1-18-15 “Your Obedient and Faithful Servant” John 13:25-32
“Your Obedient and Faithful Servant”? John 13:25-32? Dr. ben Sloan at Lake Murray Presbyterian 1-18-15
Video of the sermon: http://youtu.be/HS6WqajgPj8
?Your Obedient and Faithful Servant? John 13 1-18-15 Dr. Sloan at Lake Murray Presbyterian
When was the last time you had an email or a text or a letter with the valediction at the end: ? I am sir/madame your obedient and faithful servant.? In the 1500s up until about 30 years ago- this phrase was used. Now it is said to just abbreviate it to ?faithfully yours? or ?truly yours.? But we are missing something here. We have kicked obedience to the curb and perhaps under the bus. We also have choked out the use of faithful in favor of sincerely and truly. I contend that while signing your name may seem like a meaningless thing- there is something more going on here. I want to explore today how being a servant means being obedient and faithful. I. TO SERVE IS TO BE OBEDIENT- Obedience is not a word that is cherished in our society. We like to think that we are our own masters, and we are born to do whatever we want- and no one- including God has the right to tell us what to do. When I counsel couples about to get married, sometimes a bride will ask, ?Do I have to promise to ?obey? my husband??? My answer is that as Presbyterians you do not. But if a wife never listens to her husband and her husband never listens to her. If a wife never tries to please her husband and a husband never tries to please his wife, they will be unhappy. If there were not times when I did not obey my wife- our relationship would be in trouble. Listening, serving, and obeying are part of love. To be a Christian doesn?t just mean that Jesus is our Savior, it also means He is our Lord- whom we humble ourselves before and listen to. I. TO SERVE IS TO BE HUMBLE- A servant by nature- does not focus on themselves but on the One they serve. Jesus did not care about his reputation as much as he cared to serve others. He ate and drank with sinners; Washed the feet of the disciples; touched the lepers.???? Peter said, ?Lord you will never wash my feet.? He would not allow Jesus to degrade himself to servant status. But Jesus said, ?Unless I become a servant and wash you- you cannot join me.? ?? Paul said it like this: Consider others better than yourself. The challenge to us is not to care what people may think- but what God thinks. Christianity elevates sacrifice. Sacrifice is impossible without humility and a desire to give yourself for others or a higher cause. The highest cause is the first cause- the eternal cause- the cause of God. II. TO SERVE IS TO LISTEN- You cannot be an obedient servant if you are not listening. A Servant observes- A servant knows when they are in the room- they are there to see what they can do and do it.?? I think of a waiter/server who looks to see when your drink needs to be filled, or ask if you?d like some more desert, or brings a napkin when something is spilled, or takes away your dirty plate, or brings you another basket of chips.?? A person who serves is there to see- ?Is there anything I can do for you today?? ???? All the other disciples knew that everyones? feet were dirty. But no one did anything. They could not see the need. Jesus saw the need and then did something. ???? Jesus asks us to listen to Him- and he tells us to serve.?? The great rule he gave us about service is the golden one- ?Do unto others as you would have them do to you.? So if you have two coats- share with the one who doesn?t have one. If someone asks you to go one mile- go two. If someone is trying out a new group- you don?t just talk to your friends- but you go out of your way to welcome them and get to know them. If someone is sick, or hurting, or hungry, or a lost child- help them- for if you were in their shoes, you would want some help. If someone is about to make a serious mistake- don?t just let it slide, but gentle, and helpfully encourage them to do the right thing. Wouldn?t you want someone to do that for you? Maybe not. But maybe we all should want people to tell us we are wrong when we are. III. TO SERVE IS TO BE FAITHFUL Martin Luther King- was willing to risk everything for his people and his cause. He said, and I believe he was right, that if we can get along it makes a more perfect union and makes our nation stronger than if we try to have two separate nations in the same one. Being faithful means you are a servant who doesn?t change tables when you mess up- but you keep on going even if you know you won?t get a tip. Being faithful means when you mess up saying ?I?m sorry.? It means persevering when it is tough to help someone else out. The best kind of service is not the kind in which you will get something back out of your service- but it is shear service unto the Lord. God alone sees and God alone will bless you. Have you ever watched the marines line up for lunch? It is a natural thing for them- but it is a beautiful thing. The first person in line is the one in lowest rank- the most junior and the last person is the highest rank- the most senior.?? I would think that this is based on the biblical teaching of Jesus that the first shall be last and the last shall be first? but it may have another motive. It teaches the higher ranking soldier to put his soldiers first. It teaches the lowest to not take so much so that the higher ranking person doesn?t have anything to eat. Leadership is not a rank- but a responsibility. Such humility brings a sense of unity in the ranks- and security and trust on the inside. When Jesus washed the disciples? feet, he was showing them he was humbly giving himself for them and was not putting his pride above their needs. Jesus was not preoccupied with his own safety. But gave himself- humbled himself as a servant for us.?? Jesus inspires us to give all of ourselves because He gave all of Himself. Can you really look at the manger, at the humility, at the washing of the feet, at the cross and not be inspired to give? I want to challenge you this week- when you wake up- before your feet hit the floor to say, ?Lord, I am your obedient and faithful servant.?