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“Knowing How to Lose”

Categories: Friday Firsts

Sunday Scripture Reading: Jason Pratt
Sunday Song Leader: Russ Robins

TEXT: John 12.20-26

During August, we’re learning what it means to have a servant’s heart. In Jesus’ teaching in John 12.24-26, Jesus revealed a shocking truth: The kingdom would not come into existence unless He died. The time for His glorification had come (12.23) but not on a triumphant physical conquering, but through substitutionary death. The only thing ahead of him, in human terms, was stunning humiliation and overwhelming defeat via death by crucifixion. What Jesus does in our text is turn the human concept of winning upside down. How could Jesus’ death be a victory? How can we develop this same attitude in knowing how to lose? If we want to be true servants, we need to know what this means.


Think of how losing stands in great contrast to success, which is the American goal in everything. We view success as winning. But, Jesus lost so that we might be blessed, Ephesians 1.7-8a. Because He lost, we can be redeemed, sanctified, and forgiven! Will we emulate His attitude? When Christians know how to lose, they become capable through God’s strength to be part of some of the most special things in life. All of these begin with a willingness to crucify the old self - and put on a willingness to serve others.
In John 12.25-26, Jesus gives a general invitation. It is a call to death. Why? If you love your life, you lose it. If you hate your life in this world, you will keep it for eternal life. Will you count the cost? Will you turn from your sinful attitudes and actions? Will you respond in total dependence on God, calling on His name for salvation? It’s important, because if you will, then you get eternal life in Jesus’ presence, and honor from God.


On Sunday, we’ll talk about:

  1. How Jesus would be glorified.
  2. See how “knowing how to lose” is the foundation of Christian servanthood.
  3. Consider Jesus’ general invitation in John 12.25-26.
  4. Examine what the servant receives by losing his life.

As you prepare for worship this weekend, please ask yourself these questions:

  • How strong is your willingness to lose? For others? For your own spiritual life?
  • Why is it so difficult to make ourselves vulnerable? What can you do to overcome?
  • What are some physical blessings you’ve received because you’ve removed the focus off yourself and placed it on others?
  • How is John 12.25-26 a call for us to count the cost?
  • Can you think of any New Testament passages which emphasize the need for a person to die to himself/herself? How are you doing in applying these? Where can you begin?