The Church with Good News: Serving
Luke 22:24-27

Welcome to the church of the NT. If you know your NT, you know that except for 3 Matthew references, we do not read of the church in the Gospels. The church as we know it begins on Pentecost in Acts.

So, a text in Luke may seem strange for our title: A Serving Church with Good NEWS. But then Luke is the author of this Vol. 1 which is followed by Acts--his Vol. 2. Also, Luke is a gospel of reversals. The kingdom we read of in Luke is a place where the normal way of thinking about our world is turned upside down. For example, high places low, Simon the Pharisee, Good Samaritan, grateful Samaritan, Rich Fool, Two Brothers, Publican and Pharisee. Lazarus and rich man. These reversals reflect principles of greatness. Acts 17:6, turned world upside down. Reminds me of a popular children's song: "I'm Inright, Outright, Upright, downright happy all the time." Perhaps Luke is not such a strange beginning place to talk about a church that understands what it means to serve.

Let us read the text and pray.

One of the first phrases I heard when I learned conversational Spanish was "At your service." In restaurants, hotels, airports, and other places in Latin America, one can hear, "At your service"--often as a question? As much as to say, May I serve you?

The Luke 22 passage we read is about the nature of Jesus. The Greek concept is slave, not mere servant. This is the highest position in the reversed kingdom. What job do you want? Slave. Would you brag about it? Put it on your resume. I was a slave.

Many are willing to be a servant, but want selective clientele. Serve, yes--church leaders, friends, some family. But we don't want to serve those who need it most.

We have not glorified the doormat, to be a doormat is bad, except down at the church house in the kingdom of reversals. Serving/slavery is good. When one is committed to serving, one knows also that manipulation is not serving. In the secular world, manipulation permeates relationships, people are crafty and coercive. But not so in the spiritual kingdom.

We resist manipulation through humility. Whatever you want. I remember when a new member came to the church I was working with. This was a church with servant elders--the best eldership in OK. But then I didn't know this church. This family had come from a church where people got their way by throwing their weight around. I remember the elders' meeting where one of the elders, an older kindly gentleman, said, "That's not how it's done in Christ's church."

How can we overcome the tendency to self? How can we become genuine slaves to everyone around us. The key is in our text. I know who I am. Jesus knew himself, he was at ease with self. This is the difference between coerced slavery and chosen servanthood. Love chooses to serve; humility encourages service.

From our text....

Jesus left us an example--he showed us how to do it.
The Christian spirit is a spirit of service. Not a spirit of self, but of service. Focused on others. Jesus, Others, You. Serving: Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:26.

Jesus empowered us to do it.
We are to SERVE everyone. We can do it by his power, spirit. According to gifts, talents, abilities. Eph. 4. There is no room here for self-exaltation.
When we learn to serve, learn how to follow Jesus in this vital aspect of Christianity--we will eliminate the tendency to Christian ghettos. Hiding the light under church pews and in nice buildings; don't want some to come, stand away from sinner with advice. Jesus came as God with us. How do we do it? Good: Explain, better: demonstrate, best: inspire.
We learn the role and the method: Rom. 7:6, serve in the new way of the Spirit. Romans 12:7 If (the gift) it is serving, let him serve....

The church is upside down. The world works in one way, but you should not be like that! Note four principles.

In summary, whole story told: service. In the upside down church, everyone serves. All seek a place of service, ministry. No more important question, "Where can I serve?" What can I do? Where can I give my life? We are here to serve one another. Sharing Service is at the heart of Christian fellowship. Service is hard because of our world focuses on greatness. Authority is a Gentile - pagan way of dealing with life, even when the person in authority has the well-being of others in view. You are not to be like that. The greatest is the servant. To be great, serve all.

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Last updated March 20, 2005.