Stewardship of Service Opportunities

Faith Church November 14, 2009 John 13:1-12

 

REVIEW:

#1:  DISCUSS the Stewardship Commitment Card

- some have already pledged an amount, you may want to consider INCREASING it

- some are NEW to our church, and have not yet made a commitment

NOTE: Our emphasis is NOT equal giving, but equal sacrifice!

- Also, emphasize the willingness to SERVE and produce FRUIT, MORE FRUIT, MUCH FRUIT

#2:  Discuss our Stewardship Banquet [this is one of those “ALL HANDS ON DECK” times of participation!]

- let’s do a quick review and get to our subject of Stewardship this morning!

* Quick Review:

  • Stewardship = God-given responsibility with accountability!

“. . . We do not choose to become stewards, we are stewards! 

The question is, ‘What kind of steward are you?’”

Q: What are the 4 Factors in Stewardship? [Matthew 25]

#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.

#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.

#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or
Diminish It.

#4:  God Can Call Me into Account at Any Time.

Introduction:

-  let’s begin our time with some questions/discuss these as a class (or break into small groups)

Input:  When you hear the term ‘servant’ what words or phrases come to your mind?

[various answers]

> sacrifice, commitment, thinking of others, compassion, work, energy

Input:  When you hear the term ‘servant’ what people come to your mind?

1.  With those thoughts in mind, let me ask you to turn to John 13.

2.  John is a book which has been attacked often by those of liberal theology.

- That’s true for several reasons – one of the major reasons is this:

     * John presents Jesus Christ as the Creator (John 1:1-2)

- Another is the way John presents Christ (in comparison to the other Gospel writers)

  • Matthew: King to the Jews
  • Mark: Servant to the Romans
  • Luke: Son of Man to the Greeks
  • John: Son of God to the world

Note:  John records 9 miracles which validate Christ’s deity (i.e. that He is indeed God!)

3.  So, when you think of John, you have to think of God in human flesh, the incarnation of Jesus

- That’s what makes the passage we’re about to study so significant! – God the Servant!!

4.  You have to keep in mind a very important truth: * Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many!

- that comes from Matthew 20:

  • Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

5.  You could view John 13-17 somewhat as a ‘farewell address’ of the Servant of God OR “one final thing that Jesus wanted to say” to the disciple (rich with meaning & application!)

READ  John 13:1-12

- John gives us 3 Key characteristics of a servant – things that need to be true of us if we are going to be a good steward of the service opportunities God gives to us

Key #1:  Servants Are Humble.

- if you are not a humble person, you will not be a good steward of your service opportunities

- inherent to serving is HUMILITY – not thinking of yourself, but thinking of OTHERS!

- Let me set up the context of this passage:

A.  Jesus is about to die on the cross.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

- Yet, even at this time, he was thinking of others!

Q: What would you be thinking about if you were about to die?

- Jesus was trying to teach them something (always was) – by His WORDS and ACTIONS

- He did this because He loved them to the end

  • John 13:1 . . . having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

- One of the tests for genuine love (God’s kind of love – agapa) is ENDURANCE

  • 1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails

B.  Jesus is sitting at the table with His disciples (Last Supper)

- Conscious of His eternal Majesty and Godhead as well as His role as the Mediator between God/man (13:1-3)

  • Just moments before He is betrayed by one of His own in the garden
  • Then on to the judgment Hall & Pilate
  • Ultimately to Golgotha & the Cross!

- at this point, He rises up from the table . . .

C.  Jesus washes their feet instead of the disciples washing His feet!

NOT to show His splendor of His divine glory (as on the Mount of Transfiguration)

NOT to insist the disciples bow down to Him

- But to lay aside His garments – take a towel – wrap it around Himself – pour water into a basin – and wash the disciple dirty feet

Q: What’s the big deal about washing feet?

  1. The washing of feet has been the tradition of Jews since the beginning of Hebrew culture
  2. As a sign of hospitality, the host would receive guest by offering water to let them wash their feet
  3. The owner of the place they met was obviously not present– it should have been obvious to the disciples that ‘someone’ do the kind deed

Note:  Even if the owner were present somewhere else in the house/dwelling, Jesus still took the initiative; context would indicate the owner was not present.

  1. They were too busy fussing over who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom
  2. The washing of feet Jesus performed on His disciples, sets itself apart from tradition because of its important in a believer’s relationship with Christ
  3. READ John 13:8-11 8 Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part 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, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."

Note:  Jesus is making a point about the purity of one’s life AFTER they have been cleansed from their sin – daily living is the focus – SALVATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

Point:  The act of washing their feet was an act of humility and compassion (13:1)

- If you are going to be a good steward of your service opportunities, you have to think and act like Jesus, . . .  which means you have to be humble, be loving, and be a servant

"Jesus was the Sovereign, yet He took the place of a servant. He had all things in His hands, yet He picked up a towel.  He was Lord and Master, yet He served His followers." -- Wiersbe

- refer to Philippians 2:3-11 [READ]

D.  Personal application: 

  1. Are you a servant?
  2. What evidence is there to prove your case?
  3. If asked, what would others say about you?

> your family, friends, co-workers if you were a servant, what would they say?

