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A Life of Service

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2024 12:00 am

A Life of Service

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 17, 2024 12:00 am

Adopt the role of "servant" as described in the Bible and watch God work in your life.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, January 17th. The Bible calls believers to a life of helping others, but that begins with an attitude of the heart. Our series continues, highlighting a life of service as part of living the extraordinary life.

Several years ago, I was in the Philippines and speaking to a group who were part of the rally there and then the rally and a number of churches and so forth. And so one night this gentleman said to me, I want to introduce you tonight. And so I will never forget what he said. In fact, it's the only introduction that I could ever remember. It was the shortest one I've ever heard, but it impacted me in ways that I cannot describe. In fact, when he introduced me, it's like an arrow went straight to my heart.

Here's what he said. He said, tonight, it's my pleasure to introduce to you. And he called my name, then a slight pause. And then he said, servant of the Most High God. You know what?

I didn't I saw people clapping, but I didn't hear them. The only thing that I could hear was servant of the Most High God. Did you know that when you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you became a servant of the Most High God? You say, oh, now I think that's for preachers and missionaries and so forth.

No, it's not. Listen to what Paul said when he was writing to the Ephesian Christians and he wasn't writing to pastors. He was writing to people just like you and me, writing to people in the church.

Then here's what he said. He said, with good will render service as to the Lord, not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. So he was not talking to a particular group of people. He was talking to those who would receive the letter there. And so I want to say to you today that nobody probably told you when you trusted Christ as your Savior, that at that moment you became a servant of God. If they had told you that, your first response would probably have been, well, I don't deserve that and surely we don't. Maybe we don't understand it.

Maybe no one ever told us. But the truth is you and I are servants of the Most High God. But when you receive Christ as your Savior, He came to live on the inside of you. And so this extraordinary life is not only a life of intimacy with Him, a life of faith and a life of self-discipline as we've been talking about in the weeks past, but it is a life of service.

And that's what I want us to talk about in this particular message today. And I want you to turn, if you will, to the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of John. And here Jesus is coming to the end of His earthly ministry and going to meet quickly now with His disciples to tell them exactly what's about to happen. And He in this particular chapter and just these few verses beginning in verse twenty-four, He says something that's so significant, but also applies to the fact that you and I are servants of God. And here's what He says in 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. He who loves his life loses it. And he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 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. Now let me take a moment to tell you, explain to you what this really is saying. Listen to what He's saying. Jesus is now picturing Himself like a seed falling. And here's what He says, because He's about to die. And in His death, there will be the fruits of the seed and 6000 bucks on the foundation of His word. Listen to what He talks. When we come back from the beginning of Jesus Christ, He's saying that He is the salvation of multitudes and multitudes of people all the way back from the beginning of time, those who believed and trusted in God, in the Old Testament, and those who will believe Him on the last day.

For His crucifixion, His death, the shedding of His blood, made atonement for all sin, past, present, and future to everyone who will receive Him. Listen to what He says. It's buried and dies. It remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit. You can take a seed and drop it on the barn floor, and it remains a seed. Drop the same seed in the earth and cover it up. And before long, the moisture and the warmth does what?

It breaks it apart, and then there is fruit. Then if you'll notice what He says, He who loves his life, that is, lives it for Himself, ignores God, loses it. He who hates his life, that doesn't mean with anger, but it means that the person so gives himself away through the Lord Jesus Christ as if he cares not for his life. He says, will keep it to life eternal. And then He says, If anyone, not just special people, if anyone serves Me, he must follow Me, that is, he must obey Me. And where I am, there My servant will be also. That is, wherever God leads you and Me in service to Him, He says, The Master will be there, the Lord will be there. And if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

Notice what He says, Not if some people, if anyone, there is no exception. If anyone serves Me, that is, not himself or herself, serves Me, the Father will honor him. Now, today people are looking for honor from all kinds of situations and circumstances and they want people to applaud them and to praise them and to lift them up and to exalt them.

Do you know what? The only thing that really matters is that you and I have the honor of our Heavenly Father. God honors those who serve Him. It has nothing to do with your education.

