This past Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving Day. And I am going to use that day to illustrate how families have their own set of rules and guidelines that govern how they function. In some families, the parents fix the Thanksgiving meal for the children before they fix their own. In our home, during Thanksgiving, the children had their own table and they better not sit at the big person’s table. An understood rule is no one- not momma, not children, not guests sat in daddy’s chair. In our home there was no question who got the turkey leg - it was Uncle Willie’s. In some homes, you dig in and start ending your Thanksgiving plate of food as soon as you sit down. In other homes, no one starts eating until the Thanksgiving blessing has been offered. What I am trying to show you, is that every family has some basic ways as to how they are to function when they get together.
When the church gathers, when we come together collectively, there are some guidelines as to how we are to function together just like in a family. But our guidelines don’t come from daddy or momma or family tradition but rather they come directly from the Word of God. Those guidelines are the “one anothers”, and we have been studying them over the past several weeks. Those “one anothers’ are there to teach us how to function properly as the local family of believers.
So far, we looked at the need to forgive one another, to love one another and last week to encourage one another. And today, we are going to look at the next guideline- to serve one another. I believe that the timing of this message is appropriate as we have two fine Christian men coming to be ordained as deacons next Sunday. That very word “deacon” means “servant” or a “man who waits on others”. By ordaining them they are saying to us that they want to serve this church family. They are not the only servers in the church but rather ought to be setting the example at service. The truth be told according to the Scriptures we all are Scriptures to serve one another. Everyone who is part of this church should be serving.
But that rubs us the wrong way because we really rather be served then to serve. If that is not true, after our Thanksgiving Dinner last Sunday, we should have had to run people away after dinner because we had to many people cleaning up. Instead, we just have our faithful few that clean up. Everybody else package up their go boxes and leave. And when it comes time for Vacation Bible School, Greg and I should not have to beg people to work with our children for a few days. Instead of an empty signup sheet, we should have a long waiting list.
So, today, I want to show you what you are missing out on. I am going to share with you some life changing truths about serving one another. if you have your Bibles or today’s bulletin, we are going to be reading from Romans 12:3-11.
The New King James Version Chapter 12
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.
Behave Like a Christian
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;
Serving lets you know your state of mind. A person who is prideful will not serve; a person who is humble will serve.
If I were to breakdown those verses, I just read, into a one sentence description, it would be: We need to humbly serve one another.
Now think about it! Those Scripture are asking us to do two things that don't come natural to us- to exercise humility and to do service. So, Paul’s answer as to how to humbly serve one another is found in the first part of Romans 12 and in particular verse 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.”
If you don’t have a transformed mind, pride is not going to let you serve. Pride will tell you that you are too good for that. Pride will say that is beneath me; it is a menial task somebody else needs to do.
Think about the world that we live in. It is a prideful world, full of prideful people. People are more interested in someone serving them rather than they serving someone. I heard on the news awhile back a reporter interviewing someone about their situation in the Covid 19 pandemic. And the person’s response was classic. He said that the government has to take care of him because he did not ask to be living his life during a pandemic. And that struck me as a great description as to how the world sees things: someone needs to take care of me. People are crying out someone has to take care of me; the government needs to send us another check; the government needs to pay me to stay at home during the pandemic; but it is not just people, business does the same thing. The airline industry is screaming that someone needs to take care of us; the food industry is pleading for someone to help them and it goes on and on.
The church ought to be different. We ought to be a place full of transformed minds. We ought to look for ways to serve one another. I am so glad that Kristi and Evon took it upon themselves to serve the church by putting out the Christmas decorations. The Pastor and the Associate Pastor should not have to nag people to get things done. You see a need, an opportunity to serve and you get in there and serve.
Your attitude about serving, let’s you know about your state of mind.
Serving lets you know about the measure of your love. A person who does not love their fellow church members will not serve them. A person who loves their fellow church members will serve them.
Romans 12:9 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.
Think about your family. You would do anything for someone in your immediate family because you love them. It does not matter how difficult the task you are being asked to do, you are going to try your level best to get it done. An acquaintance calls you to see if you can do something for them. The acquaintance is asking for something that is not nearly as difficult as what your family member needed but you may or may not do it because your love gauge is not the same for the acquaintance as compared to your family member.
Now think about in the church house. If you have a problem with someone or a group of someones, you are probably not going to serve because you would not want them to benefit from your service. I can hear it now: I know everyone wants me to fix my famous banana pudding for our Christmas party, but I am not, because if I do so and so will eat some. What can you say about that person’s love gauge? It is low. What can you say about their resentment gauge? Very high
In churches, when people get tired of the Pastor, you generally see people start resigning from positions of leadership. They are going to throw all that work back on the pastor because they feel if they are continuing to serve, they are benefiting him and they want him gone. Another low love gauge. And another high resentment gauge.
Now that person that steps in and helps wherever. That’s a person who loves their church members. Their love gauge is high. There is no resentment. They are simply happy to do what they can to help their church.
Galatians 5:13 NKJV
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Serving lets you know the impact Jesus has on your daily life. A person who does not serve their fellow Christians, Jesus has little impact on their daily life. A person who serves fellow Christians, Jesus is having a significant impact on their daily life.
The Apostle Paul after telling us to humbly serve one another and then he sums up this section at the end of vs 11 by telling us to serve God. If I were to ask you by a show of hands who wants to serve God in this room, I would hope all the hands would go up in this room.
Well, how do you serve God?
The New King James Version Chapter 10
43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 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.”
Jesus came to serve. And if He is having an impact on your life, then you are going to serve. Those people who say I serve God, but they don’t serve their fellow church family, something does not add up.
You can learn a lot about yourself by how you serve. It will tell you your state of mind; it will tell you your measure of love; and it will tell you how much Jesus is impacting your daily life.
Let us pray!