Humble Service (part 2)

(This is a continuation of the message given last February 26, 2020 to the congregation of Ikthus East – Bacolod City during the Midweek Service, based on Philippians 2:1-11.)


It is significant that nothing, becoming human, and taking the form of a servant seem to function as interchangeable, synonymous terms in this passage. To be human – a creature of God – is to be a servant. That is our rightful position in the scheme of things!

We have a tendency to think highly of ourselves, but actually what are we compared to the vastness of the heavens and the greatness of God?

Psalm 8:3, 4 ESV

[3] When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, [4] what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him.

Isaiah 40:22-23 ESV

[22] It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; [23] who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

We are so proud and in our pride we are reluctant to serve. We act as if we are lords when in reality we are nothing. But he who is the real lord became nothing in order to humbly serve us who are nothing.

2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

John 13:13-16 ESV

[13] You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. [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 also should do just as I have done to you. [16] Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

We refuse to serve. Are we greater than our Lord?

And even when we serve, it should not make us proud, as if we are not deserving of applause.

Luke 17:10 ESV

[10] So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”


Obedience is key to humble service.

Hebrews 10:5-7 ESV

[5] Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; [6] in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. [7] Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

Hebrews 5:8 ESV

[8] Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

The fact that he died for us means we ought to live for him by humbly serving others.

2 Corinthians 5:15 ESV

[15] and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ESV

[9] For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, [10] who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. [11] Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

The Christian life is all about self-denial and sacrificial service, not selfish ambition and selfish living.

Luke 9:23 ESV

[23] And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Die that others might live! Die to yourself, to your dreams, to your ambitions, to your desires.


This quotation from Isaiah proves that Paul understood Jesus to be God. Add to this the fact that Jesus was given the name above all names: Lord, meaning God!

Isaiah 45:22, 23 ESV

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’”

God will exalt those who humbly serve.

“The God who will not share his glory with anyone else has shared it – with Jesus.” (N.T. Wright)

“This is the true meaning of who God is. He is the God of self-giving love.” (N.T. Wright)

Lord, we ask for your forgiveness because we have often refused to humbly serve you by serving your people, either because we find it inconvenient or because we are too proud to engage in work that we sinfully consider as not worth our time and energies. Help us henceforth to humbly serve diligently and eagerly, knowing that our labor is not in vain, and above all because humble service glorifies you who are worthy of all praise and glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash)

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