SERVANT’S HEART

SCRIPTURE STUDY:  1 Peter 5:1-4

After my devotional reading this morning in 1 Peter 5, I wanted to take a specific passage and apply it to a larger theme of SERVANT-HOOD answering the question that many of us deal with:  “How can I help my Church?”

What do you call a chicken crossing the road?

Poultry in motion.

What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A stick.

Where do you find a dog with no legs?

Right where you left him.

What do call cheese that isn’t yours?

Nacho cheese.

What do you call a Christian who isn’t serving?

A CONTRADICTION~

You and I have been redeemed for a reason…

Another way to say it is, we’ve been SAVED to SERVE… we’ve been mobilized for ministry?  That’s why when we are NOT serving in some way, in and through the church, it’s a contradiction.  Because to be a follower of Christ means you are a servant of Christ Jesus.

As we go through this passage of Scripture, I want to apply the words of Peter to a larger theme of SERVANT-HOOD and answer the questions.

Help Your Church By Serving “willingly” (verse 2 a.)

  • “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing…”

I’m not a Bible teacher or a Christian Blogger because that’s what I chose to do.

I could have chosen to do many other things in furthering the cause of Christ.  But God CHOSE me to teach and write.  Since I know that this is my calling, then I SERVE willingly.

I’m not fighting to surrender; I’m freely and willingly serving.

So many Christians today are useful in their churches to advance the gospel but they are not willing, they refuse.  That has always confused me over the years.  Some may feel unworthy and inadequate; some feel that it will cost them too much.nnSome may feel like it will require too much sacrifice.  On and on the list could go, but the Scripture is clear.  If we have been CALLED to serve, or if we have talents and abilities to serve, then we must not reject His call!

The Scripture says, “but because you are willing, as God wants you to  be” (NIV)

It’s God’s desire to surrender your life to Him – Your talents and your abilities to be used by Him in His service.  You surrender willingly, not because you are forced.

Help Your Church By Serving Eagerly – (vs. 2) “but eager to serve”

DEFINITION:  eager : An adjective. 

synonyms:  enthusiastic, fervent, zealous, passionate, motivated, wholehearted, dedicated.

I love to watch someone who is fairly new to the church, and they’re a fairly new believer, and the first opportunity they can do something in the church for the Lord, you can see the eagerness they have.  They get to the church doors early and they stay late to help clean up.  They are EAGER to serve.  They can’t wait to get after it.

Losing the Eagerness –

How in the world do we get to the place in our Christian lives, where we lose that eagerness to serve?

There’s also a flip side of the person that is eager when that person who does some type of service because no one else will take it!

Usually, the ACT OF SERVICE is done without any heartfelt sense of service to God, because quite frankly. we didn’t feel called to do it –  “I know it needs to be done, but no one else sees the need, so I guess I’ll have to do it again!”

The Scripture says that ALL of us, not 20 percent of the people doing 100 percent of the work, but ALL of us be eager to serve.  Not because I’m obligated to do it, or any other matter for that reason, but because I want to have an impact in the kingdom for eternity – “but be eager to serve.”

Helping Your Church By Serving As An Example For Others –  (verse 3)

“being examples (patterns and models of Christians living) to the flock (the congregation)”  [AMP]

This is what can really hurt the church body of believers.  When we SERVE as an example, not preaching and teaching one thing, then doing another.

If “Mel” is going to be an example, then my walk will match my talk, and my talk will match my walk,

Titus 2:7 (NLT)

If I’m going to be an EXAMPLE for others, then I need to truly be a person of INTEGRITY.

Integrity means that you are the same person when no one else is looking.  In other words, if I claim to be a “good Christian” on Sundays to everyone at church, but when I get home, I view pornography, I drink till I can’t stand up. that’s not a person of integrity, that’s a true genuine hypocrite.

With us as genuine believers, the person we are on Sundays needs to be the same person the rest of the week.  If I’m going to help the church, then I need to SERVE as an example for others.

Helping Your Church Will Ensure A Heavenly Reward – (verse 4)

[4]  And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory.  [AMP]

This is why we do what we do, this is why we stay up late getting ready for acts of service, whether it’s a special event, studying for a Sunday school lesson, or going over a song, or praying with someone who is hurting.  This is why we do all those things.  For the approval of Jesus!

Every single one of us, when we meet Jesus one day, will want Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant, you have done everything I equipped you to do.  You used every talent I give, every ability I allow you to have or learn, every opportunity I set before you to SERVE…you took it.  WELL DONE!!”

The Apostle Paul reminds each one of us in Ephesians 6:8…

A Story of An Old Potato Farmer –

After lightning struck on an old shed, a farmer was relieved because now he didn’t have to tear it down.

The rains came and cleaned off his car, and that saved him from having to wash it.

When asked what he was doing now, he replied, “I’m waiting for an earthquake to shake the potatoes out of the ground.”

If we are going to have a SERVANT’S HEART, we can’t just wait for something to happen.  Jesus said we’re blessed when we do something.

I’ve found in my own life over the years of service FOUR ACTIONS…steps that you might apply to your own life:

  1. SERVE whenever you can.
  2. SERVE wherever you can.
  3. SERVE whoever is in need.
  4. BE WILLING to do whatever it takes.

Let’s live our lives as obedient and humble servants.  Don’t be a contradiction!!

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CREDITS:

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); New Living Translation (NLT); Ling James Version (KJV).

 

 

 

 

Do We Actually “Trust In God” or Do We Just Say We Do? [2-PART SERIES]

“IN GOD WE TRUST” –[PART ONE IN THIS SERIES]:

If you were to take out a United States coin or bill out of your pocket, you would find somewhere on the currency the phrase, “IN GOD WE TRUST”.

