DEVELOPING A SERVANTS HEART

Sermon: PastorBryan


Introduction

We’ve all heard people say, I don’t care what others think of me, but the truth is, most people do care. Most people want to be respected by others; they want their peers, family members and co-workers to see them in a positive light.

Consider your workplace; isn’t it nice to be recognized as someone who knows the job or maybe even being considered an authority in what you do? How do you feel when people either don’t recognize you as such or recognize themselves or others over you?

Do you know why facebook is really so popular? Because it allows people to manipulate what others see about them and present them-selves in the light they want to be seen. It’s a platform for self exhortation.

We are going to take a look at an interaction Jesus had with two of his apostles who sought to exalt themselves above the others. We’ll further examine what Jesus say about humility and having a servant’s heart?

Scripture: Matthew 20: 20-28

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”

23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Scripture Examined

Matthew 20: 20-21

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

Scripture refers to James and John as the sons of Zebedee. This man Zebedee was a fisherman and because his sons are often introduced as, “the sons of Zebedee” its most likely he was well known (Mat. 4:21). In this opening scripture their mother is approaching Jesus with a request. Notice she kneels before him.

Two things we can determine about this woman. First, she believed Jesus would soon be the King. Secondly, she believed his kingdom would be here on earth. So she approached the rising king with a request to exalt her sons to a place of privilege above all others in his kingdom.

Matthew 20: 22

22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”

The request is another example of misunderstanding among his followers. Jesus rebukes the brothers by telling them they don’t understand the request they are making and what it really means. The cup that Jesus was referring to was the suffering that would soon endure for their sake. He could have said, are you willing to suffer for me as I am about to suffer for you?  Their response was one derived from ignorance. They said they were willing to suffer.

Matthew 20: 23

23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

“You will indeed drink My cup” foretells their future. Jesus knew James would be the first to be martyred (Acts 12:1-2) and John would suffer banishment, persecution and imprisonment (Rev. 1:9).

Jesus reminds them that God the Father determines rewards as he sees fit (Mat 20:1-16).

Matthew 20: 24

24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 

This wasn’t a new subject among the disciples (Mat. 18:1-4). They had been caught up in position and power before. When the other ten hear of James and Johns scheme to exalt themselves they are upset.

Mathew 20:25

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

Jesus takes this as another opportunity to teach his apostles. He reminds them how the world identifies greatness.

Matthew 20: 26-28

26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 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 the Kingdom of Heaven greatness isn’t measured by the same measures the world uses. Jesus teaches that great leaders will be servants to those who are under them. Not only leaders, but to be exalted in this new kingdom you must be a servant to those around you. Jesus reminds them to look to him as the example.

 

Kindness to an Old Man Opened the Door

Doug Nichols WORLD, March 12, 1994, p. 26

While serving with Operation Mobilization in India in 1967, I spent several months in a TB sanitarium with tuberculosis. After finally being admitted into the sanitarium, I tried to give tracts to the patients, doctors, and nurses, but no one would take them. You could tell that they weren’t really happy with me, a rich American (to them all Americans were rich), being in a government sanitarium. They didn’t know that serving with O.M., I was just as broke as they were!

I was quite discouraged with being sick, having everyone angry at me, not being able to witness because of the language barrier, and no one even bothering to take a tract or Gospel of John. The first few nights, I would wake around 2:00 a.m. coughing. One morning as I was going through my coughing spell, I noticed one of the older (and certainly sicker) patients across the aisle trying to get out of bed. He would sit up on the edge of the bed and try to stand, but because of weakness would fall back into bed. I really didn’t understand what was happening or what he was trying to do. He finally fell back into bed exhausted. I then heard him begin to cry softly.

The next morning I realized what the man was trying to do. He was simply trying to get up and walk to the bathroom! Because of his sickness and extreme weakness he was not able to do this, and being so ill he simply went to the toilet in the bed.

The next morning the stench in our ward was awful. Most of the other patients yelled insults at the man because of the smell. The nurses were extremely agitated and angry because they had to clean up the mess, and moved him roughly from side to side to take care of the problem. One of the nurses in her anger even slapped him. The man, terribly embarrassed, just curled up into a ball and wept.

The next night, also around 2:00 a.m., I again awoke coughing. I noticed the man across the aisle sit up to again try to make his way to the washroom. However, still being so weak, he fell back whimpering as the night before. I’m just like most of you. I don’t like bad smells. I didn’t want to become involved. I was sick myself but before I realized what had happened, not knowing why I did it, I got out of my bed and went over to the old man. He was still crying and did not hear me approach. As I reached down and touched his shoulder, his eyes opened with a fearful questioning look. I simply smiled, put my arm under his head and neck, and my other arm under his legs, and picked him up.

Even though I was sick and weak, I was certainly stronger than he was. He was extremely light because of his old age and advanced TB. I walked down the hall to the washroom, which was really just a smelly, filthy small room with a hole in the floor. I stood behind him with my arms under his arms, holding him so he could take care of himself. After he finished, I picked him up and carried him back to his bed. As I began to lay him down, with my head next to his, he kissed me on the cheek, smiled, and said something which I suppose was “thank you.”

It was amazing what happened the next morning. One of the other patients whom I didn’t know woke me around 4:00 with a steaming cup of delicious Indian tea. He then made motions with his hands (he knew no English) indicating he wanted a tract. As the sun came up, some of the other patients began to approach, motioning that they would also like one of the booklets I had tried to distribute before. Throughout the day people came to me, asking for the Gospel booklets. This included the nurses, the hospital interns, the doctors, until everybody in the hospital had a tract, booklet, or Gospel of John. Over the next few days, several indicated they trusted Christ as Savior as a result of reading the Good News!

What did it take to reach these people with the Good News of salvation in Christ? It certainly wasn’t health. It definitely wasn’t the ability to speak or to give an intellectually moving discourse. Health, and the ability to communicate sensitively to other cultures and peoples are all very important, but what did God use to open their hearts to the Gospel? I simply took an old man to the bathroom. Anyone could have done that! –

 2 Ways Jesus Expressed Humility

 1. He washed the feet of his apostles

Jesus taught us how to be a servant by modeling this behavior himself. We see an example of this when he washes his apostles feet.

John 13:1-17 – Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended,[a] the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, yourLord 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 should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

2. He humbled himself to become a man and died on the cross

The greatest expression of humility and servant-hood was his becoming a man and going to the cross to sacrifice himself in our place.

Philippians 2:8: And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Conclusion

Throughout the New Testament we are given examples and commands to be humble and to put the needs of others ahead of our own.

  • James 4:10 teaches us if we will humble ourselves God will exalt us.
  • Proverbs 16:1818 Pride goes before destruction,
    And a haughty spirit before a fall.
  • Philippians 2:3-5Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Are you fighting for respect, to be recognized or even to be loved?  Pray for a servant’s heart, put others ahead of you and trust God to exalt you.

~Amen

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Very good Sermon. It really spoke to my heart. Anyone struggling in a marriage or relationship could benefit from listening to or reading this sermon. Thanks!