spend a few weeks in this chapter. 

Read 13:1-17

Jesus makes a significant statement beginning in verse 15 – I have set you an example that you should DO as I have done for you – and v16 – I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him v17 – Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you DO them …

So, Jesus Christ came as a Servant, and if we want to be servants in the order and example of Christ, what must we do?

1. Get Off Your Throne

Verse 4 says “he got up” … very important words

We will never be servants as long as we are sitting on the throne

When we are sitting on the throne, we want to be served

When we are sitting on the throne we want to be taken care of

When we are sitting on the throne

  A. Jesus Knew …

Jesus knew that his time had come

When we understand our command to serve

When we understand the expectation toward service

We will get off our throne

Jesus said in verse 7, “you do not realize now, what I am doing, but later you will understand”

The disciples didn’t understand yet because Jesus hadn’t died yet

They didn’t understand yet because they had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit of God

But what is our excuse?

Jesus Knew His PLACE … He was son of God and Son of Man … he Knew who he was so has able to be a Servant

  B. … He had Come from the Father …

    1. Jesus knew he was BREAD from the Father – John 6:32 - what is the purpose of Bread?  The purpose of Bread, to be given to eat, to be given to the Hungry, to nourish the weak … Jesus knew he had come from the Father to be Bread for the hungry and weak.

    2. Jesus knew he was sent from the Father, his origin was not simply from the house of Mary and Joseph – John 6:42

    3. He was sent from the Father to have people come to him – John 6:45

    4. He was sent on a mission as a servant of the Father – John 8:42

    5. From whom you recognize as sending you, will determine whom you Serve … John 8:44

    6. he came to lay down his life –John 10:18 no one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accordthis command I received from my Father”  

    7. The Miracles he performed were FROM the Father, not even the Miracles Served HIM but his Father – John 10:32

    8. Because he was sent from the Father even his most difficult task, death, was purposeful – John 12:27

    9. Jesus KNEW he was FROM the Father

   10. Let me point out one phrase that speaks to me

      a. “he got up from the meal …”   If you have given  your heart to Christ, if you have received him into your life, you have Consumed Christ.  We see the Lord’s Supper Table As a Picture of the Sacrifice of Christ but also of our Communion and Union with him

      b. if you have UNION with Christ, if you are a partaker in the Table of Christ, you also have to “Get Up From the Table”

      c. the only way to walk away from our union with Christ is to walk away as a servant. 

Jesus Left his Throne, he Got Up from the table, because he was sent FROM the Father … but also a Servant knows … that not only has been sent, not only is he expected to follow the pattern laid out by his Master … but also, he is accountable … because …

  C. … He was Returning to God

    1. Jesus knew his PLACE … he Knew where he came from and he also knew Where he was going

    2. A Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t worry about what task he is given, or to whom he is called to serve, a Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ knows that he is called to serve God and will stand before God one day to give account for his service

    3. v3 “Jesus knew that he had come FROM God and was returning TO God … SO

    4. what is the SO in your life?  Remember I challenged you to live SO THAT lives, as we read in chapter 1:7 about John the Baptist “he came as a witness to testify concerning the light, SO THAT through him all men might believe”

    5. John 16:28 Jesus said he came from the Father and was returning to the Father

    6. we have accountability – an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

    7. We were taught by Jesus to pray “your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” – You read scripture and in virtually ever image we have of Heaven we seeing beings accountability to and serving Christ.

    8.  How are we to be servants? Leave our place of rest, take his yoke upon us learning from him, join up serving know that we are from him and we are toward him and we are because of him

Romans 11:36 for From him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!  Amen

How do we come after Christ?  We have to get up off our thrones … and secondly … we must

2. Lay Aside Our “Glory”

  A. The Time Had Come

    1. the Servant understands that the Master has a greater purpose

    2. one of the greatest thing that hinders us from being the Servant that God wants us to be is the feeling that we have MORE IMPORTANT THINGS to DO.

    3. Now we might not come right out and say that, but our actions speak more loudly than our words or our silence

    4. Jesus knew his call, Jesus knows his purpose, he knew the purposes of God, and He knew that it was his time.  IN the Garden, Jesus didn’t say “Father not today” … Jesus didn’t say “Father, tomorrow” … Jesus didn’t say “Father let’s wait for a more opportune time … Jesus said “not MY WILL but YOURS be done”!

    5. When God Calls

He Laid aside his glory because it was in the purpose and timing of God

Jesus Laid aside his glory, his reputation, because it was time. 

