Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, August 25th. It's common to think of serving God as an obligation, but today you'll discover the believer's highest honor. One of the reasons that so many Christians have difficulty living the Christian life is because there is such a tremendous contrast between what the Word of God teaches and what the world promotes. And there is a vast contrast between the two. The tragedy is that a lot of Christians have been caught up in what the world teaches rather than what God teaches because what the world teaches appeals to the flesh.
It appeals to our naturalness. And you recall in the fifteenth chapter of John, the seventeenth chapter, and in first John chapter five, we are warned about it. In fact, in first John, he says, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
That is, don't even don't certainly don't love their opinions and their philosophy and their viewpoint. And yet that is exactly what happens. It's one of these areas in which we have such a vast contrast between what the world believes and what our Bible teaches that I want to talk about. And I want you to turn, if you will, to John chapter twelve. John chapter twelve, and I want us to read just a few verses here. And I want us to think in terms of the believer's highest honor. Verse twenty four, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone.
But if it dies, it bears much fruit. That's sort of the foundation of what he's about to say. Then he says, He who loves his life loses it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. Then he says, If anyone serves me, he must follow me. And where I am there, my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Listen to that. The Father will honor those who serve Him. All of us who believe us fall into the category of being servants of God.
Now the world doesn't view it that way. And oftentimes I have listened to college students who come and say, I believe that the Lord's calling me to preach. But my parents, my parents what? Well, my father said he's willing to pay my way for it to be an engineer or something like that. But why would you want to stoop down to be some servant in the church or to preach or something like that?
Well, that may be his opinion, but I want to tell you something. The highest honor God can place upon you is to be a servant of the living God. And every single one of us who is a believer was called not only to be a believer, but also called to be a servant of the living God. The Bible calls us ambassadors, soldiers, servants, saints, all those things, but the highest one of all, servant of the Most High God. And I wonder if you see yourself that way or do you simply see yourself as a church member? You see yourself as a member of this denomination or this particular church or this particular vocation in the church. The Bible says that you and I are servants of the Most High God.
And I wonder if it has ever dawned on you how very important that title is and the fact that God the Father could not pay you a higher honor than to call you one of his servants. So I want us to think about this because I think a lot of people have the idea when we talk about serving the Lord that somehow you take a step downward. For example, if someone says to you, we need someone to serve in this place or that place, well, I don't have time for that.
You know, I don't have an education for that. And so we give all kinds of excuses. And I think about how many people that the Lord is calling to his service in particular areas, whether it's to preach the gospel, the mission field, or some particular service in church, and they've said no.
They've given all kinds of excuses for saying no. So what I want you to see and I want you to listen carefully because God's going to speak to you whether you intend for Him to or not. He's going to say something to you today. And you may be listening. Maybe you're not a member of a church. You may have been saved a long time. You may have a lot of years behind you. But somewhere along the way it never dawned on you that when God saved you, He saved you with this idea in mind.
One of those ideas was that you would become one of His servants to accomplish His purpose, His will, and His plan in this life. Or you may say, but who am I? I'm only one. Everyone is only one.
What could I do? Maybe you've never given God the opportunity to find out what He would do through you if you just allowed Him. I want you to listen to this one single premise for this entire message. The highest honor that God could place upon you is to serve Him. Now, listen carefully.
Now I want to say this and I want to make this point clearly. I am not talking about the fact that only preachers and missionaries are servants of God. I'm simply saying again that every single believer is a servant of the living God.
Whether you're carrying out your service or not, it's not even the issue. That's what God called you to do and I want you to listen why I believe it should be considered a great honor. First of all, the privilege to serve God simply means this.
The privilege to serve the highest sovereign of the whole universe. If you'll notice, for example, in Colossians chapter 1, when Paul is describing the Lord Jesus Christ, here's what he says about Him in this first chapter. He says, beginning in verse 15, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Look at that. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and then He says visible and invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things. In Him all things are held together, they are sustained by Him. He's the head of the body of the church and He's the beginning of the firstborn of the dead.
Now think about this for a moment. To be called to serve the living God is to be called to serve the highest person who has ever existed, who's always existed, always will. He is the most high God. He is the sovereign of the entire universe. He is the creator of all things, the sustainer of all things.
He rules and governs all things and He's the head of the body, His church. Is it not an honor? Wouldn't that be considered an honor to serve the living God?
