Summary: Serving God is a privilege. Bringing Him glory is our total joy and responsibility. Our service is not needed because God is completely complete. We are not saved to serve; yet our service brings him glory. We live for one purpose and one purpose alon
This sermon was preached by Scotty L Killingsworth to the Evergreen Church on September 7, 2003
This is the first in a series of sermons from 1 Thessalonians
The series title is -Ready to glorify God
It was a home away from home for the first Christ followers. Jesus and the disciples enjoyed the hospitality of this home often. In a world of religious turmoil and antagonism the world changers found refuge. A woman named Martha was very hospitable. She opened her home and her heart to served Jesus in ways that met his need for rest and refreshment. Martha had a sister named Mary. This Mary was very different from Martha. Martha was a ball of energy as she swept, dusted, killed chickens, mashed potatoes, made bread and worked to make Jesus and his friends comfortable. Mary seemed to be content just sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him and loving him. One this occasion Martha asked Jesus to affirm the value of service but instructing Jesus to tell Mary to help with the household duties. Jesus said, “Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. . .” You may ask why was sitting at the feet of Jesus better than serving Jesus? It was better because we were not made to serve God, but to bring him glory.
Another time some people were killed when a tower fell on them. People asked Jesus what those unfortunates had done to cause their deaths. Jesus explained that their dying was not the result of anything they had done nor was it the result of generational sin. It occurred for the glory of God, was how Jesus explained the situation. How did God get glory out of the death of these innocent bystanders? We are not told, but out of the experience in a way known only to God, glory occurred.
You and I are here to bring glory to God. We exist to bring him glory. This church exists for that glory. The glory of God is our highest value and it is the highest value of heaven. How important is bringing glory to God to you?
I have heard people theorize that God created man and woman because he was lonely and needed friendship. Our Creator is incapable of being lonely. One of our greatest joys is friendship with Jesus. In John 15 he calls us his friends and promises to tell us everything as a friend would do for a friend. So as much joy as we receive from friendship with Jesus we need to realize it is possible because of his magnanimous love. In truth, He is completely complete. He, Himself is all He will ever need. He is the self contained source of all things. Everything flows from His majestic self and nothing flows into Him. There must be a better reason to explain why God made us and planted us on Terra Firma. Only the height of human ego thinks God needs us for fellowship or boredom relief.
Others take the Genesis job description for man and conclude our purpose is to take care of the planet and reproduce ourselves. If that is so we are doing a really bad job at taking care of the planet and a really good job of reproducing. Planet earth would get along very well without human help, and did for a long geological day. In fact, mankind has done more to alter, pollute and denigrate the quality of the earth than has any other living creature ever. Christians must become the most motivated environmentalists and we should cherish and protect the human gene pool, but there is a higher purpose for man.
Another grand purpose for man is to serve God. Living at the command of God brings a life of joy and fulfillment. Nothing ushers in more peaceful sleep than to expend one’s energies on God ordained projects and plans. “Saved to serve”, was the mantra of the church in which I grew up. In fact in our text today we find in verse 9 of 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, “They tell us how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. . . “ . Serving God has been better understood in other times and places than it is here and now. Our current expression of service is activity or good works of some kind or another, while the best service to God may not involved works or activity at all.
You were not chosen for redemption to prop up the church. In this channel of thought some believe you were created solely to support the church or the work of God on earth with your time, tithe and talent. The work of the Church is directly in the hands of the people who support it. The strength and energy of the local church is directly connected to the strength and energy of the people who attend. You were not created and redeemed only to provide the world with the benefit of the church. The church is God’s idea and it is God who supplies all our needs. Jesus who is the Bridegroom of the church -his bride- has promised to supply all our needs according to his riches in glory. The power of the church is not our time, tithe or talent; it is Jesus living powerfully among us. He is the source of all things and all things flow out from him and nothing flows into his majestic self. When the church is what it is supposed to be it can say, as did Peter and Paul to the lame man, “Silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus, rise and walk.”