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Importance Of Services

 
"THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING A CHRISTIAN"──Saved To Serve
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. We have seen throughout this series that the Christian is truly
   blessed...
   a. "A person reborn", he is provided the opportunity to live a new
      life
   b. "Belonging to the Lord", he is God's special child
   c. "Living by faith", he walks with God
   d. "Consecrated to God", he has been set apart to live a holy life
   e. "Guarded by the power of God", he is not alone in his struggle
      against the powers of Satan and the evil world in which we live
 
2. But with blessings come responsibilities...
   a. There are obligations that come with our new opportunities
   b. There are duties that come with our new calling
 
3. Indeed, the Christian has been called to serve God...
   a. We have been "Saved To Serve" - cf. He 9:14; 12:28
   b. It is only "reasonable" we be expected to serve God - Ro 12:1
   c. Each person has a ministry (service) we are expected to fulfill 
      - Co 4:17; 2 Ti 4:5
 
[Thus the concept of "servitude" or "servanthood" is a significant part
of what it means to be a Christian.  That our service to God might be
more acceptable and fruitful, consider...]
 
I. THE GREATNESS OF SERVANTHOOD
 
   A. BEING A SERVANT OF GOD IS A GREAT HONOR...
      1. The title of "servant" was what many great men in the O.T. 
         were called
         a. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - Deu 9:27 ("Thy servants")
         b. Moses - 1 Kin 8:53 ("Thy servant")
         c. Joshua - Josh 24:29 ("Servant of the Lord")
         d. Caleb - Num 14:24 ("My servant")
         e. Job - Job 1:8 ("My servant")
         f. Isaiah - Isa 20:3 ("My servant")
         g. The prophets - Jer 7:25 ("My servants")
      2. New Testament writers referred to themselves as "servants"...
         a. James - Ja 1:1
         b. Paul - Ro 1:1; Ph 1:1
         c. Peter - 2 Pe 1:1
         d. Jude - Ju 1
         e. John - Re 1:1
 
   B. JESUS CAME TO SERVE...
      1. He was foretold to come as the "Suffering Servant" - Isa
         52:13-53:12
      2. He "did not come to be served, but to serve" - Mt 20:28;
         Ph 2:7
      3. Even as our Lord and Master, He exemplified the servitude He
         desires of His disciples - Jn 13:12-17
 
[What an honor, if God were to look upon us as "His servants" as He did
these great men, including His own Son, Jesus Christ!  He will, if we
put into practice...]
 
II. THE CONCEPTS OF SERVANTHOOD
 
   A. IT INVOLVES ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE...
      1. In a slave-master relationship...
         a. The slave knows no law but his master's word
         b. He has no rights of his own
         c. He is the absolute possession of his master
         d. He is bound to give his master unquestioning obedience
      2. Does this describe our relationship to Christ?
         a. It should, especially in light of 1 Co 6:19-20
         b. We have to come to Jesus on HIS terms, not our own - Lk 6:
            46; Mt 7:21
 
   B. IT INVOLVES ABSOLUTE HUMILITY...
      1. Otherwise, absolute obedience is not possible
         a. When we have a humble opinion of ourselves, we are 
            receptive to the idea of complete obedience
         b. For example, consider Paul's self-estimation - 1 Co 15:
            9-10; Ep 3:8; 1 Ti 1:15
      2. Does this describe our relationship to Christ and His Will?
         a. Jesus said it should! - Lk 17:10
         b. But if we murmur or complain about what Jesus tells us to
            do, can we really be considered "servants"?
 
   C. IT INVOLVES ABSOLUTE LOYALTY...
      1. Since we become servants FREELY, it should be expected that 
         we:
         a. Are to be loyal to Him first - cf. Ga 1:10
         b. Do not consider our own profit or preference important, but
            that of the One we freely serve!
      2. It is amazing how any can claim to be servants of the Lord
         Jesus Christ, while:
         a. Complaining about having to do the will of God, OR...
         b. Being negligent or slothful in carrying out His will
      3. Yet some act as though they are being forced against their own
         will!
         a. They don't "have to" serve the Lord Jesus...
            1) Of course, the alternative is not very inviting
            2) If we don't serve Jesus, by default we serve Satan, and
               are destined for hell!
         b. But God by His grace has offered salvation, and how dare we
            ever grumble or complain that He calls us to life of
            service in grateful appreciation!
 
[That we not be negligent in our service, be aware of some...]
 
III. HINDRANCES TO SERVANTHOOD
 
   A. SERVICE TO THE WRONG MASTER...
      1. Jesus warned we cannot serve both God and Mammon - Mt 6:24
      2. Serving the wrong things will render us fruitless - Lk 8:14
      2. Paul illustrated we can only serve the one we obey - Ro 6:16
 
   B. PLACING LIMITATIONS ON OUR SERVICE...
      1. Some limit how, where, and when they will serve
         a. As Moses tried to do - Exo 3:10,11
         b. Many will serve God, but only when convenient
      2. Some limit who they will serve
         a. As Jonah tried to do - Jon 1:1-3
         b. Many will serve God, but not when it means serving others
            (especially people we don't like)
 
   C. POSSESSING CERTAIN ATTITUDES...
      1. Such as sluggishness and laziness - cf. He 6:11,12; Mt 25:26
      2. Such as ingratitude - cf. 2 Co 8:9; Ph 2:5-7
         a. Which often comes when we forget how graciously we have
            been served
         b. We like service with a smile; are we willing to give
            service with a smile?
      3. Such as pride or self-centeredness
         a. As when self-pity affected Elijah - 1 Ki 19:13-18
         b. As when some preached Christ out of envy - Ph 1:15-18
         c. As when some seek for recognition, praise - Mt 6:1-4
         -- Humility and unselfishness are basic prerequisites for
            servanthood - Ac 20:19; Ph 2:3-4
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. The Christian has been "Saved To Serve"...
   a. Called to serve God and the Lord Jesus Christ
   b. Called to serve his brethren and those in the world
   -- It is a noble calling, one that we should accept with humility
      and gratitude
 
2. If one chooses not to serve God...
   a. Then they remain a slave to sin - Ro 16:16a
   b. And the end of such slavery is eternal death - Ro 6:16b
 
3. But when one chooses to serve God...
   a. Their servitude leads to righteousness - Ro 16:16c
   b. And the end of such service is eternal life - Ro 6:22
 
May what the apostle Paul wrote of the brethren in Rome be true of all
of us today...
 
   "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you
   obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were
   delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves
   of righteousness."  (Ro 6:17-18)
 
Have you been set free from sin, that you might serve Jesus Christ? 
- cf. Ro 6:1-7

 

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