God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton about servant leadership.
The Encouraging Word. This is The Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton, well-known author and evangelist, and today's message on the heart of a servant helps each of us understand what we know to be true in our head. We understand Jesus literally washed the feet of His disciples. He showed us example to us what it is to serve and to lead. But today perhaps the washing the feet of your family might not be the easiest thing for you to do, but you know you want to serve them.
Or perhaps washing the feet of the people you work with every day might be a little awkward, but you want to serve them. Today we gain insight from Dr. Don Wilton about having the heart of a servant. While we're studying the Word, know that we're available for you at 866-899-WORD to pray or online at theencouragingword.org.
And now Dr. Don Wilton. Amen. I want you to take your Bibles this morning and turn to the book of Romans and chapter 1.
You will need your Bibles as always, and we'll find ourselves today in the book of Romans, in the New Testament, and chapter 1. I do want to say to you, my friends, that you need to fasten your seat belt. The reason I say that is because I'm absolutely convinced that God is going to get all over you today. Some of you are going to come to the conclusion of this worship service and say the preacher was picking on me. Some of you are going to say the preacher was all over me today. And I'm going to tell you that it has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with the Lord. In fact, my toes are being trampled on, and God has been firing spiritual bullets at me all week over this particular subject. And I'm going to make an announcement to you today.
Some of you are spending an inordinate amount of time spending time and money trying to search for means and methods to be able to bring your marriage back together. I'm going to tell you how to do it. Become a servant. Some of you are saying, how can I run my organization that would please the heart of God? Become a servant. Some of you would say, listen, how do I relate to my sons and my daughters? How can they grow up loving me at the very deepest level? Become a servant to your children. Some of you are saying, my marriage is on the rocks. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to change this.
We're in a rut. Become a servant. I want you to have a look with me at Romans chapter one. I want to speak to you on the heart of a servant. Let me read to you, first of all, from the Word of God. Verse one, Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ. That's our reading today. May the Lord write his word upon our hearts. Some of you look shocked because that's probably the shortest reading I've ever read. You see, God wouldn't let me get by, verse one. I've tried, believe me.
I want to move on. We've got a lot to talk about. We've got a lot to say about God.
We've got a lot to discover about the revelation of God in Christ Jesus. But the Lord would not allow me to get past this first expression where the Apostle Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. Now, some of you are going to say to me, what right did Paul have to call himself a servant?
He didn't. And by the way, he didn't call himself that. You see, all Scripture is given by God. All Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Paul, when he wrote every word, as we find with every word from Genesis to Revelation, was writing under the instruction of the Spirit of God. God told him by his Spirit, Paul, when you write this letter to the church at Rome, when you tell people across the centuries about who I am, I want you to begin where I need you to begin, and that is with the heart of a servant of Jesus Christ.
You can take those two words and interchange them. I believe that this man was known as brother Paul's servant. Or he was known as brother servant Paul.
I think one was his first name and the other one was his last name, whichever one you want to choose. I think Paul was known as servant Paul, Paul's servant. And right here at the outset of this extraordinary epistle, where we are about to delve into such a dynamic revelation of who God is, Paul sits right at the outset of this letter, the highest watermark, and he makes a statement to people like Don Wilton and each one of us. He says, I, Paul, am first and foremost, a servant of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful even here in this marvelous church that I encounter every day servants. I wish that I could parade in front of you people that I've met over my life. I cannot tell you how many men I've met that did everything they possibly could, paid all the money they needed to pay, traveled all the miles they needed to travel for one purpose, and that is to win the hand of the girl they had fallen in love with. Now, guys, don't all look at me like that.
You know exactly what I'm talking about. Nothing was too much trouble. I mean, nothing. It didn't matter how much it cost. It didn't matter how long it took.
It didn't matter where it was. You did it because you were in love with that little girl. But I can also tell you about a lot of people that I've met in my life, that the moment they won the hand of that young lady in marriage and they married her, they changed.
Something happened. I've met many a man who all of a sudden changed, talks to his wife using four letter words and foul language, tells her to open her own car door, treats her like she comes out of the bottom of an oil well somewhere, has disrespect for his children, has no time for his family, regards doing everything else as far more important than spending any time with his wife and children, puts his business in front of everything, is angry and hostile, self-centered. Nothing revolves around him. You know, a real kind of macho man, somebody you don't tell what to do. He's the kind of man that stands up and he says, let me tell you something about me.
