LIVING TO SERVE
JOHN 13:1-17

INTRODUCTION:

We are continuing to examine our Mission statement as a Church.
Who are we?
What should we be doing as a church family?
What is Nations all about?

Here at Nations we are all about “Advancing the Kingdom”.
This is done in a progressive manner:
Seek … Grow … Serve … Go

• Seek … seeking meaning … seeking community … and eventually seeking Jesus.
• Grow … personally … spiritually … relationally. Our Christian walk should become a walk of progressive growth
• Serve … we need to discover our gifts … be released into active service … and build our effectiveness as we do so.
• Go … to advance into a needy world … connect with un-churched people … and make an impact on them by how we live, what we do and what we say … to reach those who are seeking in such a way that they find Jesus in the process.

Wherever we are “at” today we can find a place in this process.
Our job, at Nations, is to help people discover where they are on their journey and help them to Advance the Kingdom in their life.

Today we will look at the third element of our growth track … serve. Why is serving so important to us?

1. SERVING IS AT THE HEART OF WHO WE ARE AS CHRISTIANS

John 13:1-17

• Matthew 20:28 “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” Jesus came to earth to serve others.
• John 3:16 “God so loved … that He gave” God’s love is expressed through His giving of Himself to others.
• John 13:13-17 Jesus expects the same from us.
• John 13:17 BLESSING comes through service. “Blessed” = “fortunate, happy, well off”. Total satisfaction comes from a GIVING lifestyle. We are only truly happy when we embark on a life of giving out.

2. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SERVE?

Look now at John 13 in more detail.

(i) Verse1 Serving is the ultimate expression of love. What we DO speaks much louder than what we say!
(ii) Verse 2-5 Serving involves putting others & their needs FIRST.
• It was the role of the SLAVE to wash the feet BEFORE THE MEAL … dirt from the road needed to be removed as the feet were near the food (explain).
• If there was no slave present, then the lowest in the pecking order took on the role. To wash the feet was to put yourself at the lowest place.
• Verse 2 NOT ONE of the disciples was prepared to take the lowest place. The meal was already served AND the feet had not yet been washed. (Hence their argument at the meal over “who was the greatest”!)
• Verse 4 Jesus “wrapped a towel around his waist” word is “girded” … Gk “to take on the garment of a slave”. Jesus took the lowest place.
• Verse 26-27 Serving is unconditional! Jesus washed Judas’ feet! Serving does not prioritize the worthy, or those of higher status. (People rushing to carry my bag and books in Uganda … I was the visiting Pastor … my status required service … but what about the poor person or the beggar … do they get the same treatment?) Serving is unconditional. We don’t serve because people deserve it, neither do we expect gratitude in return. We serve because that’s what Jesus does!

Serving, therefore, involves:
• Seeing the need: Chairs need straightening, rubbish on the floor, a mother struggling to manage 3 kids and the things she is carrying, a visitor needing to be talked to and shown to a good seat, someone struggling to get out of their car in the rain, a person visiting for the first time, someone who has had a bereavement or is sick in hospital
• Putting status & position where it belongs … last! Verse 4 Jesus laid aside His garments (the garments of a Rabbi) and took on the garments of a slave. No one is too big to serve others.
• Doing something to satisfy the need. Jesus began to wash the disciples’ feet. He did something practical about the situation. He didn’t complain about the disciples attitude … He didn’t point the finger … He didn’t accuse the ushers or the hospitality team … he fixed the situation Himself!

3. WHAT CAN WE DO, AT NATIONS, TO BUILD A SERVING CULTURE?

• DISCOVER: We need to all take the time & effort to discover what we are good at. Serving is just putting what WE CAN DO into practice … using the “talents” we have been given.
• RELEASE: Make room for people to grow through serving. Be a church where serving is celebrated. Champion the servers … thank them … make serving a valued expression of our Christianity.
• BUILD: Provide training opportunities for people to grow in their serving gifts. Allocate resources to build people in who they were created to be.

CONCLUSION:

Jesus gave us the greatest example.
If He came to serve, then so should we.
Have you found a place of service yet … in the church? … in the community?
We will only be truly fulfilled when we express our life through active service.
Don’t wait to be asked … find a need and do it! Volunteer … put your name on a roster … give something a go!