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A Serving Church Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 10, 2020 1:00 am

A Serving Church Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 10, 2020 1:00 am

Servants continue to serve others even when those they serve don’t appreciate it. They know that God watches their service and is pleased. In this message we learn that a serving church is a church where God’s presence is felt very strongly.

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Servants have to serve even when those they serve don't appreciate it. They know that God watches their service and is pleased. A church that serves is a church where God's presence is felt very strongly.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, why is God's presence felt so directly when we're in a serving church? Well, you know, Dave, the answer that comes immediately to my mind are the words of Jesus who said, as the Father has sent me into the world, so have I sent you into the world. In other words, Jesus came serving. And as you and I know him as Savior, if we want to see his presence, we have to serve others even at great personal cost and sacrifice. That's why we see God in a serving church.

And you know, the ministry of Running to Win is really a serving ministry. We're so glad that thousands upon thousands of people listen to this ministry and are blessed. But right now, we're in the midst of a matching gift challenge. A number of friends have said that they are willing to help us even to the extent of $90,000 so that every gift that you give will be doubled. And your gift helps Moody Church Media reach the wider culture. With your help, we not only address the critical issues affecting your personal walk with God, but we talk about cultural issues, matters such as transgenderism, homosexuality, and Islam. So I trust that you will help us today. Here's what you can do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And remember, your gift will be doubled.

That's 1-888-218-9337. And now we open God's word as we talk about a serving church. If our ministry does not in any way affect our checkbook, if it does not affect the way in which we give, if it does not affect our motivation, we are not Christ-like in our service. God has not yet come to church as long as we're hung up on all these things. So Paul says, I made that, the sacrifice of that, the sacrifice of devotion, he says we were holy and righteous and blameless before you. And I say this to the pastoral staff and all the leadership at Moody Church, that we who are in leadership should be more holy, more righteous, and more blameless than we even expect our congregation to be.

That's a note of conviction for all of us. So Paul says here, he says there's a sacrifice to servanthood. And then he says, what is the goal? The goal here is in verses 11 and 12, for you know how like a father with his children, we exhorted each of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God. What's it all about? What are we trying to do with our teenagers? What are we trying to do with our leadership? What are we doing in our ABFs, adult Bible fellowships? What are we trying to accomplish?

At the end of the day, what we want is character, people who walk worthy of God in keeping with the dignity of belonging to God. When I was growing up, we as kids used to say to our mother and father like most kids do, well, we can't do this. Why can't we do this?

Because look at the neighbors, they're doing that. And our parents used to always say, now their name is, and then they'd give the name and then they'd say, but you know, you're a Lutzer and this is a different family. I don't know whether or not that helped, but it should have. And so I say to those of you today who are Christians, the world can do this, this, this, but you can't because guess what? You belong to a different family.

Thank you very, very much. We are to walk worthy of God. Husbands should treat their wives in a manner that is worthy of God.

Teenagers should watch television programs that are worthy of God. And you can go down the list. That's the goal of it all. Alexander the Great, it is said, one of his generals became a coward and turned away in battle and Alexander the Great found him and shook him and asked him this question. He says, what is your name?

And the general says, my name is Alexander and Alexander became enraged and shook him even harder and said, either change your character or change your name. God says to us today, you know, you are mine. You're to walk worthy of God, either change your character or change your name. So that's the goal of discipleship, the goal of servanthood. And then the challenge, Paul says in verses 13 to 16, and I'll simply refer to them, please read them on your own. He says you went through a lot of affliction in receiving the word of God. He says that affliction came to you and it was a very difficult experience because you were persecuted.

Verse 14, for you brothers became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus Christ and the prophets and who drove us out. You see, America has spoiled us. We always think to ourselves that the state and the laws should be favorable to preaching the gospel.

And in America, it's been that way, though it is rapidly changing. And you and I are just going to have to face the fact that it's going to become harder to be a Christian. And sometimes it is Christians who make it hard to be represented as Christians, by the way, and not the people who are non-Christians.

But it's going to be harder. And even now in your work tomorrow, your integrity should get you into some trouble. If it doesn't, if it doesn't, I wonder if you are really honoring Jesus. Because a person of integrity means that he should keep his promises. It means that if he promises something, if he promises money, the money will be there. Integrity means that we keep our word.