You're going to hear what I think. You understand me? Have you ever said of somebody, boy, there's one thing about that man. He speaks his mind.
You know what I'm saying? I mean, you don't ever tell him what to do. He just all over you, arrogant and angry and hostile. And all of a sudden, one day, by the grace of God, that man comes to church. Maybe his mama begged him for one final time, maybe a praying wife. And when he comes and sits in God's house, something extraordinary happens. He runs headlong into the Lord Jesus Christ. And at the end of the message, the pastor says, if there's anybody here today, upstairs or downstairs, who'd like to give their heart to Jesus, I want you to get up out of your seat. Yep, I want you to do this publicly, just as Jesus did when he went to the cross.
I want you to come down here, take one of us by the hand, and allow us the privilege of introducing you to the same Jesus who not only saved us, but changed us. And that angry, hostile, self-centered, foul-mouthed individual comes down and is gloriously born again of the Spirit of God and something begins to happen. He changes. Something happens.
All of a sudden, he changes. Guess who those men are, folks? They're standing at the door handing out bulletins and hymn books. They're the ones who say, listen, I'll drive the bus for the youth retreat. These are the same men who stand out in the parking lots on Sunday morning and help people out of their motor cars. These are the same people who volunteer for Vacation Bible School just to hand a little child a cup of water to drink. These are the ones who come to church after hours and help fold and stuff envelopes. These are the ones who are never in a hurry to get anywhere because the only thing they want to do is be there for somebody else. These are the same people who never get mad when you don't call them. These are the same people who seem to know no end to loving their families, their wives, their sons and their daughters. These are the men whose children rise up and say, boy, that's my daddy.
That's my daddy. I tried to describe the character of a servant, humanly speaking. What is a true servant? Number one, true servant is dependable. A true servant is responsible. A true servant is accountable. A true servant is manageable. A true servant is flexible. And a true servant is unpayable.
Now you take all of those attributes and apply that to your own life. Are you responsible? Dependable? Accountable? Manageable?
Flexible? Uh-oh, I shouldn't have put that one down there. Have you ever met somebody who said, listen, I'll do that, but don't you ever tell me to do this? Boy, I tell you what, I've met men and women in this church ad infinitum. If you asked them to go and scrub the toilet bowl, they'd go and do it.
They'd go and do it. The heart of a true servant. Friend, the idea of slavery is abhorrent. We reject that. One of the most abhorrent movements ever known to mankind. When Paul wrote this to the church at Rome, there were millions of slaves. Paul here was trying to get people to understand that he was talking about radical change. He was talking about radical change. And in this regard, what Paul is about to present to us is the heart of a changed man.
The heart of a changed man. God spoke to Abram, called him his servant. In Joshua 24, God called Joshua, the servant of the Lord. Second Samuel, God called David, his servant. Isaiah 20, God called the prophet Isaiah, his servant.
First Corinthians, God calls deacons, servants, diakonos, deacons are servants, ministers are servants, believers are servants of the living God. And it's ironic because both in the Old and the New Testament, as long as we can trace back, servants have been a part of God's scheme. According to the Mosaic law, way back then, you can read about it, for example, in Exodus 21 and verse 5. When you get time to do that, Exodus 21 and verse 5. The Mosaic law demanded that every seven years, that the master give his slave his freedom. Now listen to this carefully folks, that was the Mosaic law, it wasn't an option. So here comes this slave and he serves this master for seven years. Mosaic law demanded of this Jewish man that he give freedom to his slave. Now many of these slaves were so well treated and for many other reasons, they were given the option of denying their own freedom.
Now I want you to stick with me. And slaves back in the Mosaic time and the tradition of the law, if they opted to refuse their freedom. Can you imagine that? Here you are a slave, master comes along and says you're free to go. Here's your freedom, I'm going to give you a certificate of freedom.
Many of these slaves said, nope, I don't want my freedom. So what they have to do, the priest took them. Guess what he did? He put a hole through their ear lobe. Some of you thought that men wearing earrings is a modern phenomena, didn't you?
No, it's not. I hate to burst your bubble this morning. Way back then, men wore earrings and they had big holes in the ear lobe. Why in their ear lobe? Because everybody could see it, you couldn't hide it.
It was there for public display. But what did it mean? What it meant was that every man who had a pierced ear was a living testimony to a wilful submission to lordship. What he meant was when you looked upon a man who had an earring or an earlobe pierced, you knew immediately that even though that man had been granted freedom, he himself made a decision to submit himself to a permanent life of subjection and submission unto his Lord. Now listen carefully to me.