  B. Having Loved

Verse 1 says “having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love …

    1. Love is the Driving Force behind the work of Christ here on Earth

    2. First was his Love for the Father – John 14:31 – the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me

      a. let’s be honest, there are times when you don’t love people so much. 

      b. maybe the Lord has called you to minister, to serve in love toward some people and you aren’t really feeling the love for them that drives you … well … Do you Love the Father?  Do you love him enough to obey him?

      c. Well then, Love Him through obeying him in serving … and I promise that the more you display love for him in obedience, the more you will grow to love those he calls you to serve …

    3. Second was his love for Man – when we really love God, we will love the highest earthly object of his love, man. 

    4. the Song of Solomon is a book of love, but there are many parallels to the Love that Christ has for HIS bride, the church, which includes you and men and Listen to this verse about his love for us.

Songs of Sol. 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned

    5. what OTHER opportunity have you turned DOWN so you can serve those that God loves?  Or is it often the other way around, The opportunity comes to serve and we say “oh I would but …”

2 Cor 5:14 – For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all …

      6. Because we see the Love of Christ so clearly laid out for us … we can’t HELP but Serve with the same passion, compassion, empathy, and commitment

Can I ask you to do something?

    7. Really what we are doing today is NOT learning something new, but taking inventory

We are reexamining ourselves

His time had come

Love Compelled and so …

  C. Took Off his Outer Clothes

    1. If you remember that one of the most simple definitions for “glory” is reputation – But Jesus Laid aside his glory à reputation ß we can’t be worried about OUR REPUTATION

It’s not to say that he DID anything to TARNISH his TRUE Glory, but he did not choose to PROTECT his glory, nor defend himself, nor try and live in a way that would created an acceptable reputation

Sometimes we don’t serve because we are trying to PROTECT our reputation …

Ps 69:7 I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face

Heb. 12:2 – let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Father

    2. – it doesn’t matter what the world might think … Jesus scorned the shame

    3. “Oh but Pastor” – God doesn’t expect that from me does he?  We are told flat out that we should BE of the same mind, of the same attitude as Christ … we quote it often because it is SO plain

Philippians 2:5-7a 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, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness

    4. Let me say something VERY CAREFULLY and I want you to hear WHAT I AM saying and what I am NOT saying … Notice that it said Jesus was made in Human Likeness … One of the things we should follow is that while Jesus was pure, perfect, without sin, he was STILL WITH people, he was not detached from the world he lived in.  Sometimes we get this lofty Christianity that says “I will serve you if you can come up to me” … we don’t want to get our hands dirty … we develop this “churchianity” that can’t connect with people.  Do NOT take that to mean that I don’t believe we ought to seek to be righteous, follow after holiness, but that doesn’t we are untouchable as servants of Christ …

    5. Let’s fix our eyes on and imitate Christ and Christ, with his attitude that will be in the world but not of the world that is eager to get dirty on our hands but not on our hearts …

So, Jesus Got up from His Throne

Jesus Laid down his rights to be served …

But we can’t just make a gesture

We have got to roll up our sleeves or in this case take off the outer garments and then …

3. Humbly Serve

  A. Wrapped a Towel

    1.  you know … I am not trying to be crass … but it’s hard to act proud when you are wrapped in a towel

    2. Jesus completely debased himself

    3. Not only that … but as I’ve studied this passage over the years I read once that the practice was for a servant to wash the feet of the arriving guests.  However, if there was no servant, then the First Guest who arrived would, by tradition, serve the others who arrived.  But NO ONE had done that.  There was obviously no servant, they were only borrowing the house.  So, Jesus, the Master, Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, gets up, takes off his robe and wraps a towel around his waist and serves them washing their feet. 

    4. Let that sink in … They knew him as their teacher and had great respect for him as a Rabbi.  As a Rabbi he had great respect in Israel.  But they had already seen and confessed WHO he was.  Peter had said, “Thou aren’t the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.  That means that they believed the he was God’s son, that he was anointed to release them from bondage.  He was God’s hands and feet in the  earth and HE was Serving THEM …

    5. We are NEVER in to great a position to serve. 

1 Peter 5 Peter is giving instructions to Pastors, to Leaders, to Young, and to Old … and then he gives instruction to ALL of them and says in verse 5 “all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the Humble.’”

