Summary: The third point of life is a devotion to serving Christ, Church, and Community.
Three weeks ago we started our series, “What’s the Point?” We learned that discovering the POINT is really about realizing our PURPOSE!
Proverbs 19:21: “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail” (NLT).
A couple of weeks ago we discussed that the 1st point of life is to DISCOVER GOD! In order to fully discover God we should read the bible, study the bible, and memorize the bible.
James 1:22-25: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (NIV).
Last we talked about the 2nd point of life - DEVELOPING FRIENDSHIPS … we learned the valuable life principle, “We always reflect those who are closest to us!” Choose your friends very carefully!
Tonight, I want to continue the series by talking about the 3rd point of life … DEVOTING ourselves to serving Christ, Church, and Community.
Jesus really had this concept down! He knew that his life was to be given in FULL SERVICE to bring people back into a relationship with God.
I think of the story we just read … It is almost as if the mother of James and John drags them in front of Jesus … and says, “My sons deserve this.” I have to believe that James and John were pretty embarrassed.
They were probably saying, “Mom, no … I am not going to Jesus. This is ridiculous.”
“Don’t you tell me what to do,” she may have replied, “I am your mother. You will understand some day when you’re a parent.”
I could see them under their breath:
• “James, tell her to stop.”
• “No, you tell her.”
• “I will not tell her … stop her.”
• “Jesus is going to get really ticked.”
• “What if someone hears mom?”
James and John’s mother did not really recognize what it meant to SERVE!
Richard Foster, in the Celebration of Discipline, wrote, “Self-righteous service comes through human effort. True service comes from a relationship with the divine Other deep inside. Self-righteous service is impressed with the "big deal." True service finds it almost impossible to distinguish the small from the large service. Self-righteous service requires external rewards. True service rests contented in hiddenness. Self-righteous service is highly concerned about results. True service is free of the need to calculate results. Self-righteous service picks and chooses whom to serve. True service is indiscriminate in its ministry. Self-righteous service is affected by moods and whims. True service ministers simply and faithfully because there is a need. Self-righteous service is temporary. True service is a life-style. Self-righteous service is without sensitivity. It insists on meeting the need even when to do so would be destructive. True service can withhold the service as freely as perform it. Self-righteous service fractures community. True service, on the other hand, builds community.”
It is our hope to build a place of TRUE COMMUNITY!
And that means we have to DEVOTE OUR LIVES TO SERVING!
Let me give you 3 principles of serving.
1. Seek the approval of one
Man, we try and find the approval of everyone. Have you ever noticed that?
We want to please everyone!
Listen to this … you will never make everyone happy!
I read this the other day: “I really cannot give you the formula for success. But I can give you the formula for failure. It’s this: Try to please everyone.”
There is one person’s approval we must strive for … its God’s!
Jesus fleshed this out … he really lived his life to please one person.
The one thing that he knew was that God was pleased with him … before he did one miracle, listen to what God said about Jesus.
Matthew 3:17: "This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him” (NLT).
God is fully pleased with you … he loves you … he may not approve of WHAT you do, but he will approve of WHO you are … you are His!!!
2. Never live for the applause
It feels good when someone pats you on the back and says, “Great job.”
And that is totally okay, but do not LIVE for the applause!
There are times in our lives when no one seems to be cheering for us … when no one is encouraging us to keep going …
DON’T LIVE FOR THE APPLAUSE! Live for God’s approval!
Real service comes from doing the things no one sees! The little things! The seemingly insignificant tasks that need to get done!
Jesus didn’t live for the applause … “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”