It has nothing to do with where you serve. It has to do with your spirit, your attitude, that of a servant. And so, what He's saying here is simply this. In order for us to serve Him and to be the most fruitful in our life, here's something that must happen. We must be willing to die to our old self that wants its way, when it wants it, how it wants it, no matter what. We want to serve where we want to serve.

We want to do what we want to do. It's when you and I are willing to turn away from the self that is within us, those selfish, self-centered desires give ourselves to our living Lord, then all of a sudden something's going to happen. And what's going to happen is our life is going to begin to be fruitful. And what is going to happen is He says, listen, wherever He carries us to serve Him, He'll be there with the promise of His presence and secondly, the promise that Almighty God will honor us. Now, what I want to do is this, I don't want to spend time telling you where to serve or how to serve necessarily. I want to give you some guidelines that'll help you understand when you're serving Him and when you're not.

So, the first I want you to notice is this. Guideline number one is we must recognize Jesus as Lord and Master and ourselves as His servants. If I'm going to be a servant of His, I have to recognize that Jesus is our Lord and our Master. And that is ourselves as His servants. Now, He says, for example, in the book of Colossians chapter one, that He created us for Himself. God created you, allowed you to be born for the purpose of serving Him. He created us to serve Him.

And for example, He says in first Corinthians chapter six, you're not your own, you've been bought with a price. Therefore, what we have to remember is this, every single one of us has been created by our Master and our Lord. Every single one of us has been created to serve Him. And every single one of us, listen, no matter who we are, we have been created by Him and He owns us. Before we are anything else, we are His servants. And remember that the servant, the bondservant was one who was owned by His Master, and we are, served His Master, possessed by His Master, and existed for the purpose of His Master. Think about this. What kind of difference should this make in your life when you suddenly realize, I exist, I exist for the very purpose of serving the Most High God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

That title was bestowed upon you the moment you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior. That means we don't belong to ourselves, we don't have no rights to ourselves, we belong to someone else, we exist for someone else, and we're to serve someone else. That should change the way we live.

It should change the way we think. That's who the Scripture says we are. And oftentimes, people who've trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior live as if, well, you know, I can just do what I choose, do what I please, because now that I'm saved, saved for what reason? For the purpose of laying down my life, dying to that old selfish life, and now presenting myself to Him as a servant. It would be willing to say in the Scripture, wherever He leads I'll go, whatever He desires is what I desire. The second guideline I want you to notice is this, and that is that we must realize that serving, listen, is not something we do for God, but something God does through us. Not something we do for God, but what He does through us. Remember when you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior?

What happened? The Holy Spirit came into your life. The Lord, when you received Jesus, the Spirit of God was given to you in order to do what? To equip you to serve Him. And so therefore, being equipped, when I think about the fact that according to Scripture that we don't have to do it ourselves, for example, in Philippians, that second chapter, and the thirteenth verse, listen to what He says.

Because this is what, we need to remember this. He says, For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. That is, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in you who, listen, who gives you the will, who prompts you to do what God has you to do, and then He's the one who does it. He's the one who does it through you. For example, in First Thessalonians chapter five. Again, in these latter verses of this chapter, listen to what He says, Faithful is He who calls you, calls you to serve Him.

He will also, will bring it to pass. Whatever God calls you to do, He will enable you to do it. Listen to this, He's the Master.

The Master in those days were responsible for taking care of their servants, providing for their servants, giving their servants direction, and then enabling them with whatever was needed for them to do the job they were called to do. God the Father, this awesome God of ours, this God of ours has the same attitude toward us. Whatever He calls you to do, He assumes responsibility for getting it done through you. He will provide for you, energize you, strengthen you, direct you, give you wisdom and guidance. And so therefore, when we recognize that, it's very encouraging, a tremendous encouragement because I'm comforted, for example, to realize it's not up to me, it's up to Him.

It gives me confidence to know that it's not in my abilities and talents and skills, but in His. And I think also that there's a sense of contentment in knowing that when we've done the will of God, that's all we have to do. We don't have to have the acceptance of others, we don't have to have the acclaim of others, but rather all we have to do is to be absolutely obedient to Him no matter what.

It should also be a warning to us that's because, listen, because it is His work and not our work, can't take any credit. There's no reason to boast, no reason for arrogance, no reason for looking for applause and looking for compliments and fishing for people to acknowledge us. But because it is His work, His provision. Listen, because it is our honor to serve Him, not serving Him because we want to get something in return, because that's why we exist, that's who we are.

