Faithlife Sermons

Serve One Another

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Salvation has freed us from the bondage of sin so that we could serve one another with love.

Notes
Transcript

If It Feels Good Do It!

Growing up in the era I did, there was a popular song by Debbie Boone (millennials might have to Google her) that really became indicative of present day worldly philosophy…You Light Up My Life was the title of the song and here is how the song concludes, I’ll spare you the horror of me singing it...You light up my life, You give me hope to carry on, You light up my days, And fill my nights with song, It can't be wrong, when it feels so right.
Have we ever stopped to think how dangerous that philosophy really is…that if something feels right to us, then how could it be wrong…think about it this way...
A man sat waiting for the light to turn green when his car was unexpectedly rear-ended. The two drivers hopped out of their cars and a vicious argument ensued. The man at fault defended himself by saying, “I really felt like running into someone today to vent my frustrations, and your bumper sticker has given me license to crash into your car.” The bumper sticker read: “If it feels good, do it.” Green, Michael P., ed. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively. Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989.
A man sat waiting for the light to turn green when his car was unexpectedly rear-ended. The two drivers hopped out of their cars and a vicious argument ensued. The man at fault defended himself by saying, “I really felt like running into someone today to vent my frustrations, and your bumper sticker has given me license to crash into your car.” The bumper sticker read: “If it feels good, do it.” Green, Michael P., ed. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively. Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989.
I hope you are tracking with me here this morning and recognize that choosing to live life in that manner, where “as long as it feels good to me, it must be okay to do it” is an extremely dangerous way to live…now before you agree wholeheartedly with a hearty “amen”, let me warn you that even though you may agree that is dangerous philosophically, you and I can be guilty of following that philosophy practically...

We may not go out and live like the world, indulging every sinful practice we can think of, but we can still live by this philosophy when we seek to justify our mistreatment of others through unbiblical attitudes and actions.

This is especially true in the church when brothers and sisters don’t always see eye to eye on every issue!
Instead of lovingly serving each other, especially at times when there are sharp disagreements, our natural tendency is to fall back into the slavery of our old sinful nature and we become guilty of destroying each other and ultimately harming the testimony of Christ
Instead of pausing for moment and considering the truth that grace has freed us to lovingly serve each other, even when we don’t always agree, we allow ourselves to be enslaved by our sinful tendencies and we become judgmental, lacking grace, and sometimes downright mean to one another...
With that in mind, please turn in your bibles to .
This current series is an examination of the “one-another’s in Scripture” –

Our spiritual growth as the house Jesus is seeking to build is predicated on the idea that we understand He builds us by using our “togetherness” as a covenant community.

Ephesians 2:19–22 NASB95
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
sometimes in our togetherness, we can get a little or a lot edgy with each other and can very easily begin to formulate barriers to our relationships with one another that we could use a little bit of “switchin” behind the wood house...
Some of you all know what I mean by “switchin”… I know it is hard for you believe but there were times when I had to search for the switch that dad or mom was going to apply to the seat of my understanding...
so thus far we’ve studied loving one another, and encouraging one another, and ministering to one-another, and praying for one-another…
What we need at those moments is a greater understanding of what it means for all of us to be recipients of grace who also need to be conduits of grace...that is why God gave us the responsibility to “one another”..God causes us to abound in grace so that we could be conduits of grace...
2 Corinthians 9:8 NASB95
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
Ephesians 4:16 NASB95
from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Hebrews 12:15–16 NASB95
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
Learning to one another is in essence learning to be conduits of grace...so thus far we’ve studied loving one another, and encouraging one another, and ministering to one-another, and praying for one-another…
so thus far we’ve studied loving one another, and encouraging one another, and ministering to one-another, and praying for one-another…
Today we want to examine serving one another, because if there is one thing we all could use a little or a lot more growth in is in the whole realm of loving serving each other instead of sacrificing each other on the altar dedicated to the selfish trinity of me, myself, and I.

There are a zillion of informal ways big and small that followers of Christ choose to serve one another.

