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Summary: How do we spot someone who is a true servant of God? Is it immediately obvious? Can it be spotted from what they do...? (indirectly this is a subtle challenge to be the right kind of servants of God)

"Spot the servant". 2 Cor 6:1-13. WBC 5 May 2005 am

Thought you’d like this!

"I’m going away for a while. Please could you water my pot plants for me

when I’m gone. Once a day should be fine. (PPT after reading out to reveal "please water my plants while away.jpg" in My pictures\illustrations & Jokes)

Well- how do you ’spot a servant’?

It’s here in this passage- but why is Paul addressing it?

CONTEXT

He’s been talking about ’reconciliation’- and that’s because there is a need for a bit of it!

- with God (5:20 - they are believers and need to be reconciled to Him- so something’s out of kilter)

- with him. As you know

o are folks who have been discrediting him

o he’s asked them to act over someone who’s out of line and they have reacted

So he’s had to justify his own ministry as an Apostle- and a servant

- v1 he says he is a fellow- worker for GOD (clear in the way it’s written)

- v4 describes himself as a servant of God

So- we get to listen in on him justifying what a servant of God is/isn’t!

So- how do you ’spot a servant’?

- is it the person who gets invited to speak at a ’super servant seminar’… like someone I know did? (In Hawaii!)

- is it me who says ’ha! Mega servant’- when I take Robin/Liz coffee? (or to Maureen on Fri- PLEASE let me make you a cuppa so I’ve got an illustration!)

- Illustr: ’Looking for the best’. Advert for pastor of a Texas Baptist CHurch (geunine!). (’The 25,000 member Church has voted to get a co-pastor to work alongside its 78 year old former Southern Baptist convention president . The pastor said the man would have to be a fundamentalist. he added "We are seeking the finest, best, most gifted and successful, most God-blessed pastor in this universe to come here and be pastor co-equal with me

- In fact- is the servant of God the kind of person who makes a noise about it at all; "I’m gonna serve the old folks, now!"

Well

- servants here are ’servants of God’ - so ultimately only He knows and ’spots the servant’

o that is both incredibly consoling and challenging, eh?

" God knows! He knows whether you are serving Him or not- so don’t worry about people… but also don’t think you can pull the wool over His eyes!

" Illustr: praying so people can hear

" But -who are we to judge someone else’s servant?

- Secondly- it doesn’t say a lot about what someone DOES, here

" (as that will be different for different people)

o rather HOW you do it…. live… react

From this passage you spot a servant in

SUFFERING v4,5, 8-10

Actually- this is a big chunk of this text, eh?! Most of it!

- you spot a servant when the going gets tough! How they react to that

- that they keep going- because it’s God not glory they are serving

o = one of the reasons they bear such fruit… as they are ’long haulers’

And he addresses 3 kinds of tough-times serving, here

1) The stuff of life- uninvited stuff v4

"trouble, hardship and distress" (afflictions, hardships, calamities)

- those things that come our way because we are in the world and human. Uninvited

o Ilustr: watching ’why do bad things happen to good people’ thurs pm. One answer: "because they do. Why shouldn’t they. It’s how you react that counts"

- Illustr: best example I currently know is Rob Lacey. Email again about health-

o But he’s a servant of God alright. HUGE fruit! Wal-Mart

- It is there in the Bible: in Isaiah the NIV entitles him the ’suffering servant’. In fact there are 4 or 5 passages about him. And he achieves God’s powerful purposes in the suffering. Uninvited

- It’s Jesus, of course: but also maybe the OT prophet… or the people of Israel

o Though they (the Jews) didn’t understand this aspect of God’s working. But we must! Do!

2) Suffering for serving v5

The second kind of tough-times serving is the active stuff against the servant as a consequence of them serving

- as though they invited it!

It’s beatings, imprisonment, riots

- and they stick at the serving because they are serving God

o and this is people and Satan kicking against Him and the fruitfulness

- Illustr: I jest not. Those who do not believe in ’attack’ have probably never done anything warranting it! Fruitful! It’s very real. Temperature has gone up over the Feast- and some of you are bearing the heat/consequences

3) Suffering service v5

It’s the way they serve- "in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger"

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