    6. God teaches us some important things here about the way we should serve

      a. We are told to clothe ourselves with HUMILITY – but it’s really an inward clothing because the word for humility, means “having a humble opinion of one’s self; a deep sense of one’s littleness” – we need a fresh sense of our own littleness sometimes don’t we?

      b. he says “CLOTHE yourselves” – this is the KEY … the word for clothe here is egkomboomai /eng-kom-bo-om-ahee/ this word is ONLY USED HERE in all the NT and it means the white scarf or apron of slaves, which was fastened to the belt of the vest and distinguished slaves from freemen

We serve to serve GOD alone if no one else.  If you are serving to get someone’s attention or their pat on the back or their favor or Respect … NO … Sing for Him, Keep the Nursery for Him, Teach awana for Him, Serve the Homeless for Him, Preach for HIM, witness for him, feed for him, clothe for him for him for him

So PUT on the Humble Clothing of a Slave of Jesus Christ and it is the thing that distinguishes you as belonging to Christ

And so he

B. Washed their Feet

    1. We are going to talk more about the Spiritual Aspect of this part of the story NEXT week but just these things …

    2. Jesus cleaned the DIRT off their feet.  They wore sandals, they walked dirt paths and cobblestone streets … their feet, ankles, lower legs got VERY dirty

    3. Jesus served them by doing the dirty work

    4. If you are going to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus, you are going to have to be willing to get in there and get dirty

    5. Titus 2:14 says we should be Eager to do what is good

    6. Titus 3:8,14 … be careful to devote to doing what is good.  These things are excellent and profitable for everyone 14 our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives

Jesus, distinguished as a servant, clothed in humility, wrapped the towel around and served humbly. 

And so he Washed their feet … and let me make note that he also

  C. Dried their Feet

    1. I won’t make a lot about that except to say this … He Started the Job and he finished the Job

    2. so often we are eager to start a new ministry, we are eager to begin a new phase of ministry, we start off with an eagerness to serve … but we have to have JOY in FINISH

Ecclesiastes 7:8 says the end of a matter is better than its beginning …

    3. Another thing I notice is that if we wash dirty feet and leave them … they are more likely to get dirty again more quickly … If you wash they feet and leave them … they can even get dirty in the HOUSE …

    4. But when you DRY the feet, they are Clean and there is the potential to stay that way longer …

    5. receive that for what it is worth and no more but finish the matter …

So, how does Jesus finish this teaching?


V17 à Jesus said - “Now that you know … Do

How can we NOT serve considering what Jesus has done for us

I read a story this week.  It was told by one of my Preaching Heroes, Dr. Criswell.  He knew a young man who worked at a meat Processing Slaughter House.  He had a difficult job.  His job was to take a long sharp knife and plunge it into the heart of the Cattle before they were dropped down a Chute to be processed.  The Pastor asked him one morning how the job was going.  He said “I quit, I can’t do it, I quit”.  He asked what changed.  He said “I would stand there and plunge a knife into a cow and then push him down the shoot.  Into the heart of a Hereford and down the shoot, into the heart of a Black Angus and down the shoot it would go.” He said, “But no one told me we were going to start processing sheep.”   “As I was plunging that knife into the heart of the cattle and watching them go down the chute, here comes a white soft fleecy little lamb.”  He said “I plunged the knife into it’s heart and as it wilted in death, it licked the blood off my hand.”  He said “Pastor, I threw away the knife and I quit.  I’m not going to do it any more.  I’m not going back”

àIsn’t that the way it should be … in response to what we have done to our Master and how he graciously served us, and took our sins away, … we just put things down and take other things up.

àBecause Jesus, The Creator of Heaven and Earth

Got Up from his Thrown

Laid Down his Glory

Humbly Served us providing us with Salvation,

Cleansing Us from Sin

Making us Clean


When Jesus finished washing our feet here on earth

After emptying himself and laying aside his position and becoming like us

After washing our feet as the most menial servant taking our sin upon himself

He was caught up into Heaven and as verse 12 images it, “when he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place”

à When the disciples of John asked Jesus if he were the one … he said … tell what you have seen

“The Blind See, the Lame walk, the Lepers are cleansed”

When the World asks if New Life Baptist Church is a place that follows Christ … can we point to the same things in the Spiritual Realm?

àIs this a place that Serves God?

àIF it is … Blind eyes will be opened to the truth through loving Teaching

àThe Lame will be aided in how to walk in the spiritual, how to walk in the natural in jobs, in housing, in marriages, etc

And through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God for Salvation, and spiritual lepers, diseased and disabled, Lepers will be healed …


Now is the Time

God’s Purpose is Our Purpose

It’s time to get up off our Throne of Blessed Assurance,

lay our own “glory aside”

And Take up, embrace, the mission of a Servant

Compelled by Love …

          à you Will Get your Robe and Place Later

1 Peter 5:6 says “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in DUE TIME

          à Glory will Come

          à Crowns will be Ours

          à But Today … You are here to Serve

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