September 10, 2017
BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).
We are learning about serving God. The verse we are looking at is ROM 1:9-12 (The Message Bible): I thank God through Jesus for every one of you. That’s first. People everywhere keep telling me about your lives of faith, and every time I hear them, I thank him. And God, whom I so love to worship and serve by spreading the good news of his Son—the Message!—knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask him to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. I so want to be there to deliver God’s gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! But don’t think I’m not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you. We have established that this verse answers the Who, What, and How of service.
In answering the third question – What is my service? – Paul says “serve by spreading the good news of his Son.” ROM 1:9-12 (The Message Bible) This is Paul’s personal service, but we know through Scripture that we all do not have the same ministry or spiritual gifts. Paul had the gift of apostle. We have our own gifts to apply in to serve God: helps, mercy, encouragement, administration, evangelism, teaching, etc. But the point is, Paul says that his service was to use his gift as an apostle – just as your service is to use your spiritual gift.
All spiritual gifts are a matter of grace! No gift is given based on God’s foreknown merit of the believer. The Holy Spirit gives a spiritual gift to each believer at the point of Salvation: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each [spiritual gift] one individually just as He wills. (1CO 12:11) This is done for the common good. A spiritual gift is never earned, deserved, or developed through any form of emotional experience. The believer’s recognition of his spiritual gift comes only through positive volition towards doctrine. That’s an important thing to remember: you’ll never know your spiritual gift without learning Bible doctrine; so without knowing Bible doctrine, you can never serve God!
The next question Paul answers in ROM 1:9-12 is how are we to serve? HEB 12:28 tells us: Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe. COL 3:23-24 says it all: When we serve, we are to do so unselfishly and without burdening others in our service. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
CHRON 28:9 says: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
Now, let’s answer the question: What is service? In ROM 1:9-12, the Greek word used here is latreuo – pronounced lat-ryoo-o. Latreuo means “a hired servant who serves, to minister, to offer, and to worship.” So, when we serve, we are to give service, care or aid to others; offer help to others and worship God. These acts describe service but only count if you are filled with The Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us not to serve under the influence of the old sin nature. ROM 1:25 is a fair warning: For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Never serve “the creature”!! So remember, in order to serve successfully, serve in the Power and the Filling of The Holy Spirit through the Power of the Word of God.
As hired servants, we have been purchased through the blood of Christ in order to serve the living God: …how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (HEB 9:14) That makes you look at service altogether differently, doesn’t it?
You were created for serving God: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (EPH 2:10) In view of this, let’s look at six ways in which we can serve God in our day-to-day lives. The first is Invest in Other People: The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. (GAL 5:14) It’s remarkable how often we interact with people but never make the effort to know them. The cashier at your favorite store, the woman who cleans your school, the kids you pass on the way to school every morning; each of these individuals is someone God created and gave His Son for. Christians looking to share Christ can begin by forming relationships with the people around them. Ask them about their day, compliment their outfit, or simply take a moment and listen to them. By investing in other people, we open their hearts to knowing God and we serve Him!
The second way is to Offer Help Where It’s Needed. The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (MAT 25:40) There’s an old saying about how an act of kindness, no matter how small, can never be meaningless. Even minor displays of love can change lives for the better. Do you know someone at school who doesn’t have many friends? Invite him or her to have lunch at your table. Is someone moving into the house next door? Welcome them to the neighborhood and off to help them. Is someone you know sick? Perhaps offer to watch their children for a day so they can rest. Don’t pass up an opportunity to help where it’s needed. These moments may be brief, but they’ll be remembered.
The third way is to Seek Wisdom. PROV 16:16 states: How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! Cars need gas, knives need sharpening, and Christians need to stay educated. You must learn how to apply the truth of God’s Word to everyday life. Remember, tests are easiest when you study for them!
The fourth is to Practice Hospitality. HEB 13:2 teaches us: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. There’s a reason why Jesus frequently chose to share meals with his followers. Hospitality creates trust between strangers and builds bridges over the rough landscape of our lives. If Christians want to share God’s love with their neighbors, they simply have to invite them over.
The fifth way in which we can serve God is to Show Forgiveness. This is following God’s Word – applying it to your life – as we learn in MARK 11:25: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Forgiveness, true forgiveness, can be a difficult thing. As much as we like to believe we understand the concept of grace, some of us are still learning what it means to let go of our anger and pain. There are dozens of moments in life in which even Christians would rather not show forgiveness: the kid who bullied you in school or that friend who blows you off at the last minute. God teaches us that forgiveness means letting go of grudges, of the expectation for payback, and choosing love over retribution.
The sixth way to serve is to Make Space to Worship God. Again, this is something we’re told we should do in the Bible: Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe… (HEB 12:28) It’s easy for Christians to get swept up into our daily schedules. As children, you wake up, go to school, do your homework, eat dinner, maybe watch some television, and prepare to do it all again tomorrow. In such an environment, you can often forget to worship Christ regularly. Before you step out the door each morning, stop and take a moment to thank the Lord for a new day. If you can – even once a week, spend your lunch hour praising God. In the evening, make a space where you can be alone with God. This is all part of Serving Him!
So, in closing, what you should have gotten out of this message is to serve God all the time, everywhere you are, for His Glory. The secret of a true disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ. AMEN!