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Servant Of God

Notes & Transcripts

A Servant Of God And Of The Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1)

Opening Story:

 

   One day the King's best personal servant was walking in a dense forest near the palace. There he stumbled and fell down a hill. He awakened, looked around, and found at his feet the proverbial magic cup, which, when rubbed, released a genie.

   The genie said, "Your finding this cup was no accident. You've worked hard all your life. So you may receive one wish. But make it carefully because you can have only one."

   The man replied, "All my life I have been in positions requiring that I serve others. In fact, I'm known as 'The Servant of the Kingdom.' In the future, I want people to wait on me and serve me. Yes, that's it. I want the tables turned. I want servants to do everything for me."

   Sure enough, when the man returned to the castle, the door was opened for him. His food was cooked, his meals were served, his dishes washed, his clothes cared for by others.

   He was not allowed to perform his usual work -- everything was done for him.

   For the first month, the newness of the experience amused him. the second month, it became irritating. During the third month, it became unbearable.

   So the man returned to the forest and searched until he found the genie again. He said, "I've discovered that having people wait on me isn't as pleasant as I'd thought. I'd like to return to my original station and once again be 'The Servant of the Kingdom.'"

   The genie replied, "I'm sorry, but I can't help you. I had the power to grant only one wish."

   The man said, "But, you don't understand. I want to serve people. I found it far more rewarding to do things for others than to have all those things done for me."

   The genie just shook his head.

   The man begged, "But you must help me. I'd rather be in hell than not be able to serve others."

   The genie said sorrowfully, "Where do you think you have been, my friend, for the last ninety days?" -- A French fable, retold by Cavett Robert.

Greatness is not measured by how many servants you have but by how many people you serve.

Let’s look at this idea of “servanthood.” 

James 1:1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”

James is not the only one who calls himself “a servant of God.”

·       Paul (Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1)

·       Peter (2 Pet 1:1; Jude 1)

Why did these men refer to themselves as “servants”?

a.      The Greek term, “DOULUS” literally means “a slave.”

b.     Why use such a term to describe themselves?

c.      Why should we think of ourselves as servants?

Because TRUE GREATNESS COMES FROM SERVING (Upside-down Kingdom)

Everyone wants to be in charge, but Jesus turns the pyramid upside down. 

Do you want to be great?  Be a servant.  Do the work on the lowest end of the totem pole.

Why should we have such an attitude and consider ourselves servants?

Let’s make some observations in answering this question.

I.  JESUS HAD A LOT TO SAY ABOUT SERVANTHOOD AND HAS CALLED US TO BE 

    SERVANTS

A.  Jesus has stressed this truth on several occasions

            B.  While pointing out the faults of the scribes and Pharisees (Matt 23:8-12)

Matthew 23:8-12:  “But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

C.    Serving is why Jesus Came.

1.     Over and over, Jesus demonstrated that he came not to be serve, but to serve.

2.      During the Last Supper, Jesus gave a vivid demonstration of servitude (John 13:12-17; Matt 20:25-28; Phil 2:5-8)

John 13:12-17: “ When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them.  "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am.  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.” 

Matthew 20:25-28:  “Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and 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."

3.     This is staggering thought – that the God of the universe would stoop to being a servant!

a.      No  red carpet – no palace – no fast-track education – but a carpenter!

b.     When Jesus began His ministry, He slept on the sides of roads. – No national headquarters.  No executive suites.

c.      Jesus was a servant and He called on His disciples – and us – to be servants, too!

II.  SPECIFICALLY, WE ARE CALLED TO SERVE:

·       God (James 1:1; Heb 9:14)

·       Jesus Christ (James 1:1; 2 Cor 4:1)

·       Righteousness (Rom 6:17-18)

·       Each Other (Gal 5:13; 1 Cor 9:19-23)

Illustration:  A hospital visitor saw a nurse tending to the sores of a leprosy patient, and said, "I'd never do that for a million dollars!" The nurse answered, "Neither would I. But I do it for Jesus for nothing."