Yes, indeed. Because here is a person, listen, unlike anyone else who's ever existed and the fact that He has done for you and me what no one else could possibly do by sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross to save us from our sins, from delivering us from the awesome eternal penalty of our sin. And not only that, to be able to serve the one who is called the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is the highest honor God could give us as His children. And that being the case, let me ask you once and I'll ask you many times, why is it that you have possibly, some of you, you have never served God in any fashion?
You joined the church when you were a child or a young person or it may have been older years in your life, you joined the church, you attend church, you give your money, you hear the prayers, you enjoy the singing, you listen to the sermon and you go home. But as far as serving God, it's never dawned on you that God called you not only to save you but He also called you to be one of His servants. You say, well, but my education has nothing to do with it. Well, my age has nothing to do with it.
Well, my health has nothing to do with it. Some of the greatest servants of God are people who are on their bed of affliction, but they are great intercessors for the living God, great servants of God. Many of God's greatest servants out there from God's viewpoint, I'm going to show you one in a few moments, never been to a seminary, never been to college, great servants of the living God.
All of our excuses are rendered absolutely null and void. God saved us and one of the primary reasons He saved us is in order that we might serve Him. So one of the reasons I believe it's a privilege to serve Him is because look who we're serving. The sovereign power of the entire universe has called you and me to serve Him.
But there's a second reason and that is this. To serve the living God is to follow in the pathway of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Look, if you will, in the 20th chapter of Matthew for a moment. Matthew chapter 20 and notice, if you will, in these last few verses here. 20th chapter, beginning with the 25th verse. 20th chapter of Matthew, 25th verse, listen. He says, But Jesus called them to Himself and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lorded over them. That is, we're talking about the way the world operates.
He says, And their great men exercised authority over them. Now think about this. How does the world look at greatness? You'd be number one. You'd be on top. You'd be the most famous. You'd be the greatest. You'd be the biggest.
You'd be the largest. That is, that's what the world calls greatness. Prestige, popularity, power, control.
Listen to what He says. He says, It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just as the Son of Man, Jesus, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. When you and I choose to surrender ourselves to our Lord to be His servants, we step in the pathway of the Son of God. He said, I didn't come to be served.
I came to serve. When, for example, in Isaiah, when the Scripture is referring here to a relationship of the Father and the Son and the way the Lord Jesus Christ is identified, the Father in Isaiah identifies Him as His Son. He is His servant Son.
For example, when you look in the New Testament in the book of Acts, in the third chapter, here's what you'll find. How did the New Testament church, how did the early church regard the Lord Jesus Christ? They say, well, He was Savior, He was Lord, He was Master, He was God.
But listen, when Peter is identifying here in the third chapter, in the thirteenth verse, he says, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate when he had decided to release Him. The early church saw Him not only as their Lord and their Master and their God, but they also recognized Him as servant because He had emphasized that in His own life. He talked about being the Son of Man. He talked about being a servant. He said I'd not come to be served, but He says I came in order to serve other people.
And so certainly one of the reasons that you and I would consider it an honor is because we're doing what the Lord Jesus Christ did. In other words, He considered Himself a servant, and because He was a servant, what kind of servant was He? Well, in the New Testament, for example, the word deacon, the word minister, the word servant, and the word bondservant are all different Greek words. And the lowest form of a servant, the lowest form of a servant was the household servant, and the household servant's job was this. That is, the lowest form of a servant was called a bondslave. And the bondslave was the one who would meet you a guest at the door, take off your sandals, have a basin of water and a towel, and wash your dusty feet from your long walk or short walk so that you could enter the home with clean feet and walk around.
Bondservant. I want you to turn, if you will, to Philippians chapter 2 for a moment. Paul is describing the Lord Jesus Christ, and when he is describing the work that he came to do, listen to what he says in this second chapter of Philippians, a very important chapter when it comes to describing who Jesus is. Listen to what he says. He says, beginning in verse 5, he said, Have this attitude in you.
What kind of attitude is that? He says, Which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. He says, But he emptied himself, taking the form, listen, not of a, not simply of a servant. It's not the word, the other word, but there are three or four different words for servant.
He says, But very specifically, taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men. Jesus came as a servant willing to do whatever was necessary in order to move men and to bring them to a saving knowledge of himself. In the 13th chapter, for example, of John, you recall the Last Supper, Jesus is sitting at the table with them, and if any one of them had been perceptive, any one of them had been thoughtful, any one of them that had a servant spirit, they would have done first what Jesus ended up doing, because they did not. He got the basin of water, and he is the one who knelt down in front of those disciples, and washed their feet.
