Last week, we began looking at how true Christianity functions in the body of Christ, being more than a once a week, ‘Sunday Church’ mentality that wants to check off a box on a spiritual checklist. As the New Testament teaches us, the body of Christ plays a much bigger role in our lives, and while gathering together every Sunday for corporate worship is one of the purposes of the body (Hebrews 10:25), it is far from being the only purpose. There are, in fact, many others. We have looked at mutually encouraging one another with our faith – this is accomplished simply by being around others in the body, whether meeting for discipleship or enjoying a meal together or being a part of an RMG. This week we are looking at serving one another. Let’s look at 5 motivations the New Testament gives for service.
·Everyone has a gift – Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Everyone has been given a gift…not some, not most, but all. Did you know that you have been given a gift from the Lord? Though many people do not know that they have a spiritual gift, Peter says here that everyone has been given one. Notice in the verse that we are not to ignore our gift or use it for personal gain. Peter writes, “Use it to serve one another.” We are to use these special gifts to serve one another. Someone may have been given the gift of teaching; others might have been given the gift of mercy or leading or even wisdom. These gifts are specifically given to us to serve one another within the context of the body of Christ.
·Using our gifts glorifies God – Let’s return to 1 Peter 4 and look at verse 11: “Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” The reason we each have been given a gift is so that we will ultimately glorify God. We know this is the author’s intended purpose because of the Greek hina, which is translated ‘in order that.’ Therefore, we have the ability to bring glory to God simply by using those gifts that we have been given. As God’s creation, because glorifying Him is our main purpose, we should be asking ourselves every day how can we bring Him the most glory with our lives. One of those ways is serving one another. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
·Serving gives us assurance of our hope – Not only do we bring glory to God when we serve each other by using our spiritual gift, but serving also leads to our assurance of hope which is eternal life. The author of Hebrews writes in 6:10-12, “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” There are two paths we can take…We can either do nothing, which leads to sluggishness, or we can imitate those who have shown their love for God by serving the saints. In return, we will receive the full assurance of hope. It is only through great diligence and perseverance that we can have this full assurance. Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:10, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
·Serving each other causes the body to grow – One of my favorite parts in scripture that speaks to the role of the pastor is in Ephesians. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11 that he gave shepherds and teachers to equip the saints, but it is in verse 12 that he gives the reason for the equipping of the saints, that is, “for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” We, as members in the local church, are equipped by the shepherds and teachers for the work of ministry (serving one another) so that the body of Christ is built up. The Pastor equips the saints for the work of the ministry, and when we serve one another, we are actually taking part in the building up of the body of Christ. Paul goes on to write a few verses later in verse 16, “From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” So again, Paul confirms that when we are equipped (getting us to work properly), we all take part in growing the body of Christ.
·By serving, we follow in the steps of Christ – Last but not least, we have the motivation of serving one another by the example that Christ provided for us. Christ says in Matthew 20:28, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” So you see that even the one man who deserved to be served by His own creation did not come to be served but took that opportunity to serve others for the sake of His kingdom. Greatness in the eyes of God is not the successful businessman or athlete or super mom…greatness in the eyes of God is the one who serves.
Whenever we look at scripture involving works, we must remember to consider the attitude of our hearts…we cannot look at the things that we do, such as serving one another, and think that we are earning favor or that works have any part of our gaining salvation. Serving others is not a guarantee that we are saved, but for those who are saved, serving is the natural outpouring of hearts that have been regenerated. They desire to offer themselves as living sacrifices for the One who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.