Last week we had very successful teen impact activity, today you saw the efforts of our children’s ministry...
Last week we had very successful teen impact activity, today you saw the efforts of our children’s ministry...
Our food bank ministry this past Tuesday saw 17 families come through that totaled 52 people…over the past three months that ministry has seen a steady increase…9 families in Feb, 12 for March and now 17 for Apr.
With these ministries we add our music ministry, our nursery workers, our children’s church workers, Sunday School teachers, deacons, finance team, hospitality team, decorating team, marketing team, ushers, and all the other great servants around here...
In every one of those ministries we said that if they sign on with us they would receive a signing bonus and we would triple their last year’s salary...
No… see somewhere along the line – each man and woman committed to their respective ministries because they believed there was something bigger at stake than whether or not they got to stay home and relax a little…they could have said “I don’t want to give up my time to do ____________________,” “I don’t think they appreciate what I do”...
No… see somewhere along the line – each man and woman committed to their respective ministries because they believed there was something bigger at stake…and they are learning the joy and satisfaction that comes from Serve One Another…that’s what we’d like to talk about this am…
No week in and week out we see a marvelous display of people who are striving to be conduits of grace by learning the joy and satisfaction that comes from Serve One Another…that’s what we’d like to talk about this am…
With all that in mind, I invite you to open your Bible to
- there’s a lot of 2 x 4’s flying around our various campuses right now and that’s well and good…but we want to be very careful about all of this…
Here’s the principle we need to understand this morning to help place us in a better position to be conduits of grace towards one another and build into one another...
- - For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
- so we want to be careful how we build…
This current series is an examination of the “one-another’s in Scripture” – it is predicated on the idea that we understand that Jesus is building His church by using our “togetherness” as a covenant community…
so thus far we’ve studied loving one another, and encouraging one another, and ministering to one-another, and praying for one-another…
- vertically – in growing communion with God Himself…
- and horizontally in the relate to one another…
- so thus far we’ve studied loving one another, and encouraging one another, and ministering to one-another, and praying for one-another…

You Have Been Freed To Serve One Another

- now we have the privilege of explaining the behavior of VBS workers…and all the other great servants around here…and the zillions of informal ways big and small that followers of Christ choose to Serve One Another
read 15
so we’re talking about serving one another…and with the time we have remaining, let’s focus on the argument of and grow in our understanding of how being free enables us to be actively Serving One Another...

Freedom Has Two Enemies

Christian freedom is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied words of the New Testament…all kinds of people claim freedom in Christ to indulge in all sorts of things that have nothing to do with Christ…so to give us a biblical understanding we need to know the two enemies of freedom...

Enemy #1 — Legalism

I need to give you some historical context to this passage…we believe this may have been one of, if not the earliest NT books written…conservative scholars generally place it right after the Jerusalem Council discussed in …so we’re talking about the early 50’s AD…20 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…so we are talking about very young believers...
this actually goes back to the beginning of the chapter…
Galatians 5:1 NASB95
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Freedom provides the motivation for serving one another...
· v. 5:1 - - It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
We don’t serve one another with this legalistic expectation of trying to earn salvation…
Nor are we to serve each other in hopes of keeping ourselves saved or out of raw duty that we can earn some sort of righteousness or merit before the Lord
Remember what Jesus said in……because we are now in Christ, our relationships are no longer plagued with the power of sin and desire to serve self…no we are free from that selfish desire to serve others...
John 8:36 NASB95
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
- so whatever our motivation for serving one another called out later in verse 13 – it’s certainly not just legalistic expectation where we earn our salvation…or we keep ourselves saved out of raw duty or earn some sort of righteousness or merit before the Lord…that’s why Jesus said in…
now, why would this have been such an emphasis in this particular book?...
- now, why would this have been such an emphasis in this particular book?...

Freedom rescues us from legalism.

