Today Pastor Choi talks about another mark of Christ’s disciples: serve others. God has called the believers in Christ and appointed them to be His servants. He points out that to serve God and others in Christ’s name indeed is a privilege and honor rather than a burden or even a duty. The sermon focuses on what God’s will for His servants is and proper attitudes with which we are to serve others.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Serve Others: Be Christ’s Disciple (4)
- Mark 10:45
- New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:5
- New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.Introduction:
- Recap: I have been talking about marks of Christ’s disciples: what distinguishes us as a follower of Christ from a mere church goer? They are: put Christ first, separate from the world, be steadfast. Another mark of Christ’s disciple I am going to talk about today is: to serve others.
- We are called to a life-long servant-hood. When Christ calls us to follow Him, He also calls us into a life of service. He came to this earth, not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). The same Lord calls us this morning to follow His steps by serving others in His name. You are called to God’s service. Don’t think that being in God’s service is only for clergy; but it includes all of you too: You are called to serve God and people in your lives. You are a servant of God.
- The meaning of servants of God: Nowadays, the phrase “servant of God” and its concept are foreign to us. We are living in a democratic society where everyone is considered and treated as equal (we use the words ‘employee (not servant)’ and ‘employer (not master).’ You occasionally hear the phrase “servant of God” in church, and many of us have no idea what it is all about.
- The phrase “servant of God” has a very special meaning for us. First of all, we must understand that this title is not for everyone in the world. Rather, it is reserved only for those who are called in Christ and appointed by God. Only they can use the title. In fact, we are privileged to follow this special line of God’s people who worked as servants of God. Here are some examples: Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, all the prophets of God, Mary (the mother of Jesus), Jesus (Luke 22:27), Peter, Paul, and all the apostles of Christ.
- Next, to be God’s servant is a privilege and honor, rather than a burden or even a duty. Why? Because it is God who has appointed us Christ’s disciples to serve Him and to serve others in the name of Jesus our Lord. Have pride in serving Him in this capacity. E.g. A butler in uniform was preparing the State Dinner in the British Kingdom paying attention to the final details at the table. He was going over one seat at a time, meticulously examining and wiping the glasses with a clean towel. I could clearly see in his face the pride of serving the Queen. How much more we ought to be proud of serving God who considered us worthy to be in His service! We are God’s servants, bond-servants.
- Meaning of bond-servant: The Scripture calls us bond-servants (to be exact, the original Greek is ‘doulos’—slave). The bond-servants are the servants that are bound with a contract (the Bible calls it Covenant). When we were baptized washing away our sins, and when we declared to the church that we would follow Christ, we entered into this covenantal relationship with God where God says that He is our God and that we are His people. In this covenant, God promises that He is with us, that He provides our needs and that He protects us from the Evil One. In turn, we promise our allegiance and loyalty to Him in worship and service. Please note here that no covenant was ever made without a sacrifice. That’s where Christ comes in. God has cut a new covenant with us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The New Testament puts this way: we are bought with a price. That price was Christ the Passover Lamb, and His death on the cross paid the wages of our sins.
- Accountability: Where there is a servant, there is a master. Servants work for their masters. Servants are there to serve their master’s wishes and needs. They do what their masters command them to do. They don’t serve themselves. If they do, they are no longer servants.
- For each servant, there’s a certain set of expectations from the master. As our Master, Jesus our Lord also has a certain expectations from us. What are they?
- Understand the master’s will: First and foremost, servant must understand what the master wants. Any servant who is ignorant of the master’s will is a useless servant. If we claim that we are God’s servants, we ought to make every effort to clearly understand what God wants us to do in our lives and with our lives. This is what God wants us to do: Serve others, using God-given talents and resources. He wants us never to serve our own selfish needs and desires neglecting (or at the expense of) others’ needs. God’s blessings on us are always meant to be shared with the less fortunate. E.g. a rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man feasted sumptuously every day. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores…. The problem of the rich man was to fail to take care of his neighbor.
- Serve with good attitudes: Next, every servant is expected to serve with good attitudes. Serve others—
- A. with a purpose: Understand how your service to neighbors is connected to the Lord. When you serve others, you serve the Lord. By serving others, you please the Lord. E.g. three masons working on God’s temple: the first one says, “I’d rather do something else, but nothing else is available for me.” The second one says, “I don’t want to do this, but if I don’t, my family will starve.” The third one says, “It is my joy working here. I am doing it for the Lord and His people.” He was the only one who can see how his service was connected to the Lord. The Bible says, “Do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
- B. out of love, not out of duty: Make sure that you serve others in love (Galatians 5:13), not out of duty. E.g. Jacob served Laban his father-in-law for 7 years to marry Rachel. “Those seven years seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her (Genesis 29:20).”
- C. with humility (Acts 20:19): Consider others better than you are when you serve them. “Do nothing from conceit, but regard others as better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).” E.g. A group of all white Christians went down to the Deep South during the 1960s to help a black congregation for repairs. The program coordinator from the black church noticed that some of the white group doing their services out of conceit. When he politely yet firmly confronted them with that attitude, the white folks got offended and left for home.
- D. with God-given strength: When you serve others, do it with God-given strength, not with your own. There is a huge difference between services done by own strength and those done in God’s power. It is like a difference between going to New York City by walking and driving. It is much easier when you serve with God’s strength than with your own. E.g. Last fall, 17 new members joined our church. It was all done by God’s power and initiation, not by my own. When you serve others, be sure to ask God for His strength and His wisdom (Psalm 86:16, 119:125).
What’s the reward for our services?
- Here on earth, lives changed and transformed. Through our services, we build up each other’s life for good. We see lives changed. God commands us to contribute to each other’s spiritual and emotional growth. E.g. The other day I was doing my devotion reading Romans 15. Verse 2 stood out to me: “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” I felt as if God was telling me to daily offer my service to build up my neighbor’s life through words of encouragement and love. I envisioned myself standing by my neighbor who is building his house with bricks and I offer him the building material—one brick at a time.
- In Heaven, praise and honor from God. In Heaven, God will acknowledge us by saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share in your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21). God will honor those who serve Christ (John 12:26).
A king delights in a wise servant and a shameful servant incurs his wrath (Proverbs 14:35). May God bless us to be a wise servant who brings delights to Him through our daily life of service for others. Amen.