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The Only Way You Can be a Real Follower of Jesus Christ

cross beam with nail

If you want to be a real follower of Jesus Christ, then you’re going to have to humble yourself and learn how to think and act like a servant.  You cannot allow Christ to live through you and not be a humble servant. Only through servanthood can you be a real follower of Jesus Christ.

In Philippians 2:5-11 we learn what it means to respond to that call.  First of all, it means we have to embrace the attitude or the mindset of a servant.  Last week we learned what the attitude of a servant is; it is an attitude of humility, expressed by giving up your rights in order to serve others.1

This week we’re going to learn what it means to live out the attitude of a servant.  An attitude remains an abstract, an intangible, until it is physically expressed.  It is an unknown until it is exercised through actions. Attitude should always determine actions, because actions always demonstrate true attitudes. What you are is what you will do.  

What did Jesus do?  He did that which was consistent with his attitude.  He emptied himself.  And he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death…even death on a cross. It is impossible for us to grasp the depth of this statement, to understand the intensity of what God is telling us here. He who made all men, who knew the hearts of all men, who had all authority over men, humbled himself and allowed himself to be executed by men. Not just any execution, but execution on a cross.

The early church did not view the cross the same way we do. They did not wear crosses around their necks or in their ears as earrings. Can you imagine if someone today had a solid gold electric chair and put diamonds in it? People would think they were nuts. The early Christians viewed the cross as we might view the gallows. It was not simply a form of execution; it was the lowest form of execution. Crucifixion was reserved for the lowest class of people for those who had no standing or rights.  By submitting to death on a cross, Jesus demonstrated in the most powerful way possible that he was giving up his rights in order to serve us.

There is nothing Jesus will ever ask of us that will cost us as much as going to the cross cost him. We can never give up as much as he gave up. We can never humble ourselves as much as he humbled himself. We must, however, be willing to do whatever he asks, whenever he asks, wherever he asks.

For many of us, we have already predetermined the things God wants us to do. We have set the parameters of service. We will only serve in such and such a place, in this or that way, on this or that day. We have convinced ourselves that God would never ask us to do anything outside of that box. In reality we have simply decided we are not going to listen to him when he asks us to go outside that box. We have selective obedience, and that is not real obedience.

Genuine discipleship involves being obedient to Christ, whatever the cost, whenever the call, wherever and however. There are no part time, partial disciples. With Jesus it is either all or nothing.  Only through servanthood can you be a real follower of Jesus Christ.


1. If you want to listen to the sermon from last Sunday, you can click here or email me at mikesouthards@gmail.com for the manuscript.