Most people I know love the Christmas season. As Christians we love celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. We love the traditions that surround this holy season both at home and at church. We love the music and the food. We love giving and receiving gifts. And, as Christians our hearts are filled with adoration and praise for the coming of Emmanuel. The historical event of Christ’s birth and the eternal Word becoming human is an astonishing event and certainly worthy of our worship and praise.
However, as we stand in of awe of this great event, we must not forget that the Christmas event is not something to just be adored and worshipped, but that it is also to be imitated in our lives. The attitude of Jesus that made it possible for Him to leave Heaven’s throne, come to earth, and walk the path to Calvary is to be our attitude as well. The King who became a servant has blazed the trail for all His disciples to follow. The powerful became the powerless to serve the powerless by giving up His life so that they might have life. This is the Christmas example that we are to follow.
The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, commands the followers of Christ in Philippi to have the same attitude as did Jesus. He says in Philippians 2:5-8,
Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, 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, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV & NASB)
The Christmas event was made possible because Jesus “emptied” Himself. He who was God and had the right to determine His own destiny “emptied” Himself of that right submitting Himself in complete obedience to His Father. That obedience led to a servant’s life and eventually to the cross.
He who was king “emptied” Himself of the right to live as king on the earth. Instead, He lived life as a servant. This attitude is what made it possible for Him to say, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, ESV)
This is the Christmas example that disciples of Jesus are to follow. We are to have the same attitude that He had. We are to empty ourselves. We are to empty ourselves of the right to determine our own destiny. We are to submit our lives in complete obedience to the Father’s will. We are to empty ourselves of the right to be served. We are to become a servant. We are to become the powerless to embrace the powerless. It is by following this Christmas example that we become great in the kingdom of God. It is how our churches truly become megachurches.
Last month I suggested that Jesus wants every church to be a megachurch. However, the way I use the term megachurch doesn’t refer to size as it is commonly used today. I am using the term as it would be defined by kingdom values. In last month’s article here is how I described a megachurch, “A megachurch… is a church that follows Jesus to embrace the powerless by embracing the powerless life of a servant…The church characterized by people who will give their lives for the sake of the powerless, as did Jesus, is a megachurch.” In other words, a megachurch is a great (mega) church. A great church defined according to kingdom values is a church that serves. I believe, then, that Jesus wants every church to be a megachurch.
The path to becoming a megachurch is the path Jesus took to the manger in Bethlehem. It is the path He followed through His life lived in obedience to His Father. It is the path He followed to the cross. The King who became a servant has given us the example of how to become a megachurch. We empty ourselves of the right to be kings over our own destiny and embrace the life of a servant. We empty ourselves of power and become the powerless. But, it is the powerless who will save the world.
Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
Isaiah 53 (NLT)
This is the attitude that leads to Christmas. This is the Christmas example. Paul commands us to have this attitude in ourselves. This is the attitude that leads to being great in the kingdom of God. This is the attitude of a megachurch in the kingdom of God. This is the attitude that saves the world.
Is your church a megachurch? Does your church follow the Christmas example? Do you embrace the life of the powerless to serve the powerless? Do you have the same attitude that was in Christ Jesus?
A megachurch no matter its size is the most powerful force in its community. A megachurch will be used by God to transform people and communities. A church that serves with the attitude of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped from accomplishing God’s purpose. People will be transformed and mobilized on His mission.