Summary: Ok, the property was prepared, the blueprints are laid out on the table in the construction trailer to be followed every step of the way, the foundation of the Holy Spirit, prayer and worship has been poured and is firmly in place, and now we need some bu
Ok, the property was prepared, the blueprints are laid out on the table in the construction trailer to be followed every step of the way, the foundation of the Holy Spirit, prayer and worship has been poured and is firmly in place, and now we need some building materials and tools to actually put up the house.
I have always admired people who can drive a nail in with 3 or four blows and still have a thumb. I would have to hit that darn thing 15 times, and every tenth time I would probably miss and if I didn’t hit my thumb, I would have to deal with this bent nail half way in. Sure it takes some skill to build, but it sure helps if you have the right materials and tools for the job.
So far we have talked about desiring to get sin out of our lives and coming in repentance to God for cleansing and salvation. We have discussed the importance of the Bible as our blueprint for the Christian life. We looked at the cornerstones of our faith in prayer and worship, living with the power of the Holy Spirit.
These are all necessities of being a Christian. Now I want to present four biblical practices that I believe are the main tools for building our spiritual house. Unlike the previous ones, these are not absolutely essential, but they greatly influence the quality of our building. The disciplines build holiness and if you think holiness isn’t important listen to the New Testament. Christ died “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2Cor 5:15)
We were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph 1:4). Christ “loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27). And, Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14).
God wants to save us and sanctify us, He wants this house to be spotless, and with the essentials that we a have already talked about we have the power to do it if we so choose.
The first of these disciplines is Serving. If Christ was anything, he was a servant and he demands that we also be servants not just to him as our master, but to each other as well. Remember the little dispute that arose between the apostles at the last supper about which one of them was to be the greatest? Here’s how Jesus responds in Luke 22:25-27:
“The kings and Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest amoung you become as the youngest, and the leader as the one who serves. For who is greater, one who reclines at the table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am amoung you as the one who serves.”
He then proceeds to wash their feet, the ultimate servant posture of that time and says “do as I have just done”. A Christian is a servant perhaps above all else. The word Christian means Christ follower. We are designed and created to serve God. And using Jesus as the example we are also to serve each other and Christ’s church.
So what does serving practically look like? This is not in the Bible, but I think a good way of thinking about service is anything we can do to make another person’s life easier or more pleasant. Stacking chairs after a potluck, doing the dishes, setting up and taking down communion, running the powerpoint week after week. I could go on but you get the idea.
These are valuable ways of serving and absolutely necessary and appreciated, but there is another kind of service in the church and that is spiritual serving. Another word could be ministering. Serving or ministry is listed as one of the gifts in Romans 12 and literally means an attendant, but it is also from the word for deacon and has to do with Christian teaching.
So there is the physical service, but there is also the spiritual service to each other. It could be teaching, it could be praying for or with someone, it could be holding another Christian accountable, but the point is that even though some people are gifted with this more than others, it is clear that Jesus desires all of us to serve one another in some way for building up and equipping spiritually.