Monday, January 23, 2012

Growing Strong 3 - In servant hood

Growing Strong - Part 3 ( Servant hood)

Below is the link to the audio of Part 3 of  the sermon series on Growing Strong preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church.

This morning we have been singing these amazing songs about what God has done for us, how he poured out his love on us, he died for us. The question we should ask is, what should our response be to this amazing love? Should we be saying,’ Thank you for dying for me, I’ll see you in heaven”. What is the adequate response? What does God expect from us now that we are believers? 

Imagine a lady who is waiting to get married. She has found the right person? She is looking forward to getting married. She is looking forward to her wedding day and they hope for a fairy tale end of “they lived happily ever after”. They get married and the husband goes to work, the wife spends her time watching TV, shopping etc. He comes back and finds the house in a mess, the clothes unwashed, no food cooked, the credit card used on shopping. And he asks her, “What’s going on and why there is no food cooked?” And she turns around and says “what? Do you expect me to cook for you?” What kind of a marriage would that be? The husband asked her how about starting a family? And she turns around and says, “I don’t want any kids!” What kind of a marriage would that be? Is this wife a good wife?

Now when we come to Jesus -he is the bridegroom. He saved us and had given his life for us. He has some expectations from us and what HE wants us to do.  And we should fulfil them. What should our response be? Here is one area of response

Let’s look at Ephesians chapter 2 which is a wonderful chapter on the grace of God. Those 10 verses we start with us being dead in our transgressions, to being saved by grace and then our response. We are dead and hell bound. But God made us alive – he came in his grace saved us and seated us in the heavenly realms.  So what should our response be?

Ehp 2:1-10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
1. Verse 10: You were saved to serve. We are not just saved so that we can go to heaven. We are God’s workmanship -each one of us in intricately designed. We are different from each other. The word ‘poem’ comes from the word ‘workmanship”. There are things that only you can do and these things were planned in eternity. Doesn’t that blow your mind?

God had planned for Moses who he ran away from home and he was looking after sheep – but God’s plan was for him to bring deliverance to the Jews. David – was a shepherd boy. God said he would not shepherd sheep but the nation of Israel and He made him King. Esther came from nowhere to become the queen who would one day bring deliverance to the Jews.

Today we have different people who have been used by God – William Carey, Mother Theresa etc.
My question is what God has called you to do? It is unique to you. Are you involved in that or have you buried it in the ground? Are you like the bride who is watching TV and says to the husband I have no time for you? Some of us may be called to a public ministry and some to private. God has a plan for you. Each one’s plan is different. You have a chandelier in your house and a zero watt bulb. Both are useful. The zero watt will help you from stubbing your toe against the bed in the night. Don’t look at someone else’s plan. Ps 139 – We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even the desires you have are unique to you. The experiences you face are unique to you- even the bad patches you go through. God uses it for good. Find out Lord what you would have me do. In two weeks time we will be having a “SHAPE” workshop to find out what our shape us – what are the gifts God has given you, what is your personality etc so you can serve in your unique way.

2. You are never greater than when you serve. John 13:1-12.  This is a familiar passage where Jesus washes his disciple’s feet. Here is Jesus, secure in his identity.  He knew he was equal with God but he took on the robes of the lowest slave. He shows them the full extent of His love. In those days the job of cleaning the feet was relegated to the lowest slaves yet Jesus did it.
V12. Jesus set an example and we have to follow. He did not just preach but he practised. He did not just explain but was the example. Today I want us as a church to grasp this importance of this  truth We are all called to be servants. How many have heard the word “Minister”? We have many ministers in our country. In today’s world a Minister is one who drives in a special car with a red light on top with police in front of him. In Bible times the word minister means servant. The meaning of words, change over time. 

In Mark 10:43, Jesus explains how to serve and how to minister. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
You’ve seen the corporate chart with the CEO at the top and then the mangers and then the rest below. Jesus is saying that chart has to be turned upside down. The one who has to be great must serve. In the world we measure greatness differently – by how many bodyguards accompany the man. But Jesus says it’s the one who serves the most is the leader and the greatest. So we need to get this into our spirit because it’s so against the grain of our culture and thinking. Jesus was confident of his identity- he didn’t think he was God and  that he didn’t need to do this. We need to be secure in our identity in God – laying out the chairs; carrying stuff on the serving team will nto affect your identity.

 Ask yourself – Am I a person who serves? There are different kinds of servers. Some only serve when asked. Am I a person who serves only when asked? A good servant does not need to be told. We should see the need and step in. Jesus was like that – he saw the need and didn’t say “John , you do it” He stepped up and did it. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can help.

3. You will be rewarded as you serve.
Matt 25:31-36.  31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 The world is coming to an end and all the sheep with be separated from the goats.  There is a great reward in store for us. We are saved by faith and grace alone not by works. But we are saved FOR works. All these are action words – feeding, clothing, visiting etc.
Verse 34- Its mind boggling what Jesus has in store for us. The rewards are totally out of proportion to what we do.  Paul said No eye has seen what God has prepared for those who love Him. Let’s keep our eyes on the goal. Our reward is in heaven which cannot rust, spoil or fade.  We will have something we cannot imagine. For what “For giving a cold cup of water, for visiting the sick, for cooking for someone. We get kingdoms for that!!We are looking forward to an eternal reward.  Jesus is keeping a track of all we do. We may not get rewarded here but in heaven we will. It’s mysterious but it’s something great. Our time on earth is an opportunity to earn an eternal reward in heaven.
The reward is totally disproportionate to what we do. V 40
Here is the challenge – ask yourself what you can do?  You can do many, many things. Here we want to get everybody involved .Why? Because we are getting married to Jesus, he has saved us and we want to serve Him. Pray and ask God to put a desire in our hearts to serve.

Colin D Cruz 
Jan 2012

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