  1. Does humility and compassion characterize your life – or does pride and indifference?

“The test of your servitude is how your respond when you are treated like one” -- Collier

Key #2:  Servants Understand God's View of Authority.

  • Remember the context of this event – the disciples were arguing over who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven

A.  The disciples mistakenly thought:  POSITOIN = GREATNESS

>  (not much has changed – American culture still thinks this)

  • John 13:12 And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know 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, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
  • This is in essence the ‘explanation’ to what Jesus said earlier to Peter in John 13:7
  • John 13:7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter."

[Note: I don’t think Peter fully understood all this till AFTER his denial and the cross – look at his book, he emphasizes servanthood and reminds us of the servant-life of our Lord]

  • Peter didn’t understand what Jesus was doing because he didn’t understand authority (13:6 – Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?")
  • This was not some polite statement (like you shouldn’t be doing that, let me do it)– Peter had been brought up to view authority as a hierarchical structure – authority belongs to the man at the TOP
  • Peter’s thinking:  If Jesus were King (top man) and was doing this . . . perhaps someday when I’m in the kingdom of heaven, I MAY HAVE TO DO THIS!!! (i.e. I DON’T LIKE IT!)
  • But Jesus sets the record straight by His WORDS and by His LIFE/EXAMPLE!
  • Here’s a couple of quotes that may help you to grasp this concept:

“He’s so sure of he’s right, and so totally unaware of the pride, self-righteousness, and ignorance wrapped up in his statement.”  -- Ray Stedman

- Sounds like some of us sometimes doesn’t it?

[on HANDOUT – not PPT] "They saw that He had authority, and followed Him because of that.  Why?  Because He had served them!  They voluntarily obeyed Him because He had lovingly taken care of the, delivered them, confronted them, encouraged them, taught them, given himself to them, taken time to be with them, to serve them.  Because of that they found themselves eager to follow Him, willing to obey Him, even when they could not understand Him."  -- Ray Stedman

B.  Person Application – * ASK QUESTIONS:

  1. What is your view of authority?
  2. What would others who serve around you say about the way you use your authority or respond to authority?
  3. Is your position of authority one of ‘control/domination’ or one of influence by serving others?
  4. When you are asked to serve, are you willing to serve, or do you look for ways to say ‘no’?
  5. Do you really understand that you are a ‘bondslave’ to Christ and you should do whatever He asks you to do?

- so to be a good steward (as Christ was to His service opportunities) you have to realize: 

Key #1: Servants Are Humble.

Key #2:  Servants Understand God's View of Authority.

Key #3:  Servants Know that Obedience Comes Before Blessing.

  • John 13:17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

There is one thing about Christianity:

A.  Christianity is a ‘doing’ religion!

> not in the sense of earning one’s salvation (Eph. 2:8-9 “For by grace . . . .; Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteous…)

> but in the sense of being a religion of ACTION – doing things for the glory of God, to edify His church, and to reach the lost!

  • Yes, there are things you have to KNOW, but once you know them, you must DO them!
  • James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.
  • This is the same emphasis Paul gave in Galatians 5:13
  • Galatians 5:13 . . . through love serve one another.

ILLUSTRATIONS:  Stewardship of _______________ (Christmas for Everyone; Living Nativity, etc.!)

Pastoral Point!!:  Sometimes people can’t serve because they are too busy doing things that won’t matter in eternity!

B.  Personal Application:  *  ASK QUESTIONS:

  1. How are you doing on your hospitality goals?  (washing feet)
  2. How are you doing reaching out to those unsaved neighbors?
  3. What place of service do you occupy in Faith Ministries?

IMPORTANT: Hit the 1 hour per person per week (or 4 hours per month) – THINK OF WHAT WE COULD ACCOMPLISH

  1. If your kids had the ‘heart’ of a servant like yours – how much would they be like Jesus?

Note:  If FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH had the ‘heart’ of a servant like yours, how much would we be like Jesus?

Conclusion:

1.  What needs to change?

- put off: pride – put on: HUMILITY

- put off: disrespect for authority – put one: respect to authority

- put off: disobedience – put on: OBEDIENCE

2.  If the life of Christ and His sacrificial service and death on the cross doesn’t motivate you, what does?

3.  Homework Assignment: Get out the towels!

> quit ‘talking about serving’ and get busy DOING something

> if you don’t know what to do, come ask me – I’ll help you!!

- Thank the people who are serving …. But challenge those who SHOULD BE and are NOT

Faith Church