You've got to listen carefully folks. God saves you and the Lord Jesus Christ calls you, but he will not force you to become his servant. You are going to have to make a determination concerning the lordship of Jesus Christ.
There is so much confusion here. You cannot become a Christian unless you confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But God tells us that in order to become a servant, you mustn't just confess and believe, you must do it. What a powerful challenge to be doers of the word, not just hearers of the word. You've been listening to Dr. Don Wilton, our teacher here on The Encouraging Word.
Don't go away, he'll be back with the rest of The Heart of a Servant in just a moment. But Dr. Don reminds me that I need to remind you we're here for you. The phone number is available 24 hours a day at 866-899-WORD.
That's 866-899-9673 or meet us on our website www.tewonline.org where you'll discover great resources like this. We are not in a good place in America. What would God say to us today? Without God, we can do nothing to stand strong in a country turning away from the path God has laid out for us.
As our nation endures tragedy after tragedy, it is so important that we follow the second greatest commandment and love our neighbors unconditionally. With your gift of support to The Encouraging Word this month, you will receive Dr. Wilton's powerful sermon, God's Message to America, along with the bonus book, When a Nation Forgets God, by his longtime friend Erwin Lutzer. These resources will engage, enlighten, and encourage you in your walk with Christ. Again, that's just one of the many great resources available on our website at www.tewonline.org.
That's www.tewonline.org. Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton about the heart of a servant. Servanthood is a required action.
Some of you are looking at me today, you're saying, Pastor, my marriage is in a mess. Make a decision today, you're going to become a servant. I'm telling you, that's jolly hard, folks, because let me tell you what servants are. Servants are somebodies who are willing to become nobodies.
Might want to just run that by again. Servants are somebodies who are willing to become nobodies. Never seen it better than in the life of Dr. Jimmy Draper at LifeWay this week. You're talking about a powerful man, a great man, a giant of a man. Folks, this man taught me this week what it means. Servant leadership comes from the bottom up, not from the top down.
This man showed me why an entire organisation has changed radically. Because the man at the top became servant of all. I'm going to submit to you, you want to change your marriage, become a servant. You want to change the attitude of your children toward yourself, become a servant. You want to have a Sunday school class that you cannot control in terms of its growth, become a servant. You want to have a church on fire for Jesus Christ, we must become servants. We want to go onto the mission field and tell others about Jesus Christ. We've got to become servants of Jesus Christ.
That's what God demands of us. What is the heart of a servant? It is the demand of the gospel and it is the call of every disciple. And so what is it about Paul's concept of servanthood?
I'm going to submit to you that God has revealed to me, my friends, as we contemplate these encouraging words in the book of Romans, that we are not going to understand the sovereignty of God if we don't understand how we are going to relate to the sovereignty of God. Servanthood has to do with me, with my attitude, who I am in the presence of a righteous and a holy God. Paul's concept of servanthood carried with it a number of things. Number one, his concept of servanthood carried with it a deep and abiding assumption. Now what was the assumption that it carried according to the apostle? Number one, that God is in charge.
I like that, don't you? Number one assumption, God's in charge. Anyone have any questions this morning? Folks, listen, we talk about keeping the main thing, the main thing. May I just, can I just say this? Because I know I'm saying it in the right place. Only one thing that matters in this church, folks, God.
Any questions? That's why we don't mess around with frivolous business meetings. We don't waste our time spending hours debating about colors of carpets. Only one thing that matters in the house of God and that's God. That's assumption number one. Never become a servant if you don't understand who's in charge.
God's a jealous God, that's what servant is. Number two, second assumption, the gospel is very good news. That's the second assumption, it's the best news in all the world. Assumption number three, Jesus Christ is the only way. I like that. In other words, there's not a kind of an alternative here.
In other words, friend, listen to me. Paul's servanthood is based upon the assumption not only that God is in charge, not only that the gospel is very good news, but his servanthood is propelled into reality by the fact that Paul had a deep and abiding assumption, a conviction of the heart that he didn't have anything else to present to anybody outside of Jesus Christ. Now folks, that's the assumption upon which the apostle based his willing servanthood. Assumption number four, that Jesus Christ is Lord. All right, number one, it carried with a deep and abiding assumption.
