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Early this year, we started a series called Soar and basically, the theme for our church this year is On The Fly. Isaiah 40:31 says:
Isaiah 40:31 NKJV But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
And so we’ve been doing a series based on different principles in God’s word that he says if you do this you’re going to see lift, increase, soaring in your life. Greatness coming to your life. Interestingly enough the topics that we look at are very different from what the world says. What God says will make you great is different from what the world says. As Christians we’re actually countercultural. God has called us here to reach the culture we’re in but not necessarily to be affected by the culture we’re in. As believers, God has called us to be Kingdom people. His ways of living and advancing life, His ways of accessing the things that he has for us is different from what the world says and so, we’ve been talking about a number of different topics associated with that.
We did a series all of Term 1 and today is actually the last message in this series and so with that in mind, I want to read to you Matthew 20:20-28. It says this:
Matthew 20:20-28 NKJV 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
I love this story. So here is James and John. Two brothers and the two of the twelve disciples. So they’re already kind of like on the inner sanctum. Already they’re in like the in crowd. But they say that’s not enough for them. They want to sit at Jesus’ right hand, right and left hand when his kingdom comes. So, what do they do? They get their mum to come and talk to Jesus. I can imagine Jesus sitting there saying, oh, here we go. Mum’s coming in.
Mama bear’s coming. What did she want? And she comes and sees him and he goes, okay, what do you want me to give? And she goes, well, I want my boys to sit on your right and to your left. You know, how cheeky. Getting your mom to get your promotion. Get your mom to get a pay rise. I mean, you know, the boys probably knew he’d be very direct with them but then they send their mum in.
It’s unbelievable. What chickens? Anyway, you can imagine why the other ten disciples were were ticked off. You know, we’re all ready on the inside with Jesus here and now you two want to climb over the top of us. That is so worldly, isn’t it? So worldly that when in any kind of environment, people want to climb the ladder and the rungs they step on tend to be other people around them. Amen? And so Jesus actually says to them, he doesn’t tell them off for wanting to be great. Being great is not the issue. In fact, we read in Psalm 18:35 where he says, we he stoops down to make me great. God has no problem with you being great but his way is very different from the world. It’s countercultural. And so watch this.
He actually tells them in verse twenty-six, whoever desires to become great among you, he doesn’t say stop it. He says, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your your slave. He is saying to them, if you want to be great, one of the keys to becoming great is service. Be a servant. That is not something that they wanted to hear. They were used to the higher the I rise the more people I can step on. But that’s not actually what he’s saying there. He is telling them if you want to be great, you have to be yourself. It’s an upside down kingdom principle that’s actually different from the world.
I want to talk to you, it would be remiss to do an entire series on Kingdom Greatness Principles, on principles that will cause you to soar, and not talk about serving. Because it’s one of the clearest indicators in scripture where he says, if you want to be great, it’s as clear as anything. Jesus Christ himself. If you want to be great, you have to be a servant and so, I want to talk to you today about signs of service and I want to talk to you about six things serving is a sign of. Sixth things, serving is a sign of based out of this passage of scripture.

