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Lesson 12: Lord of Our Service *

Introduction: Does God call us to serve Him in all that we do? What kind of attitude does God desire for us to have in our work? What is it, specifically, that we are supposed to do? Does every church member have some role in the church? Let's explore what the Bible teaches about service!

  1. The Blessing in Washing

    1. Read John 13:1-3. Tell me what Jesus knew at this time?

      1. If you knew that you had come from heaven and were returning to heaven, what kind of attitude would you have?

        1. What kind of attitude would you have towards humans? (I would know I was the ultimate royalty. I was visiting an inferior race (species?). It was time to rejoin celestial beings as their leader.)

    2. Read John 13:4-5. Verse 4 starts out with "so." How can washing the feet of others (the lowest job) logically result from the conclusion that Jesus is the Great God of Heaven and He is returning home? (In our way of thinking, it makes no sense at all. There is no logical connection.)

    3. Read John 13:6-8. Was Peter right to protest? (Of course. From the point of view of the world, Jesus should not be washing Peter's feet.)

    4. Read John 13:8-9. Why would Peter go from "no," to wash all of me? (It suddenly dawned on Peter that this was not about cleaning his feet. It was about partnership with Jesus. In that case, Peter wanted to get as washed as possible. He wanted to be a full partner with Jesus.)

    5. Read John 13:12-15. What is the point of Jesus' washing the disciples' feet? Was it about washing feet? Was it about partnership?(Jesus affirms His status as Lord and Teacher, but He tells them He is setting an example of service for them.)

    6. Read John 13:16-17. What logical reason does Jesus give for Christians (and Christian leaders) having this type of attitude in service? (You may be a leader, you may be important, but you are no better than Jesus. Since He was willing to do this, we should be willing to do it. In addition, Jesus says that there is a blessing in performing acts of humility.)

  2. Leadership Service

    1. Read Mark 10:35-37. What was the attitude of James and John before Jesus washed their feet? (They wanted the highest positions.)

    1. Read Mark 10:41. What attitude did the rest of the disciples have before Jesus washed their feet? (They had the same attitude - they all wanted to be given the most important positions.)

    2. Read Mark 10:42-45. When Jesus explained His foot washing, He said "You are no better than I am, so you should be willing to do this too." That is not much of a logical explanation of the reason for having this attitude. What logical explanation does Jesus give here? (It much the same as His prior explanation. Jesus says that He came here to serve. We should have that same attitude. However, Jesus makes very clear that the order of things in the "world" should not apply in the church.)

      1. What logic do you find in what Jesus commands about our attitude towards church leadership?

      2. If you see a leader who has an attitude of service, how does it affect you? (Many years ago, I was standing in the office bathroom with my boss. Some slob had left a paper towel on the floor. My attitude was that I would never throw a paper towel on the floor, but I would not be picking up after the slobs who did. Besides, we paid people to clean up the bathroom. My boss stooped down, picked up the paper, and put it in the trash can. His example so impressed me, that ever since I have done the same thing.)

    3. Read Mark 2:15-16. What answer would you give to the Pharisees, based on what we have been reading so far? (If we have a "superior" attitude when we are trying to reach others for Christ, we will have little success. I think this shows us the true logic behind Jesus "servant-leader" model. A superior, "I'm in charge" attitude, is not effective for leading others to the kingdom or for leading others to greater truth.)

    4. Read Mark 2:17. Were the Pharisees righteous? If not, why did Jesus say this? (Let's read three texts. Romans 3:10, Romans 3:20 and Matthew 23:27-28. If you have the attitude that you are righteous, Jesus will not appeal to you. You have no need of Him. When Jesus said that He came to help the sick, I think He meant He came for those who feel their need of His salvation. The servant attitude, is not simply an attitude for leadership in the church, it is an attitude that all of us need for our own salvation.)

  1. Balance in Service

    1. Read Luke 10:38-40. Which of these two women best represent your approach to service?

      1. Was Martha right to complain? Isn't it true that some leaders in the church are overworked, while other members are sitting around not doing their fair share?

    2. Read Luke 10:41-42. Why does Jesus let Mary sit around? (Jesus is telling us that "doing" in the church should not cause us to neglect our relationship with Jesus. The relationship is more important.)

  2. Methods of Service

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:27. How many members of the church have a part to play in the work? ("Each one" of us has a part.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. How many of us can have gifts from the Holy Spirit to help us serve the church? (Again, "each one" is given a gift "for the common good.")

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. As you look over these gifts, do you find yours?

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:28. As you look over this list of jobs in the church, which one of these jobs is yours?

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:29-30. Why does Paul give this caution? (We are not to expect that we will have all of these gifts. We are not to be jealous if we lack a gift someone else has. Our goal is to discover the gifts God has given to us and put them to work.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:31. Is this a license to be jealous of the gifts of others?

      1. If not, what is Paul saying? Are the gifts fluid? Is it possible to be given new gifts with time? (It must be possible to have new gifts, or Paul would not have written this.)

    7. Friend, God has given you a gift and a role to play in the church. Are you using what has been given to you to serve others? Is your attitude about being a leader in the church right? Or, do you desire to be a leader just for your own glory? Will you determine today to use your gifts to serve others?

  3. Next week: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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