< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Making Great Sacrifices Part 6

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Making Great Sacrifices Part 6

The 2nd thing we should have if we are living a sacrificial life is a Servant’s Spirit:

In Matthew 20: 28 Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” And He wanted that attitude to develop in His disciples.

The key word is develop. The attitude of desiring to be served as opposed to wanting to serve doesn’t come naturally. Jesus had to tell us its better to give than to receive because we are born receiving.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church and complimented them on being a model church. Then he described their secret. “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven.” Turn to God. When we become a Christian, that’s what we do. We demonstrate a desire to have a relationship with God, and then we begin to draw from Him what He offers and move constantly closer to Him. When we turn to God, certain things happen. First, we turn from idols. We can’t serve both. We must also serve Him well. Lots of people turn to God as a last resort. Their lives are a mess and they’ve tried to fix it themselves, but can’t. So they finally come to Him to fix what’s wrong. Which is ok, but then they have to do their part and quit treating God like a Genie in the sky and realize we exist to serve Him.

When we share the gospel with people in need we can’t leave that part out. To do this we have to concentrate on who God is, in all His majesty and wonder. Then we can show needy people how to come to Him, in glad submission with an overwhelming desire to honor Him.

The verse I mentioned earlier is Colossians 3:23-24. And the whole thing is “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” This doesn’t mean we have to get a job in the church. Whatever someone’s occupation is, and that includes housewife and mother, so long as it is compatible with God’s holiness, there’s an opportunity, by the person’s demeanor, by their commitment, faithfulness, energy and the way they go about their task, to serve God in any situation.

Getting up and thanking God for a new day. And at the end of the day, saying, “Lord, this is what I did today. I trust I brought you honor: I served You in my situation today.”

We not only serve God, we serve the Christian community. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:13 to serve one another in love. What would it be like to belong to a church where every member said, “Here I am, Lord, ready to serve You by serving my brothers and sisters in the community”?

When people stop sitting in the pew saying, “They’re not meeting my needs.” And start saying, “Whose needs can I meet?” Then the servant spirit flourishes in a congregation and you’ve got a church on fire!

Each of us needs to identify the way we are serving God. We need to identify the ways we are serving the church. This is our calling.

Many of us feel that society in general and the government in particular owe us something, when in actuality we owe our loving service to the world in the name of Christ. That’s the Christian attitude. It’s a free choice to make, but a necessary one to live out the Gospel. It’s a privilege to belong to God and also a responsibility to be called a Christian.

Paul said in Acts 27:23, “God whose I am and who I serve.” He said this while his ship was sinking in the Mediterranean. Things weren’t going well right then, but he kept his eyes on God.

God does have a plan. And it’s that one day Jesus will be acknowledged as Lord of all. Every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess Him as Lord. When that happens God will be recognized on the cosmic scale to all. That’s where we’re headed. That’s the future that Scripture gives us.

But, God has a personal plan for our lives too. Like the line in the old hymn: “There’s a work for Jesus that only you can do.” Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:17, “Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

In Colossians 1:9 he prays that believers will be filled “with the knowledge of His will.” Yet most Christians, if you ask them, say they don’t know God’s will for their life.” It’s possible that people like living this way because if it became clear they might have to do it! J

God’s will is excruciatingly practical. Here’s how it works: 1. God has a plan for my life. 2. God made me 3. God’s not stupid.

Therefore! God must have made me fundamentally ideal for what He wants me to do. So instead of waiting for organ music and lights flashing from the sky and a big voice booming out your name, he suggests getting a piece of paper and making a list of how God made you. Write down your abilities, your likes and dislikes and your experiences. Have someone who knows you well look at it. Then start to look for things that need to be done, that fit the kind of person you are. Then do them!

You may not do it well in the beginning, but don’t let that stop you. Do it the best you can and you’ll get better. If you continue to do it badly, eventually someone’s going to say, “For heaven’s sake, let me do it!” and either way, somebody discovers God’s plan! J

We’re not meant to be spectators in church. We’re not meant to put the Pastor on a pedestal because he’s the only one who can do God’s work. The church needs people with a servant spirit channeled into a sense of God’s purpose.

And not just the local church’s need, but also the world’s need. Jesus is going to ask us what we did on earth some day.

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