Summary: A relationship with God is a long term commitment and dependent upon obedience to His will. Christians are therefore saved to serve God. This lesson looks at Christian service from a comprehensive biblical perspective.
Saved To Serve
A few months ago, we looked at how to develop a relationship with God. We learned that only the obedient know Him (1 John 2:4); love Him (John 14:23-24); are His friends (John 15:14); and of His family (Matthew 12:50). We looked at the importance of obedience to God as it relates to our relationship with Him and we saw that there is much more to having a relationship with God than just feeling it or thinking it in our hearts. A relationship with God is a long term commitment and dependent upon obedience to His will. Christians are therefore saved to serve God.
To introduce this lesson, let us consider that enjoying and fulfilling our Christian relationship with God involves accepting the responsibilities inherent in that relationship.
1. Every right implies a responsibility.
2. Every opportunity implies an obligation.
3. Every possession implies a duty.
A relationship with God without duty is like a tree without roots. It cannot grow and it will wither and die. And duty with no service is like a tree with no fruit. It cannot provide sustenance and will not spread out. It is through the fruit that a tree makes its seeds. No fruit means no seeds and no seeds means no growth and no more truth to sow.
A Christian is a person called to God’s service. 1 Thessalonians 1:9, "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God".
Christians have an obligation to fulfill their individual service. Paul wrote in Colossians 4:17, "And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it." Paul commanded the church in Colossi to to tell Archippus to fulfill the ministry he had been given. This teaches individual, personal service. All Christians are to view their service on a personal level. What can I do to serve God? Where do I fit in? How can I help? Certainly the body of Christ engages in organized group efforts, but each group consists of individuals working together in fulfillment of a specific role towards a common goal. Each individual in a group has a specific responsibility. As Bobby has been teaching, we need to personalize things and we are going to expand that idea to include our Christian service.
The spiritual kingdom which we are members of is a realm of activity. we can see this evident in the various terms used to describe Christians.
We are described as being branches by Christ in John 15:1-8. Looking particularly at verses 5-6 we see that Jesus teaches us in this context that "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." Christians described as branches are expected to bear fruit. Jesus says those who do not will be burned.
Christians are illustrated as farmers. 2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Farmers who expect to be successful are not idle. They, like Christians have to work at it. Hard working Christians like farmers will sow and reap bountifully.
Christians are described as soldiers, 2Timothy 2:3, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." Soldiers have duties, they are expected to protect, defend and to serve.
Christians are described as athletes, 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." This is an illustration of dedication and perseverance.
Christians are described as workers, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" Biblical faith is not passive. True faith is a work. Paul instructed Timothy to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" 2 Timothy 2:15. Paul told timothy to study so that he would be a good workman for the lord. Christians are workers for Christ.
Christians are to be Laborers. Matthew 9:37, "Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few" John 6:27 "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."