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Summary: Coming to know and serve God certainly benefits us, and we should not be ashamed of that; he created us to need him. But we are called to serve on the basis of higher motives, motives that are tied to who God is and what he has done. So why do we serve hi

The Right Motives for Ministry: Why We Serve Him

(2 Corinthians 5:11-15)

1. People are motivated in many ways.

2. He may dress like a skid-row bum and smell like a dead rat, but Andy Smulian is a hit among London businessmen plagued by those who won't pay their bills. Employed by the London-Manhattan Debt Collection Agency, the 20-years-old youth will stumble into a deadbeat's office for $65 and raise a stink until the freeloader pays up.

"The receptionists do most of my work for me," says smelly Smulian. "I hear them tell their bosses, 'If you're not going to write a check, you'd better find yourself another secretary.'"

Though the enterprising young man has generally been successful with his debt-collecting efforts, he has recently been taken to court because of his villainous stench. But he insists he is not to be sneezed at and is sure the London magistrate will rule in his favor. "The law doesn't define when a smell becomes offensive," he says with confidence. But who is he to talk? Afflicted with permanently blocked sinuses, he can't smell a thing. Campus Life, February, 1980, p. 23.

3. The Bible mentions a number of individuals who were motivated for the wrong reason: Judas Iscariot, Balaam, Simon the Sorcerer.

4. What are the right reasons to serve the Lord? Where does self-interest fit in?

Main Idea: Coming to know and serve God certainly benefits us, and we should not be ashamed of that; he created us to need him. But we are called to serve on the basis of higher motives, motives that are tied to who God is and what he has done. So why do we serve him?

I. Because We FEAR Him (11a)

A. We fear DISPLEASING him (cf. vs. 9)

• It is one thing to fail, but another to fail in the area that is the very reason for you existence…

B. We fear LOSING reward (cf. vs. 10)

1. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:5, “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

2. Bobby Bowden, (former football coach of Florida State University) said that when he was in college, he played college baseball. During one game he managed to hit a ball right down the right-field line, into the corner. He rounded 1st and looked to the 3rd base coach. He turned at 2nd, was halfway to 3rd - and coach was still waving him on to home… and when he reached home, he stepped triumphantly on the plate. He had scored his first home run as a college player, and he was excited. Everybody on his team was giving him high-fives and slapping him on the back. (PAUSE) But then the pitcher took the ball, threw to the first baseman, and the umpire called him out. ..in his excitement… he’d failed to touch first base. [Jeff Strite, Sermoncentral]

3. That can happen to us; we can see our rewards go up in smoke

C. We fear giving an ACCOUNT (vs. 10)

D. We fear EARTHLY discipline (cf. I Corinthians 11:30-32)

E. We fear REAPING what we sow (cf. Galatians 6:8)

• If God allows us to get what we deserve, look out!

F. This fear constrains us to PERSUADE others

• That persuasion is ethical, but it is persuasion

• We are to try to win the lost and to urge the believer to stay the course

• In the parable of the talents, the one man who had been given only one talent hid it in the ground… and he was called on the carpet for being slack

• Are we slack? Are we spiritual sluggards, God’s couch potatoes?

II. Because Our HEARTS Have Been Transformed (11b-13) [We are now predisposed to want to serve]

A. GOD knows our heart attitudes; our opponents may think they do

• Man looks on the outward appearance, God on the heart

• Substance matters more than image

B. CONTRAST in motivation between Paul and adversaries

1. Paul was transparent.

2. Paul wanted Christians to take pride in the right things

3. The godly, not the flamboyant

4. The rag-tag missionary, not Liberace

C. The ACCUSATIONS cannot stop this momentum

1. When you are out to please God over men, the disparaging remarks of men may dishearten you, but you keep going

2. Elijah was almost broken by Jezebel’s remarks

D. Biggest motivation problem: lack of REGENERATION

E. Many impressed by what makes them FEEL GOOD, not truth

III. Because Christ’s LOVE for Us and In Us Overwhelms Us (14-15)

A. We look to Calvary to SAVOR God’s love (Romans 5:8)

1. Christ died on behalf of all

2. Christ died as the representative of all

3. Christ died for the sins of the world, not merely the elect

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