That's what Paul's concept of servanthood carried with it a transformed attitude. All right, I want all the husbands to look at me. It doesn't mean everybody needs to look down. By the way, I'm picking on the men because I'm in safe territory here.
All right, I'm not going to pick on any of the ladies. Now watch this, watch this, but if I may just, the shoe fits both sides, okay. Now, all right, a transformed attitude.
Paul said when he wrote to the church at Philippi, he said, let this mind, the mind of Christ be in you. Now watch this, men, you're a father, you're a husband. It's your attitude, brother. You need an attitude adjustment. You understand what I'm saying to you? You're too big for your boots.
You are. Now don't nudge him like that, let him just listen to me. Folks, you can't be a servant and be too big for your boots at the same time, doesn't fit. So watch this, what did his concept, what are we about to embark on here in Romans?
It carried with it a transformed attitude. Now I hope this is not true. In fact, I know this is not true, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's at least one person, just one man listening today that you've already said, can't stand these preachers, man. Oh, man, get out of here. Have you ever met someone like that?
Big men, tough cookies. Folks, let me tell you something, we're going to discover this as we go on through the, it challenges me so much because that's not my nature. Do you know what my nature is, folks?
You talking to me, Eddie? You see, my nature fights against me. Now I don't want anybody to go and ask my wife this.
You're not allowed to. I wish that I could get a big old vacuum cleaner and I could just suck the first three years of my married life out of existence. Can I tell you why? Because my wife married a selfish, arrogant man. You might not necessarily have known it, but she did. The moment I married her, I changed.
Everything revolved around me. My studies, my ball games, my motorbike, my surfboards, my food, my house, big cheese, as my sons still call me to this day, big chief sitting bull. That's a term of affection today, by the way. Big chief, and none of you call me that, you're in trouble. My sons call me that.
Big cheese, big everything, you know. But folks, it wasn't always that way. I'll tell you what happened to me. My attitude got transformed. And some of you are going to say, but pastor, then we take it that you're just absolutely the model servant.
You're wrong. Because every day I fail. Every day I let God down.
Every day I disappoint my family. How did this transforming attitude come about? Number one, it was implanted by the Spirit of God. God, by His Spirit, implanted the change of attitude in me. Number two, it was empowered by the Spirit of God. Now listen carefully. The Spirit of God implanted transformation in me. It wasn't Don Wilton. If I'd tried to paddle my own canoe, folks, I would not be surprised if we would be divorced today. Now, we didn't come anywhere near close to that. I'm just saying to you, had not God got a hold of this old stinky, selfish life, I'm just telling you, my wife would have been sentenced to a life of having to put up with a selfish husband all her life, where the world would have revolved around me.
She has to put up with that enough, because everybody knows me. The Spirit of God implanted that in my heart. Number two, how do you do this? How do you become a servant? I can't. The Spirit of God empowered me to do it. It's God by His Spirit.
Undeniably by His Spirit. You're listening to the voice of Dr. Don Wilton here on the Encouraging Word broadcast, and he's a final fault for you coming in just a minute, but I want to remind you that we are connecting right now. Maybe there are things in your heart that the Lord has stirred through the powerful preaching of Dr. Wilton, and you need to talk. You need to pray.
You can do that keyboard to keyboard on our website at theencouragingword.org, or let's talk about it. We are a little old school, I guess it is, and we are enjoying the opportunity of praying with and speaking with people every day on our line at 866-899-WORD. That's our Encourager line, 866-899-9673, 24 hours a day. You can have someone to talk to, speak with, pray with. Whatever God's stirring in your heart, we would love to be a part of that.
We'd love to encourage you. And now before we get away, our Chief Encourager, Dr. Don Wilton, has a closing thought. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now?
Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today, I repent of my sin, and by faith, I receive you into my heart, in Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.
This is exciting news. What a great day, what a great week it's been in the broadcast of The Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton. As we face the weekend, we encourage you to find us online at theencouragingword.org to see where you can tune in on television, be a part of our entire worship services, music and war. I also want to remind you, you need to be in church on Sunday. You need to have a local church you can plug into, and if you don't have a church, let us help you find one.
You can call us at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673, and we'll do our best to connect you by this time next week at the very latest with a local church you can plug into. Until next time, take care and God bless. Preacher Wilton, I just wanted you to know how my family life has changed. I gave my heart to God listening to you on the radio. Now my wife has a new husband and my kids have a new dad, and I thank God for your ministry.
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