Sanctified Servers: The Partners of Serving




What Have We Learned?

Serving Should Be A Priority (Mark 9:35)
Serving Should Be Practiced (I Peter 4:8-11)

Today’s Lesson: Maximum Service Requires Partners!

Opening Illustration: The Ice Cream Cone Is Born
During the summer of 1904 an unlikely partnership was formed at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. 

The summer was unusually hot and people were searching the fair for something to help cool them off… 

A vendor named Arnold had just what they were looking for… ice cream.

People lined up for what seemed like miles to get some of his cool and satisfying ice cream but there was one problem. 

Arnold was not prepared for the demand and ran out of paper bowls. 

Next to Arnold’s ice cream booth was a man named Ernest… a pastry chef … who was making a Persian wafer desert. 

Ernest also had a problem, his pastry was not selling. 

He noticed the problem Arnold was having and took some warm pastry and rolled it into a cone shape.

He then went over and showed Arnold how the cone could hold a scoop of the ice cream. 

On that hot day during the World’s Fair in St Louis… the wafer ice cream cone was born because a partnership was formed. 

How important are Partnerships in life?

How important are partnerships to you?

How important are partnerships to God?

Transitional Point
Friends, partnerships, especially when living the Christian life are crucial.  They are important.  They are worthy of our investment.  I maintain that throughout the pages of the Bible, you see God creating partnerships.  

Adam had Eve.  The first partnership..

Abraham had Sarah.

David had Jonathan 

Andrew had Peter

Paul had Barnabas 

We have God

That’s right, we are partners with God. God has a lot of work to do here on planet earth.  Yes, He can do it on HIs own and He does not need us.  Yet, He gives us an open door to work along side of Him.  To partner with Him is to know Him.  To know Him is to partner with Him in reaching the lost all around the world.  

This morning, we are looking in Philippians 2.  We will discover Paul’s prescription to hop on the path to serving.  Let’s read along together this morning. 

Philippians 2:1-11 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The P.A.T.H. To Service!

I. Partnership vs. 1-2 
Philippians 2:1-2 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 

Point:
As I read the first two verses of this chapter, there were a few words that jumped out to me.  What are those words?  “Being in full accord and of one mind”.  That’s quite a statement.  Remember, Paul was talking to the Church at Philippi.  So, he is talking to believers.  He was talking to the church.  

Question, when is the last time you went to a church were everyone had the same love?  When is the last time you were in a church that was in full accord and of one mind?  Boy, as much as I love our church, I am not sure that we are all in one accord and one mind.  That is pretty difficult to achieve.  

What is Paul really saying?

When he says the words “one accord”, he is using an ancient term referring to music.  An accord was a word attributed to rhythm and rhyme.  To be in one accord meant that the church was in rhythm.  They were in step with one another.  They were united, peaceful, harmonious.  

Essentially, Paul is telling the church to make beautiful music together.  

The Paul says to be of one mind.  Now that is something much harder, more difficult to achieve.  Let’s be honest, we have husbands and wives sitting in this sanctuary right now that are not of one mind.  Being of one mind requires two people to be completely open and venerable to the other.  This means that we do not wear a mask in front of one another.  We are honest, open, and transparent.  

Paul thought that the church should have the same heartbeat and the same mind.  Mind and heart working together in partnership to achieve God’s goals here on earth.  

The Greek word for “with one mind” is homothumadon (hom-oth-oo-mad-on).  The word has two root words.  The first is homo which means same and thymos which means passion.  

Paul is telling the church to operate with the same passion.  

The word also means unanimously.  We are to agree with one another.  We are to be respectful to one another.  

If you find yourself in a street fight, you might say homothumadon.  You might say it means “Ive got your back”.  

Is that our church?  Is that you?  Is that me?  Friends, let me tell you something.  This church could make a huge impact on Daphne and beyond if we all beat with the same heart and the same mind.  If we partnered together with the same passion of reaching people for Jesus.  

