Summary: The attitude of servanthood made the New Testament church unique. It is a necessary ingredient for any church and/or believer.
Church Essentials: Part Six
Servanthood - Philippians 2:4-9
We live in an egocentric age where the "what's in it for me" mentality has permeated every aspect of our society and sadly has infiltrated the lives of today's professed Christians. Instead of asking ourselves "How can I best be used by the Lord in serving the church and others?" we want to be served. One Christian author has written that "Looking at the needs of others rather than one's own is possibly the most serious deficiency in the church today." Today, the majority of Christians aren’t interested in being servants. If we are honest with ourselves, most of our thoughts, actions, and even our prayers center around fulfilling our desires. But this wasn't the case of the church in the Book of Acts. The attitude of servanthood made the New Testament church an astounding community for its time. The Roman culture, prevalent at that time, was one of prestige and power in which one saw himself as a patron to be served rather than to serve. In the Roman Empire, "from the emperor to nobles, to officials, to landowners, to freemen, to servants and to slaves, each layer of society existed by wielding power over the layer below." Christ addressed this attitude in Luke 22:25-26, when He said, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves." The church in Acts, in contrast to society, existed for service. Every member was committed to allow God to use them in serving others. In Acts 2:44-45 we read " And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." The early church was a model of the commitment to service that should be a part of every believer's life. Our best example of servanthood is the Lord Himself. In Mark 10:45 Christ said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Paul challenged us with the servanthood of Christ in Philippians 2:5-8 when he wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, "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."
I Service is a matter of humility
A Humility is when we take our focus off of ourselves and make our end serving the needs of others.
B Christ "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"
C 2 Corinthians 8:9 "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich."
D Jesus became nothing, so that the Father could be everything. He submitted His strength and will completely so that the Father could work in Him. What did Jesus have to say about His own power, His own will, and His own glory, about His whole mission with all His works and teaching? “It is not I; I am nothing; I have given Myself to the Father to work. I am nothing. The Father is everything.” - Andrew Murray
E “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
F Philippians 2:4 "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
G What Christian discipleship amounts to is that we become disposed to serve the interests of God in surrender of our own self-serving interests (this will include outreach and service to others). When we act, knowing our place relative to the proper place of God as God, then we have put on Christian humility. - Travis Dickinson, "The Lost Virtue of Humility",Theological Matters
II Service is a matter of obedience
A Christ "being found in appearance as a man... humbled Himself and became obedient..."
B Jesus honored the authority of God, the Father, through His complete obedience. Christ’s entire life and ministry were orchestrated by His Father and Jesus was careful to carry out every detail according to the will of His Father.