August 3, 2008

Serving God

God calls us to serve Him and His people.

Jesus set the example himself.

John 13:4-5,12-15 Jesus set the example (washing of the feet)

Jesus taught us that he in order to be great in God's eyes, we must lower ourselves and become like servants. His disciples at first did not understand their purpose 每 what would their ministry be, what would it look like? Would it be performing many miracles? Would it be overthrowing the oppressive government? To become great powerful men? No, it would be to lower themselves and be like servants.

Luke 22:26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Mark 10:43-45 (have the attitude of a servant first, that is most important, just like how Jesus came not to be served but to serve.)

John 12:25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Jesus took care of spiritual eternal needs, but he also took care of physical needs in the current life. Matt 9:1-8

The spiritual needs of people in our community are great, but so are the physical needs. We are called to talk care of both.

James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

It does not mean that there is a certain amount of work to be done in order to gain salvation. Salvation is a gift from God. But out of that salvation must come good fruit and obedience to God's commands.

Anyone can serve

1 Tim. 4:12 & John 6:5-13 每 your age should not be a restriction 每 even young people can serve.

Give examples 每 Theresa-China, Tim-Taiwan, Aaron, Jeff, Alan, Gerald, Christina, Gloria-Soup kitchen, Kevin, Josh, Ben, Andrew, Vince-Capernaum camp (show photos), people from church who do visitations.

Jesus' original disciples 每 were not famous, not rich, not well educated. Jesus even sometimes even rebuked his disciples for being weak or having little faith. Low-class fishermen, etc. But Jesus trained them, loved them, and entrusted them with the foundations of the early church.

You do not have to be powerful, or wealthy, or formally trained as a church leader. We can serve God with whatever abilities we already have.

Not only talking about serving the church in the sense of one particular church congregation or inside the building. Not everyone is called to have a formal church role 每 pastor, deacon, music leader, etc. 1 Cor 12:27-28

You can serve in anyway and anywhere

Serving is not easy, but it can be simple.

Matt. 10:42 & Matt. 25:34-40 每 When you show love to one another, that is a method of serving God too. Even with small tasks.

Serve the LORD with whatever you have, according to your abilities, using any talents and resources that you may have. You don't have to compare yourself to others and you don't have to wait until you feel like God has given you more. God already has equipped you with enough, you can serve now.

Acts 4:34-37 & Acts 11:29-30

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Praying for one another is a way to serve. 2 Cor. 1:8-11 & Acts 12:4-5 (Peter in prison) you may feel that you are not on the "frontlines", or you maybe be unable to go out and travel from place to place, but everyone still needs support. You can support your brothers and sisters through prayer.

Often times Christians feel that the only way to serve it through preaching, or verbal teaching. They feel that the only way to serve God is to try to convert as many people to Christianity as possible. Certainly one important goal is to bring people to know the LORD. There may not be enough time, it may be insensitive to do so, wrong setting, the person may not understand, the person may reject your message. Regardless, you can still serve God in that situation by showing them the love of Christ that is in your life, even if you cannot preach verbally, and even if the people never respond by showing thanks or coming to church, etc.

Homeless shelter 每 some of those people are there just for a free meal, some of them you will never see again. But is that still serving?

Capernaum 每 some were very receptive, other disabled people may not understand, may not be able to express what they are feeling spiritually, but they still need to be loved and served.

We need to remember that ultimately we are serving out LORD Jesus Christ. We are not trying to please man, but to please God. The mindset should be to bring glory to God and not to ourselves. 1 Thess 2:4-6 ; Eph. 6:7 每 God can take our meager offering and turn it into something much greater John 6:5-13.

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

Jesus is our inspiration and our motivation.