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Christian Servanthood

(198)

Sermon shared by Stephan Brown

December 2001
Summary: A very practical study on the necessity of servanthood, what servanthood is and is not, and the qualities of a Christian servant-leader.
Denomination: Assembly of God
Audience: Believer adults
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that worldly leaders are tyrants. That is, they use the people under them for their own gain. Their mindset is “What can my subjects do for me.” But for the leaders of Jesus’ Kingdom it would be completely different. The leaders wouldn’t be the masters over their subjects. They would instead be servants of those under them. They must give themselves for those under them. Their mindset must be “What can I do for others.”

And there was no other way. Servanthood was not optional for them. Servanthood is the only way to lead in God’s Kingdom.



II. Now, often, when we think about servanthood, we think about doing things.

What are some things you think about when you think of a servant? a butler, a cheaffeur, a maid. In our minds a servant is someone who does all of the necessary but unpleasant things in life.

I remember that earlier this year we wanted to have a practical experience with servanthood, so we had a party for the teenager group. We waited on them hand and foot all night. That night was a lot of fun, for both the teenagers and us. But were we really learning Biblical servanthood in that activity? I, remember very clearly that I followed all of the instructions of the teenagers. But I found any way I could to give them exactly the opposite of what they really wanted, while giving them exactly what they asked for. Someone demanded exactly 2 ice cubes and I put in one tiny ice cube and then one cube that overflowed their cup. Of course, we were just having fun then, but that wasn’t Biblical servanthood.

Now, we know that in John 13:3-17, Jesus washed his disciples feet. In Israel in 30 A.D. they didn’t have paved streets like we do here in Boston. They had dusty, dirty roads. And they didn’t use cars, they used donkeys and there were lots of animals around. That means there must have been a lot of animal droppings around. Add to those factors that they wore sandals, not shoes, and you can picture what their feet were like. It’s no wonder they had to wash their feet every time they came into the house. Because it was such a dirty, disgusting job, that task was always saved for a servant. It was just about the lowest job you could possibly have. So, when Jesus washed the disciples feet, he was demonstrating for them that he was their servant. He was humbling himself to his own students to do a job that was reserved for the lowest members of society.

When we consider that we need to be servants, we may conclude that that means we have to go around and wash everyone’s feet for them. In fact, I know of one denomination, who have three ceremonies in their church: water baptism; holy communion; and foot washing. While, I’m not saying that it’s not a good idea for them, I don’t want to judge them, I have to say that is not servanthood. It’s pretty easy to figure out that Jesus wasn’t trying to teach the disciples that they must wash everyone’s feet.

If we look at Peter’s reaction to Jesus washing his feet, we can see that obviously
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