Live Like a Champion – Week 36

The Promise of Serving!

John 13:1-17 (NAS95)


Reader: John 13:1-17

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would 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, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 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.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 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.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” 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? “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.


The promise of the week is “The Promise of Serving!” The memory verse for this week’s promise is John 13:17,
“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”


It is important that we see how this promise flows from the last few messages. We have been discussing the promises of the community of God—of how the Church is composed of both leaders and members, and how we all are called to belong to God and to one another as His body. As His body, we now turn to the promise of serving—doing that which Jesus Christ modeled and commanded for us to be and do.


The body of Christ is made up of lots of individual members who can only fit together and work together if we have the humility and heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:25-28 are our call to the promise of serving, because they are the call to following Jesus’ example:


You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.


The Lord set an example not only in washing the feet of His disciples on the night He was betrayed, but Jesus set us free by taking our sins on the Cross of Calvary.


Service is the way of Jesus and Jesus made it clear that we are to follow His example and obey His commands! Service is the way of His disciples. To be a disciple of Jesus is to have Him as your master; to be His apprentice. To live life like He lived life! That means we will live a life of service, from the inside out. This requires us to become “gentle and humble in heart” like Jesus because the promise of service comes with the praxis of humility!


Never forget, that to be Jesus’ apprentice we are to copy what the master does, but this will become a heavy burden if it doesn’t flow out of our character. Jesus didn’t serve the disciples by washing their feet so that they would feel entitled. Entitlement is a huge issue in our culture, but it should never be an issue for follower of Jesus Christ!


Jesus washed their feet as the Lord and the Teacher to show His current and future disciples the new way of life—the life of love and service, flowing not from our flesh, but from the emptying of our flesh and in the infilling of the Holy Spirit who empowers our lives in Christ.


The Apostle Paul emphasized the way of Jesus in Philippians 2:3-11:


Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Allow me to share one of the hardest realities of our call to serve as Jesus served. We will be treated like Jesus was treated. The greatest test of a servant is to be treated like a servant! Therefore, the praxis of this promise is the cultivation of our character—to be gentle and humble in heart like Jesus. You may think that the practice of serving would be to serve, and while that is true, the ultimate spiritual discipline is to think more highly of others than you think of yourself.


I am privileged by God to be examined frequently in this area of my character development: as a parent and as a pastor. The true indicator of my motives is what happens when things don’t go the way I think they should go, when someone says “no” to me, when my family or the church does not head in the direction I had hoped for or worked so hard for or gave so much for.


My true motives are made clear to me in that moment.


What is my response when I am treated like Jesus? What is my response when life is not going the way I think it should?


While serving often has a purpose or goal behind it, at its heart, serving is not about what you can do or get done (your productivity); it is about who you are becoming and what God does through you (your transformation)! While it is important what we do and how we do it, it is essential to God why we do it, who we do it for, our motives and motivations.


Are you serving for an audience of One and His nail-scarred hands?


It is in the context of serving in the church or serving your family that you find out the truth of your relationship with Jesus. And God will use people to refine you to be more and more like Jesus, especially when they are acting out of the fullness of their human tendencies to exert their personalities to get what they want or what they deem right.


God uses people and God uses circumstances, not to increase your productivity, but to put you on the fast track of transformation! Serving is an essential part of this life-giving process because it is always God’s will for you to be conformed to His character.


Volunteers bail all the time; whereas servants stay true to the course because they are serving God, not self-serving in the name of God. Keep your focus on Jesus and never forget who you serve or why you are serving—to become like Jesus and bear the image of God.


The Apostle Paul taught us from Colossians 3:23-24,
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”


Let us be one body who serves the One who is our Head, Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again.



You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message below:


You can watch the service by clicking the link below: