Summary: If you're saved, you're a servant.
Getting Fit: Serving
Rev. Brian Bill
I experienced a slice of servanthood again this week as I watched a team of dedicated servants serve a funeral dinner for the family and friends of Tony Shubert this past Wednesday. Under the leadership of Lisa Johns and Amanda Pfaff, this group of selfless saints ministers in the name of Jesus through the preparation and joyful presentation of delicious food. One woman who loves to serve in this way is Alberta Flint. I’m told that when she is asked to help out a hurting family, this is generally how she answers: “Sure thing. When is it and what can I bring?”
I love that because her response is “yes” before she even knows when she’s needed or what is needed. Alberta’s immediate answer captures the heart of a servant.
Last week I mentioned that it seemed somewhat redundant to preach on generosity because this church is filled with so many generous people. Incidentally, the offering on Sunday was OK but nothing spectacular so maybe I need to preach last week’s sermon again or have Pastor Andy come back up here. I feel somewhat the same way today because this church is saturated with servants as well. Having said that, when we compare ourselves with the generosity of Christ, we can always become more generous and when we study how our Savior served, we can all step up our servanthood.
Since this is the final installment in our “Getting Fit: Healthy Habits for the New Year” series, it’s important for us to take some time to assess how we’re doing in developing spiritual discipline. Here are the main points from each of the messages. If you missed a message or two, you can read the manuscript or listen online at www.pontiacbible.org.
• Discipline. It takes discipline to be a disciple because spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic.
• Worship. In order to develop the holy habit of worship we need to make sure that our praise is both reverent and filled with rejoicing and that we have the courage to rethink what worship really is, which is a surrendered life to the Savior.
• Values: Since Jesus values the most vulnerable, I must value the most vulnerable. And that would include the preborn, orphans and widows.
• Parenting Beyond My Capacity. Pastor Jeff helped us see that as parents we must widen the circle of influence, imagine the end, fight for the heart of our kids, create a rhythm, and make it personal.
• Witnessing. Pastor Andy challenged us with this truth: The best defense is a good offense. We’re to witness with our life and our lips. By the way, someone called me this week and was so excited about being able to give out a copy of Anchor for the Soul because she was able to use it as a tool to share the gospel with someone who doesn’t know Christ...yet.
• Generosity: It’s impossible to out give God. We learned that we must make sure that God is weightier than our wealth, to give God our first and our best, and then when we give we’ll really live.
That leads to our topic today. Here’s the big idea: “If you’re saved, you’re a servant.” Please turn to 1 Peter 4:10-11 as I read our text: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
And now let’s set the context. Peter is writing to believers who have been scattered because of persecution. Some are bummed out while others are looking to bail on their faith. They are being urged to persevere in the midst of their problems and to keep serving in spite of their suffering. This alone tells us that conditions don’t have to be perfect before we can serve. In fact, as we get closer to the end of the age, and it sure seems like we are with what is happening in the Middle East, as servants of Christ we will have greater and greater opportunities to serve.
I’m reminded that Christianity is all about conformity to Christ, not comfort. Unfortunately, some of the most popular books today are those that say you can have it all, that God wants you to be happy, healthy and wealthy. The mantra goes something like this: “If you just lay hold of your dreams, and have faith, you can achieve all that you believe.” Some teach that God doesn’t want you to ever be sick or to live like a hick.