Summary: Serving is the key difference between "doing"church and "being" the church.


Part 3- My "Hands On" Mission

John 13:1-17

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Serving is the key difference between "doing" church and "being" the church.

If you saw the news this week regarding the plane that crashed into the Hudson River you witnessed a miracle. The hand of God was with the pilot, crew, passengers and every circumstance that surrounded this event. As the people were interviewed they were well aware of the miraculous. Some talked of the impact it immediately had on their lives. It’s like that with significant, often traumatic events. People search for greater purpose.

I think of individuals who start foundations because their lives have been touched by tragic illness. There are people who still battle for the people of New Orleans following the devastation of Katrina.

When we are forgiven by almighty God we realize we have been delivered from death¡Kphysically and spiritually. What does that gratitude motivate us to do?

Of all the descriptions of the church in the Scripture, the one Jesus used in Matthew 16:18 is important to note. Jesus said, "I will build my church". The Greek word is "ekklesia"-meaning "called out ones".

The foundational concept of Jesus Christ in founding and growing the church was for the redeemed to get out of the pew and impact the world with the Good News!

A picture of this concept is found in John 13:1-17

3 points are made in Jesus’ example:

1. Christ like serving is born from love (13:1)

a. Let’s not miss the point that John tells us that Jesus was showing the fullness of His love.

b. Loving God and loving people results in a heart to serve.

c. I think the reason people don’t serve is because they don’t love people. And the reason they don’t love people is because they don’t love God.

d. 2 Corinthians 5:14, "For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves."

e. True service must be distinguished from self-righteous service.

f. Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline points out the differences between Self-righteous service vs. True service: (paraphrased)

i. Comes from human effort (it’s what I can do). True service is what God empowers.

ii. It is concerned with the "big deal". True service welcomes the necessary task.

iii. It is constantly measuring. True service leaves the results to God and is satisfied with His approval.

iv. It tries to pick and choose. True service is available. (Wherever there is brokenness)

v. It is temporary. True service is a life-style.

vi. It strains and even fractures community. True service builds community.

2. Christ like serving destroys the "pecking order" (13:12-16)

a. Jesus turned the social order upside down on many occasions:

i. He told his disciples to take the least important seat

ii. He told them to turn the other cheek

iii. He told them the first would be last

b. Here in this room the disciples were meeting secretly. Therefore no servants would have been present. No doubt they all realized the custom of washing feet was going undone and they could have been sizing one another up as to who would do the dirty work. In Luke¡¦s account we see that the disciples are arguing about who would be the greatest. Jesus blasts away the notion that following Him would bring greatness.

c. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote, "Learn the lesson, that if you are to do the work of a prophet, what you need is not a scepter but a hoe."

d. We must not fall into the trap of service being a means of reaching or measuring our accomplishment or worth.

3. Christ like serving brings blessing (13:17)

a. Jesus statement points to the have to do it to find the blessing.

b. What are the blessings?

i. Transformation of selfishness to humility.

ii. Healing, building, comforting, ministering to needs. The impact upon culture.

iii. Deeper understanding of God, joy, peace, contentment.

So how does this need to be applied to our church?

1. Everyone must be about their appointed tasks Ephesians 4:11-12, 16, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God¡¦s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

a. The preachers and teachers of the church are to present the truth of Scripture, train and present opportunities for the larger body to serve one another and the community.

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