Galatians 5:13:  “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

A.    The early Christians called themselves “servants” because that is what they were!

B.    What is so good about being a servant?

III.  BEING A SERVANT IS A MARK OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY

A.    An immature person is usually very selfish

1.     For example, newborn babies are very ego-centrical.

2.     Normally, as people grow older, they begin to concern themselves with the needs of others.

a.      If they do, they’re becoming mature.

b.     If they remain selfish, it’s an indication of immaturity.

B.    A person who serves others …

1.     Is not selfish, but concerned with the needs of others.

2.     And thereby demonstrates mature behavior.

IV.  BEING A SERVANT HAS SEVERAL IMPLICATIONS:

A.    It implies absolute obedience

1.     In a slave-master relationship:

·       Slave knows no law but his master’s word.

·       He has no rights of his own.

·       He’s the absolute possession of his master.

·       He’s bound to give his master unquestioning obedience.

2.     Does this describe our relationship to Christ?

a.      It should, especially in light of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

1 Cor 6:19-20:  “ Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

b.     We have to come to Jesus on His terms, not on our own (Luke 6:46; Matt 7:21).

Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

B.    It implies absolute humility

1.     Otherwise, absolute obedience is not possible.

  a.  When we have a humble opinion of ourselves, we’re receptive to

       the idea of complete obedience.

                                                                                                                       

              b.  For example, consider Paul’s self-estimation (1 Cor 15:9-10; Eph

                  3:8; 1 Tim 1:15).

1 Timothy 1:15:  “ Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- of whom I am the worst.”

2.     Does this describe our relationship to Jesus and His will?

a.      Jesus said it should!  (Luke 17:10)

Luke 17:10:  “ So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

b.     But if we murmur or complain what Jesus tells us to do, can we really be considered servants?

C.    It implies absolute loyalty.

1.     Since we become servants freely, it should be expected that we:

·       Are to be loyal to Him first (Gal 1:10).

·       Do not consider our own profit or preference important, but that of the One we freely serve.

2.     But it’s amazing how anyone can claim to be servants of the Lord Jesus while:

·       Complaining about having to do the will of God, or …

·       Being negligent or slothful in carrying out His will

3.     But some act as though they are being forced against their own will!

a.      They don’t “have to” serve the Lord Jesus …

·       Of course, the alternative isn’t very inviting.

·       If we don’t serve Jesus, by default we serve Satan and are destined for hell!

b.     But God by His grace has offered salvation, and how dare we ever grumble or complain that He calls us to life of service in grateful appreciation.

IV.  BEING A SERVANT IS A GREAT HONOR

A.    Far from being a title of dishonor, it was the title by which the greatest of men of the Old Testament were known:

·       Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Deut 9:27 – “Thy servants”)

·       Moses (1 Kings 8:53 – “Thy servant”)

·       Joshua (Joshua 24:29 – “Servant of the Lord”)

·       Caleb (Num 14:24 – “My servant”)

·       Job (Job 1:8 – “My servant”)

·       Isaiah (Isa 20:3 – “My servant”)

·       The prophets (Jer 7:25 – “My servants)

B.    How wonderful it would be if God looked upon us as companions of these great men …

1.     Who found freedom, peace and glory!

2.     Who found it in perfect submission to the will of God!

V.              CHURCH LEADERS ESPECIALLY ARE CALLED TO BEING SERVANT-LEADERS

A.    Those who have aspirations of leadership, must be servants first. 

B.    Jesus made that crystal clear. 

C.    His kind of leaders are servant leaders.

D.    This is a daily decision – it isn’t easy and requires a conscious decision to take up the basin and the towel.  It’s not a once-and-for-all decision.  It’s a tough day-by-day decision and act of the will.  Day after day we must make the conscious, hard-nosed decision to take up the basin and the towel.

True greatness is to serve unnoticed and work unseen.

 

Conclusion:

Are we willing to accept the call to serve Him and His Son Jesus Christ with …

·       Absolute obedience

·       Absolute humility

·       Absolute loyalty?

When we’re serving God, His Son Jesus Christ, and even each other in this manner, we’re making great strides towards spiritual maturity.

A true leader is a servant-leader.

“… a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ” – can this be said of us?

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