Sunday, February 7, 2016 am                                            Others 2016 Index


Others (6)



This year we are going to devote some time to the theme of the Christian and others.    A part of our maturing as Christians is an understanding of our responsibilities to others – whether it be God, our brethren, our family or our neighbors – our lives have an impact on others.  From time to time in our studies we mention the importance of serving others.   We sometimes make a distinction between what we do as the church collectively and what we do as individuals.  So what are we supposed to do in serving others?  The next few lessons will address this.
  Today we will begin by noting that the Bible calls for us to be servants. 
  Next week we want to examine the example of Jesus as a servant.  

  Then we will address how we serve others – this is where we will notice what it means to serve others.

  We will then notice the distinction between the individual and the church in serving others. 

 I.                    What is a servant?

a.        Defined 

                                                   i.      Servant (serve) – in English the word is defined as, “A person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a persona attendant.   (
When we think of the servant, we are not concerned about the hired person who cleans houses, etc (though there are principles in the Bible that apply), but rather the one who serves others. 
In the New Testament, the word “servant” is most often from the Greek word, δο
λος (doulos) and is reference to a slave or servant similar to that of the hired servant in the above definition. 
But another that is translated servant is the word, διάκονος (diakonos) and it describes one who serves others. 

                                                  ii.      It is also translated as ministers and 3 times as deacons.  Our focus in this study is going to be on this definition.

                                                iii.      Steward – was a servant (slave) who was put in charge of something.  An administrator.   We are described in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 as required to be faithful. 

                                                iv.      Serve – means to help or be useful to another.  It means to do something for another that needs to be done and to look out for their well-being.  It is to carry out the actions of a servant.

b.       The heart of a servant – we sometimes hear that expression.  While the term is not used in scripture, it certainly is true.  Being a servant is about one’s attitude (which is a reflection of his heart).  
If and how we serve others will be determined by the type of heart we have. 
Consider 1 Kings 3:9 where Solomon requests wisdom from God.  He notes, “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?

c.        Leadership – best when one is a servant - not typical.
In our world, successful leaders are typically perceived as aggressive people who are looking out first for their own interests.  An example is the business owner who is about making money first.  While they may help others, their personal sacrifice is minimal OR their sacrifice now is so that they will gain greater advantage in the end.  His employees are a means to his end.  They are hired to serve him.  The product he produces causes him to prosper more.  (NOTE: This is not true of all business owners).
The servant-leader is one who cares about others – his workers and those who he is creating a product for.  He cares about their well-being and takes actions to show that.  This does not necessarily mean he will not prosper (he usually does), but it is not the money that drives him.  Typically such leaders prosper because those under him know that he genuinely cares about them and therefore they are willing to do more for him. 

d.       In the Bible, godly leaders CARE!  Godly leaders SERVE.

Preachers are often described as ministers – 1 Timothy 4:6
Elders by their job serve the Lord (Titus 1:7 – steward of God) and their brethren - Heb. 13:17 – they are watching out for our souls.  1 Peter 5:2-3 – they oversee and live as examples for the flock. 
Deacons, by definition of their term  (1 Tim. 3:8)– are servants as per the Greek word previously mentioned, διάκονος (diakonos). 

 II.                  Servants in scripture

a.        Phoebe – Romans 16:1 – described as a servant of the church at Cenchrea.  We are given no details of her work, but we know that she was a servant.   While scriptures place limitations on what women can do in the assembly (1 Tim. 2:11-15, 1 Cor. 14:34-35), it is clear that there are many things that they can do – including teaching in certain environments (Titus 2:3-5, etc.).  In some capacity, Phoebe served. 

b.       Dorcas – Acts 9:36-39 - also known as Tabitha, she was a woman full of good works and charitable deeds who had died.  She had helped many with tunics.

c.        Paul – 1 Cor. 9:19-22 – a study in serving others himself, this text points out how Paul did whatever he needed to do if it furthered the cause of Christ. 

d.       The Good Samaritan - Luke 10:33-36 – unlike the priest and Levite that passed by one who was probably their brother in the Law of Moses, the Samaritan stopped and helped this man.  It was in answer to a question – “Who is my neighbor?”  (Luke 10:29).   Jesus taught that those we can help (serve) are our neighbors.

 III.                  Servants of God – FIRST, we are servants of God.

a.        Psalm 2:11, “Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling.”

b.       Romans 12:1 – Presenting your body a living sacrifice is your reasonable service
Romans 6:17-18 – having be set free from sin we became servants (slaves) of righteousness (δουλόω)
Matthew 6:24 – you cannot serve 2 masters – choose who you will serve.

c.        When you serve God, you will serve others!

 IV.                We need to serve others

a.        The Levitical priesthood was about service.  The book of Leviticus outlines the various sacrifices they offered and the work they did for the people on a daily basis.  It was not a “glamorous job”.
They were also responsible for maintaining the Law and teaching the people. 
Frequently when Judah and Israel were condemned (both in the prophets and in their history), the priests had failed to serve the people.   For example: Malachi 2:7-9, Jeremiah 5:30-31, Ezekiel 22:26 – “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

1 Samuel 2:12-17 describes how Hophni and Phineas corrupted the priesthood and it caused the people to abhor the offering of the LORD.
Israel and Judah fell because among other things, the priests quit serving the people and served themselves!

b.       Another continual condemnations of Israel was corrupt leaders that neglected the needy -
Amos 5:11-12, “Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them. For I know your manifold transgressions And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate.
Also Isaiah 1:23, Jeremiah 5:28 – they have grown fat…they do not plead the cause of the fatherless or defend the needy.
POINT:  One cause of Israel’s and Judah’s destruction was their failure of their leaders and others to serve!

c.        In the New Testament we are to care for the needy as well.  It is an imperative!
James 1:27 – visit orphans and widows and in their distress
 Matthew 25:40, 45-46 – one factor in our judgment will be whether or not we cared for the needy.
Galatians 2:10 – they desired that we remember the poor
Galatians 6:10 – do good to all, especially those of the household of faith.
1 John 3:17-18 – love in deed and truth by helping a needy brother.
This is one of the many ways that we can serve.  There are also other passages.

d.       Scriptures to consider as servants – there are many passages that address our need to be a servant!

Eph. 2:10 – we are created in Him for good works

Matt. 20:26, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”

Titus 2:14 – we are to be a people zealous for good works
James 2:14-17 – faith without works is dead… James specifically illustrates this!

Galatians 5:13 – through love serve one another!

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 – it is required of stewards that one be found faithful.


In this lesson we have established that the scriptures calls on us to serve others!  This is also borne out in many other ways.  Next week we will notice the ultimate example of serving others – Jesus.  Let us resolve to examine ourselves to determine if we are the servants we ought to be.  Think about it.