1. Serving a sign of the Kingdom

The first thing about serving is that serving is a sign of the kingdom. Matthew 20:25-26.
Matthew 20:25-26 NKJV 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
What was he saying? He’s saying, this is how it’s done in the world but that’s not how we do it. We do things differently from the world. So, serving is a sign of the Kingdom of God. People with a serving attitude. In fact, if you look through scripture, there’s so many times where they have to deal with the issue of selfish ambition in the because it’s actually in the book of James, I’ve told you before, the book of James was written to deal with selfish ambition that had actually climbed into the church and he needed to get rid of it and so he was addressing that issue in the book of James. It’s so much a part of our society and our culture especially here on the Gold Coast. It’s such a natural part of the life and the culture that we’re in.
But it’s actually not a kingdom culture. Kingdom culture is one of actually service. In fact, You can tell the difference between you can tell the difference between a kingdom culture and people that are just in an empire culture. You know, some Christian organisations, they could be the kingdom or empire and the difference is this, empire Christian organisations, all they do is things that benefit themselves. If it doesn’t benefit them, then they don’t do it but that’s not kingdom. Kingdom is serving is a sign of the kingdom.
I remember years ago, there was these friends of the apostles of a church in Australia and actually had a school attached to their church and there was another in another town there was another church which had a Christian school and the school was actually really in trouble and so they allowed their principal to the the original church allowed their principal to go to the other church. The other school and helped them get going again. Spending like a day a week. Going and actually helping them get going. Eventually that other school started going well and is still going really well today. In the meantime, that original church came upon some hard times themselves. There was a downturn in their city.
They lost a lot of students. They’d had there was a little bit of infighting and that sort of thing and so they reached out to this school that they helped that was now strong and asked them to reciprocate and do the help for them as well. And the school they reached out to said oh look we’ll only help you if you let us take you over. Now, when I heard that I said to the original church you’ll be given that to them over my dead body. I said, that is not kingdom. You did this for them and now they want to just steamroll it. I said, no chance. That’s empire. Kingdom is when we’re actually serving is a sign of the kingdom. Doing things purely for the benefit others is a sign that we’re actually followers of Jesus Christ. The spirit of the world says, I only do things to my advantage, only do things if I get a transactional, some kind of something happens for me but that’s actually not kingdom. Kingdom is a serving is a sign of kingdom living

2. Serving a sign of future success

The second thing about serving is serving as a sign of future success. Matthew 20:26-27 says:
Matthew 20:26-27 NKJV 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—
So he doesn’t say there’s an issue with them being great. He’s actually saying this is the way to get there. It’s actually through service. Service is God’s way of preparing his people for promotion. There’s an old saying it says the fastest way to the king’s chambers is via the servant’s quarters. In the same same way having a willingness to serve without agenda is one of the ways that you position yourself to be promoted by God.
Classic example of this is Joseph in the Old Testament. Wherever he went, he was mistreated a number of times, sold into slavery, and then he was sent into prison, then he was left there but one of the common things he did that wherever he was, he served wherever he was and in the end, it was one of the keys for him being promoted quickly at the that season becoming the second most powerful man in the world.
In the same way serving is God’s way of preparing his people for actually promotion. It’s God’s way of preparing them for future success. Remember, when we first came to the Gold Coast number of years ago, we’d only been here a year and and there’s a committee that’s a Gold Coast Steering Committee, a number of pastors that get together and put on events. Easter United is one of those events and that sort of and I remember when we first got here to the Gold Coast I got contacted by that steering committee and they said, oh Ben, we’re we’re doing a mayor’s breakfast. Could you supply all the communion? And I said, oh yeah, okay. Sure. No worries and so and I remember thinking to myself, man, I’m pretty busy. You know, and going to go in and take the communion. I thought, but no, it’s okay. We just did that and then they asked me for something else and I said, yes, yes, no worries.
That’s okay and and then about a few months later, I was in they did a do a thing called Easter United. A number of us went last week, Easter United and the second one that they did leading into it. I got a phone call like just a month before from this steering committee and they said, oh, Ben, we want to, we’re asking you, would you be willing to speak at the next Easter United? And I said, oh, look, I’ve been here 5 minutes, mate. Like, you know, people been here a lot longer than me and I thought they were getting me to speak so I could make sure all you guys went, you know, because that’s what sometimes people do and I said to him, I said, listen, you I said, listen, you don’t have to ask me to speak for me to tell my church I said, we’re coming anyway, okay?
So, don’t worry about it and they said, no, no, that’s why we want you to come. So, and I said, okay. So, I went up and spoke at it and sometimes, some people said, oh, How come? It’s only been 5 minutes, mate. What are you doing up here? You bought your way in, did you? You know? and I said, I don’t know I just gave him communion When you do things without agenda, You’ll be amazed at the doors that God opens. Amen? And it’s also a key to promotion.

