On a Mission from God – Service Required
Service is required because it
Speaks love to others
Teaches Humility to us
Leads others by example
Easter is right around the corner, just 3 weeks away!
As we approach the time we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I thought it would be good in these weeks to discuss what it is that our God has called us to do, because whether you know it or not, every one of us who are Christians are on a Mission from God. That mission is to Make Disciples, Baptize Disciples and Teach Disciples to obey all things that Christ has given us in His word.
Last week we talked about one of the ways that we can be used to help fulfill that mission, and that is through the Sacrifices we are all called to make as a follower of Christ so that others can come to know Him for now and for eternity.
We talked specifically about our financial sacrifices.
Much of our congregation made financial sacrifice and commitments last year to be given over a 2 year period. We want to encourage those who have not had the opportunity to join with those of us who have already made commitments, to do so over the remaining 13 months. Be praying about how you could sacrifice to help move forward on our mission from God.
Now today we are going to talk about another way that each of us as individuals can band together as the body of Christ here to help accomplish this Mission from God and that is through our Service.
I want to ask you, when I say the word servant, what image pops into your head?
Do you think of someone who serves a rich person, perhaps wearing a uniform, maybe a maid or a butler?
You probably are not picturing
Or someone elegantly dressed.
Often when we think of a servant, we think of a position that is
Maybe for someone without a lot of education
Who has little or no authority.
Being a servant is not typically thought of as being a position of much authority or of greatness.
But Jesus tells us something different.
He tells us in Matthew 23:11 - The greatest among you will be your servant.
Not the lowly, not the least educated, not even the best dressed, but the greatest among you will be your servants.
He wants us to serve. He not only wants us to serve, but He sets for us an example in serving that if we follow will help us fulfill our mission from God and be blessed by Him.
Turn with me to John 13:1-17 (p. 763)
This morning we are going to see an incredible example of humble serving that the Lord wants us to follow which will allow us to better fulfill our mission.
Let’s begin by reading John 13:1-17
13 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
10 Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13 "You call me ’Teacher’ and ’Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Ok, in the first verse of this passage, John tells us that Jesus was going to show us the full extent of His love. (John 13:1)
Wow. That is a pretty bold statement. How does he show us His love? He does it by taking the role of a servant.
That is because
Serving others Speaks Love to them
If our mission is to reach people for Christ and make disciples, then we have got to love people and that love needs to be communicated to them through serving them.
It is very difficult to reach people if they don’t think you care.
The saying that “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” is very true.
It is our actions that display the reality of what we believe, whether that is our love for someone or our faith.
James, in speaking of faith says
16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
The same could be said of love. If you just say you love someone, but there is no action or service or sacrifice to support that statement, you are just blowing smoke.
Love is an action and Jesus speaks love to his disciples by showing them through His service how much He loves them and not just telling them.
For us to fulfill our mission from God and be able to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, we have got to be showing our love by serving others.
There is another thing that serving does that will help us fulfill our mission and that is
Serving others Teaches Humility to Us
We need to be humble servants if we are going to be effective ministers to people.
Pride is one of the greatest hindrances to fulfilling our mission.
God uses His people by his power and His strength to fulfill His mission
When we have pride in our life, we dishonor the Lord and we hinder ourselves from being used.
But as we serve, keeping our eyes on Christ and His glory, he teaches us humility.
In this passage here, the humility of Christ is truly remarkable.
We read in this passage that “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power” (John 13:3)
He had all things in his control.
He had all power and could do all things.
And what does He do?
4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
This one who had all authority and power humbled himself and served.
He does the job that is arguably the lowest job in the land, a job that was often done by a slave. But Jesus took this role upon Himself.
The apostles needed to learn humility
One of the reasons that Jesus does this is to teach the apostles humility.
Not too long before this night, the pride of the apostles was apparent.
James and John, 2 of Jesus’ closest disciples, were asking Jesus to sit on the right and left of Jesus. They were thinking about themselves. Their pride was showing.
And when people are looking to occupy the roles that only get a lot of recognition, we hinder our ability to accomplish God’s mission as well as the mission of the church as a whole.
When James and John did this, and the others heard about it, it says, “they became indignant with James and John.” (Mark 10:41)
If God’s people can’t work together, humbly serving together, we will be ineffective in fulfilling the mission God has for us.
So when we serve for the glory of the Lord, it is not going to matter what we are doing or even whom we are serving.
I want you to think about something that we see in this passage.
Judas was here. He had already been prompted by Satan to betray Jesus.
But Jesus washed his feet too.
Now I know this is Jesus, and he has perfect eternal perspective, but I got to thinking if I could serve someone who was so opposed to me in such a humbling way?
I will tell you that the Lord really exposed some pride in my own heart because I don’t know if I would have done it.
