Summary: A deductive exposition of selected texts on the church’s ministry of caring for others leading individuals prompted by the Holy Spirit to indicate their commitment to care for others by coming to the altar rail to pray.
This is God’s church because gave His life for us (Acts 20:28). He set the standard for CARING about others. God cared enough to become one of us, to live, to die and to break down every barrier between us and an unending relationship with Him.
“Commitment” is so important to God that He searches the world for it (2 Chronicles 16:9). Each Sunday this month, we are finding a different commitment you and I can make to God and His church. This week we’ll look at the how we are to care for others.
Eleven years ago, Walter Levine was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a type of bone cancer. Today he dedicates his life to helping others beat the disease. He says, “Ninety-nine percent of everything you do in life is attitude. If you have a relationship with God and you have the right attitude, you’re going to learn to ask the one question in life that covers everything: How can I help you?” (“The Up Side” in Guideposts, December 2001, p. 14)
Jesus put it this way: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
How can we, the members of God’s church, care for others? How can we learn to ask, “How can I help you?”
God gives the answer in several places. Let’s look at a few of them today.
A. We can care for others by USING our God given abilities for their benefit. Learning to ask, “How can I help you?” begins when we adopt God’s aim for our gifts, talents, and skills.
1. The use of our abilities is a matter of management. God is the proprietor of our gifts, talents and skills. He has entrusted them to us in order to show His love to others through us. The Bible says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). To tell the truth, if we use our abilities without love for others and for our own benefit we are attempting to steal them from God.
2. “The Holy Spirit displays God’s (life-changing) power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7 Living Bible). The Holy Spirit chooses which gifts to give to you and which ones to give to me (1 Corinthians 12:11). That means God is the sole source of all our abilities and His goal of caring for others should be our only reason for using them.
B. We can care for more people by LEARNING how to encourage others to draw closer to Jesus.
1. God is the source not only of our abilities but also of our places and positions of service. He determines who will care for people in another country and who will care for those across the street. God decides who will proclaim His message to the church and who will tell those outside the church about Jesus. He is the one who appoints pastors and teachers to their respective posts in the church. The Bible says, “[God] gave some to be missionaries, some to be preachers, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers….”
2. And why does God decide what abilities and places of service to assign us? “To prepare [His] people for works of service…” (Ephesians 4:11-12). He places missionaries, preachers, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the church in order to get all the church’s members ready to care for others. All together those in specialized places of service and everyone else works together so that individuals who haven’t received Jesus as Lord and Savior will do so. The whole church works together to help each person become all that God plans for him or her to be.
C. We will care for others by DEVELOPING a servant’s heart.
1. Our heads must accept God’s role as the owner of our abilities who sets the objective. Our hands must learn how to work with others to encourage everyone to draw closer to Jesus. And our hearts must become like God’s heart so that we will serve others no matter how they respond.
2. The Bible tells us that Jesus was willing to give up His position on Heaven’s throne to become a slave and a sacrifice for the whole human race. If we will follow His example then we must “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than [ourselves]. Each of [us] should look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4, 7).