THE MAIN POINT
Following Jesus is a journey of daily submission and true service.
Submission- Matthew 26:36-42, Mark 8:34, Phil 2:8 (CSB)
Service- John 13:1-17, Matthew 20:28, Mark 9:35 (CSB)
For the second week of “How to follow Jesus,” we are focusing on the OUTWARD disciplines especially highlighting submission and serving and how they are connected to one another.
Often in today’s culture submission is seen in a negative light. Some view submission as harmful, when demanded with a lack of freedom, while others have had bad experiences with submission from submitting under harmful leadership.
Counter to today’s culture, the bible actually talks about how submission to God brings a person freedom rather than bondage, and Jesus the Son of God demonstrates submission to God in Scripture.
Submission is conforming to the way of life of Jesus, no matter a person’s personal opinion, agenda, plan, or truth. Richard Foster stated “submission is laying down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. The cross is the perfect sign of submission.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane the day before Christ was crucified he said in Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus asked for this not once but twice going on to say “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Despite Jesus asking for another way, He submitted to God’s will.
Submitting to God is following his plan, his way, and his truth above all else. Each day, surrendering our own will to his.
To conform to the life of Jesus, Serving one another was a primary practice.
Service according to Richard Foster is the cross being the sign of submission, while the towel is the sign of service. Greatness is defined by our heart for true service.
In biblical times, they did not wear shoes. Their feet were covered in dirt, sores, and chalices and to wash the feet of another was seen as lowering yourself to the job of the lowliest servant. Yet despite the label tied to this act in John 13:17, Jesus washed His disciple’s feet.
Jesus humbled himself to servanthood as he washes the feet of his disciples excepting no praise, recognition, or applause. Jesus did this before the last supper, not in front of a crowd.
Jesus washing the disciple’s feet gains him nothing. True servanthood is serving another without expecting a reward, praise, people seeing, results, human applause, or reciprocation. True servanthood does not pick and choose whom to serve but is indiscriminate in its ministry. To be a true servant you are choosing a lifestyle or pattern of living.
In today’s context, true servanthood might look like asking the new kid in school to sit with you at lunch, help clean up without expecting any reward for it, or being a good sibling. What does that look like to really love your sibling well, or even your parents, or whoever? In worldly terms you gain nothing but in kingdom work, you gain everything, you gain humanity and a servant’s heart.
As we submit ourselves to the Word of God living (Jesus), we submit ourselves to the Word of God written (Scripture) (Richard Foster)
We surrender our body, mind, and Spirit into the hands of God to do with us as he pleases through the long darkness (Richard Foster)
The son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)
Carry the cross patiently, and with perfect submission; and in the end it shall carry you. (Thomas a Kempis)
As you prepare the core of the message using personal story and questions keep in mind these points:
- Jesus’s life of submission and service was not only demonstrated on the cross, but through his daily life.
- We are called to serve one another, a good measure of your submission to Jesus is your heart for serving.
- True servanthood is serving others without expecting a reward, praise, results, or recognition.
As you prepare the application, challenge and/or encouragement, keep in mind these points:
- Call them to recognize where they have not submitted to God (that might be stress, an idol, their own plan, or a sin)
- Think of one way this week you can serve someone tangibility (in your workplace, school, family, relationships)
- To know how to submit to God we must first go to Scripture to know Him. Challenge daily scripture reading starting in proverbs or one of the gospels to gain more insight on how to submit to God