And you remember that Peter totally objected to the very idea. And Jesus said, Yes, I must wash your feet. What was he doing? He was taking the form of the lowest servant, the bondservant who washed the dirty feet of his disciples.
He was a bondservant. He saw himself as a servant of the Father and a servant to the very ones whom he was serving. And so when you look at the whole idea, that here's the one who said, If you've seen me, you've seen the Father.
I am the Father one. I am the Messiah. And what is he doing? He's taking upon himself the form of a servant, washing the feet of his disciples. What did he do all of his life? Here's what he did all of his life. He served his family for a while there as a carpenter. And after being a carpenter, he began the ministry that God had called him to.
And what did he do? He spent, he invested his time in teaching, in preaching, in healing people who were sick and in feeding people who were hungry and loving little children. His very life is the life of a servant.
It was not self-centered. It was centered in the Father. He says, I only do those things I see my Father doing.
He said, I don't do any of these things on my own initiative. I just do what the Father tells me to do. So that a person is highly honored. When they become, when you become a child of God, what happens? We become servants of the living God. And we should count it an awesome privilege to be a servant of God because we're serving, listen, the sovereign God of the universe and we are following in the pattern of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. There's a third reason I think it's a privilege and that is not only that, but we also, listen, we join the ranks of angels, prophets, listen, and apostles.
Think about it for a moment. Somebody says, well, what are we going to do when we get to heaven? Well, we're going to come to that in a few moments, but certainly we know that angels are there. And if you'll notice in the fourth chapter of Matthew, what happens when Jesus has gone through the temptation period. Now the Bible says in that eleventh verse, then the devil left him and behold, angels came and began to do what? That is the word, it's the same word for deacon to deacon, which is to serve, to minister. That is the angels served Him at that particular time.
So when you ask yourself the question, well, why should I consider it an honor? Because we join ranks with angels themselves and especially when you come to the book of Revelation, they're doing all kinds of things the Father has required them and that the Lord Jesus Christ has sent them to do. Likewise, you're not going to name a whole bunch of prophets in the Old Testament who saw themselves and felt that they were servants of the living God. God chose them for a particular work.
They were servants of the living God. Then you come to the New Testament, look at the apostles. It's interesting if you'll turn just to Romans chapter one for a moment.
Here's what you'll discover. In the book of Romans, in 2 Peter, in James, in Jude, in the Revelation itself, in every single one of these, all these books that I've just mentioned, the very first verse of each one of those begins something like this. Paul, a bondservant of Christ, Jesus. Or James, a bondservant. Jude, a bondservant. Peter, a bondservant.
John, a bondservant. That is a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes they would call themselves apostles, but oftentimes they saw themselves and considered themselves and wrote Paul, a bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ. So when you and I think in terms of how God works and these men consider themselves as servants of God, for example, in Colossians chapter one, the apostle Paul, when he was talking about one of his fellow workers, a couple of them here, if you'll notice in this first chapter of Colossians, how he identifies one of his fellow servants, and here's what he says. He says in the seventh verse of Colossians one, Just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf. So he identifies him that way. Then if you'll turn to the fourth chapter and look, if you will, in verse seven.
As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant, Diakonos, and fellow bondservant, Dulos, in the Lord, he says he will bring information. Those men saw themselves as servants of God, not being number one, not being famous, not being upfront, not being the biggest, not leading some this, that, or the other. They saw themselves as servants of God. And Jesus said, listen, he says, Can the servant be bigger than the master?
That is, can we be greater than our master? Can we expect him to serve us and not us serve him in return? He has called us and saved us in order that you and I may make up the body of Christ. We are now his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his lips.
He's seated at the Father's right hand. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and we're here to serve the living God. We are the servants of God.
Now, most people, it's never dawned on them. You mean, I thought the pastors and the staff and the missionaries and the choirs and orchestra, I thought these were the servants of God. When you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you were adopted into the kingdom of God, your sins were forgiven, your name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you took upon yourself sonship and servanthood. And the tragedy is that most people are going to live their entire life and never dawn on them that we are to spend and invest our days and our life, our years in serving God in some fashion. Listen, it is a privilege to serve him, to serve the most high God of the universe, to follow the pathway of the Lord Jesus Christ that John ranks with angels, apostles, and prophets to serve the living God. Thank you for listening to The Believer's Highest Honor. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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