[CF Devotionals] 2013-09-20 - The Serve

The PYRO Mission is summed up in three words: Worship, Repent, and Serve. Over the last few weeks we have looked at Worship and Repent and seen how they relate to another word, truth. This week I'll wrap things up by looking at the word serve.

Jesus met with his twelve disciples on the night of his arrest and he ate with them. Back in the day, people walked from place to place. They walked on dusty roads. Without the benefits of cars and air-conditioning they got sweaty. Their sweaty feet kicked up dust; that dust stuck to their sandaled feet. Thus, at the beginning of dinner service, it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of everyone eating so no one was lounging near someone else’s dirty nasty feet. This was a job for the lowest of the servants. If a servant had servants then that would be the guy who would have wound up with that job. With no servants around and no one else jumping up to do it, Jesus did it. HE … WASHED … FEET!? Pardon the pun but let's pause and let that really soak in for just a minute.

John 1:1 (NASB) - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 (NASB) - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 13:2-5 (NASB) - During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

In John 1:1 God creates the world. In John 1:14 God enters that world in the form of his creation. And thirteen chapters later, he washes feet. GOD – GOD ALMIGHTY – WORTHY OF ALL OUR WORSHIP - OUR CREATOR took on flesh and then humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples. And to really let it sink in good, Judas the betrayer had his feet washed by the Lord of the universe. Why would he do that? It makes no sense but the story continues so let us read on.

John 13:12-17 (NASB) - So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Christians follow Jesus. The term Christian means little Christs. Like it or not, we follow Jesus and he served others. He washed their feet. Heck he died for others. Whether you realize it or not, God has called you to a life of service. Your job then is to find a place to serve and to get busy.

Your service says a lot about what you worship and if you have repented or not. What you worship and whose ways you follow. I am not sure why commercials have been grabbing my eye so much but a few weeks ago while watching a football game a beer commercial caught my eye. Since I cannot show you that commercial in a newsletter let me paint the picture for you. You can find it on YouTube if you'd like to see it.

A basketball hits the hoop. The camera pulls back and several men are playing a hard game of basketball. They are smiling and enjoying the game. They are all in wheelchairs. One man falls over and picks himself back up. The game ending shot goes in and then all but one man unstraps himself and stands up to walk off the court. Then they all go get a beer of course since it is a beer commercial. Over the scene and manly voice says, "Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship. The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character."

"The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character." I saw that commercial during a game Monday night and I got goose bumps. "The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character."

That is genius. What you do reveals your character. Who you serve reveals your character and who, or what, you truly worship. The outside reveals the inside. The actions reveal the heart. Like a tree we are known by the fruit we bear. If I see a tree I could not tell you if it was an apple tree or a pear tree or just an oak tree without looking at its fruit. Those men’s willingness to handicap themselves to be a true friend shows what they worship - love and friendship. And isn’t that what Christ did for us? He strapped himself into a wheelchair called this flesh and rode around for 33 years in it living with all its limitations.

And he went further and still served more.

I can only add two more things to this. "Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship. Love. Service. The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character."

1 Peter 1:13 (NCV) - So prepare your minds for service and have self-control. All your hope should be for the gift of grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ is shown to you.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (NASB) - Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

When we understand what God did and why he had to, we repent. We accept the gift of forgiveness and the gift of having our sins removed. We accept the gift of eternal life. We get the gift of a do-over. Oh how I love the gift of a do-over. Have you ever desperately needed a do-over? Would you have been grateful for it? It is that gratitude for what God has done that leads us to service with respect and awe (also known as worship). Did you catch all that? Worship, repent, serve – that's the gospel in 3 words. That's our lives in 3 words. It's powerful stuff if you’re hearing me.

Romans 12:1-13 (NKJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Verse by verse let’s analyze this and see how we can break it down.

  • Verse 1 – give yourself to God, or simply put, serve.
  • Verse 2 – go God's way not your way. That means repent.
  • Verse 3 –recognize you are just a part of God’s whole body. Recognizing he is in control is worship.
  • Verses 3-9 – serve together. That means we have to love god, love coworkers, and love those we are serving.
  • Verses 9-11 –A list of things to do to live God’s way. Again when we live his way not ours that is repentance.
  • Verse 11 – serve the Lord.
  • Verse 12 – rejoice in worship and repent by living God's way.
  • Verse 13 – serve others.

That Paul must've thought worship, repent, and serve was important stuff. I believe he is right.

Is your love on fire for God? Or are you cold as ice when it comes to loving God? How about loving others? Will you commit? Will you serve? Will you join me? We can turn our schools and communities upside down if we surrender to God. Recognize that God is God. He is worthy of our worship. Repent – decide to live life God’s way. Surrender your life to him. Commit to follow him in a life of service.

IHFHBOH
Adam

[email adam] adam@cfdevotionals.org
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

Author's note: This is based on a sermon preached to the Luthersville Baptist Church youth group on 9/11/2013. This is Part Four, the conclusion, of a series based on three keys to the youth group's mission: Worship, Repent, and Serve.

All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted


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