Summary: In this first sermon, I establish that we must be conformed into the likeness of Jesus. Because He was a servant, we must also become servants. A resource I am basing the series on is Charles Swindoll's "Improving Your Serve."
A. One day a woman was interviewing a prospective butler and asked him, “Are you trained to serve guests?”
1. The prospective butler replied “Yes, ma’am, I have been trained to serve guests both ways.”
2. The woman looked puzzled and asked, “What do you mean, both ways?”
3. The prospective butler replied, “I’ve been trained to serve them so they’ll come again, or so they’ll stay away. You just have to let me know which way you desire for each guest.”
B. Would you say that you have been trained to serve?
1. Serving is not something that comes naturally to most people.
2. Living a life of service is an art that must be cultivated.
3. Today, we are beginning a new sermon series that I am calling “Serving Like Jesus.”
4. As you probably know, Jesus was a servant and as His followers, we are called be like Him.
C. But what does it really mean to be a servant?
1. What kinds of thoughts and attitudes should a servant have?
2. What kinds of behaviors will come from the right attitude?
3. Are there perils that servants encounter and how do they overcome them?
4. What are the rewards of serving?
5. These are some of the questions and issues that we will be addressing during the series.
6. One of the resources that I will be leaning on heavily is a book Charles Swindoll wrote back in 1981, called “Improving Your Serve – The Art of Unselfish Living.”
D. Let’s go back to the question I asked you a minute ago: What does it really mean to be a servant?
1. What images immediately come to your mind?
2. Do you think of the slaves of Egypt building the pyramids or the African slaves brought to the United States in the early days of our country?
3. Or do you think of the thousands of nameless migrant workers who, at harvest time, populate the farmlands and orchards across America?
4. If those are the images that immediately come to mind, then the idea of being a servant of God is not likely to be very appealing to you, right?
5. If our notion of a slave is a pathetic creature who is virtually without will or purpose in life, who is bent over, crushed in spirit, lacking self-esteem, dirty and weary, a sort of human mule, then we are not going to jump at the chance to be a servant.
6. If that has been your idea of what it means to be a servant, then I have good news for you – that is not what God means by servanthood.
7. That is not what it meant for Jesus to be a servant.
E. What I want to remind us today, and throughout this series, is that one of God’s major objectives for each one of us is that we be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus.
1. Look with me at what Paul wrote in Romans 8:28-29: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
2. Perhaps you have never thought about it like that, that God’s major objective is that each of us be conformed into the likeness of His Son.
3. Obviously, there are many things about Jesus that we should want to imitate: His walk with God, His knowledge of Scripture, His prayer life, and His purity, but what about Jesus’ example of service?
4. I believe that that is one of the most important ways that God wants us to conform to the likeness of Jesus.
F. Look at how Jesus characterized His own life and purpose: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
1. How’s that for simple clarity? Jesus came to serve and to give!
2. If that was true for Jesus, then don’t you think that is what God would want for us?
3. After bringing us into His family through our faith in His Son, God then sets His sights on building into us the same quality that made Jesus distinct from all others in His day, and for that matter, from anyone who had ever walked the face of the earth.
4. God wants to build in us the same serving and giving qualities that characterized His Son.
G. In many ways, there is nothing more refreshing than seeing someone with a servant’s heart and a giving spirit.
1. Colonel James Irwin was a former astronaut who was part of the crew that made a successful moon walk in 1971.