Yet most churches are not homothumadon.  They argue over small things.  Petty things.  Things of no eternal matter.  They air disagreements and silly discussions in business meetings and behind closed doors.  We speak poorly about other family members.  We break partnership.  

Friends, partners are important?  We need partners so that we can do more, lift heavier burdens and so that we can find encouragement in difficult times.  

We need partners to lift us up when we are down.  We need partners to push us when we are frustrated.  We need partners to push us to reach people for Jesus.  

Eastern Shore Baptist Church, do we have homothumadon?  Are we one mind, beating with the same heart today? Are we partnering together?

Illustration:
Jackie Robinson was the first black person to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. Players would stomp on his feet and kick him. 

While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he made an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

Friends, that is what a partner looks like.  A brother and sister who puts their arm around us when we are disappointed, hurt, broken and thinking of quitting.  Imagine if Robinson would have quit.  I am glad that he and Pee Wee were of one mind.  

Philippians 1:3-5 ESV
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 

The P.A.T.H. To Service!

I. Partnership vs. 1-2 
II. Attitude vs. 3-4
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Illustration:
A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

Point:
Im pretty sure that is a story from my childhood.  Talk about looking to your own interests.  A true servant is one that puts the needs of others ahead of their own.  

Notice that Paul does not discount our needs.  No, he tells us that we should look to our interests.  We do not have to denigrate our desires, our needs and wants.  Yet, as believer we should appreciate the needs, wants, and desires of others.  Even servants have needs.  However, true servants have the ability to lay aside their needs temporarily to meet the needs of others.  

Point:
To gain a proper understanding of what Paul is really saying in this text, one must go back to the original Greek.  The word for “selfish ambition” has many meanings.  One particular meaning is “acting for one’s own gain, regardless of the discord or strife it causes”.  Now that is quite a different understand.  Simply put, this person only cares about themselves. They care nothing about the needs of others and will stop at nothing until their needs are met.  Even if this causes disharmony in the body.  

Wow, friends that is a dangerous place to be.  A true servant is going to have the attitude of Christ.  Willing to lay down his or needs for the betterment of the body.  This attitude brings growth, both personal growth and cooperate growth.  Imagine if everyone in our church had this attitude.  

Illustration
Wednesday is always a busy day for me.  You can imagine right?  I have two small men’s groups that I meet with.  I will often visit hospitals.  I finish my sermon on that day.  I have afternoon appointments.  I have prayer meeting and usually have meetings after prayer meeting.  It is just a busy day.  

It was last Wednesday I was speaking to a mother whose infant son had been hospitalized.  She is such a sweet lady but you can imagine how exhausted she was after her son had been released.  I asked her what I could do to help.  Having been there before, I remembered how helpful it was to receive a meal.  I offered to take care of bringing her a meal and she was overjoyed.  

Well, I am not much of a cook. But I know plenty of people that are.  I made one phone call to another lady in our church.  This lady has two children of her own.  She responded to the request immediately and with a joyful attitude accepted the offer.  She would not only make the meal but also deliver the meal to this young mother.  It was a blessing.  

It was a blessing because right before me, God provided me a powerful illustration of a servant.  This woman dropped what she was doing.  No doubt she was busy with her own children.  Perhaps she was doing housework or laundry. She is a busy person.  That didn’t matter.  This mother was practically living out verses 3-4.  

She became the servant in both attitude and deed.  

Galatians 6:10 ESV
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

The P.A.T.H. To Service!

I. Partnership vs. 1-2 
II. Attitude vs. 3-4
III. Thoughtfulness vs. 5-7
Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 

Point:
So where does this Spirit come from?  Where does this sprit of service and love find it’s origin?  Well Paul gives us the answer.  

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…”

Did you catch that?  The mind of service comes from Christ Jesus.  That means, true service is inspired by the work of Jesus Christ and is activated by the Holy Spirit working in and through us.  So, what does this mean?