This motto was adopted by Congress during our civil war, being confirmed by acts of Congress and by various courts.  But in recent years there have been various groups who have challenged this motto, being a violation of separation of church and state.  To date such efforts have failed–so far.

Replacement Suggestions:

There have been some interesting suggestions offered up and I will share two of them with you.  The first example that I found was, “Peace be the Journey.”  The writer gives this reason for adopting such a phrase:  “What this country needs is PEACE, and “In God We Trust” supports religion–something that proliferates war and hostility both domestically and internationally–is far from the want of peace.”  What she lacks in understanding is what Christianity really declares–namely PEACE.

“In Sex, drugs and rock & roll we trust” was another suggestion.  Although I think that their idea was displaying sarcasm, their reasoning was as such:  “We feel that this motto more accurately reflects both the values and the attitude of most Americans than “In God We Trust,” and that it contains at least one component that almost every American can identify with.”

The Basic Reason People Want The National Motto Changed Is…

Our current motto never represented ALL the citizens of the United States of America.  And I agree.  To say that every U.S. citizen trusted exclusively in God–or that the U.S. government has trusted God exclusively is absurd!  God is not nearly concerned about whether we say trust in God nearly as much as whether we actually trust in God.

THE UNDERLYING THEME IN THE FIRST HALF OF ISAIAH 26:

A.  TRUSTING IN GOD–

The Israelites claim they trusted in God–to a certain degree, they did.  But at the same time, they also trusted in Baal, Molech, Ashtera, and other gods. 

–They trusted God but… they also trusted in Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, other nations for protection.

–They trusted God but… they also trusted in their own schemes to get ahead financially which forced the poor into deeper poverty, even slavery.

The United States of America in the 21st Century AD–

While the names and context is different, you can clearly see the similarities to Judah in the 8th Century BC.

Four contrasts given in Isaiah 26 (verses 1-6):

1.  The contrast between inhabiting the celestial city or lofty ruins.

2.  Walking the heavenly path or the aimless way.

3.  Working with divine ability or human inability.

4.  Rising to eternal life or to judgement.

B.  THE FIRST CONTRAST–“CELESTIAL CITY” or “LOFTY RUINS”?

ISAIAH tells us, those who TRUST IN GOD live in a strong city and we have the same call today!  The writer of Hebrews calls us to look for a city “whose Architect and Builder is God”  (Hebrews 11:10).  And the apostle John describes the city, Revelation 21.

So what does ISAIAH say about the city in Isaiah 26:1:

“IN THAT day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah:  We have a strong city; [the Lord] sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.”

The picture I have displayed is one of the 9 Gates into the Old City of Jerusalem today; The Damascus Gate.

The DAMASCUS GATE

First the prophet tells us that the city is strong and that salvation is its walls and the bulwarks, ramparts, are the defense.  Our salvation is our protection, but it is also our separation.

There is a distinction between those who are SAVED and inside the city with God; protected by God and those who are NOT SAVED, outside of the city.

So how does one get inside the city?  Look next at verse 2 for the answer:

“Open the gates, that the [uncompromisingly] righteous nation which keeps her faith and her troth [with God] may enter in.”

Now if we’ve read our Bibles, we know Christ is referred to as the GATE:

[9] “I am the Door [the GATE]; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live).  He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.”

And then my favorite verse in the Bible–

[10] “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”  (John 10:9-10 AMP).

1.  We can’t enter by climbing over the walls; trying to SAVE OURSELVES by works of righteousness.

2.  We can’t enter by digging under the wall, trying to get around God’s righteousness and salvation.

Just as there would be only one way to enter a fortified city–through the only gate that was opened.  So the only way to enter God’s SALVATION is through the gate He provided for us all–through Jesus Christ!

3.  We Don’t Enter The City Because Of Righteous Works but by FAITH.

[3] You [the Lord] will guard him and keep him perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.  [4] So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]”  (Isaiah 26:3-4 AMP).

Those are both well-known verses in the Bible.  It shows that this righteous nation is righteous because they TRUST IN GOD; because such TRUST is unwavering trust; because their trust is in the Lord forever!

C.  WHEN WE ARE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS:

When we TRUST IN GOD, it’s not because we carry around with us in our pockets coins that have a motto.  We are declared righteous when we live in a strong city of FAITH; because Jesus bore our sins on a cross and so we may be given His righteousness.  That is powerful!

A Choice Between 2-Cities of Contrasts.

–THE CITY OF GOD.

–THE CITY OF MAN.

TRUST in God allows us to inhabit the City of God, a city of salvation.  TRUST in Man allows us to inhabit the “lofty” city, a city doomed to destruction.

The City of Man looks secure–its “lofty”–great, dignified with beauty and magnificence.  But like many beautiful cities in the world, looks can be deceptive.  The city Isaiah is talking about will be demolished!

TRUST in anything but God and trust is  misplaced because this world that we are living in with all its values, its systems, will one day be destroyed.  And when I mean ‘destroyed’, it may not necessarily be destroyed from earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, etc..  But destroyed from within by subversion.  Look at the media today regarding the politics in the world.  It’s happening as I write this blog.

D.  Which City Do You Spend Your Time In?

Are you living in the City of Salvation or the City of Man?  Are you trying to live in both cities; maintaining summer and winter homes in two different cities?  Could you be known by your neighbors as Christian “snow birds”?

You will need to make a choice.

While we do business with the City of Man we are able to live in the City of Salvation.

Part II in the series- “Walking In The Divine Path or the Aimless Way”