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In the King's Service

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6 May 18
In the King’s Service: Think Like Our Lord II
We are invited into the King’s service. Not forced - but invited. When we answer the call, our King provides us with the tools necessary to serve Him and others. He equips and empowers us to accomplish whatever He asks of us. He empowers us with spiritual gifts, both motivational (our natural wiring) and the manifestations - all, I believe, to help people reach their full potential in Christ.
I encourage you to always keep that in mind - how can I use what I’ve been given to help someone become better, to move closer to Christ. How can I use what I’ve been given to enter the King’s service? As we’ve mentioned, the purpose of spiritual gifts or
Our Objective: To Serve
To serve even in the midst of suffering and persecution. We are always in His service – always servants. Our key verse is
1 Peter 4:10 LEB
Just as each one has received a gift, use it for serving one another, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.
I hope you’ve been asking – “Lord, how can I use what you’ve given me - how can I be in Your service? A good example is a man I met during my first trip to China. I’ve mentioned him before. He’s a pediatrician in Idaho; he is passionate about fishing. One day, he and a friend asked, “Lord, how can we use our passion for your glory.” They simply started taking people fishing and just talked about Jesus. They’ve been doing that for 10-years and have led many people to Christ. But
Using what we’ve been given begins with a love for the King and a willingness to serve the King.
Curious - have you asked Him?
“Lord, how can I use ______________ for your glory?”
If you really want to know, I’m positive He will show you.
Again, our objective is to serve, and to help us reach our objective we’re doing some
Backward planning
- identifying the steps necessary to reach our objective.
1) Crown Christ as Lord
(to set Him apart as King – 1 Peter 3:15 - and the challenge there is to pledge fealty to the King)
2) Think like our Lord
We covered this last week, but I want to go a little deeper this morning. Our key verse for this is
1 Peter 4:1–2 LEB
Therefore, because Christ suffered in the flesh, you also equip yourselves with the same way of thinking, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, in order to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for the will of God.
We are to equip or arm ourselves to think like our Lord. We discovered last week that the word equip comes from the Greek word, hoplizō (PIC), a reference to hoplites, ancient Greek warriors. I found a good definition this past week concerning this -
To arm oneself is to equip oneself with the necessary tools in order to be ready for something or to achieve a particular purpose.
To review a little bit - we have a responsibility to equip ourselves. Equipping ourselves is not done through osmosis (Bible on head).
We should create space every day for the Holy Spirit to transform us
, empower us and give us our orders. We have to open up the Word and read it, study it, apply it, pray, fellowship, worship - all are a part of equipping ourselves.
We create the space; God creates the change.
So, we are to arm ourselves (create that space) to think like Jesus. Last week, I talked about Cpt. Marti. When I was in the Army, this was one captain in particular that I enjoyed serving under. I served him well because I learned to think like him. I learned to think like him because I observed him.
Any of us can do that. If we observe someone long enough, we’ll learn their behavior, and learn to think like them and even learn how to mimic them. But learning to think like Cpt. Marti only went so far. See, it primarily changed my behavior while I was on duty. It influenced how I behaved as a soldier, but not necessarily as a person. There were things I learned from him that I brought into my personal life - but for the most part my soldier life was separate from my personal life. I didn’t hang out with Cpt. Marti when I was off duty. I didn’t hand out markers to random people.
I had my soldier life and my personal life.
This is called compartmentalization.
This is something we all do – and in many cases it’s healthy. We should separate occupation from home.
But we’re never called to do that as Christians.
We are never called to compartmentalize our Christianity.
Sadly, too many Christians compartmentalize their lives so much that even their faith doesn’t permeate all of life. They have their Christian life; which is separate from their home life; which is separate from their work life; which is separate from their recreation life and so on. Spiritually, that is unhealthy, and that makes it impossible to truly live the way God desires. And consequently, that person will never reach their full potential in Christ, they will forfeit many blessings that God has to offer, and they will never fully be in the King’s service - and rarely will influence our world for Jesus Christ. That kind of compartmentalized thinking falls way short of what Peter is telling us, and consequently falls short of truly thinking like our King.
