Summary: This is part of "A Christian's Heart" sermon series and looks at a servant's heart and how it is humble, obedient, and sacrificial. It then looks at the rewards for having a servant's heart.
A Christian’s Heart
“A Servant’s Heart”
We’re continuing through our study on a Christian’s heart. This study is about those qualities that every Christian should and needs to have in their life.
Today we’ll be looking a having a heart of a servant, which Jesus said should be our overall goal if we want to be great in the kingdom of God.
“Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)
And so to explore this whole idea of having a servant’s heart, Jesus says we need to look at Him and how He came to serve instead of being served. And there’s no better place to see this idea of the servant heart of Jesus than what the Apostle Paul says to the Philippian church.
But this whole concept of Jesus the Messiah coming as a servant isn’t just a New Testament teaching. The whole idea of the Messiah coming as a servant is found within the Old Testament as well.
In Isaiah chapter 42 the Lord says,
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:1)
And again in chapter 52 the Lord says,
“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isaiah 52:13-14)
So let’s look at what the Apostle Paul wrote about the servant heart of Jesus.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
From this passage I see three things, or aspects, that make up a servant’s heart.
1. A Humble Heart
“Made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7)
And then in verse eight Paul tells us that Jesus humbled Himself.
Word “reputation” literally means to pour oneself out, that is, Jesus emptied Himself from being recognized as to who He truly was, that that is the Lord, and instead He took upon Himself the form of a slave.
That is what a bondservant does, he or she relinquishes their rights in order to serve their master. In this instance Jesus relinquished His rights and position in order to serve His heavenly Father by serving others.
We see this literally played out for us when Jesus picked up a bowl of water on that last Passover meal and washed the disciple’s feet. Jesus chose to take upon Himself the lowest position in a household, and that not just being a servant, but being the lowest servant in the hierarchy. It doesn’t get any lower than this. It doesn’t get any lower than what Jesus did.
“He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” (John 13:5)
And then He told them to go and do likewise, that is, go and serve others with such a servant’s heart.
“I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:15-17)
Right before his description of Jesus’s humility as a servant in his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells us that we’re to be humble as well, that in our humility we’re to consider others.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
The religious leaders of that day, and even of our own day, didn’t and don’t have humble hearts as they viewed themselves as being better than everyone else. The Pharisees loved to show off their religiosity and having the people call them by their titles, such as Rabbi. They looked down on others, saying such things as, “Thank you God for not letting me be like all these others!”