Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Son of Man Did Not Come To Be Served, But To Serve.

“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”

In the third season of “The Twilight Zone”, airing over 45 years ago, one of my favorite episodes was entitled “To Serve Man.”

“A race of aliens known as the Kanamits land on Earth and promise to be nothing but helpful to the cause of humanity. Initially wary of the intentions of such a highly advanced race, even the most skeptical humans are convinced when their code-breakers begin to translate one of the Kanamit’s books, with the seemingly innocuous title, "To Serve Man."

Sharing their advanced technology, the aliens quickly solve all of Earth’s greatest woes, eradicating hunger, disease, and the need for warfare. Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet, which is supposedly a paradise. All is not well, however, when a code-breaker discovers the Kanamits’ true intentions: Their book, "To Serve Man", is really a cookbook, and all their gifts were simply to make humanity complacent and willing to just go with the flow, just like cattle or pigs on their way to slaughter.

Certainly not what Jesus had in mind:

Matthew 20:20-28:

“Yet it shall not be so among you; but 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.”

In this passage, Jesus described the thrust of the servant principle with two different words. Jesus said greatness comes from being a servant. (verse 26) Servant comes from the word Diakonos. (Dee-a-kon-os) We get the word “Deacon” or “Minister” from this word. Originally the word meant “kicking up dust”. It came to be associated with a servant so anxious to serve, he kicked up dust running to obey his master.

Jesus went further, using a word even more powerful than Diakonos. He used the word Doulas in verse 27, which means slave. Jesus said if you want to become great, you must have the mind of a servant and the heart of a slave.

Jesus said, “I have come into this world to serve, not to be served.” Imagine, the creator of the Heavens and the earth came to serve. The highest of high, the Holiest of Holy, the mightiest of mighty came as a servant to teach servant-hood to those who were called to be followers of Christ. If we are to be like Jesus, we are simply called to be servants.

In the book “The Servant Principle”, Rick Ferguson writes; “Servant-hood is not a very popular subject. Servant-hood has a cost of personal investment that goes against everything we are taught. Servant-hood totally conflicts with the self-centeredness ingrained in every person.

The request to deny all personal desires is never met with excitement. No one wants to hear the call to relinquish all personal rights and privileges. No one wants to accept the challenge to develop a slave’s mindset. Servant-hood contradicts absolutely every single thing inside us. Everything. Everything, that is, except the Spirit of God.” He goes on to say that when we step in line to follow Jesus, we will inevitably suffer. If we never experience criticism and persecution as a Christian, we are probably living a life of compromise.

Here are the words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians, from the translation known as “The Message.” Philippians 2:1-11

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

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