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Summary: Christians are called to serve. A challenge to offer your life in service to Christ. Sermon #4 in the Series: Revive!

Sermon

Lanier Christian Church

February 12, 2017

David Simpson

Series: Revive! Sermon #4

Serve Wholeheartedly

Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…(Ephesians 6:7)

Serve wholeheartedly. That’s our calling as Christians. We are called to serve. So, I have a question for you today. If you are a Christian, what specifically are you doing to serve the Lord wholeheartedly?

Are some of you struggling to answer that? Maybe we’re struggling a bit because we live in a society where we pay people to serve US. The clerk at the store. The waitress and cooks at the restaurant. The mailman. The landscaper. The repairman. The teacher who teaches your children and grandchildren. In fact, it is often easier for us to pay someone to do something we don’t want to do, because at some point we decided we can’t or won’t do the something somebody did for us.

Reminds me of this old tongue twister shared by many a preacher:

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Now, Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done!

Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

I think Jesus faced the frustration of his disciples just “not getting it” when it came to serving others, so he decided to teach them a dramatic lesson about serving others.

But, instead of just telling them, he showed them.

John 13:3: 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Then, a few verses later….12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

I really thought about perhaps asking each one here today to wash someone else’s feet! To provide towels and basins and wash feet. But, the more I studied this passage the more I realized that just the act of foot washing would not be enough to get across the lesson of Jesus.

You see, we are talking about slavery here. What? Like the TV character of old used to say: What you talking about Willis?”

Slavery? Yes. When Paul said “serve wholeheartedly” he was literally talking to slaves of the Roman Empire. When Jesus says “servant” in this foot washing story, he uses the word “doulos,” which literally means “bond-slave.”

A bond-servant wasn’t someone who just served another once in a while, a bond-slave was one who was in bondage to another. One who was obligated for life to serve the needs of a person or family. I doubt that anyone in this room said as a little child, “When I grow up I want to be a slave.” Or, “When I grow up I want to be somebody’s servant!

Our pride keeps us from seeing service to others as an aspiration. But Jesus asks us to go against our selfish desires and to go contrary to today’s cultural characteristics of self-promotion and self-centeredness. He calls us to serve others. In fact, he would say that your faith, your belief system is best seen in how you serve.

I like what Max Lucado writes: "The Lord of the universe’s first day was spent in a barn, His last was spent bending down washing feet."

I sometimes wonder if we realize just how radically different from the world Jesus is calling us to be. When we become a Christian He doesn’t just save us from our sins. He wants to save us from the futile and shallow attitudes and lifestyles of this world. (From: Tim Smith) As Christians we are to think counter culture. We are to be like Christ – not like culture.

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