Integrity means that we do not engage in all the things that the people of the world engage in because we are different. Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake, said Jesus. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

If you have ever been fired from a job because you're a Christian, don't bemoan your fate, but rejoice and be exceedingly glad, Jesus said, because you are entitled to a great reward. And all that is a part of what is called being a servant. Now the question, of course, is what is the reward of all this? What do you get out of it? Typical American question. What's in it for me, right?

Isn't that what we're all interested in? What is the benefit? What are the perks of being a servant? Today I'm speaking to people who say, you know, I work in the nursery. I volunteer in the nursery.

I don't get paid for it. What are the perks? What's in it for me?

I'm speaking to some people who are parkers, that is to say they help with the parking and some of them aren't here because they're missing this service because of parking duty. And they say, you know, I volunteer and I even skip church and I go and I work and I volunteer as someone who's involved in ministry and what's in it for me? What's the payoff? Some of you work in a Juana. You work as a tutor in kids club. And you say, you know, this business of being a servant, what's in it?

What's in it? You're obviously not doing it for the money, I can tell you that, because zero times ten is still zero. But what's the payoff?

Why would Paul leave a well-paying job that he probably could have had, be a tent maker, work long hours, serve people? Where's the beef? Well, he mentions what the reward is.

Now notice the text. He says in the last part of the chapter, verse 19, for what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before the Lord Jesus Christ that is coming? What is it that's going to make me happy when Jesus returns? What is it that's going to give me a great deal of satisfaction and joy?

He says, is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. Paul speaks about faithfulness in terms of crowns. Now these crowns aren't necessarily literal medallions that we wear, and even if we do wear them, we'll cast them at the feet of Jesus anyway. Crowns have to do with positions of responsibility within the coming kingdom.

That's why service here is so important. And then Paul says these words, you know, there are two different words for crowns. There is the word diadem, which is worn by kings, and then there's Stephanus.

That's the word that he uses here. It's the word from which we get the name Stephen or Stephanie. If you're a Stephanie or a Stephen, your name means crown.

You are indeed very special as all of us with different names are. But Paul says, and he uses that second word here. In other words, he says, this is the victor's crown. This is the crown that is given to those who run the race well. And what is our crown? This thing that we're going to throw at the feet of Jesus? This thing that's going to sit on our head with a halo?

No, no, no. He says, you are our crown. You are our rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the reward. It's the people whom we influenced. It's the lives that we touched. It's the kindness that we showed out in the parking lot. It is the ushers who are faithful, who are dependable, who we know can be here and will be here. It's the people who are involved in children's ministry. That is the crown.

That is our joy. Samuel Rutherford was in prison. And while in prison, he longed for the believers in the town, in the church, in Anwoth. And he wrote these words, if one soul from Anwoth shall meet me at God's right hand, my heaven shall be two heavens in Immanuel land.

What's the payoff? The judgment seat of Jesus Christ, where there's a child from Cabrini Green who says, you led me to faith in Christ and you encouraged me in my walk. And we say to ourselves, that makes a double heaven for me. To be with Jesus and then to be with people that are influenced.

If I stand at the judgment seat of Christ as I will, and there would be one person who would say, I came to faith through your ministry and you encouraged me along in the way, I would say, this is my joy. This is my crown. This is the payoff. Is it not you, members, attenders of Moody Church in the day of the judgment throne of Jesus Christ, the judgment seat?

That's the payoff. You say, well, I'm still not convinced. I am into my own schedule. I'm busy. I don't like inconvenience. I like my freedom. I don't want to be tied down.

I don't want to volunteer for anything because it means that my own private schedule has to be rearranged and I just want to do what I want to do. So that's what you're saying, huh? Not many of you, but maybe some of you are saying that. Well, I have a verse for you. And if this passage of scripture does not change your heart today, it may be that you have never been converted because no converted person can read this and then leave the same. And I want you to know that the verse I'm going to read is in your Bible, too. The Bible that I have here is not different from the one that you have. What I'm trying to say very clearly is I'm not making this up.

All right? I'm not even going to give you the reference yet because I don't want you to be turning lest you miss what this is saying. Jesus says, stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding. These says that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Now here's the verse.

And I don't know if I'm going to be able to get through this, folks, because it's very difficult for me to read this verse. Truly I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table. And he, that is Jesus, the master, will come and serve them. Imagine in the kingdom, Jesus is going to say to you and to me, I want you to sit at the table and I'm going to gird myself so that I can serve you. He is willing to do that. And yet some people will not lift a finger to be involved in God's work and with God's people.