I need to give you some historical context to this passage…we believe this may have been one of, if not the earliest NT books written…conservative scholars generally place it right after the Jerusalem Council discussed in …so we’re talking about the early 50’s AD…20 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…so we are talking about very young believers...
we believe this may have been one of, if not the earliest NT books written…
conservative scholars generally place it right after the Jerusalem Council discussed in …so we’re talking about the early 50’s AD…20 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…so we are talking about very young believers...
20 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…
…so we are talking about very young believers...
and Paul is concerned about them…in fact, we would probably say it even stronger than that – he’s disappointed, and perhaps angry…there’s very little personal greeting…and by verse 6 of chapter 1 we’re reading…
there’s very little personal greeting…and by verse 6 of chapter 1 we’re reading…
Galatians 1:6 NASB95
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
- As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
Galatians 1:9 NASB95
As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
- I’m not sure what words you would use to describe that, but it’s something other than “glad to hear things are going so well…”
Galatians 3:1 NASB95
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
- and when you keep reading, you that verse 6 was just Paul warming up…a few sentences later we read…
What in the world was happening?
· - As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
- then in chapter 3 verse 1…
· - You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
Let me give you the short answer first…there was an extreme incongruity to the way they lived and the truth of the gospel... the long answer is that there were these teachers that had followed Paul that were disrupting the churches with their false teaching…aka Judaizers…their specific issue in the Galatian church was in teaching the letter of the Law that said you had to be circumcised to be saved…understand that Paul was not against that practice for he himself followed that as a Pharisee and he even encouraged Timothy to do so in order that he could minister to Jews more effectively since Timothy was of mixed heritage and that could prove to be a barrier to their ministry to the Jews.
- and you might say – what in the world was happening?...and the answer is that after the gospel had been proclaimed, and men and women had believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as their only way to be reconciled to God…
What Paul is against here is by asserting that adherence to rules and regulations is necessary to achieve salvation and to earn favor with God…that somehow a right relationship with God can only be achieved by doing all the right things...
the problem with legalism – and let’s be careful because many of us have some legalistic tendencies…that’s pretty hard to shake…is that it adds something to Christ’s work on the cross…legalism says you and I can’t be saved unless we follow a list of rules and regulations or unless you fit into this paradigm of what I believe a Christian ought to think and act like...
Now, circumcision is the deal here in Galatians, but there are innumerable examples of legalism like this around us today. There are many people who believe, “Well, if I do work for the church or do work in the church, then I’m earning favor before God.” Many people base their status before God on the frequency of their personal devotions, and if time and prayer into the Word is going well, then I’m right before God. If it’s not going well, well, then, I don’t want to be around God. I’m not right before God, I don’t have favor before God. A lot of people base their favor before God based on an aisle they walked or a prayer they prayed or a hand they raised. Well, that was it.
Even though the specific issue was circumcision, there are innumerable examples of legalism like this around us today.
“Well, if I do work for the church or do work in the church, then I’m earning favor before God.”
“Well, if I do work for the church or do work in the church, then I’m earning favor before God.” Many people base their status before God on the frequency of their personal devotions, and if time and prayer into the Word is going well, then I’m right before God. If it’s not going well, well, then, I don’t want to be around God. I’m not right before God, I don’t have favor before God. A lot of people base their favor before God based on an aisle they walked or a prayer they prayed or a hand they raised. Well, that was it.
Many people base their status before God on the frequency of their personal devotions, and if time and prayer into the Word is going well, then I’m right before God.
If it’s not going well, well, then, I don’t want to be around God. I’m not right before God, I don’t have favor before God.
A lot of people base their favor before God based on an aisle they walked or a prayer they prayed or a hand they raised. Well, that was it.

No matter how small or big, if we put anything that we do, anything that we do as the means by which favor before God is earned, then we’re undercutting the gospel.

Here’s the deal: No matter how small or big, if we put anything that we do, anything that we do as the means by which favor before God is earned, then we’re undercutting the gospel. It’s legalism, no matter how small or big, we’re undercutting.
…these teachers taught them that they had to keep all sorts of laws, and dietary standards, and man-made rules…so they weren’t really free…this was legalism…legalism is working to obtain God’s favor whether according to your own rules or even God’s rules, legalism is working to earn God’s favor
David Platt, “Free to Run,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2009), 1809.
…these teachers taught them that they had to keep all sorts of laws, and dietary standards, and man-made rules…so they weren’t really free…this was legalism…legalism is working to obtain God’s favor whether according to your own rules or even God’s rules, legalism is working to earn God’s favor
- and then were baptized to clearly and publically demonstrate what they were trusting for their salvation…and then organized into churches of men and women following Christ by grace alone, through faith alone…
then a group of teachers entered the picture to say that wasn’t enough…these teachers taught them that they had to keep all sorts of laws, and dietary standards, and man-made rules…so they weren’t really free…this was legalism…legalism is working to obtain God’s favor whether according to your own rules or even God’s rules, legalism is working to earn God’s favor
- they had to keep all sorts of laws, and dietary standards, and man-made rules…

