The Perspective of Serving

The Perspective of Serving

Illustration: The Man Jesus

How many of you know this name, Dr. William Leslie?  Just what I thought.  Nobody.  Perhaps you might recognize his picture.  Sill, no?  Leslie was, by his own standards, a complete and utter failure.  He was a medial missionary to the Congo in the early 20th century.  He served in the Congo for more than 17 years.  Afterward, he returned back to his native Chicago a discouraged man.  He believe that he failed to make a real lasting impact for Jesus Christ.  He died believing that he had failed God.  

In 2010, the International Mission Board, partnering with Mission Aviation Fellowship, flew teams deep into the Congo where Leslie served in the early 1900’s.  The team did not know about Leslie.  These teams believe that they were heading into villages who had never ever heard the name of Jesus Christ. 

What they saw was both perplexing and surprising. 

When they broke through the dense jungles of the Congo, they met natives who were believers.  They came across growing, replicating churches for some 34 miles that boasted 10’s of thousands of church members.  They were shocked that these communities had pastors and even church choirs.  

How could this be?  The teams did not even know that Leslie had been in the very same spot some 100 years earlier.  

The natives talked about The Man Jesus!  Their Bibles were not in their native language, they were in French.  French was the closest thing that Leslie could bring to them so they learned from his teachings from the French Bible.  

The native people did not know the good doctor by his English name, they called him The Man Jesus.  When Leslie was with them, they felt that they had Jesus with them.  

You see, during Leslie’s time, he merely planted seeds of the Gospel.  The Gospel did not germinate until he left.  To this day, the people in the village, the preachers, the teachers, even the choirs still sing and tell stories of the Man Jesus who served them, loved them, and taught them about the real Jesus.  

To the people deep in the Congo jungle, William Leslie looked just like Jesus!

Friends, let me remind you that when we serve others, we look just like Jesus.

When You Serve, You Look Like Jesus!

Background of Text:

The context:
The Jewish Passover was about to begin. It was less than 24 hours before the execution of Jesus. Even though Jesus had not yet been tried as a false prophet by the Sanhedrin or as an insurrectionist by the Romans, Jesus knew his hour had come. He knew he would be betrayed by one of his own disciples and he knew the identity of that disciple. 
The content:
Jesus had loved His disciples. But before His death, He wanted them to see one more demonstration of His love for them. He also wanted to teach them one more lesson about how they should love one another. 
The confidence:
Jesus knew who He was. Jesus knew who His Father was. Jesus knew He was with the Father in the beginning and that through Him all things that are created were created. Jesus knew He had been given authority over all things. Jesus knew that all things were held together by Him. Jesus knew He would be raised from the dead and ascend unto heaven. 
Transitional Statement:
Let’s read about Jesus final example of service to the disciples…

John 13:1-15 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

3 Keys To Serving Like Jesus!

I. Serving Is Important vs. 1
John 13:1 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 

As I stated earlier, Jesus has less than 24 hours to live.  Imagine your last 24 hours.  Imagine that you knew that you were going to die in 24 hours.  

What would you do?  

Where would you go?  

Who would you talk to?  

What would you make right?  

What wrong would you fix?  

What word would you give to your children, your family and your friends?  

Chances are you would try to maximize your time.  You would want to do your very best to leave a lasting impact on the world.  Jesus, in His last precious moments on planet earth does just that.  He knew His hour had come.  The lasting example that He wanted to perform for the disciples was to serve them.  

Why?  Why did Jesus want to illustrate this so powerfully to His disciples?

The answer is actually really simple.  Jesus was a master of simple things.  Serving others opens doors to their hearts.  Have you noticed that people will open the doors to their hearts and minds once you’ve demonstrated that you truly care about them?  They do.  When people believe that you really care about them, they will grant you access to their lives.  

In the moment that Jesus choose to serve His disciples, He had gained their trust, and their attention.  They were paying attention. Jesus was about to enlighten them.  

You see, Jesus had created a pattern of service throughout HIs ministry.  They knew that Jesus was real and that He ministered to and served everyone.  Now, it was Jesus’ turn to serve them.  

Why?  Jesus knew that it was important.  For the disciples to truly turn the world upside down, they would have to serve and love those who hated them, even ones who might betray them. 

Matthew 20:28 ESV
Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

3 Keys To Serving Like Jesus!

I. Serving Is Important vs. 1
II. Serving Is Intense vs. 2
John 13:2 ESV
2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him…

Point: What Do We Know About Judas Iscariot?

Let’s make one thing very clear.  We all know about Judas for one thing, and one thing only.  The guy betrayed the one person that really loved him.  He betrayed Jesus.  When you think turncoat, when you think bad friend, when you think stabbed in the back, you think Judas.  

We know more about Judas. 

We know that money was very important to Judas.  Judas was a thief , and, according to Matthew 26:13–15, the chief priests paid him “thirty silver coins” to betray the Lord. It was not uncommon for Judas to dip into the disciples financial reserves stealing money from Jesus to keep for Himself. 