3. Serving a sign of humility

Third thing about serving is serving is a sign of humility. It shall not be so among you. Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave. Those are not aspirational things for people in that culture. Jesus says, if you want to be great, be a servant. They’re trying to get away from that. That’s what and John are trying to do. They’re trying to get up the first rung of the ladder.
Okay, we’ve been serving Jesus. We’re in the twelve. How do we get a distance ourselves from the other guys? And he says, no, no, be a servant or a slave. He’s actually saying to them, humble yourselves. Service is a sign of humility. The most famous example of Jesus doing this is when he washed his disciples’ feet. When Jesus sat his disciples down and and then he actually put the towel around his waist, got some water and he started going and washing his disciples’ feet. That was the job of a slave and a servant. Wasn’t the job of a king and as he went around to each disciple, you know, they’re they’re kind of quiet. No one’s to say anything but they’re all thinking the same thing.
Well, you know, what’s going on here? And he gets around to Peter and Peter has the gift of saying what everyone’s thinking and and it’s interesting that the scripture says he’s go he’s going to wash Peter’s feet and Peter’s in disbelief. He said, lord, are you washing my feet? Yeah, he’s already washing your feet. But he’s in such disbelief. He could not believe that the son of God would come and humble himself and actually wash the disciples’ feet.
Humility is a sign. Service is a sign of humility. My old Bible College principle Doctor David Cartledge, he and his wife and Pastor Murray. They used to pastor a church up in Townsville called Calvary and it’s quite a large church. They were doing a working bee and I think they had a guest minister or something and there was an American lady there and Pastor Murray senior pastor of the church at the Working Bee was cleaning the toilets.
The American pastor said well I ain’t ever seen a senior pastor clean the toilets. And Pastor Murray says well this one does. A willingness to humble themselves. It’s a sign of humility. If you got pride in your heart, you can’t ever serve. But service is a willingness to be is a sign of humility. Philippians 2:5-8 says this.
Philippians 2:5-8 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
His humility caused him to be willing to be a servant. And in the same way that’s what that scripture is saying. That in our dealings with one another. That humility will manifest. In servants in service.

4. Serving a sign of security

The fourth thing about service is this. Serving is a sign of security. Serving as sign of a secure person. Not an insecure person. Matthew 20:26-27 says this:
Matthew 20:26-27 NKJV 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—
Noticing it’s not a coerced thing. When the kingdom of God is in your heart there’s a natural desire for people to actually want to serve. But it’s actually of personal security. John 13 in the famous story that we talked about before about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Says something very interesting before he washed their feet. In verse 3, he says:
John 13:3-5 NKJV 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Notice this, before he started serving, it says, He knew that the Father had given Him all things so He knew what He had, and that He had came from God, He knew who He was, and was going to God. He knew where He was going. And from that position, he started serving. Serving is a sign of personal security. Sometimes, if you’re too insecure, you can’t bring yourself to serve.
But because of Jesus’s personal security, He was actually willing and able to serve other people. One of the things I love about our church is that right across it, right across all of Queensland. We have people of all different types and all different nationalities and all different socioeconomic status and we have some incredibly successful people in our church who you would not know that they were. And the reason being is because they don’t lord it over people and they’re willing to serve.
I know one of our campuses that we have we have a member there and that person is a very incredibly wealthy person and but you wouldn’t know it. When you go to that campus, they come and take your coffee order. They go and they love being the barista at that particular cafe. Then they will come and at the end of the service you will see them cleaning up. They could quite possibly be the wealthiest person in the church. But you wouldn’t know that why? Because they don’t lord it and they’re willing to serve.
Their personal security enables them to serve others. They don’t feel like they’re less than because they serve other people. Service is actually a privilege. Service is actually an opportunity. Even serving in the house of God. The Bible says, better is 1 day in your courts, oh Lord than 1000 anywhere. I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my Lord than dwell in the tents of the wicked and in the same a service is actually a great sign of personal security.

