Page 183 was the first Sunday of the month, so I had the privilege of preaching at the North Wayne Mennonite Church. I woke up early and did the writing of yesterday’s page then went through my sermon outline before getting ready for the day. As I was preparing this week for today’s sermon, I had in mind that this would be considered Independence Day weekend and in the United States, we tend to equate independence with freedom. God, on the other hand, offers real freedom as we learn to have total dependence on Him. The Bible teaches that in Christ we have been set free; but we are not to use our freedom to satisfy our selfish desires, rather we are to live free in order to serve one another.
This morning was another message in the “Living as the Lord’s Servant” series that I have been preaching. In the series, we have looked at various Bible characters described as the Lord’s servant and today we considered the life of Jesus with a sermon title of “Living as the Lord’s Servant: SERVE”. As the ultimate example of everything godly, including serving, here are the characteristics I shared this morning on how we ought to serve like Jesus.
When we live as the Lord’s servant, we will . . .
- Submit: The Bible teaches that Jesus lived His life on earth in complete submission to His Father. Serving God requires that we submit fully to His will. Serving one another also requires that we learn to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Serving others according to their need, as we ought to, will require that we submit to both what God says is best and what best meets the needs of others.
- Enlist: Jesus knew that the time span for Him to be able to serve in human flesh was limited, just as our time on this earth has a limit. In order to serve as Jesus did, we must learn to enlist others who will both help us in the task of serving and become equipped to carry on when our time on earth is done. Serving as we are created to will require that we work together so that what is accomplished isn’t about any one of us, but rather about the work of God through us.
- Restore: When you serve people as you ought, there will inevitably be times when they fail both you and God. But this isn’t just true about the people you serve — it is true about you and I as well. As Jesus served mankind, He always knew just how to restore all who would turn back to Him. Yes, people including you and I have a choice about whether we seek restoration for ourselves or not, but as we serve it is not our choice about whether someone else should be restored — God’s desire is that all would return to Him in repentance and be restored. When we serve as Jesus served, we will pick up the weak and wounded, the bruised and broken, the hungry and hurting, and we will offer them the same restoration God has offered us when we were in those conditions.
- View: As Jesus served, He had a view of people that saw them as people in need of what He could offer. When we serve, we must adjust our view to see people through the eyes of Jesus rather than through the eyes of the world or even through our own eyes. As Jesus went from place to place He would often encounter crowds that were filled with very needy people — probably because that is really the only kind of people there are. Rather than view them as a burden or bother, He viewed them with compassion. When we seek to serve like Jesus served, we must adjust our view away from the mess and worked involved in serving others and be filled with godly compassion for them.
- Enjoy: Jesus taught that our love for Him ought to result in our obedience to His commands — including His command that we follow His example and serve one another. Yet He makes it clear that His instructions are not meant to be burdensome, but to fill us with great joy. The greatest act of obedience and service done by Jesus on our behalf was His trip to the cross. And while the horrific events of the crucifixion could never be considered joyful, the Bible says that it was for the joy set before Him that Jesus endured the cross. Just as John writes that he has no greater joy than to know that his children walk in the truth, our serving others ought to be made enjoyable by watching God at work in the lives of those we serve.
After the church service, we stopped for lunch on the way home and then it has been a quiet and restful afternoon and evening. I spent time going through some photos I took at the wedding reception last night and looking at some options for a quick family getaway before summer is over. I also went outside to take some more photos of the flowers blooming in the gardens around the house. Today’s photo is of one of the day lilies as it shares its beauty according to God’s design. It is by God’s design that we share His beauty when we learn to SERVE people as Jesus served them and us.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Sharing God’s Word is both a great responsibility and a great privilege.
- Real freedom is not the same as being able to do whatever we want.
- The freedom we have in Christ is given to us for the purpose of our serving one another.
- There are many good examples we can look to and follow when it comes to serving, but none better than Jesus.
- Serving like Jesus will require that we live a life of submission.
- Serving like Jesus will require that we enlist others to help and to carry on after us.
- Serving like Jesus will require that we be restored by His power and that we offer that same restoration to others.
- Serving like Jesus will require that we view people and situations through His eyes.
- Serving like Jesus will be something we can enjoy because of the results that He accomplishes through our service.
- When we serve one another as we should, the beauty of Jesus is made visible in us.