Summary: In our relationship with Christ and our fellow believers, God has given us a call to demonstrate our love to both by serving one another. Service is love in action. Service ought to be a natural product of the Christian life. Service is selflessness.
SERVE ONE ANOTHER
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. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Introduction: In our relationship with Christ and our fellow believers, God has given us a call to demonstrate our love to both by serving one another. Service is love in action. Service ought to be a natural product of the Christian life. Service is selflessness.
I. The Reason for Serving Others
A. God designed us to serve others
1. 1st Corinthian 12:4-7, Paul in context is talking about how every person in the body of Christ, every believer has been given something, a gift, a manifestation of the spirit, something that will help us to contribute to the whole body. 1st Corinthians 12:4-7 "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all people. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."
2. 1 Peter 4:10 (NASB) As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
3. The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini’s lovely violin has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic. A Christian’s unwillingness to serve may soon destroy his capacity for usefulness. – J.K. Laney, Marching Orders
B. Christ-likeness is to serve others.
1. John 13:14 – 17 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
2. Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
3. Following Jesus means serving others. Serving others means serving somewhere!
C. God freed us to serve others
1. Galatians 5:13 "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; Do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
2. The Greek literally reads, "You were called to freedom . . . So use your freedom by becoming slaves to each other in love."
3. The difference between servitude and servanthood is the difference between have to and get to. Servitude is imposed from the outside; servanthood grows from an inner identity, a core commitment to do what’s best for those I serve.
D. Greatness is achieved in serving others.
1. "The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. If you can demand service from others, you’ve arrived. In our self-serving culture with it’s me – first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept." - copied
2. Mark 10:42 – 44 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all."
3. Serving One Another is the foundation of greatness! To place one’s needs above your own is truly possessing the heart and mind of Christ. For the heart of Christ is consumed with mercy, compassion, and love and ALL who profess to be his, should be LIKE him. Yet there are many among the brethren who desire more to be served rather than to serve. Who believe greatness is accomplished by one’s status, great name, the company they keep, or spiritual gifts. However, greatness is not achieved through ones position, title, name, possessions and the like, according to Christ greatness is achieved through service.
II. The Excuses for Not Serving Others
A. Sometimes our excuses pile up and get in the way of doing something for God. I read a humorous story about some GI’s on furlough that I think illustrates this. “The commanding officer was furious when nine GIs who had been out on passes failed to show up for morning roll call. Not until 7 p.m. did the first man straggle in. "I’m sorry, sir," the soldier explained, "but I had a date and lost track of time, and I missed the bus back. Being determined to get in on time, I hired a cab. Halfway here, the cab broke down. I went to a farmhouse and persuaded the farmer to sell me a horse. I was riding to camp when the animal fell over dead. I walked the last ten miles, and just got here." Though skeptical, the Colonel let the young man off with a reprimand. However, after him, seven other stragglers in a row came in with the same story-had a date, missed the bus, hired a cab, bought a horse, etc. By the time the ninth man reported in, the colonel had grown weary of it. "Okay," he growled, "now what happened to you?" "Sir, I had this date and missed the bus back, so I hired a cab." "Wait!" the colonel screeched at him. "Don’t tell me the cab broke down." "No, sir," replied the soldier. "The cab didn’t break down. It was just that there were so many dead horses in the road, we had trouble getting through." Excuses! (Contributed by John F. King ) Sometimes our excuses hold us back from accomplishing anything for God.