Sanctified Servers: The Practice of Service


Opening Illustration:
Denzel Washington, famed actor and son to a preacher, was speaking at a large banquet at his home church in Los Angeles. The theme of his speech was success.  Specifically, how did this black kid from nowhere America find his way into the Hollywood spotlight.  Washington spoke on the power of prayer, the power of service and the power of a good attitude.  

“Faith and optimism can add years to your life,” he told those at the banquet. “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. Until you change it, you’re not going anywhere,” he said, urging the audience to “use the power of prayer in everything we do.”

A bad attitude can certainly stifle one’s ability to move forward in life.  What happens to the believer who knows he has been commanded to serve but serves with a bad spirit?  Well, I think that Denzel has a point.  A bad attitude is like a flat tire to our faith.  We know our purpose.  Just like a tire has purpose.  However, when we have a bad attitude, it robs us of our purpose.  We go no where. 



Friends, YOU WERE CREATED TO SERVE! Period.  End of story.  We were put here on earth to serve God, love others and grow His Kingdom.  

As a Christian, if you are not serving, you are moving forward in your faith!

When It Comes To Serving, Are You Grateful or Grumbling?

I Peter 4:8-11 ESV
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter’s Push Towards Service

I. The Priority of Service vs. 8
I Peter 4:8 ESV
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 

Point:
There are a lot of things that get in the way of serving.  We feel like we don’t have the time.  We feel that we are burned out.  We place things ahead of what God is calling us to do. We feel that people are not appreciative enough of our talents and skills so we stop serving.  Trust me, I have heard every excuse.  Many times, I have used the same excuses to get me out of serving.  

Point:
Unfortunately, all those excuses are just that…excuses.  God does not really care about our flimsy excuses, He demands our obedience and compliance.  Let me tell you something that we told to me many years ago about all of our excuses.  

I’m tired-Serving will help you rest.
I don’t have time-Serving will help you prioritize what really matters.

People don’t say thanks-You are not serving people. You are serving God. 

I’m not strong enough-God will give you strength.

I’m not smart enough-The Holy Spirit will give you what you need to say at the right time.

No one knows me-The best way to really know people is to serve along side of them.

I’m burned out-You have the wrong motivation. Serving puts you in the flow of God’s will.   

Point:
There really is nothing that should come before serving God.  He is our top priority.  He is our top mission. 

Point:
Paul tells us to love one another earnestly.  In the Greek, Paul is telling us to stay focused on one another. We should be contending for one another.  We should struggle for one another and be committed to one another.  In the Greek, we see Paul’s command to serve one another.  It’s a serious command that we should not take lightly.  

James 4:17 ESV
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Peter’s Push Towards Service

I. The Priority of Service vs. 8
II. The Prescription of Service vs. 9
I Peter 4:9 ESV
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 

Point:
Again, when you look at the original text, the word hospitality means love to strangers.  We are quite literally to open our doors to the strangers.  The aliens.  Those that we do not know.  Those that might do us harm.  When we do this, we are trusting God to protect us and our families.  This is a difficult prescription to swallow isn’t it.  Especially in the day and age that we are living.  We live in a very guarded society.  We live in a culture that locks it’s doors and keeps guns stuffed in the mattresses.  

However Paul is telling us to live with open hearts and open doors.  No, this does not mean that it is wrong to lock your doors or protect yourself.  All it means is that when we see a person in need, we reach out to that person to help.  

Point:
However, many times we grumble about this responsibility.  We grumble because we would rather hold on to our person security and comfort than help the one in need.  By the way, this is nothing new.  Remember the story of the Good Samaritan?

Luke 10:25-37 NIV
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Point:
There was a guy who got it.  He showed much love towards a stranger.  By the way, Samaritans hated Jews and Jews hated them just as much.  Yet, this man did not see the race rather he saw the need.  Friends, imagine how different our world would be if we stopped seeing race and religion and we started seeing human beings made in God’s image that were in need.  Imagine how quickly our world be transformed for Christ.  It would be amazing.  

Point:
So, what is the prescription?  Hospitality.  We serve by being hospitable.  We serve Jesus by loving the stranger. 

Colossians 3:17 ESV
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Peter’s Push Towards Service

I. The Priority of Service vs. 8
II. The Prescription of Service vs. 9
IIi. The Power of Service vs. 10-11
I Peter 4:10-11 ESV 
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies.

Point:
Did you hear that?  I didn’t the first few times that I read it.  “One who serves by the strength that God supplies”.  Paul says whatever your gift is, that we should use our gift to serve one another.  There are lots of gifts.  All of those gifts were supplied to us by His grace not by our own merit.  So, if we speak of God, we should speak to serve others.  If we serve, we should use our gift to serve others and not ourselves.  No matter the gift, if used with the right motivation, God will supply the strength for the service.  

No matter the gift, if used with the right motivation, God will supply the strength for the service.  

Point:
So, maybe you are feeling burned out today?  Trust me, I have been there so many times.  What should we do?  Should we just quit?  Should we just take a break?  My theory is no.  You should not quit and you should not take a break.  Why?  Because when we quit, when we take a break, we get weak.  You have to imagine that serving is like lifting weights.  The longer you do it, the stronger you become.  Any weight lifter will tell you that in lifting weights, you will hit walls.  However, you just keep working, pushing, lifting and eventually you will break through that barrier of weakness and reach a level of new strength.  

When you serve, you grow.  When you serve you get stronger.  You were created to break down barriers of burn out.  You were put here to serve and do great works for Jesus.  God has prepared you for such endeavors. 

Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Point:
I also want to say that your personal journey in serving the Lord is not the primary reason we serve.  It’s great that serving is beneficial to us, but that is not the main reason we do it.  Let me reveal to you the last point.  

IV. The Production of Service vs. 11
I Peter 4:11 ESV
in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Point:
Bottom line, serving others brings glory to God.  Sure, we serve so that we can grow.  That’s a nice by product.  However, our primary mission in serving is to bring glory to God for the gifts that He has bestowed upon us.  

Point:
I think that it is interesting that Paul uses the word dominion right after taking about serving God and people.  Friends this is not done by accident.  Do you know that when we serve others, we literally pull down a small portion of God’s Kingdom here on earth?  When we serve others, we experience what heaven will feel like even for a small time.  

Closing Illustration:
Sometime ago, I ran access a story by Steve Hartman, a CBS reporter.  It was the story of Dan Patterson.  His wife Mary had just passed away.  He was in the throws of grief and morning.  He was a wreck for 6 months when he encountered by Norah Wood. Norah Wood reached out to Dan.  She gave Dan a hug.  That hug changed Dan’s life.  Let’s watch the story together. 

Play Video: Serving In Small Ways



Point:
Whose life might you change by reaching out to them?  What pain might you take away with a hug? How can you bring Jesus into someone’s life today by serving them, encouraging them and loving them?

Proverbs 11:25 ESV
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Follow Jesus’ Example and Serve

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

According To Luke: Man vs. Wild

Palm Sunday: The People and the Purpose of Palm Sunday

According To Luke: Completely Healed