They will not lift a finger to serve. But someday he'll say, sit down and let me serve you. That's found by the way and you can read it later in the 12th chapter of the Gospel of Luke. But I do need to end today by saying that if you want to be served in the kingdom by Jesus, you have to first of all be served by him now. He said the Son of Man came, he says, not to be served but to serve.

And how does he serve? By giving his life a ransom for many. He says, first of all, if we receive the service that I performed on the cross and the way I served you, you believe in me and you trust me for forgiveness of your sins.

And you are born of the Spirit someday. I'll say to you, you sit down and enjoy the meal and I'll be your servant once again. So to my heart I ask and to yours, why are we not willing to serve a master who serves us? Let's pray. Father, when you come to a church, there are people who are willing to serve.

When you came to Thessalonica, Paul served and he modeled service and he was only modeling what Jesus had done earlier to come to serve. And we ask today, Father, for our indifferent, selfish hearts that are so intent on our schedule, on our needs, that we've neglected serving others in your congregation. Help us, Father, we pray, and have mercy upon us. And for those who have never trusted Christ and received the benefits of his first service, we ask, Lord, that they will reach out and say, Jesus, save me. I pray in his blessed name. Amen. Amen. How humbling it is for us to serve a savior who himself gave us an example of service. He came giving his life a ransom for many. What an impact the words of Jesus Christ should have on us. He came serving.

Can we do any less? We here at Running to Win believe that this is a serving ministry and how encouraged we are that it goes to places that we will never personally be able to go. I have in my hands, for example, a letter from a grandfather who says that his grandson Josiah is severely autistic. And the grandfather says he takes him for a ride every Sunday morning.

And if Running to Win is not on, the boy becomes very agitated until he hears my voice. My friend, when we receive reports like this, I want you to know that we share them so that you might know that you are a part of this ministry. We're so thankful that because of some friends of the ministry that we have a matching gift during this month. That is to say an opportunity for us to double our contributions to the ministry of Running to Win.

Would you consider helping us? Here's what you can do. Go to, And when you go there, think of the Josiahs. Think of the people whose lives are being touched and transformed because of this ministry and you become a part of that. or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As I frequently say, no gift is too small and no gift is too great. or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Today's question comes from a math whiz or at least someone with a keen sense of genealogy. Josiahs asks, Based on Genesis chapters 5 to 25, I computed that Abram was born 1,946 years after Adam was created. Assuming the 930 years Adam lived began at creation, Shem was still alive when Abram was born. However, in many Bibles, such as the Zondervan NIV study Bible, unknown dates are indicated for events such as the creation, the flood, and so on.

What do you think is the reason for the uncertainty? Is there a reason for not relying squarely on the years lived for individuals from Adam to Abram as indicated in Genesis chapters 5 through 25? Well, Josiahs, first of all, I need to commend you for asking a very, very difficult and controversial question.

You need to go to the head of the class for that one. The simple fact is that if you do the genealogies, if you take that route, that's why some of the early scriptures, by early I mean those that were perhaps published 50 years ago, indicated that creation took place in 4004 BC based on the genealogies. Now, what we're up against is science, which of course would want to say that that is absurd, that creation took place much earlier, and the earth and all of the species are so much more aged than that. Now, the thing that we have to understand is this.

Many people believe that there are gaps in the genealogies. You can find books written about this, so I'm not going to comment on that in more detail except to say that that is the case. Secondly, when the Bible says, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, the creation of the universe may have happened at a time that we cannot date.

It might have been a very, very long time ago, and only after that did God begin the creation process that is mentioned in Genesis chapter 1. I really recommend that you buy some books on this topic, books by Christians that try to wrestle with the whole question of the date. I personally have become somewhat cautious about making a judgement about this, even though I've studied it from time to time in some detail. So that's why some of the Bibles are unwilling to commit themselves, and perhaps, given our present knowledge, that may be wise.

But keep reading, keep studying, and God may give us more light on this interesting topic. Thank you, Josiah, for that fascinating question. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for your perspectives. If you'd like to hear one of your questions answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. This time, when believers go public on issues of good and evil, don't miss When the Church Takes a Stand. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-25 15:58:01 / 2024-03-25 16:06:20 / 8

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