Serving God by Serving Others

Ephesians 4:

1 Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. 

7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.

8 That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.”

9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Introduction:  Ministry is a very misunderstood word.  Usually, when people hear the word ministry they think of people who have been called by God to serve Him in full-time vocational ministry.  Yet the word for minister in the New Testament simply means servant.  The literal translation is: table waiter.

Illustration:  Merv Griffin was one of the first talk show hosts on television.  Once he had a guest on his show who was a body builder.

Merv asked, “Why do you develop those particular muscles?”  The body builder stood up and flexed all of his well-defined muscles and the audience applauded.

Merv continued, “What do you use all those muscles for?”  Again the body builder flexed his biceps and triceps.

Merv persisted, “But what do you use those muscles for?”  The body builder was bewildered.

He didn’t have an answer except to display his well-developed frameHe didn’t seem to know exactly why he had spent so much time and effort in exercise building up his physical strength.

Christ-followers should do a lot of spiritual exercises to build up their spiritual strength.  These exercises should include: personal Bible study, prayer, reading good Christian books, listening to sermons and Christian music, etc.

But what is the purpose of these spiritual exercisesWhy do we need to be spiritually strong?

Basically we need to be spiritually strong so that we will be equipped to serve God.

For example, in order to serve God we must overcome the temptations to sin that constantly assault us.

We have to fight off the temptations from the world, from the devil, and from our own fleshly desires to commit sin.

We must be clean and pure so God will use us.

2 Timothy 2:21 (NLT)

 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

But what do we mean when we say we are serving God?  God does not need anything.  He does not need our money.  He does not our praise, and He does not even need our presence.

Serving God means serving people; you cannot serve God without serving other people.

God saved us in order to create a community of believers to serve Him for all eternity.  The only way we can truly serve God is to represent Him to the world by meeting the needs in the lives of other people.

T/S: Today I want to look at four aspects of serving God by serving others.

The Importance of Serving God

 

Serving God is every Christian’s calling. (v. 1)

1 Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

Serving God is every Christian’s responsibility. (v. 12)

12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

Four Reasons Why It is Important for You to Serve God

  1. It is vital to your spiritual growth. (vv. 13-15)
  2. It is vital to the well-being of fellow believers. (vv. 13-15)
  3. It is vital to the health of God’s Church. (vv. 12 & 16)
  4. It is vital to the salvation of the unbeliever. (vv. 12 & 16)

The Instructions for Serving God

We are to serve according to our calling – to represent Christ. (v.1)

We are to serve according to our spiritual gifts. (v. 7)

We are to serve according to the needs of those around us.

Paul gives seven attitudes that should mark our service.

   (vv. 2-3)

1.  Humility

2.  Gentleness

3.  Patience (Long-suffering)

4.  Tolerance

5.  Love – God’s kind of love.

6.  Unity – Preserve or Keep ; means to watch over; to guard.

7.  Peace – Bond is that which binds together.

The Inspiration for Serving God

1.  There are seven unities of the Church that should inspire us to serve. (vv. 4-6)

One Body – the church is the body of Christ both visible and invisible.

One Spirit – He regenerates us, baptizes us, inhabits us, fills us, leads us, and equips and anoints us for service.

One Hope – We are called to be a part of the eternal Kingdom of God.

One Lord – Jesus Christ is Lord

One Faith – One body of belief – The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One Baptism – The Holy Spirit baptizes every believer into the body of Christ the moment they are saved.  Water baptism is the outward symbol of the inner work of God in our lives.

One God and Father of all

John 1:12-13

12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

2.  The example of Jesus should inspire us to serve.  (vv. 8-10)  Jesus fulfilled His ministry of service to us.

3.  The gifts Christ gave to the Church should inspire us.  (vv. 11-12)

The Invitation to Serve God

It is an invitation to worthy living. (v. 1)

It is an invitation to grow in Christ. (v. 15)

15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

It is an invitation to be part of something great – the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Conclusion:  In 1967, Doug Nichols was serving with Operation Mobilization in India when he contracted tuberculosis.  He had to stay in a sanatorium several months in order to be treated.  He didn’t speak the language, but he tried to give out Christian literature written in their language, but all the doctors, nurses, and patients, politely refused to take any.

During the first few nights, he woke up around 2:00 a.m. coughing.  One morning during his coughing spell, he noticed one of the older, sicker patients trying to get out of bed.  He would sit up on the edge of the bed and try to stand, but in weakness he would fall back in bed.  Doug didn’t understand what he was trying to do.  Finally the man fell back in bed exhausted. Doug heard him crying softly.

The next morning he realized what the man was trying to do was to get up and go to the bathroom.  The smell was terrible.  The other patients yelled at him, and angry nurses treated him roughly, and one nurse even slapped him.  The old man curled up into a tight ball and wept.

That night Doug woke up again and saw the old man trying to get out of bed.  He went over to him and touched him on the shoulder and the man’s eyes widened with fear.  Doug smiled at him and picked his frail body up and carried him to the bathroom.  Doug stood there and held him up while he took care of himself.  When Doug put him back in bed, the man kissed him on his cheek, smiled and said something he could not understand.

The next morning another patient woke Doug up and handed Doug a steaming cup of tea and asked for one of Doug’s tracts.

Soon other patients were asking for tracts, and even the doctors and the nurses were asking for them.  As a result of Doug serving God by serving others, several people put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

These sermon notes are from a message preached by Dr. Greg Johnston at The Grove Church as part of the “Living in Community with Others” series.

 

 

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