When we serve, we are literally taking on the continual ministry of Jesus Christ here on planet earth.  When we serve, our mind is actually the mind of Christ.  Remember last week when I said that when we serve, we are pulling down a piece of heaven here to earth.  Well, I also believe that when we serve we engage ourselves in a brain transplant.  When we serve, our brain is transplanted with the mind of Christ.  His thoughts become our thoughts.  

John 12:26 ESV
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

The P.A.T.H. To Service!

I. Partnership vs. 1-2 
II. Attitude vs. 3-4
III. Thoughtfulness vs. 5-7
IV. Humility vs. 8-11
Philippians 2:8-11 ESV
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Point:
In our last point, we see what it really means to be a servant.  Being a servant is the embodiment of Jesus.  

Growing up, I always thought that be a servant was a lowly thing.  No one ever grows up wanting to be someone’s servant.  How many of you have ever watched Downton Abby.  My wife and I watched it from time to time.  

Ok, who am I kidding, I was pretty much addicted to the show.  

The story chronicles the life of a wealthy aristocratic family post World War I and their struggle to maintain their nobility.  It also takes an interesting view into a time where butlers and servants were often employed by the large family estates.  

I could not have imagined being someone’s servant.  The show starts out showing a bell ringing.  When that bell rang, a dutiful servant would appear ready to work…ready to serve.  That’s what I often thing of when I think of a servant.  

Lowly

Humble

But that is not the picture that Paul paints.  Jesus, the Almighty, stepped down from His throne in Heaven to serve us.  Jesus is presented a powerful and disciplined character who willingly laid aside His power to serve us.  

Now that is humility.  Humility is knowing that we have power but we choose to lay aside that power to serve those with less power.  

Point:
Serving people that we love is easier.  Right?  It is easy to serve those that serve us.  Yet, Jesus didn’t just call us to serve each other, he called us to serve those that hate us.  He called us to serve those who are our enemies.  

Mark 10:44-45 ESV
And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Jesus came to lay His life down for people that would hate Him, make fun of Him and ridicule Him.  

Why?  Why Does Jesus call us to serve Him humbly?

Why Should We Heed Jesus’ Call To Serve Humbly?

A. Expression of Love
John 13:1, NIV
Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love. 

What motivated Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet? It was the love Jesus had for His disciples that led Him to serve them. That same love should motivate every Christ-follower today.

B. Expectation of Christ (Serving is in step with God’s will.)
John 6:38, NLT
“For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent Me, not to do My own will.” 

Everything Jesus did was in accordance with His Father’s will. When Jesus served others, that too was a reflection of the will of His Father. God the Father sent Jesus to serve. Then Jesus took that same purpose and passed it on to His followers.

C. Example of Greatness

Jesus set a new standard of greatness, and He did it by serving. In so doing, He became the model for us.

Mark 9:35, NLT
“Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” 

What an incredibly counter-cultural statement. It seems completely foreign in today’s society: you achieve true greatness by becoming a servant.

This seems like a logical incongruity, but it really does happen. Perhaps the best example from recent years would be Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa devoted her entire life to loving and serving the poorest of the poor on the streets of Calcutta. She never sought any positions or recognition. She was content to serve the very least.

But what happened? She became admired and respected in ways that go far beyond what any elected office could achieve. She was invited to speak before world leaders, and they listened! In fact, they would travel to see her rather than having her come to see them. She descended into greatness.

However, it does not work that way for everyone who serves. In many cases, those who devote their lives to serving others are never recognized for it. Often their good deeds go unnoticed for years. But someday every good deed and every act of service will become known.

1 Timothy 5:25, NLT
In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.

Closing Video
Friends I want to close today with a video that I recently saw.  It is a foreign video so it has subtitles.  However, you can watch it and get what is going on with just the visuals.  It is a powerful illustrative tool that shows us how even serving in small ways can pile up to great things.  It shows the influence that serving has on people and the change that it can bring about.  I pray that this video and today’s sermon inspires you to share the love of Christ in small and big ways.




Follow The P.A.T.H. To Service Today!

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