True Servanthood

This Sunday we’ll be exploring one of the most forceful passages of Scripture that describe our new identities as servants. What I’ve realized through studying and preparing is that it’s important that we see servanthood as an identity more than as an action. In other words, we don’t just serve — we are servants.

Consider the following teaching taken from our Membership Packet on servanthood:

1. The essence of being a follower of Jesus is to become more and more like him.
This is the goal of sanctification, which Wayne Grudem defines as, “A progressive work of both God and man that makes Christians more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ in their actual lives.”

Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Luke 6:40 – A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

2. One could make a strong biblical case that the essence of Christlikeness is being a servant.

Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ran-som for many.”

John 13:12-17 – When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

3. Not only did Jesus serve, but he had the heart of a servant. He thought like a servant.

4. Servants think more about others than themselves.
This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. They are self-forgetful. When we stop focusing on our own needs, we become aware of the needs around us…We can measure our servant’s heart by how we respond when others treat us like servants. How do you react when you’re taken for granted, bossed around, or treated as inferior?

5. Servants base their identity in Christ.
Because they remember they are loved and accepted by grace, servants don’t have to prove their worth. They willingly accept jobs that insecure people would consider “beneath” them. The more insecure you are, the more you will want people to serve you, and the more you will need their approval. When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.

6. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

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  1. #1 by Jeffery on April 30, 2010 - 3:30 pm

    Luke–

    Good! Ontology correlates with Ethics. This is also like the central message of Galatians, as one of my sons has put it: “We don’t HAVE to obey the Lord; we now GET to obey the Lord.” That’s the heart of an eager servant, I think.

  2. #2 by Bob Cantrell on May 14, 2010 - 10:10 am

    I like your attitude.
    Eleven years ago I (and a few others) started a new “recovery from homelessness program” in Whittier, Ca. I put up the original $8500 (with a credit card) to lease a building and did the design and construction management for free.
    I led the fight against NIMBYism. It is called FIRST DAY. The program is now considered a big asset to the city of Whittier and environs.
    Both James and St. Paul point out the faith without works is dead. I agree
    What can 2nd Mile do beside talk and maybe believe.?

  3. #3 by lukesimmons on May 14, 2010 - 11:22 am

    Hey Bob, those are exciting things to hear about. I didn’t know you had experience with those issues. Our first attempt to serve the community really happens through each of the Community Groups trying to have some kind of outward project or mission. Some groups have done this well, while others have struggled. It would be great to have you be in a group and be a catalyst for increased servanthood in that group. If it gains some momentum, then we could see how the Lord might expand it. We’ve also done some work with House of Refuge, a transitional housing complex for people experiencing homelessness. Hopefully that will continue and more people like you with a heart for service will step up, initiate ministry, and see what God does.

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