5. Serving a sign of selflessness

The the fifth thing about service is that serving is a sign of selflessness. Jesus says in Matthew 20:28.
Matthew 20:28 NKJV 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus served for the benefit of others. When we serve, we’re not doing it with strings attached. When we serve, we’re not doing it to try and extract some kind of benefit. When we serve, you do it purely for the benefit of others. You can always check whether you’ve actually got that motivation. Maybe there’s somebody that you’ve served or helped out and then maybe they didn’t do something that you wanted them to do. Deep down, that actually means that maybe we were doing the serving with wrong motives.
Maybe we were doing it because we were expecting something in return. But when fully serving, it’s not to extract some kind of benefit. Well, you’re truly serving, it’s to be actually a simply to be a service and a blessing to other people. Number of years ago, I read this tweet out by a man by the name of Rick Warren who’s a pastor in the United States, very well-known pastor. He wrote the book, The Purpose Driven Life and he said that in that book that when he was running the church in America that he allowed all his staff to use 10% of their time to actually be a to other churches to serve other churches.
So that basically means he allowed his staff one day a fortnight to go and serve and be a blessing to other churches. Not people that were in their network. Not people that paid for the privilege. Not people who somehow can just repay them. It was actually they were just allowed and free to do that. That’s what we do as well as a church. We have some of our guys that go and do things for other churches. Even next week one of our youth pastors over at Pimpama is going to speak at a youth conference next weekend up in North Queensland and that sort of thing and within reason we are quite happy for our church to actually be a blessing for others.
Even though it may not in the short term or it may not immediately cause any benefit for us. Because serving is a sign of selflessness. There’s no kind of extraction. As I said to you before that’s the difference between a mindset of having an empire and a mindset of the kingdom. Kingdom is selfless service but empire is I will do this transactionally if I get this particular benefit.
Even this week there’s a there’s a few senior pastors in Queensland that have contacted me and they they like zooming in on our staff devotions and we’ve got another pastor coming on Tuesday and I don’t know why but for some reason he wants to look at the way we do our staff meetings and that sort of thing and so that happen is no issue at all.
It’s not like, hey, you can do it if we charge a fee. You could do that if you let me preach for you. You could do that. No, no, no. That’s not the way we operate because we’re King’s. We’re not empire church. If we had an empire mentality, then we’d have to change our church. We would not be allowed to call our church kings. We’d have to call our church ’empire church’ because a sign of service is actually selflessness.

