Freedom to Serve
J.C. Thompson |
In week 2 of our series on freedom, we will discuss how God saved us so that we might serve Him for the benefit of the world.
Freedom to Serve
Freedom – Message 2
January 10, 2021
Description: In Week 2 of our series on Freedom we will discuss how God saved us so that we might serve Him for the benefit of the world.
A. Introduction (Galatians 5:13)
- Good Morning everyone, we are continuing our mini-series called Freedom. Last week we discussed the importance of knowing and understanding what Freedom we have as children of God.
- Last week we talked about what we are freed from, this week, we speak about what we are freed for.
- Galatians 5:13 (NLT) - For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
- Our freedom is not just for us, but for the service of others.
- We are free for service to God and others.
B. My service to God…
1. Glorifies Him. (2 Corinthians 4:11. C/R: Luke 1:74-75)
- 2 Corinthians 4:11 (NLT) - Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.
- It is important to note here that Paul is writing this from prison and he believed that he was about to die.
- While this may be a surprise to some, our lives in this world are limited.
- Paul specifically was in prison for serving Christ by sharing the Gospel.
- It’s why sometimes it feels difficult to preach these texts, because right now in SC, we are not in danger of losing our lives by preaching the Gospel.
- We will suffer in some instances. Physically, relationally, and maybe our reputations could take a hit. We might even suffer some setbacks in how we manage our employees or relate to our bosses.
- It is possible to even miss out on promotional opportunities or pass up opportunities to increase income or revenue in order to obey Christ.
- But it is through this perseverance that the life of Jesus will be evident.
- In our dying, Jesus’ life is proclaimed. In Paul’s circumstance, he was speaking of a dignified death, continuing to pursue the Gospel in the midst of being persecuted for his faith.
- Today, we have the opportunity to live in such a way.
- Here are some examples of this playing out today:
Each of these examples are examples of people that while they might be well-meaning, become opposed to God’s glory.
They side with the enemy instead of the Father. As a church our service is to God first, but that is affirmed by the people around us.
We cannot be fearful of someone else’s criticisms of our service.
Luke 1:74-75 (ESV) - 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
Lifetime service to God to be holy and righteous is the way to glorify God.
APP: Are you serving in order to glorify God or yourself? Is your lack of serving glorifying God?
- Someone interested in pursuing missions/pastoring/non-profit ministry: How will you provide for your family?
- Someone interested in adoption or Foster Care: What about your own children?
- Following the Spirit’s lead in a situation, confirmed by other followers of Christ: Is that really the wise decision? Sounds risky?
- Someone hearing you shared with someone else: You should really mind your own business.
2. Generates interest in the Gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:12. C/R: Matthew 5:16; John 13:35)
- It is important for us to understand that there are not only vertical implications of our newfound mission to serve God, but also implications that affect the people around us.
- 2 Corinthians 4:12 (NLT) - So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
- I want to highlight 2 groups of people we are to serve and 2 types of service we can offer.
- The first is those who are a part of the church. As you read the Scriptures, you see especially in the New Testament writings of Paul that believers should have a particular interest in serving those who are a part of the family of God. (Ephesians 4; Philippians 2; 1 Corinthians 12)
- Our service to other believers, the church, is to build one another up to continue doing more and more good in the world.
- When the church is serving one another, the interest in serving and accomplishing the work of the kingdom grows.
- When someone shows interest in us or around us, we become interested in Christ and what He is doing in them and around us.
- We are also to serve those outside of the church. Those who are not followers of Christ and also those in other churches. All for the purpose of spreading the message of the Gospel.
- Matthew 5:16 (NLT) - In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
- Our good deeds lead to the praise of the Father.
- But there are also 2 types of service: I call these organizational and organic.
- As a church, and particularly as a large church there are organizational programs and processes that need to be managed. As a pastor, I’m looking to the people in my church to help manage these needs, teaching families and young people about budgeting and their income, how to use our website and database, social media, art and culture because I’m a Pastor, my calling is to teach the Word and challenge our church to live out what it says.
- But if you have those gifts, our church organizationally needs your expertise in the fields to help us.
- We need you to serve our church programs and processes not only through your talents, your money and also your time.
- Every year we have several dozen students graduate from high school and go to either college, the military or begin careers. What an opportunity to share with them.
- We have a growing group of young adults and young parents who need guidance on marriage, kids, career, balance.
- Our church needs your efforts there.
- But it’s also not just about this building. We are to be serving in our community organically.
- I cannot be at every school, current event, workplace or neighborhood. But you are.
- All of us should be involved in sharing the Gospel, giving to organizations sharing the Gospel, and helping the people around us come to know Christ and experience the love of Christ through our generosity to them.
- But are we doing that?
- APP: Where should you be devoting more time to serving? Who is God leading you to serve today?
3. Gives appreciation to God. (2 Corinthians 4:15. C/R: Psalm 50:23 )
- 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NLT) - All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
- As we serve for the glory of God, it affects people. Those people in turn are filled with gratitude and that gratitude leads to appreciation to God.
- It’s a constant growth of awareness of God’s glory > Serve Him > People become grateful > we and they become more aware of God’s glory > Serve Him.
- We are not only meeting a need, but we are also representatives, ambassadors of God.
- His name and the reputation of His name, become something that we must care about.
- We will not lose heart when this becomes our aim. Sharing in God’s Grace and being concerned with His glory.
- Psalm 50:23 (ESV) - The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
- Not only do we give appreciation to God, but God honors our appreciation by continuing to invest in us and show us who He truly is.
- It is a wonderful thing to be invested in by God and to pour out that investment in order to be filled again.
- This appreciation manifests in the way of singing, prayers of intercession, generous giving, sacrificial service, mentoring, evangelism, service to the poor and reconciliation.
- John Piper says it in this way: “Love God more than His gifts. And love God more because of His gifts.”
- APP: How are you sharing your appreciation with God and others? Who is someone that has grown your appreciation to God?
- We are representatives of Christ in every arena, Christ saved us for service in His kingdom, but are we participating with Him or opposed to that work?