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PHILIPPIANS 1:1 SERVANTHOOD

Introduction

The book of Philippians is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi, a city in the Roman province of Macedonia. In his opening statement, Paul introduces himself as a servant of Christ Jesus. This proclamation sets the tone for the entire letter, which emphasizes humility, servanthood, and unity in Christ. In this message, we will explore what it means to be a servant of Christ Jesus, drawing insights from Philippians 1:1.

The Meaning of Servanthood

The word “servant” in Philippians 1:1 is translated from the Greek word “doulos,” which means a slave or a bond-servant. In the ancient world, slavery was a common practice, and many people were forced into bondage against their will. However, there were also those who chose to become slaves voluntarily, either because of financial debt or devotion to their master. In the case of Paul, he uses the term “doulos” to describe his relationship with Christ Jesus. He willingly surrenders himself to Christ, recognizing Him as his Master and Lord.

Being a servant of Christ Jesus means having a humble and obedient heart. A servant does not consider himself or herself greater than the master, nor does he or she seek personal glory or honor. Instead, a servant’s goal is to please the master and to carry out his will. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus Himself says, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate His example and serve others, even if it means sacrificing our own desires and needs.

The Importance of Humility

One of the key characteristics of a servant is humility. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Paul’s words remind us that our natural tendency is to focus on ourselves and our own desires, but as servants of Christ, we must put others first. This requires humility and a willingness to set aside our own agendas for the sake of others.

Jesus Himself models this kind of humility in John 13:3-5 when He washes the feet of His disciples. In ancient times, washing feet was a task reserved for the lowliest of servants. Yet Jesus, the Son of God, humbles Himself and performs this act of service for His followers. This act of humility not only demonstrates Jesus’ love for His disciples, but it also sets an example for us to follow. As servants of Christ, we must be willing to perform even the most menial tasks if it means serving others and showing them Christ’s love.

The Call to Serve

In Philippians 2:5-7, Paul writes, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” Paul’s words remind us that Jesus’ servanthood was not limited to washing feet or performing other acts of kindness. He also gave His life on the cross, taking on the punishment that we deserved for our sins. Jesus’ death and resurrection make it possible for us to have eternal life and a relationship with God.

As followers of Christ, we are called to share this good news with others and to serve them in love. In Matthew 25:35-36, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Jesus’ words remind us that our service to others is not limited to those who are easy to love or who share our beliefs. We are called to serve everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Furthermore, our service to others is not limited to physical needs. As servants of Christ, we are also called to minister to people’s spiritual needs. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul writes, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” As ambassadors of Christ, we have been entrusted with the message of reconciliation – the good news that God has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. We must be willing to share this message with others and to serve as a bridge between them and God.

The Rewards of Servanthood

Finally, it is important to recognize that there are rewards for serving as a servant of Christ. In Philippians 2:9-11, Paul writes, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Paul’s words remind us that Jesus’ servanthood did not go unnoticed or unrewarded. God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him a name that is above every name.

Likewise, as we serve as servants of Christ, we can expect to receive rewards, both in this life and in the next. In Matthew 19:29, Jesus says, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Our service to Christ may require us to make sacrifices, but we can trust that God will reward us for our obedience and faithfulness.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Philippians 1:1 reminds us of the importance of servanthood in the Christian life. As servants of Christ, we must have a humble and obedient heart, putting others’ needs before our own. We must be willing to perform even the most menial tasks if it means serving others and showing them Christ’s love. Our service is not limited to physical needs but must also include ministering to people’s spiritual needs. Finally, we can expect to receive rewards for our service, both in this life and in the next.

May we all strive to emulate Christ’s example of servanthood and live a life that is pleasing to Him. May we put others first, minister to their needs, and share the good news of the gospel with those around us. And may we trust that God will reward us for our obedience and faithfulness.

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TTN

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