Jesus tells us to “Love your enemies … 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45
When we serve only those who love us, I believe we still have to learn humility.
The only way we can ever serve our enemies is by completely recognizing our dependence upon the Lord and doing all for his glory. That is true humility.
How do we respond to the guy who cuts us off in traffic? Do we look for an opportunity to cut him off or not let him in if we have the chance?
How do we respond in our jobs to that son of a gun of a boss or coworker when we have an opportunity to serve them? Do we say forget it, I am not doing anything for this person.
Jesus washed the feet of the one who would betray Him.
There are times we have got to learn humility and trust the Lord, keeping our eyes on Him and trusting Him to use our actions and our service for His glory.
I know I need to learn this more.
What about you? Do you need to learn humility?
Sometimes the best way to learn it is to start serving others while keeping our eyes on Christ and doing it for his glory.
When we can serve in humility with that attitude, we will be much better able to fulfill our mission.
One final thing that serving others does and that is
Serving others sets an example for them
Jesus tells them in verse 15 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
When we love others through our humble service, we are setting an example for them to follow us as we follow Christ.
As we do that and as others follow, the mission of God multiplies and it is then we can truly take this mission to the ends of the earth.
Are you serving?
Are you helping to fulfill the mission of God through your living, humble service speaking love to those you serve and setting an example for others to follow?
As we take steps to do that, God grows us, God humbles us, and God uses us to fulfill the mission of God we are on.
And when we are fulfilling the mission God has for us, we find fulfillment.
So what do you do from here?
First, I want to say that if you are serving as part of this body of Christ, thank you. You are part of the reason we are moving forward in the mission of God.
Whether you are serving in the nursery so the parents of kids can hear the word of God preached without being distracted by their kids in this service, or by helping to stuff the bulletins to help keep people informed about the things going on here or with inserts that help them better retain the message, you have had a hand in the salvations we have seen, the baptisms that have occurred, and the teaching that is happening.
Not serving Yet
If you are not serving in the church, then I want to encourage you to take a step of faith by serving.
We have opportunities right now to help the ministry of Hickory Creek fulfill God’s mission.
Picture of servants
Here are the people that lead some of our various ministries.
Even if you are not yet a member, we have a place that you can serve as part of this body.
You can help usher, or greet people as they come in. You can help in some areas of our AWANA ministry or in Powerzone and our Little Sparks nursery.
In fact this summer, maybe you could help serve our teachers who teach our powerzone kids by filling in for a month this summer to help give them a break. To teach, you do need to be a member of the church, but if the Lord is laying that on your heart right now, make sure you talk to Penny after the service today.
Even if you find that this ministry is not for you, it is only a for a few Sundays.
Look at those up here. Talk to one of these leaders. Or if you don’t know them, talk to me and I will introduce you.
Take a step to serve and help fulfill the mission of God in the church.
Serve Outside of the Walls of the church
But even as we do that, as we serve in the church, we also need to be reaching out beyond these walls.
This is an area, that in the past, I don’t think we have been as good at as we should be, but that is changing.
We have recently relaunched our Missions team. They will be coming up with quarterly opportunities to serve others outside the walls of our church.
We also encourage our small groups to reach out twice per year to serve in some way those outside of the church.
Women’s Ministry – Morning Star Mission
Our women’s ministry has begun organizing opportunities for our ladies to serve.
Several of our ladies just went recently to morning star Mission to prepare and serve a meal to those who are homeless and struggling during these difficult times.
Men’s Ministry – Urban Youth Outreach
Our men’s ministry last week went to the Englewood neighborhood to serve the people of that community by working to fix up a community center for Urban Youth Outreach ministries to reach the people of that community with the gospel.
This is an area where people are getting shot every day and killed on a weekly basis. You know why I believe this is happening.
As I spoke with the founder, he believes it is because the church has abandoned the area. When there is no light in an area, darkness prevails.
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that
14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
When we serve others to the glory of God, they see our service, and it helps us to fulfill our mission.
However, you can’t fulfill the mission without first receiving Christ as your Savior.
Have you done that?
Have you trusted in Jesus for salvation?
The Bible tells us that “all who receive Him, those who believe in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Believing in the name of Jesus means to believe in who He is and what He did, not merely that He existed.
You must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh and that He died for your sins and rose from the dead.
Romans 10:9 says that “if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Do you believe that?
Then confess that belief to Him this morning. I will lead in a prayer and if that is your belief then receive Jesus as your Savior today.
Worship team come up
We are going to close worshiping the Lord.
We are going to sing “The Stand.”
It is a great song of worship about being surrendered to the Lord and His will.
His will for you is to receive Christ as Savior and to help fulfill the mission.
Help do that by surrendering to the Lord and serving Him by serving others in humility.