Enemy #2 — License

- so they weren’t really free…
the problem with legalism – and let’s be careful because many of us have some legalistic tendencies…that’s pretty hard to shake…is that it adds something to Christ’s work on the cross…
License is just the opposite of legalism…legalism says “obey the law, find favor with God”…license says “forget about the law altogether”… this is where the Judaizers struggled with salvation by faith alone…if we don’t have to do anything, then people are just going to live how they want to…they will just indulge themselves all the time...”
but now because the newness of their faith was wearing off and persecution of the church was on the rise – some of them were going back to the mechanics of legalism and man-made works…
- that was a group of Jewish individuals who had come out of the temple and Jewish sacrificial system – some as genuine believers and others who just did so for social reasons (their friends and their family members were becoming Christians)…
- but now because the newness was wearing off and persecution of the church was on the rise – some of them were thinking about going back to the familiarity of the OT sacrificial system in the temple…
- it was the same issue – back to mechanics of legalism and man-made works…
Same thing was happening to the Jewish believers in Hebrews…and the writer of Hebrews said this...
Paul knows that is a perversion of the gospel just as much as legalism is…and that is what he talks about in
Hebrews 10:29 NASB95
How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
· - How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
- How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
it does not get any worse than that…trampling under foot the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of grace…that’s what legalism does…so that must not ever animate our service in Christ’s church…
- it does not get any worse than that…trampling under foot the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of grace…
- that’s what legalism does…so that must not ever animate our service in Christ’s church…
but that’s not the end of the story…because then Paul goes on to say…
- but that’s not the end of the story…because then Paul goes on to say…
on the one hand we have legalism…believing that keeping certain laws will earn your way to heaven…and we all know that is enslaving because you simply can never do enough in your own strength and your sin/guilt is constantly accusing you…but on the other hand we have license...lawlessness…which is really another kind of slavery, you are enslaving yourself to your own sinful desires...
· 5:13b – only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh
on the one hand we have legalism…believing that keeping certain laws will earn your way to heaven…and we all know that is enslaving because you simply can never do enough in your own strength and your sin/guilt is constantly accusing you…
but does that mean that every person acts on our freedoms in a way that honors the Lord?...absolutely not…
- absolutely not…
o on the one hand we have legalism…believing that keeping certain laws will earn your way to heaven…and we all know that is enslaving because you simply can never do enough in your own strength and your sin/guilt is constantly accusing you…
- yet, turn on cable news from whatever political and philosophical position you want to evaluate and how long is it going to be before someone is speaking in a way that is absolutely despicable…
listen to the way people used to speak about President Obama…listen to the way people speak about President Trump…these supposed comics and entertainers are using their freedom of speech in ways that are abhorrent…
these supposed comics and entertainers are using their freedom of speech in ways that are abhorrent…

The second great danger for followers of Christ

lawlessness…theologically we refer to that as antinomianism [nomos is the Greek word for law – so an antinomian is a person who lives lawlessly…]…
it’s unbridled freedom…previous generations often used the word “being a libertine”…
so on the one hand we have legalism…believing that keeping certain laws will earn your way to heaven…and we all know that is enslaving because you simply can never do enough in your own strength and your sin/guilt is constantly accusing you…
but on the other hand we have license...lawlessness…which is really another kind of slavery
The next truth for us consider here is...
- because it’s just a different kind of slavery…

Freedom is Inherently Challenging

- so Paul encourages all of us to ask this question…

You have to choose your base of operation.

opportunity – aphorme – “a central base from which all operations of a military campaign originated”
and the argument here is – if you’re not careful, you can exercise your freedom in a way that just becomes enslaving
well, I can use my money to buy whatever I want – maybe, but you do that long enough and you’re enslaved to those habits of materialism because that’s where a self-centered lifestyle always leads…
well I can drink whatever I want…I can smoke whatever I want…I can shoot up whatever I want…that is not true biblical freedom…
- there are plenty of people in our church family who will tell you – that is not true biblical freedom…

If you are simply serving your own self-centered thoughts and lusts and desires, that’s just a different kind of enslavement and a different way to offend the blood of Christ and the power of the Spirit of grace.

now, when it comes to the culture in which we live – for every person who trends toward legalism, there are at least a dozen who trend toward lawlessness
now, when it comes to the culture in which we live – for every person who trends toward legalism, there are at least a dozen who trend toward lawlessness…
So we have to remember that Christian freedom has enemies and we are to be responsible to make sure we have chosen the right base of operation...
can we all acknowledge the truth that each of us has a tendency and temptation to turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh?
…here’s another point we need to consider
see, our country loves freedom…and in many cases rightly so…it has been purchased and preserved at a great price by many men and women in the past and even today…
see, our country loves freedom…and in many cases rightly so…it has been purchased and preserved at a great price by many men and women in the past and even today…
but does that mean that every person acts on our freedoms in a way that honors the Lord?...
absolutely not…
for example – consider the freedom of speech…we all agree that is of utmost importance…we want that for ourselves and we want that for others…yet, turn on cable news from whatever political and philosophical position you want to evaluate and how long is it going to be before someone is speaking in a way that is absolutely despicable…
- yet, turn on cable news from whatever political and philosophical position you want to evaluate and how long is it going to be before someone is speaking in a way that is absolutely despicable…
listen to the way people used to speak about current issues…listen to the way people speak about the President…listen to all the ways people use their freedom of speech and quite frankly it is appalling.