We also know that Judas was not a true believer in Jesus.  He had missed the real purpose of Jesus’ ministry.  The Bible tells us that Jesus even referred to His betrayer as The Devil and Scripture also tells us that the Devil himself took up residence in Judas’ heart and soul (John 6:70).  As believers, we know that the Spirit of God cannot be cast out by the Devil, the Devil can only reside in empty spaces and places of the heart where God is vacant.  

We also know that Judas harbored malicious and treacherous thoughts.  He betrayed the Lord Jesus with a kiss.  A kiss was a common greeting between friends and Judas knew that he was no friend of Jesus.  Judas was snarky.  Judas was sarcastic.  

Judas Iscariot fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me” (cf. John 13:18). Yet Judas was fully responsible for his actions. Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24).

We also know that Judas’ physical life came to a horrible end.  He used the money he received from the Pharisees to purchase a field where Scripture tells us that he committed suicide.  He as unforgiven.  He was unrepentant.  

Saying this, no one would want to serve Judas.  There is not one person who would physically desire to serve Judas.  Yet, Jesus did.  Jesus knew what Judas was up to and Jesus served him anyway.  

This act of sacrificial love adds a level to intensity to Christian service that most want to rebel against.  

We want to serve those who love and appreciate us.  We do not want to serve those who hate us, despise us and long to kill us in the same way that Judas did to Jesus.  

Unfortunately, that is exactly the example that Jesus gives to us.  That is something that we Christians must wrestle with each and every day.  

Illustration: Loving Your Enemies Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on November 17 1957. 

So I want to turn your attention to this subject: "Loving Your Enemies." It’s so basic to me because it is a part of my basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. In the fifth chapter of the gospel as recorded by Saint Matthew, we read these very arresting words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master: "Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven."

Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. And over the centuries, many persons have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would go so far as to say that it just isn’t possible to move out into the actual practice of this glorious command. They would go on to say that this is just additional proof that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. So the arguments abound. But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.

Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t playing. He realized that it’s hard to love your enemies. He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. And we cannot dismiss this passage as just another example of Oriental hyperbole, just a sort of exaggeration to get over the point. This is a basic philosophy of all that we hear coming from the lips of our Master. Because Jesus wasn’t playing; because he was serious. We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command.

You see many of us take a rifle approach to love and service.  We have a specific target.  We aim carefully at those that might love us and show us the most appreciation for the service we dispense.  We fire.  We feel gratified.  

Jesus takes a shotgun approach.  His love and service is scattered wider and broader.  His love and service sees more people and serves more people. Even people that never loved and appreciated him.  

I believe that Jesus does this so that we will love and appreciate Him.  I believe that it was Jesus desire that in everything He did He desired to turn our eyes to the Father with love in our hearts and gratitude on our lips. 

John 14:7 NLT
If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"

3 Keys To Serving Like Jesus!

I. Serving Is Important vs. 1
II. Serving Is Intense vs. 2
III. Serving Is Influential vs. 3-5
John 13:3-5 ESV
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 

Jesus does the unthinkable.  He stands up, disrobes, and takes a towel in His hands and begins to wash the feet of His disciples.  

Now let’s talk about this for just a second.  Jesus knew completely who He was.  Everything had been given to Him and now it all resided in His hands.  

This gives new meaning to “he has the whole world in HIs hands” doesn’t it.  

Let’s look for a second at these words “all things” or “everything”.  It is a simple Greek word.  The word is πᾶς or pas.  The short definition is all, the whole, or every kind of.  

The longer definition is more telling.  John is using a simple word with a  very large meaning.  Pas means means "all" in the sense of "each every part that applies.

If you are reading from the NASB this morning, this simple Greek word means 

all the things
all things
all kinds
all men
all people
all respects
every form
every kind
every respect

Jesus was completely in charge.  He was and is King in every manner and respect.  He is the author and the perfecter.  The Alpha and the Omega.  There is nothing that could hide from His sight.  In Him all things held or hold together.  

So, when John tells us that Jesus had all things in His hands, He had (and continues to have) ALL THINGS.  

So, think of something right now that can be possessed.  Think of a Kingdom, a throne, a piece of land, a planet, a star, the entire Universe.  Jesus holds them all.  

Think of things that we cannot even see.  Think of air, wind, electricity.  Yep, Jesus has that too.  What about time?  Molecules?  Atoms?  Yeah, all in Jesus’ hands.  What about spiritual places?  Heaven and hell.  Angels and demons.  Still, Jesus has them in His hands.  All of it.  

Me and you.  In his hands.

Let me tell you what else He had in His hand.  A washcloth.  

The Almighty became a butler.  Humbled Himself when Scripture tells us that He had finally reassumed everything that He was before He was born a human and He chose to serve.  

Friends, this is it!  The last moment of Jesus’ life and He shows us what true power is, service.  

Service changes lives, opens hearts, and saves.  It makes us The Man and Woman Jesus.  

Philippians 2:6:11 ESV
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Whose Feet Will You Wash This Week?


Popular posts from this blog

Palm Sunday: The People and the Purpose of Palm Sunday

According To Luke: Completely Healed

According to Luke: Plug Into Prayer