What do you think… do mature believers FIND, JOIN, or maybe CREATE a place to serve in their local churches? Did and does Jesus serve the church? Did Paul serve in the church? Did Peter, James, John, and millions/billions of others serve in their local churches? Do mature Christ followers you know serve? Of course they do. So, do you serve?
3. Growing Up in Serving - By Pastor Delbert Young (sermon notes) (Listen sermon audio mp3) Scriptures: Mark 10:35-37, Mark 10:45, Mark 10:42-43, Mark 10:44, Ephesians 6:7-8, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 4:23-25, John 13:1, John 13:4-5
We have talked about GROWING UP IN GIVING and GROWING UP IN PRAISE. Today I want to talk about GROWING UP IN SERVING. What do you think... do mature believers FIND, JOIN, or maybe CREATE a place to serve in their local churches? Did and does Jesus serve the church? Did Paul serve in the church? Did Peter, James, John, and millions/billions of others serve in their local churches? Do mature Christ followers that you know serve? Of course they do. However, do many Christ followers suffer from Arrested Development Syndrome in serving? Sadly, they do. So, do you serve, or been arrested? Let's talk today about GROWING UP IN SERVING.
One day two disciples came to Jesus and made an interesting, yet common request.
Mark 10:35-37 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us SIT at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
Does that sound like many Christians today? "Jesus, I want you to do for me whatever I ask." Many believers today, want to have a great victorious kingdom lifestyle. They want Jesus to do for them and place them in a position of victory, but they only want to come and SIT. They say, "I don't want to really do anything Lord. I just want you to do whatever I ask while I SIT."
Jesus told James and John that they did not understand how the kingdom and a successful life worked. He asked them if they could drink his cup and experience his baptism (v38). Jesus went on to tell them exactly what he meant.
Mark 10:45 For EVEN the Son of Man did not come to be served, but TO SERVE, and TO GIVE his life as a ransom for many.
In other words, if EVEN Jesus, the King of kings came to SERVE and GIVE, certainly they were expected to and we are expected to serve and give.
From that conversation and from the confusion of the other disciples to the request of James and John, Jesus took the opportunity to teach about serving.
Mark 10:42-43 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. NOT SO WITH YOU. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant
The person serving, matured and came to the highest level possible. The more a person served, the higher the level of life that person went. Jesus connected serving with going on to maturity and having a great life.
Mark 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
The believer going on to maturity finds, joins, or maybe creates a place to serve. It is truly the people that serve that make the kingdom and the world work.
General Eisenhower once rebuked one of his own Generals for referring to a soldier as "just a Private." Eisenhower reminded the General that the Army could function better without its Generals than it could without its Privates. Eisenhower said, "If this war is won, it will be won by Privates." People who served, not those who wanted to SIT and tell everyone how to do things, won World War II. If we are going to win the war for our children, families, and loved ones, it will be by our serving, not by our SITTING.
Jesus said that if they, his disciples, wanted to elevate in life and mature in the kingdom, they must serve. So I ask, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD? WHAT IS YOUR MINISTRY RIGHT NOW, TODAY? WHAT CAN THE LORD COUNT ON YOU DOING?
WHY DOES GOD WANT AND EXPECT US TO SERVE? I need to mention that there are rewards for what we do.
Ephesians 6:7-8 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will REWARD EVERYONE FOR WHATEVER GOOD HE DOES, whether he is slave or free.
EVERYONE – no exceptions, will be rewarded for what he or she does. The person at the top of the scale and the person at the bottom of the scale will be rewarded for the good that he or she does. Jesus told his disciples they would receive 100-fold reward in their lifetime for their service. There are rewards for serving, but I have never actually heard anyone who served say they were doing it for rewards. So, why have people served for two thousand years in local churches? Why is it that every Sunday morning people begin coming in here, two hours before the service begins, to prepare? The answer – bottom line – is to reach people and save souls – change eternity and direct history.
THERE IS AN ACCUMULATIVE INVESTMENT IN SERVING. What I mean is that there is a principle that works throughout life. We achieve (accumulate) far better results over a period of time than by spending a lot of time all at once. For example, if we go to the gym and work out three times a week, thirty minutes each time for two years, the accumulative results are far superior to working out all day at the gym one or two entire days. In fact, there is little if any results when attempting to do it all at one time. It is over a series of months and years that we will actually see the desired results. Proper and improper eating habits are accumulative. If we "pig out" every day, then over a period of weeks and months, we see the accumulation of "pigging out." Not eating anything one or two days will NOT correct the accumulation of what "pigging out" over a year accomplished. Another example is if we will spend the appropriate accumulative daily time with our spouses and children, it will accumulate great and positive results. If we do not spend the correct time, we cannot fix it with one "romantic" trip, or one entire weekend with the children. It is THE ACCUMULATIVE INVESTMENT that brings the results. Good financial habits are also accumulative. It is by watching our spending habits, day after day, that we accumulate and develop good finances. We cannot fix bad finances by not spending anything for one or two days or months.
You are probably asking, "What has that got to do with serving?" Here is my point. We save souls by the Accumulative Investment, not by a one-time investment. I hope that we all take care of our bodies by getting accumulative exercise, but do you know that one day that body will pass away and be placed in a coffin or cremated into ashes? I hope you eat properly every day so that you will accumulate health and live a long healthy life, but do you know that your body is already dying? I hope you are spending the necessary time with your spouse and children and are accumulating great and positive results for your family, but you and they will one day pass away. I hope that you have great finances and have planned for your future by accumulating a healthy savings and good spending habits, but one day we will leave all that here. THE TRUTH IS, LIKE IT OR NOT, THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY THAT I HAVE TO MAKE AN ETERNAL CONTRIBUTION WITH MY LIFE AND MY TIME IS TO SERVE IN WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH THE LOCAL CHURCH. The absolute best investment that I can make with my life and time is the investment that I give week after week, month after month, and year after year to the eternal purpose of the church – reaching and helping people – changing eternity and directing history.
