Sermon on Servanthood
Date written: July 25th, 2004
Scripture ref: Matthew 20:20-28
TITLE: To Be A Servant
PROPOSITION: What does it mean to be a servant? To be a servant one must 1) Have the attitude of a servant, 2) Know what you need to do to serve, 3) Serve.
Objectives: Each listener should come away with a better understanding of what it means to be a servant.
Aim: To encourage the brethren to be more contemplative when it comes to being servants one of another.
1. Read: Matthew 20:20-28
2. About the Text:
1) James and John’s mother came to Jesus asking a favor.
2) She wanted her sons to sit on the right and left of Jesus in the kingdom.
3) Jesus tells them that they did not know what they were asking for.
4) He then explained that holding these positions involved things that they were not considering.
5) He then explained that this honor could only be given by the Father.
6) The other ten apostles heard them asking about this and were angry.
7) Jesus explained that in the kingdom, it is not those who hold authority who are “chief” among them.
8) It is those who serve.
9) Just as Jesus himself came to serve, so also Jesus disciples must learn how to serve.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: To be a servant, one must…
I. Have the Attitude of a Servant
1. This is perhaps the greatest barrier of all to being a servant.
1) We don’t live in a country that seeks to serve others; we live in a country that seeks to be served.
2) Our culture is permeated with the message: “Serve me.”
3) So we have a difficult time understanding, in our culture, what it means to have the attitude of a servant.
4) Attitude plays the most important role here.
5) A lot of times, we are like the two boys fighting over the pancakes (illustration).
6) We want the other person to serve, not us.
7) How can we develop the attitude of a servant?
2. We need to consider others before self.
1) Phil.2:3, 4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
2) Romans 15:1-3 “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
3. When we consider ourselves, we need to consider ourselves unworthy of honor.
1) Luke 14:7-11 illustrates the proper and improper attitudes in this regard: “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
2) Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
3) Romans 12:16 “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
4. We need not think that there is a task too lowly for us to accomplish.
1) Consider the attitude of Naaman in 2 Kings 5:11-13: “But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”
2) Who was it that returned Naaman to sober judgment in his case? His servant.
5. We need to take into account the principle of love before doing all things.
1) Galatians 5:13-15, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
2) 1 John 3:16-19 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”
II. Know what you need to do to serve.
1. Get involved.
1) The old adage is true: the more you put into something, the more you get out of it.
2) There are some who want to serve, but do not know what they can do.
3) Many times it is due to lack of involvement.
4) The more involved you are with something, the more opportunities will arise to serve.
5) Ecc.9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;”
2. Involve others.
1) There are those who serve and want to do everything.
2) There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this attitude, but sometimes, we need to involve others in the work instead of doing it all ourselves.
3) Luke 5:7 “And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.”
1) There is always something that needs to be done.
2) If you want something to do, then just ask someone.
3) Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…”
1) A lot of times, there are things that need to be done about which we don’t need to ask to do.
2) Regarding these things, we need simply but volunteer to do the job.
3) Galatians 6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
5. Finally, knowing what to do sometimes means doing things that we don’t necessarily want to do.
1) Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
1. Sometimes its not a matter of attitude or knowledge, but simply lack of action on our part.
2. We need to heed the words of James 1:22-25 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
3. Col.3:23 ” And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
4. James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
5. Let’s resolve to get involved in service one to another.
1. To be a servant we must…
1) Have the attitude of a servant.
2) Know what we need to do to serve.
2. Song: Make me a servant!