You must be careful not to offend grace.

- see, that’s…
We live in a time right now where practically everyone gets offended by you simply smiling at them…but have we offer stopped to think about how easily we can offend God’s grace...
Hebrews 12:15 NASB95
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
God drew you to Himself because that is the kind of God he is…a God of grace…your salvation is based solely on the finished work of His son...
God drew you to Himself because that is the kind of God he is…a God of grace…your salvation is based solely on the finished work of His son...
He did not draw you because there was something inherently good about you and when you make salvation about your goodness you’ve offended grace…you’ve taken the death of His Son and said “that isn’t good enough”…
“God’s grace has been poured out to you in abundance the same way God’s grace has been poured out to me in abundance, but instead of looking at you through that lens of grace, I don’t like _________________ about you so I’m not going to serve you.”
and then that carries over into our relationships with other believers...“God’s grace has been poured out to you in abundance the same way God’s grace has been poured out to me in abundance, but instead of looking at you through that lens of grace, I don’t like _________________ about you so I’m not going to serve you.”
That kind of attitude comes from a heart that doesn’t understand grace, it frankly is a heart that offends grace…it is a heart that only serves others based on what pleasure or benefit they will receive from doing so…Christ freed you from that kind of selfish mentality...

Not offending grace means we are not going to surrender the base of operation to our flesh and that we are going to be careful to voluntarily chose to exercise our freedoms only in ways that honor Him!

yes – we have the freedom of speech…and no, if you mess up you’re not going to lose your salvation…but don’t let that habit of unrestrained gossip, or bitterness, or anger just enslave you again…voluntarily enslave your speech in ways that honor God and serve others…
voluntarily enslave your speech in ways that honor God and serve others…
anybody who tells you that in Christ you can and should simply do anything you want is distorting the gospel and that is an offense to grace...
- Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
1 Peter 2:16 NASB95
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
- that’s the balance – in response to God’s marvelous work of grace in drawing you to Himself based solely on the finished work of His son…voluntarily chose to exercise your freedoms only in ways that honor Him…
that’s the balance – in response to God’s marvelous work of grace in drawing you to Himself based solely on the finished work of His son…voluntarily chose to exercise your freedoms only in ways that honor Him…
yes – we have the freedom of speech…and no, if you mess up you’re not going to lose your salvation…but don’t let that habit of unrestrained gossip, or bitterness, or anger just enslave you again…
- and no, if you mess up you’re not going to lose your salvation…
but don’t let that habit of unrestrained gossip, or bitterness, or anger just enslave you again…
voluntarily enslave your speech in ways that honor God and serve others…
- now please beware…the opposite of this is…
anybody who tells you that in Christ you can and should simply do anything you want is distorting the gospel in yet another way…
anybody who tells you that in Christ you can and should simply do anything you want is distorting the gospel in yet another way…
2 Peter 2:18–21 NASB95
For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
2 pet 2 18-21
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
· - For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
Jude 4 NASB95
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
· - For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
so what’s the balance?...here it is…
- so what’s the balance?...here it is…
Romans 13:14 NASB95
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
- But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
and for anyone who would say – well, choosing to govern our freedom, or limit or freedom in any way sounds restrictive…well, it’s…so the challenge of freedom is that you have to make a choice of what you do with it…are you going to use it to enslave yourself to sin or enslave yourself to serve?
- and for anyone who would say – well, choosing to govern our freedom, or limit or freedom in any way sounds restrictive…well, it’s…

Freedom’s Purpose Must Be Embraced.

Romans 15:3 NASB95
For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
- For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
He was certainly free to do whatever He wanted – but He also never “turned His freedom into an opportunity to serve the flesh…”
- For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
- He was certainly free to do whatever He wanted – but He also never “turned His freedom into an opportunity to serve the flesh…”
so, where does that leave us?...right back where we started with all those serving in the various ways…and everyone else who serves so faithfully around here…

Embrace the Purpose of Freedom.

