Summary: Our love for God and our worship of God are demonstrated in how we love and serve others.
SERIES: HEALTHY CHURCH!
“THE DEMONSTRATION FACTOR”
Chuck Colson makes an interesting observation. He points out that when the Communists took over Russia in 1917, they did not make Christianity illegal. The Soviet constitution guaranteed freedom of religion.
What they did do is make it illegal for the churches to do any “good works” or works of service. The churches were no longer allowed to do what they had always done: feed the hungry, educate children, take care of widows and orphans, or care for the sick.
There was a very stunning result when the church obeyed the state in this matter. When the churches failed in their calling to serve the needs of others, it only took about 70 years for the churches to become ineffective in the communities in which they lived.
Two Sundays ago, we started a series called “Healthy Church!” We’re looking at certain factors that produce spiritual health for our congregation. We started with the motivation factor – loving God with all of our heart, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
In that first mentioned message, we briefly talked about the five purposes of the church: worship, ministry, evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship. All five purposes are based on our motivation – wholeheartedly loving God and others.
Last week, we talked about worship. It’s the exaltation factor. Worship is not just something we do together one day a week. It’s something that we express in our everyday lives.
And the Bible teaches us that we cannot really love God and worship Him unless we love and serve others. The apostle John writes in 1 Jn. 4:19-20 – “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
This morning we’re going to look at the demonstration factor. The Bible teaches that love is not just a feeling. It’s demonstrated by what we do. Rom. 5:8 –“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” John admonishes us in 1 Jn. 3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
What is it that demonstrates our love and worship for God? It’s our love and service to others. The second purpose of the church and for our daily lives – ministry – is closely affiliated with the first purpose – worship.
The biblical term for service is “ministry.” The concepts of “serve” and “minister” are the same in the original language of the New Testament.
You need to answer a very important question this morning. Are you more interested in being served or being a servant?
A first grade teacher asked her students, “What do you do to help at home?” One little girl said, “I dry the dishes.” One of the boys said, “I sweep the floor.” Another one said, “I feed and water the dog,”
Every student in the class had something to contribute except for one boy sitting in the back. The teacher looked qt him asked, “What do you do to help out at home?” He said, “I stay out of the way.”
That’s a problem in the church. Too many church members just stay out of the way. A Gallup poll discovered that only 10% of church members are active in any kind of personal ministry in their church. 50% said that they have no desire or interest in serving in any ministry.
We were saved to serve. Not only did God save us to serve, He also gave us a model for ministry. In Lk. 22:27b, Jesus says, “I am among you as one who serves.”
We’re going to look at a passage of scripture this morning in which Jesus teaches His followers about ministry and servanthood. For the third time, He has tried to tell them what was about to happen very soon. He would be mockingly tried and cruelly beaten. He would be derided and shown the utmost contempt. He would be unjustly brutally executed on a cross. It’s at this point we read the following encounter.
Mt. 20:20-28 – “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. ‘What is it you want?’ he asked. She said, ‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’ ‘We can,’ they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.’ When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”