“Nothing is clearer from the New Testament than that the Lord Jesus expects us to take the low position of servants. This is not just an extra obligation, which we may or may not assume as we please. It is the very heart of that new relationship, which disciples are to take up with respect to God and to their fellows if they are to know fellowship with Christ and any degree of holiness in their lives.”
Chapter 8 really continues the theme of the entire book which is that of brokenness and surrender. We are challenged as to our willingness to be a servant of Christ. We learn that being a bond-servant of Christ goes way deeper than outward acts of service. God won’t let us get away with just the outward acts, He loves us so much that He wants to get to our heart. My husband says we don’t need behavior modification, we need GRACE transformation! That is in essence what being a bond-servant is all about, allowing Christ to change our hearts by His grace!
Roy compares the types of servants mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament, the two types of servants were hired workers, “servants who have wages paid to them and have certain rights,” and bondservants, servants who “have no rights, who receive no wages and who have no appeal.” In the New Testament, the type of servant that is clearly our position in Christ is that of a bondservant. “We are to be the bondservants of One who was Himself willing to be a bondservant.”
“Nothing shows better the amazing humility of the Lord Jesus, whose servants we are to be, than that “though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:6-7).”
“You and I are to be the bondservants of Him who was and always is a bondservant – whose disposition is ever that of humility and whose activity is ever that of humbling Himself to serve His creatures. How utterly low, then, is our true position! How this shows us what it means to be ruled by the Lord Jesus!”
When we become His bondservants, we lose our right to independent living. By this point in the book, we know that the only way we can be bondservants in the truest sense of the word, is through brokenness and surrender. As we yield to Christ, His life will be seen in and through us. Roy goes on to say that “our servanthood to the Lord Jesus [will] express itself in our servanthood to each other.” He uses the example in Luke 17:7-10 of the servant and master to demonstrate 5 marks of bondservants.
“Bondservants must be willing to have one thing on top of another put upon them, without any consideration being given them.”
This obviously does not mean we are door mats. But what it does mean, is that when we are surrendered to Christ, we don’t need consideration given to us because we are depending on God’s grace. I am reminded of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (NKJV). God’s grace is constantly available to us and works within us to do the task God has called us to as His bondservants.
“In doing this, bondservants must be willing not to be thanked for it.”
The bondservant realizes that whatever he does, he does it unto the Lord and not unto man. He doesn’t need recognition or appreciation because he wants Christ to get all the glory. His heart is so overflowing with gratitude that he simply has no other reason to serve God except for love. Earthly praise is not the bondservant’s goal because he knows his reward is in heaven.
“Having done all this, bondservants must not charge others with selfishness.”
A bondservant serves with humility, and is not looking out for his own interests. Bondservants are not focused on others, but only on their Lord. “For consider Him who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (NASB1995). Instead of inwardly charging others with selfishness, a bondservant is “to find in the selfishness of others but a further opportunity to identify afresh with the Lord as the servant of all.”
“Bondservants must confess that we are unprofitable servants.”
A bondservant knows he is just a useless branch without the life of the vine flowing through him. Jesus, in John 15:5 says it beautifully, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (NASB1995).
“The admission that doing and bearing what we have in the way of meekness and humility, we have not done one stitch more than it was our duty to do.”
A bondservant doesn’t need a pat on the back for serving the Lord in meekness and humility. He hasn’t done any more than his reasonable service of worship! Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (NKJV). “We, then, have not done anything especially meritorious when we have consented to take that position [of a bondservant], for we were created and redeemed for that very thing.”
“This, then, is the way of the cross. It is the way that God’s lowly Bondservant first trod for us; and should not we, the bondservants of that Bondservant, tread it still? Those who tread this path are radiant and happy souls, overflowing with the life of their Lord.”
Chapter 8: Homework
Day 1: A Bondservant doesn’t need Consideration
- Read Luke 17:7-10. How do these verses demonstrate the role of a servant?
- Read Philippians 2:3-4. Record the commands listed.
- Read Philippians 2:14-16. Why does Paul tell them to do all things without grumbling or disputing? (see verse 15)
- Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Why does Paul boast in his weakness? (verse 9). Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. What is God’s grace able to do in our lives?
- Lastly, read John 3:30 and record it in your journal as a prayer to God.
Day 2: A Bondservant doesn’t need Recognition or Appreciation
- Read Esther 2:21-23. What did Mordecai do? Now read Esther 6-7. How did the story play out for Mordecai and Haman?
- Mordecai wasn’t recognized for saving the king until possibly years later, but it was at the proper time that God honored him. How does this relate to 1 Peter 5:5-6?
- How do these passages show that all glory, thanks and praise belong to God alone? Romans 11:36, Isaiah 42:8, and 1 Corinthians 10:31.
- Read Colossians 3:22-25. How does this apply to us as bondservants of Christ?
- Read Galatians 1:10. Why should we not be looking for the approval or appreciation of men?
Day 3: A Bondservant is not Concerned with the Selfishness of Others
- Read Luke 10:38-42. What was each sister doing?
- Why was Martha upset?
- From verse 41-42, how did Jesus respond to Martha?
- Both of these sisters dearly loved Jesus. Based on this story, which sister was acting more like a bondservant of Christ and why?
- Jesus spoke into Martha’s life with great insight. We know from this passage that Martha was distracted by her preparations which caused great irritations when she saw Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. What things in our lives can distract us from being a bondservant of Christ?
Day 4: A Bondservant must Confess that he is an Unprofitable Servant
- Read Romans 7:18. What does this verse say about our flesh?
- Read John 15:4-5. How can we bear fruit?
- According to verse 5, how profitable can we be in and of ourselves?
- Read Matthew 5:3. The phrase “poor in spirit” means the recognition of our own spiritual poverty. What is the promise given to those who recognize their poverty without Christ?
- Read Luke 18:9-17. What does this parable teach you about being poor in spirit?
- Read 2 Corinthians 3:5-6. Where does our adequacy come from? What has God made us adequate for?
Day 5: A Bondservant Knows his Service is Reasonable
- Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-31 and list the sufferings of Paul. What does he prefer to boast in?
- Read 1 Timothy 4:10. What was the “normal” way of life for Paul and Timothy because they trusted in the Living God? How does this compare with Philippians 1:29?
- Read Romans 12:-1-2. What is our reasonable (NKJV) service of worship?
- How do these passages tie in with dying to self?
- As we close today, take some time to journal your thoughts and spend time in prayer. Are you willing to be a bondservant?
Please note that unless stated otherwise, all italicized quotes that are not directly cited from an author or Scripture are direct quotes from the book, The Calvary Road, by Roy Hession.