- For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
- For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

The process – through love

A. The process – through love

agape – choosing to sacrifice yourself in order to meet the needs of another person…
the people who served here didn’t do so out of legalism…I’m earning my way to heaven…the church sent me a statement so I’m paying my dues…
- the church sent me a statement so I’m paying my dues…
the people who served in the ministries we highlighted earlier didn’t do so out of legalism…I’m earning my way to heaven…the church sent me a statement so I’m paying my dues…
nor was it – I’m free and I just do whatever I want and I can’t think of anything better to do with my evenings for a week than hang out with a couple of hundred hot, energetic, neighborhood kids…
nor was it – I’m free and I just do whatever I want and I can’t think of anything better to do with my evenings so I’ll just go hang out with some extremely thankful people who appreciate me hanging with them...
No we have something far better than legalism…and far better than lawlessness…it’s freedom governed by growing and genuine love for others
- it’s freedom governed by growing and genuine love for others…
can you imagine the difference it would make in our country if Americans only exercised their freedoms in ways that were governed by this principle…
instead of unbridled freedom…or freedom run amok…freedom that was exercised through love serving one another?...what’s would today’s news cycle sound like?...
- what’s would today’s news cycle sound like?...
and before you say that’s an outrageous question, please keep in mind that a rather sizeable percentage of the citizens of our country claim to be followers of Jesus Christ…
well, has that gotten around to affecting the way we exercise our freedoms?...
What about for you and me?...can you imagine having a filter over our “freedom tank” – nothing comes out of here unless it is motivated by sacrificial love for others
I won’t say that unless it’s loving…I won’t do that unless it’s loving…I won’t believe that unless it’s loving…
‑ well, what’s…

The action – through love, be slaves to one another

through love, serve…doulos…actually the word translated as “slave”...just like our Lord in the upper room when he girded Himself with a towel and washed His disciples feet…and then asked them if they understood what He had just done…and please keep in mind what He said at the end of that conversation… - If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
doulos…just like our Lord in the upper room when he girded Himself with a towel and washed His disciples feet…and then asked them if they understood what He had just done…
and please keep in mind what He said at the end of that conversation… - If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
what does that mean?...

There’s a kind of joy and satisfaction that comes from voluntarily enslaving our liberties in order to maximize our ministries that can’t be achieved in any other way.

selfishness is boring…serving one another through love might be hard in the process – they wouldn’t call it serving if it wasn’t…but the joy at the end of the process is marvelous
- serving one another through love might be hard in the process – they wouldn’t call it serving if it wasn’t…but the joy at the end of the process is marvelous…
- that’s why Paul said…
1 Corinthians 9:19 NASB95
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
· - For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
- For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
see, there’s no legalism there – but neither is there any lawlessness…now, I realize you might say – in fact we all might say…but living this way is hard…
- see, there’s no legalism there – but neither is there any lawlessness…
- now, I realize you might say – in fact we all might say…but living this way is hard…
that’s where verses the rest of what Paul says in comes in.
Galatians 5:16–18 NASB95
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
the point is that
- But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
- the point is that in Christ, we’re not just freed from the law – we’re also freed from the enslavement to worship and serve ourselves…

In Christ, we’re not just freed from the law – we’re also freed from the enslavement to worship and serve ourselves!

so what are some of the practical take-aways?...
- so what are some of the practical take-aways?...
so what are some of the practical take-aways?...
this is where can help us…
this is where can help us…
1 Peter 4:10 NASB95
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
- As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

God wants every member serving.

- around here, serving is a matter of stewardship…we love this phrase – “serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God…”…it is packed with meaning and power for us…
- that’s also why we’ve selected as one of our church family’s 5 core values…
· Serving together – We believe that God wants us to challenge and equip our members to serve Him, and that He wants every member serving.
see, this issue of 90% of the work being done by 10% of the people is just wrong…[develop]…
[cf. the average evangelical church on Sun am too much like the average college football game on Saturday afternoon…develop]
- from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
· - from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
so I would encourage you to do an audit on how you’re doing at the matter of “serving one another…”
and perhaps an important next step would be to schedule a time for coffee with your pastor or one of the deacons and just talk about serving and what the next steps might look like for you…
you could also think about serving opportunities in different ways…
often these are the ones requiring the greatest level of commitment but also provide the greatest amount of impact…
nursery/childrens’ ministries
youth ministries
sound/tech/worship…’
- sound/tech/worship…’
2. seasonal ministries…
2. seasonal ministries…
Fall Festival, et
3. occasional events
- mulch madness
- helping with the Men’s Restoration ministry duplex
- zillions of other examples…
4. community service ministries
- serving at one of our community centers…
- impact on the NCC…
- could talk about the progression that occurred with the Red Cross
- opportunities to serve our collaborative partners
- possible next steps with each of the
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