Servant in the New Covenant

October 27, 2019


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A New Covenant 2019

Servant

When Jesus came to this earth, he changed the way humans do religion.  

We saw, last week, that Jesus changed how we relate to God. Jesus introduced us to God, our Father. From this understanding of God as Father we understand that the New Covenant is Family. Within the New Covenant is the blessings of family…

1) We can count on God as the perfect Father.

2) We can count on the guidance of our brother, Jesus.

3) We can count on an inheritance; with incomparable glory.

4) We can count on each other as siblings; we are here for each other. 

Jesus introduced us to God as our Father! 

But that, is not the only change Jesus introduced about how we do religion. Jesus brought selflessness to religion. “What? Say that again.” Jesus changed religion to turn it from an inward, “What can I get out of religion?”, to an outward, “What should I give because of my religion?” 

The Jews wanted a Messiah to come and kick the Romans out of the Promised Land. The Jews wanted their Christ to be a military leader who led them back to the glory days of King David. They wanted to be the “Big Dog” on the block. They wanted their glory! Their religion was a self-promoting activity. 

The pagans, of Jesus day, used their gods to manipulate. They wanted their gods for petty vendettas. They offered sacrifices to the gods to appease them into blessing their endeavors or cursing their enemies. Pagan Religion was a self-promoting activity. 

But Jesus came to change all that. Jesus came to demonstrate being a servant is essential to the New Covenant.  Notice, I said demonstrate… Yes, he taught many great lessons, but more powerfully, he demonstrated what it means to be a servant of the New Covenant. 

Let’s notice three servant-demonstrations of Jesus.

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Servant Demonstration #1 – Incarnation

I have to begin in Philippians 2…

Philippians 2:1-5Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.

Jesus is the model of our attitude. We think of others, first. We are humble. We listen to what is going on in other’s lives. Jesus is the demonstration of our new attitudes.

Because of the Incarnation, we change our attitude toward religion… keep reading… this from the NLT…

NLT Philippians 2:6-11 Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus had been one with God for all eternity…

John 1:1-4, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus did not demand his rights as God. Jesus made himself nothing. From the seamless integration of the eternal God… Jesus took on flesh; joined us in humanity; in comparison, became nothing.

Jesus, I suppose, could have chosen to be born into any family… anywhere, anytime, anyone. Jesus could have become a child to… Alexander the Great… Aristotle…Julius Caesar… Buddha… Genghis Kahn… Mozart… Cleopatra… But Jesus chose Mary; an obscure Jewish peasant, in the nowhere-ness of Nazareth of Galilee; about as nothing as there was.

But it’s more than that… He became a peasant, then went on to be executed as a criminal.  There has never been more of a contrast; never more sacrificed, than the Creator being killed by his creation. 

Jesus demonstrated, not just taught, demonstrated that we should view the New Covenant as servants. Our commitment to the New Covenant… Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus.

Another demonstration…

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Servant Demonstration #2 – Greatness in the Covenant

Matthew 20:20-26Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." *1 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." *2 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. *3 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. *4 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.


*1 Stop… James and John are two of the earliest disciples. They had been following Jesus throughout most of his ministry. Their mom is concerned. Her sons need to be rewarded for their dedication.  How about Vice-Messiah and Secretary to the Christ?

*2 Stop… Drink the cup. Jesus has to have said this with sadness in his voice.  To die with Jesus for the New Covenant. James is beheaded by Herod. John is exiled to Patmos… they are going to drink the cup. But…

*3 Stop… The other ten are upset. Concern over greatness always leads to problems. That may be as true as anything I will say today.  When we are concerned with… respect, being worthwhile, being exalted, exercising our rights, thinking we are worthy, being in charge… there are problems.

*4 Stop – The Gentiles, the ethnos, the others, all the nations, everyone not in the covenant is concerned with “over-authority”; being in charge… being the one who tells others what to do! 

But that is not the way of the New Covenant. Greatness is defined as service; diakonos, ministering, self-sacrifice; drinking the cup, getting over ourselves... is greatness!

Jesus demonstrated, by drinking the cup, we should view the New Covenant as servants. Greatness, in the kingdom, is being a servant. To be great… go do something to serve another. It’s not just talk. It’s not being in charge. It’s not making important decisions… Greatness is serving others! 

One more demonstration…

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Servant Demonstration #3 – Foot Washing

John 13:1-5 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. During supper, when the devil had 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 back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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.


This is an action metaphor. In the last hours Jesus would spend with the disciples, he took on the role of a servant to wash his guys’ feet. “I want you guys to remember me as a servant!”

Peter knows this is fundamentally wrong. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is YHWH. Jesus is their master. “No, this is backwards!”

John 13:6-11 Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." 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." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" 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." For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."


Then, Jesus washes the feet of Judas. The one who was not worthy. They one who had given up on Jesus. The one who would not make it to the New Covenant. Jesus washed the feet of Judas! 


John 13:12-17 When Jesus 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? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

In the New Covenant we wash feet. When we give it up to serve each other we are blessed. The blessing of the New Covenant is seeing ourselves as servants! 

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Engage in a random act of kindness.

Leave flowers on a doorstep.

Call someone just to check in on how they are doing.

Share words of appreciation.

Stand up for those who are unable to do so. 

Support someone, even if you disagree with them.

Feed the hungry, work for the widow, visit the sick.

Babysit for a new mom; or old mom.

Listen to someone going through something.

Bring a new person to church.

Make your bed.

Help a friend on a project.

Use your God-given gifts in service.

Get out of yourself, focus on what is best for others. Do some service!

Jesus demonstrated that the New Covenant is full of servants!

It’s time for another test; the Servant Test. Let’s see if you lean toward a servant view of the New Covenant. Remember your score on the Family Test. Compare it to the Servant Test. 

There is a contrast in family view of the New Covenant and servant view of the New Covenant… Family is blessed inwardly. Servant blesses outwardly.


Not scientific Test


Jesus demonstrated…

--We think of others as better than ourselves, so we become nothing.

--Whoever would be great among you, must be your servant. Greatness is service!

--A servant is not greater than his master. Jesus is our example! 

Jesus changed the way religion is done… We view the New Covenant as servants! 


Tim Stidham

October 27, 2019

Los Alamos Church of Christ 

  

Servant Test

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being… NOT ME and 10 being… EXACTLY ME…

1) When I pray, I think of God as my Master; my Boss.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

2) When I pray, I pray for things that I should do.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

3) When I have a choice to make, I think of the impact on others.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

4) When I see others, who are Christians, I see potential servants.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

5) I feel blessed when I serve another.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

6) Wrong is putting myself first. 

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

7) “I love you” is best demonstrated.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

8) I think service to others is all that really matters.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

9) I want to hear, “Good and faithful servant!” when I die.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

10) This sermon has been meaningful to me.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 - 10

Total __________