Think about who you are from God's perspective. The world may put some other title on you, but listen, the most significant title is that, listen, while we're the children of God, we're ambassadors of Lord Jesus Christ, no doubt about that. But you know what, we're servants. We can't boast. We can't take any glory. We can't take any credit.

Let me ask you a question. If God is the one who calls you, has created you, gives you what you need to do what you do, enables you to do it, breathe your breath, provide every single thing for you, and as the Scripture says, works it through you, what in the world can you boast of? The only thing you and I can boast of is what the Apostle Paul said when he said, the only thing I can boast of is the cross of Jesus Christ.

The fact that He died for me and that I'm eternally secure in Him, that is the only thing I can boast of. All the rest of it, just like that's the work of God. And so, what we have to remember is it's not what we do, but it is what our Lord God does through us. And so, that should be a very encouraging thing for us.

A third guideline that I want you to notice is this. And that is that we must realize that no matter whom we are serving humanly, it is Christ. It is the Lord God whom we are serving.

And sometimes we forget that. And so, let's look at the Scripture. For example, in the third chapter of Colossians, he makes this so very, very clear.

We don't have to wonder if it's true or not. He makes it very, very clear in this third chapter, and here's what he says. He says, for example, Slaves, verse twenty-two, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Watch this, whatever you do, do your work heartedly as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Now, let me ask you a question. What do you suppose would happen if everybody in America who has a job would wake up on Monday morning with this attitude, Today, I am serving, I am serving the Most High God. Now, I know that some of you think, You just don't know who I work for. Well, you know what? God knows who you're working for.

What should be your attitude toward that person? Here's what he says, We are to serve in our position, whatever it may be, as unto the Lord. That is, we're doing this as if we were doing it for Jesus' sake, for His sake.

And not only that, as if we're doing it unto Him. Because as a servant, listen, who owns us? Not your boss. For whom do we exist?

Not your boss. It is the Most High God, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to what He says. He says we're to do it as unto the Lord. And then, of course, we must realize that we cannot serve God and ourselves at the same time. Not may not, cannot.

Now, this is an area that many people have difficulty with. So, I want you to turn back to this sixteenth chapter of Luke for a moment. And in this chapter, Jesus says many things.

It's an awesome chapter. Verse thirteen, No servant, watch this, no servant can serve two masters. He didn't say they might, He said no one. There's not a single one of us, no matter how gifted, talented, skilled you are, no servant can serve two masters. For either he or she will hate the one and love the other. Now, hate here does not mean anger, but it means just be so totally committed to one.

All right? Or totally opposed to it. No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Now, watch this. He's speaking particularly here about money. You can't serve on the basis of what you're going to get. But it's not just money. You can't serve God and anything else at the same time.

And while it may not be so much money as long as itself, that is, it's something that I want for me. If I'm serving Him, it's what He wants, what He wills, what He chooses, not what I choose, not what I want, what I please. And so, when we think about that, if you remember what Jesus said, He said in this twelfth chapter, He said, we must be like a seed that falls into the earth and that we die to our old self. And when that happens, then we're able to bear fruit. But if I'm not willing to do that, I'm not going to bear any fruit. Now, let's think about it for a moment. If you're working and the only thing you can think about is yourself, then you know what?

There's something wrong with that. How is God going to use me today? I'm going to trust Him for my income. I'm going to trust Him for what comes my way. Sometimes you may not get what you think you're worth.

Sometimes you may be mistreated and may not be paid as well as you should be paid. But you know what? When you have the right spirit, God will recompense you. He will reward you. He'll come around and provide for you in ways that you never dreamed of. And I can tell you personally, God knows how to reward us in ways that overwhelm us. All we have to do is die to ourselves. Give ourselves to whatever He's called us and watch Him work.

And you know what? I assure you, you will never be able to out-give Him. Your life will be full of awesome surprises. And you'll be praising Him daily. Thank you, thank you, thank you that you made me a servant of the Most High God. Thank you for listening to A Life of Service. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-17 05:53:49 / 2024-01-17 06:02:43 / 9

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