brethren church liveblog

05-Shepherding Conference (LiveBlog)

Isaiah 42:1-4 will be used as a launching point for this lesson: Christ, the Perfect Servant. It is noteworthy to see the Lord’s delight: a sense of pride and joy in the introduction of His Son for there has never been anyone like Him. True there have been decent people and good men but all have disappointed God at some point in their life. But here, referring to his actions, is one who always did those things that pleased the Father. It would be ambitious to claim that all of the Perfect Servant will (or can) be told so we won’t. We’re going to look at some characteristics of the perfect servant and while occupying ourselves with Him we might perhaps learn how to conduct ourselves as servants.

The Commission of the Perfect Servant
John’s gospel uses the word “send” no less than 35 times. Most of these usages deal with the Lord saying the Father has sent Him into the World. But note that the Son voluntarily chose to submit to the will of the Father. Being exceedingly “rich” in the heavenlies He was born in a (comparatively speaking) poverty stricken home and was obedient to the point of death. Paul, as commission by God, was picked out for work by the Spirit and recognized for this work by the elders. We ourselves must be commissioned of God to that particular service for which we are to accomplish. Therefore we must ensure that we’re doing what He wants us to do.

The Mission of the Servant
Every servant must discover what his master’s will for him is—what duty he must perform. A servant that goes off and does whatever he wants despite the masters commands is an evil servant. But “Sacrifice and offering you desired not, but a body you prepared me…to do thy will o’ God”. This was the consuming mission of the Lord Jesus, the paramount importance of the will of God. There was a moment when he faced the awful prospect and said in agony “If it be possible, let this cup pass by me:” but he proceeded to say “let not my will but thine be done”. This second Adam was very different from the first Adam who heard the word of God and then focused on his own will to be done. Every Christian must seek to do the will of God even if it is not convenient. Sometimes it takes time and failure as Paul in Troas deciding where to go and finding all roads blocked until receiving the Macedonian vision. The Lord may open doors in different ways and they may be fraught with disappointment but even so, the believer’s will must be surrendered to Him.

The Preparation of the Servant
John baptized Jesus and the entire Trinity was involved approving the event: The Son, submitting, the Spirit descending as a dove and the Father speaking “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” What is important about this passage is that it was at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry—thirty years into his life. The questions would arise “who is this person and why have we never heard him before—what mistakes did he make before his preaching of perfection?” But the Father’s patent on those undocumented years would forever silence the doubts—God the Father was well pleased with Him. Immediately after this he was led—note—by the Spirit into the wilderness where he faced a concerted and strategic battle. The first Adam, in a Garden, succumbed to the attack by putting aside the word of God—but this second Adam, in a wilderness, succeeded by quoting the word of God. Believers you will confront adversity! Just because you are led by the Spirit does not mean you will not be led into some of the most difficult passages in your life. Just because these times come does not make them the trials of punishment but rather the pain of education. For after this exceedingly difficult trial the Lord Jesus Christ full of the power of the Spirit went into Galilee with strength. Power in public is always derived from victory in private!

The Timing of the Servant
Jesus Christ always did everything at the right time. He looks to Mary at the Wedding at Cana and tells her that his hour had not yet come but then, of His own accord He arose to complete a miracle—at His timing, not Mary’s. He resurrected Lazarus at His timing not that of the disciples or His friends. He took His orders from God to the glory of God. The believer is to wait on the Lord’s timing instead of being tossed by events or wresting his own schedule into place.

The Total Submission of the Servant
The Lord Jesus Christ completely submitted to the will of the Father—some of which we touched on already. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is seen doing things for the glory of the Father and not for the benefit of others. Note the blind man of John chapter 9—he heals Him not so that others see a great miracle or so that the man is helped but so that the Father is glorified. If we are to further appreciate the Lord, brothers, look beyond what He did for us but what He did for the father. John 4 “My meat is to do the will of my Father.” John 5 “Whatsoever the Father does, the Son does Likewise”—in complete harmony with the Father. “I can of my own self do nothing: I seek not my will but the will of the Father who sent me.”. “I haven’t spoken of myself; but speak only what I heard from Him” “Sheath your sword shall I not drink the cup my Father gave me to drink”! We must be consumed by the will of God, constantly seeking to submit to Him.

The Glorification of the Servant
It was the same glory that He had with the Father before the world was (John 17). That glory was a pre-incarnate glory but by the Lord Jesus Christ’s work here there was glory added. He has seated Him at the right hand of the Father and has told him to sit here until I make your enemies a footstool. He has a future glory, true, but he has a bright glory at this very moment. The manifestation of that present glory will be revealed to men in the future but right now he basks in that exalted position as the Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased.

-Willie Burnett

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