The Grace of Serving
The Grace of Serving
God give us grace to be saved, grace to live, and grace to serve. To see this truth, we need to remember that grace is an active attribute of God. It expresses his powering us , giving us both the desire and the dynamic to do things his way(Phil 2:13)
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This is how we have grace for serving. His power is at work in us, giving us the desire and power to serve his way. We don’t pick and chooses how we serve Him, we allow His word to show us what He desires in our lives
Look at Jesus Christ. He was full of grace and truth, and he went about doing good, condescending to serve (Phil 2:5-8).
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
His whole life was given to ministry(Matt. 20:28), and he exemplified the spirit of humble service(John 13). He had the grace of serving. Do we have this kind of grace?
I. THE GRACE OF SERVING IS THE GRACE OF SERVING PRACTICALLY
A. Romans 15:15-16 tells us that God gives grace to serve, and Paul is a living testimony to that. The word for minister means “public servant” and to “fulfill a function”. Paul was qualified to remind his readers of those points because he had his special position as a result of God’s grace (Rom. 1:5). He was a minister (leitourgon, a “public servant”) to the Gentiles. This ministry was carried out as a priestly duty (the Greek verb hierourgounta means “to work in sacred things”) and involved his proclaiming the gospel of God (cf. 1:2-4). Because of his sharing the good news with Gentiles (11:13; Gal. 1:16; 2:2, 7-9; Eph. 3:8; Col. 1:27; 2 Tim. 4:17) they became an offering acceptable , sanctified (. tense, “having been sanctified” or “having been set apart”) by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Peter 1:2). Like a priest, Paul introduced Gentiles to God, and then presented them like an offering to the Lord. God’s willingness to accept Gentiles, set apart by the work of the Holy Spirit, shows His plan in the Church Age is to unite Jews and Gentiles in one body (Eph. 3:6).
B. This kind of serving is to the Lord. This concept is not an abstraction, however. We serve our Lord by serving others, and by serving them in very practical ways. What is the Grace of serving practically?
Dr. Chester Swor tells about a bedridden woman who formely taught the largest S.S. class in her church., sang in the choir, and was active in many ways. She had contracted an incurable illness. She could have complained and said that her days were over; however, in a new spirit of courage, she said, “ I will look for new ways to serve.”
She became a most powerful witness. During one week alone, she telephoned 150 church members from her bedside, urging them to go to an important meeting. She also invited young people to sit by her bedside. She led seven to Christ, and five made commitments of life to Christian service. This woman served mightily, and she never left her bed. This is grace for serving! We serve wherever we are, no matter the situation, no matter the condition. For the Grace of God is sufficient!!!!!
II. THE GRACE OF SERVING IS THE GRACE OF SERVING SPIRITUALLY
This is seen in Romans 12:3--------3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
This kind of serving, “serving spiritually” is expressed in three ways.
A. Serving according to spiritual guidelines(vs1-2) Serving is not a matter of just doing an activity; it is an expression of a life presented to God. Notice the flow of the first three verses Rd; service is a response to worship! Service expresses sacrifice. Service is devotion , not duty. When we come together to worship the deciding factor on whether or not we truly experienced worship is seen in what follows.
B. Serving according to a sober spirit (vs 3) Sound judgment means that we are not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but according to God’s measurement of faith. It means that we know that we have been given grace to serve and faith to exercise, and that not all have the same function. If we do not “function” we fail to fulfill God’s grace in our lives, so that the church suffers from the lack of Christians who serve.
C. Serving according to spiritual gifts(vs 6-7). We have gifts according to the grace given to us. Each of us has a spiritual gift, a grace gift. Seven are listed; prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, administering, and showing mercy. Our best service will be rendered in the knowledge of the spiritual gift God has given to us. What is that gift that God has entrusted to you? Are you exercising it?
II. THE GRACE OF SERVING IS THE GRACE OF SERVING COOPERATIVELY
This is best seen in Galatians 2: 9-21) Three Concepts are given
A . The grace of serving together(vs 9). Peter, James and John gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas in serving Christ and the Gospel. This was a means of endorsing one another n the ministry of grace. Notice in 3 John 9-10 the condemnation of Diotrephes, who thwarted collective serving.
B. The grace of serving sincerely(vs11) Peter, serving in fear of others, separated himself from other servants. Salvation did not mean that Gentiles had to become like Jews, but that the Jews had to go to the level of the condemned Gentiles! “We are justified—given a right standing before God—by faith in Jesus Christ,”argues Paul. “The works of the law will never justify a man. Was any Jew ever saved by keeping the law? Of course not!” Paul was given grace to oppose Peter to his face and warn him of hypocrisy. Service is to be done in openness, not secrecy.
C. The grace of serving effectively(vs 20) The secret of serving is found in verse 20, which speaks of being “crucified with Christ.” This is the perfect tense that emphasizes a past event with continuing effects. Not only are we crucified with Christ , but he also lives in us. The reality of this truth lifts the pressure of serving. It means that Christ is living in us and serving through us! This is the secret to victorious service.
IV. THE GRACE OF SERVING IS THE GRACE OF SERVING TRUSTINGLY
Are you serving trustingly in his grace?
A. Ephesians 3:2 speaks of serving as a stewardship. Grace is a sacred trust given ; true serving in doing so trustingly and faithfully. Verse 7 says that Paul testifies that in that spirit he became a minister, a diakonos, a servant willing even to serve tables.
B. Diakonos is also a word that describes urgent, diligent service in God’s grace. Verse 8 says that this grace was given to preach, to evangelize the riches of Christ. Every believer has been given this grace to evangelize. Have you been a minister of God’s grace this week? Have you expounded on the riches of His grace? We live in a society that searches for riches in all the wrong places……
V. THE GRACE OF SERVING IS THE GRACE OF SERVING SERIOUSLY
First Corinthians 15:9-10 rd…….. is a testimony from the apostle Paul explaining why he served. He said, “ By the grace of God I am what I am” (vs10). It was God’s grace flowing through him not with him in service. He says further, “ But I labored more abundantly that they all” (vs10); yet it was not he, “ but the grace of God which was with him.”
The following Scriptures emphasize the seriousness of serving labor and toil;
Matt 11:28; Acts 20:35; Romans 16:12; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 1:29 and 2 Timothy 2:6. The last reference describes the hardworking farmer who toils from dawn till dark.
God gives us grace to serve him so that we meet the needs of others now and eternally! As the church of the living God I declare to you we are not in the church building business, we are in the eternity business.My challenge to you is to respond positively to this aspect of his grace.