Paul Bradshaw interviewed Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life.Warren said:"People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond as follows - in anutshell, life is preparation for eternity.We were not made to last on earth forever, because eventually, God wants usto be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that willbe the end of my body - but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years onearth, but I am going to spend "forever" in eternity.This is the warm-up act, the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice onearth what we will do forever in eternity."
My point is that we serve to reach people and by so doing, we are laying up treasures in heaven and by so doing, changing and directing history.
Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The primary way we lay up treasure in heaven is by serving. Is Life Gate a treasure to you? Is church a treasure to you? Where are our treasures?
For the past twenty plus years, Judy and I have invested (laid up treasures in heaven) into life after life by serving. We look at those lives now and we say, "Wow!" We see successful people. Every person [bar none] into whom we invested and who applied the teachings of the Word of God is successful. Today, we are watching people experience successful families. We see happy people living their dreams and we say, "Wow! We invested into those lives." The kingdom advanced during our watch and eternal things happened because we made THE ACCUMULATIVE INVESTMENT by serving for all these years.
Let's take a minute and erase those investments that we made. Say Judy and I refused to serve. We slept late on Sundays, went to the lake, stayed home and watched TV on Wednesdays, did not subject our children to church, etc. What could have happened? Where might those lives that we invested into be today? Do you see what I mean? Let's expand that. What if there were no praise teams, no sound persons, or video people? What if there were no greeters, no nursery workers, or Sunday school teachers? Lives would never have been eternally affected and altered by the kingdom of God. MY POINT IS THAT THE COURSE OF HISTORY AND ETERNITY FOR THE LIVES OF PEOPLE DEPEND ON OUR LAYING UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN BY SERVING. I believe that we have changed, or at least directed, history and eternity by our serving.
Matthew 4:23-25 And Jesus WENT ABOUT ALL GALILEE, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and HE HEALED THEM. And there followed him GREAT MULTITUDES OF PEOPLE FROM GALILEE, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
Jesus served people by going ABOUT ALL GALILEE and creating IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS for them to enjoy. By doing this, multitudes of people came. Their eternities changed and their history was directed.
I honestly do not know of a church anywhere that has a larger percentage of volunteers for the church itself than here at Life Gate. I want to take this opportunity to tell you how much that is appreciated. You ARE laying up treasures in heaven. You DO create IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS that direct history and eternity for people that come to Life Gate.
However, to mature, we need to see that Jesus WENT ABOUT ALL GALILEE serving. We all have our own Galilee in which there are multitudes of people. Your Galilee is your family and your friends. It's your work, and where you go about. Whom do you serve in your Galilee? What IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS do you personally make out there for people? Whom do you have over for supper and talk with about the things of God? Who is it that you take out for a meal, or go to the hospital to visit and pray? Whom do you give a steady supply of CD's or audio tapes? In whom do you invest? Whom do you serve? You know sick people, diseased and tormented people, and lunatics, don't you? There are multitudes in your Galilee. They are in the Galilees of us all.
I continue to believe, that we have the potential to create the greatest IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS that this region has ever seen. I will believe until I die that a church can exist that will draw multitudes, encourage them to get up on Sunday morning, dress their children, drive to church, and put themselves into environments that will change their eternities and direct their histories. It will take BOTH going about our Galilees and creating the IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS in the local church.
I want to end with a powerful illustration about Jesus serving and see where we individually align in our maturity level.
John 13:1 It was just before the Passover Feast. JESUS KNEW THAT THE TIME HAD COME for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, HE NOW SHOWED THEM THE FULL EXTENT OF HIS LOVE.
It was the Lord's "last supper" – the Passover meal. Jesus knew that the time had come. It was the last hours of his earthly life. In twenty-four hours, he would be physically dead and his body in a tomb. What would you do with your last twenty-four hours – spend time with a loved one, take a trip, go shopping, mow the lawn, clean the house…? It is an interesting question. Do you know what Jesus did?
John 13:4-5 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Jesus washed the disciples' feet. One of the very last acts Jesus did was serve. That is how important serving is to Jesus. Verse 1 said, HE NOW SHOWED THEM THE FULL EXTENT OF HIS LOVE. We actually love people by finding, joining, or creating a place to serve them. Jesus was not too busy, or too educated, or too spiritual, or too wealthy. He simply loved people.
Later in the passage, Jesus asked (v12), "Do you understand what I have done for you?" He changed their eternities. He directed their histories. He did that by serving. Then He said,
John 13:14-15 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I HAVE SET YOU AN EXAMPLE THAT YOU SHOULD DO AS I HAVE DONE FOR YOU.
We should serve people. By so doing, we direct their histories and change their eternities.
Mature Christians love people, so they serve. I encourage you to take off your daily garments and your Sunday garments and put on a servant's towel. Serve some people. Change eternity and direct history. Let's go on to maturity and GROW UP IN SERVING. Let's stand and pray. I need to ask you how you intend to respond to this lesson. If you are not involved in some ministry here and this is your home church, then you need to be involved. Secondly, are you serving those in your Galilee? I encourage you to go about your Galilee and lay up treasures in heaven by serving. What maturity level do you want to acquire? Let's GROW UP!