What Peter is telling us goes far beyond mere observation while “on duty.”
To think (ἔννοια, ennoia): implies a mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values and one’s nature that ultimately influences behavior.
It is not an occasional attitude - today I’ll think like Jesus for 5 minutes. No. Scripture is implying here that we can think like Jesus because we personally know the nature of God.
It means
We can think like our King because we know the heart of our King.
We know His thoughts, His mind, His motives - His heart. When we know God’s heart, we’ve reached a new level of intimacy where it is no longer a duty to think like Him, but
His nature has begun to infuse with our nature.
(Like a married couple …)
Listen closely to the words of our King shortly before His crucifixion –
John 17:20–23 NIV
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
That’s the kind of relationship our King desires with us - where His nature infuses or permeates our nature. And that’s the deepest kind of relationship a person can have with someone - to know one’s thoughts and heart. SO, a nature permeated by Christ thinks like Christ, behaves like Christ. I think that’s the meaning behind what John the Baptist said – “I must decrease, He must increase.” (my thoughts must decrease; His thoughts my increase)
Side note about John 17: Notice that Jesus said that when we are one with Him and with each other, the world will know and believe that He is real. See,
The greatest witness to an unbelieving world is not proving that God exists in the universe but proving that God exists in me.
Do you see how all of this is connected - our thinking and our living is connected to their believing?
Let’s look again at 1 Peter 4:1 using the NLT -
1 Peter 4:1 NLT
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.
My flesh does not like that - but if I truly love my King, I will endeavor to bring my flesh into submission to His Spirit and endeavor to gain His attitude.
So, what was - is - His attitude? Peter was referencing 3:18, but before we get there, look at
Philippians 2:3–8 NLT
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
That is how Jesus thought – love, obedience and humility - that is how we should think and live as well. But we can only think like that when we invite His nature to conquer and permeate our nature. We must kneel before Him, pledge our fealty to Him and crown Him King and Lord or our lives. We call that sanctification - and it is God’s will that you be sanctified.
With all that in mind, look at
1 Peter 3:18 NIV
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
When I read that I stopped - that really was His attitude - that’s how Jesus lived. Then I began to write down what that means. Before I share my thoughts, would you take about 30 seconds, focus on that phrase - “the righteous for the unrighteous.” Write down your thoughts. I would love to hear from you this week what you discovered … but for now, here’s what I wrote:
The righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Your soul (or your eternal destination) is more important than my life.
Your soul is more important than my time.
Your soul is more important than my pride.
Your soul is more important than my health.
Your soul is more important than my safety.
Your soul is more important than my comfort.
Your soul is more important than my possessions.
Your soul is more important than my rights.
Your soul is more important than my reputation.
Your soul is more important than getting what you deserve.
The righteous for the unrighteous, to bring people to God.
When suffering for the unrighteous is more important than our own lives, then we have gained maximum victory over sin and have moved into a new realm of living, for we no longer live for ourselves, but for the will of God – which is the salvation of souls. When we reach that, then we can say along with the Apostle Paul,
Romans 9:1–4 NIV
I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
When we anguish over lost souls, we think like our King.
Closing questions:
For some, when will you make Jesus your Savior?
For some, when will you make Jesus your King?
In what ways might your life be compartmentalized? What would a non-compartmentalized spiritual life look like? How could you live that way?
How has your nature been infused with God’s nature? What more could be done to allow God to permeate your life?
On a scale of 1-9, how well do you know the heart of God? What could you do to move up a number?
What is more important to you than someone’s lost soul?
Lange’s Commentary: “Exhibit a manly, constant readiness (intent) to suffer innocently for the sins of others and for their benefit (yet not vicariously) with the purpose, as much as you are able, to remove sin and to conduct, souls to God.”
Matthew Henry: “All good Christians make the will of God, not their own lusts or desires, the rule of their lives and actions.”
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