6. Serving a sign of Christ-likeness

The sixth thing about service is serving is a sign of Christ likeness.
Matthew 20:28 NKJV 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Service is a sign of Christ likeness. I told you the story about many years ago. When I was going at a visiting a conference and this elderly man was up the front. I went to the altar call to get prayed for. It was much taller than me. He looks down at me and he says, what do you want, son? I said, I want to be like Jesus and he said, are you sure? When he said that, I thought, oh, maybe not.. but now, you put it that way.
I thought I’d be coming back with a sword in my hand. You know, and because if you want to be like Jesus one of the things is servantness. Be imitators of God as dearly beloved children, the Bible says. If you want to be like Jesus, service is part of the deal. John 13:14-17.
John 13:14-17 NKJV 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
What is he saying? I’m giving you this lesson. He says, you want to be like me, then you gotta live your life with a servant-hearted attitude. It doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat. It doesn’t mean that your person, that you allow yourself to be abused. It doesn’t mean that your personal boundaries are violated but every single one of us is kingdom people. There needs to be a portion of our life. Where without any extraction, without any personal benefit, without anything just for us, we need to have the heart of a servant.
You know, one of the things is that this is so countercultural. This kind of talk about servanthood. It’s not very western. And it’s certainly not very Gold Coast, but it is Christian. As believers we’re kingdom people. God’s called us to reach the community but doesn’t mean we’ve gotta be like the community. Amen. And part of that is our attitude of service. That’s why it’s even a healthy thing.
That if we come to church rather than having a consumer minded mindset about what I can get out of it. Rather than that what if we have the attitude of what I can put into it? How can I contribute? How can I be part of what God is doing? You know even JFK many years ago said ‘ask not what your country can for you but ask what you could do for your country’. And in the same way as believers God has called us to live lives of service.
God has called us to live lives of of sacrifice. God has called us to live lives of obedience. He’s also called us to live lives of freedom and liberty as well. Amen? And in the same way God has called us to be people who have a heart of service. But the awesome payoff about it is this. That if you want to be great Jesus says, one of the keys is to actually be a servant. Amen.
Our nation would not be here without the sacrifice of others. We call ourselves the lucky country but we’re the lucky country because people had fought so that we could be the lucky country. Go to any RSL and they would say the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. That there are times when people are called to people have been called in service and to do things in service for other people. You know tomorrow is Anzac Day. Some of you have been wondering when Ben’s ever going to talk about that. Tomorrow is Anzac Day.
What it’s the ultimate day of acknowledging those who have gone before us. Fought for freedom. Fought for freedoms that they themselves didn’t end up experiencing. One of the most touching things I’ve ever been to in my life. Was actually going to the War Memorial in Canberra. And actually seeing the names on the walls. The the worst one is World War one. You go to World War one and you see it and you think about the size of our nation at the time. And the names of people that lay down their life. Teenagers. Nineteen. 20.
We heard stories this morning about people that got married three months later went to war. Didn’t see their spouse for six years. Sacrifice. Not in it for them. Receive no it. Come back, some came back with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some came back suffering for the rest of their lives. So that we could have the society that we have. Amen? Service is in the bones of our country. Service is in the bones of the kingdom. Amen. And if you want to be great, Jesus says, we have to be a servant.
And so today, I want to show a video. It was actually put together by a great friend of our church, Pastor Cole Stringer. Cole put this video together a number of years ago around remembering the Anzacs and those who’ve gone before us. for to the freedom survive who do it right now.
No one gets called into the military or armed forces. For any other reason other than a desire to serve their country. And so maybe you are here and you are currently in the Armed Forces or you used to be or maybe and we have this in the other service. There were some people there that actually lost family members serving their country in the line of duty. Maybe there’s some people here like that. If there is, we want to honour you and honour your family today.
We want to pray for you right where you are. So if that is you, if if that is you, if there is anyone here that previously served in the Armed Forces, currently do, or your family lost a family member who was serving. If that is you, can I get you to stand at your feet? If there’s anyone here like that today. Okay. Yep. Awesome. Anyone else? We want to honour you today. We want to honour you and your family. We want to pray a blessing.
Jesus said, unless it sees, go get sown into the ground and dies. So, then it produces fruit. Our nation is the fruit of what others have done. So, we want to pray for you. Pray for your family, Generations before. That have paid a price for what we have and take for granted. Stretch our hands towards these wonderful people. Father in the name of Jesus. We love and honour every member of our church who has served in the Armed Forces Lord God.
Or for those families that have lost a loved one in the armed forces. I thank you and honour them today and I ask and pray and declare a blessing upon every single one of them right now. I thank you for that Lord God. I thank you. We acknowledge Lord. We have the liberties and the freedoms and the nation that we have. Because these people chose to serve generations coming ahead of the Lord.
They chose to their nation and some of them were not able to see it themselves. I honour them. I pray a blessing on every single one of those families Lord God. And every single one of those people. I thank you and I praise you for that Lord. In Jesus name. Amen. Could you round of applause for these people and it’s wonderful and Church, would you stand to your feet Just going to worship god one more time.
You know, we talk about the presence of god and what the presence of god is attracted to. One of the things that the presence of god is attracted to is sacrifice. The Bible tells us about the prophet Elijah that he actually in a dual with the prophets of Baal. He wanted to attract the presence of god and what he did was he established an altar of sacrifice. And then later on as he called down far from heaven The presence and the power of God consumed that sacrifice. Sacrifice attracts the presence of God. So why don’t we right now give him a sacrifice of praise? And as we praise him and as we worship him, his presence will come. And when his presence comes, he fills you with life, joy, and strength. When his presence comes, he fills you with liberty. When his presence comes, he fills you with the joy that you need to live the victorious Christian life he’s called you to live. Amen?
So right now, why don’t lift your hands and sacrifice to him. And as you do that we’re going to lift our voices. And as we worship him his presence will come. And in his presence is fullness of joy. Let’s worship him in this place. Jesus
Ps Ben Naitoko

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