C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
The very essence of Christianity is Service.
Unfortunately, the word “service” has been somewhat corrupted by its liberal use in the labeling of the erroneous principle of “Church Service”. See Church Services are NOT biblical.
Service implies that Christians become Servants.
There are a great many bible verses about becoming a servant, but here Jesus spells out the most important one.
“…whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26
To be a servant is to be of use.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
From a Ministry standpoint, Service is understood by most to be within the confines of the five-fold Ministry – explored at length in Understanding the Duties of Ministry.
However, there is the forgotten Everyday Life Ministry. The very one that Jesus lived and practiced constantly. The one where every instant becomes an opportunity to serve and display the fruit of the Spirit.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23
With these everyday moments God catches us unaware and pushes us to walk in the kind of service He has prepared for us.
There are myriads of them. They usually go unnoticed because they are simply needs. But just like Jesus, we only have to look around to find them.
“He [Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet…” John 13:4,5
Feet washing is a service. The disciples’ feet were dirty and needed to be washed. So Jesus, without complaining and lecturing, took care of it. Mary Magdalene who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears also performed said service. (Luke 7:38)
Now all we have to do is look for similar opportunities, and we too will be in the Service Business – sorry, Ministry. 😉
1. take out the trash;
2. don’t leave the shopping cart in the parking lot, take it back;
3. visit a sick friend or relative (read Of Healing and Miracles before you go);
4. be courteous and responsible while driving;
5. pick up your boss’s clothes at the cleaners if he asks, or volunteer if the need arises;
6. cook dinner once in a while for someone who’s always busy;
7. babysit your siblings’ kids so they can have a night off;
8. bake your mother-in-law her favorite cake even if she hates you, or do your mother’s nails, or cut your father’s or brother’s hair;
9. serve the clients/customers in your business by going the extra mile;
10. mend broken family relationships;
11. help a family member or a trustworthy friend jump start his career;
12. give some money away. See Who Should Christians give their money to?
And the list goes on and on.
There is no need to fuss about how we can be of service, it bobs up incessantly. Let us catch the opportunities and run with them.
Whether our acts of service are acknowledged or reciprocated and whether gratefulness is expressed or not are irrelevant.
Peter reacted arrogantly and poorly to Jesus washing his feet, and yet Jesus kept at it.
“ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ ” John 13:9
However, when we serve we must not complain. Here’s what happens when we complain.
“The people started to complain about their problems. The LORD heard them. He became very angry. He sent fire. The fire burned among them and it destroyed the edges of the camp.” Numbers 11:1
God is none too happy with such an attitude. All it does is create fiery conflicts. If we are griping and grumbling, it means that the disposition of our hearts is not that of servants but that of arrogant sinners with entitlement issues.
If such is the case, a heart adjustment is sorely needed.
THE RIGHT HEART
When our hearts are not right (and they usually aren’t), God has no choice but to fix them. Just remember that He has a very strange way of regulating them.
He uses something that we do not plan for. Something that doesn’t fit neatly into our preconceived idea of what Service or Ministry should be. Something that at first glance seems like nothing God would ever resort to. Something like this:
“As the Midianite merchants were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for eight ounces of silver. The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt.” Genesis 37:28
Well, how would we have reacted in a similar circumstance?
Many Christians in Joseph’s stead would have performed the binding-and-casting-out-the-Devil routine, and they would have prayed mountain-moving words of faith in order to pry themselves out of such a predicament. Unfortunately, it would have been to no avail.
Something more profound was in the works: the making of the right heart, of the obedient and grateful heart.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Joseph was sold into slavery in order to turn him into an obedient and faithful servant.
“Potiphar liked Joseph so much that he made him his trusted servant.” Genesis 39:4
A true servant nurtures within the core of his soul the virtue of obedience. And no egregiously unfair circumstance will turn him against the will of his God.
So when Potiphar’s wife made a sexual advance, the fruit of said virtue, buried deep within Joseph’s soul, showed its true color.
“… you’re his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9
To adjust our hearts, God has to instill in us the true spirit of obedience. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the way He goes about it is by placing us between a rock and a hard place, where He squeezes out the impurities.
“Although He was a Son, He [Jesus] learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
If Jesus, who did no wrong, had to suffer in order to learn obedience, how much more we who are all sinners.
None of us is perfect and everyone needs a heart adjustment. Without said adjustment no plan or dream of ours will bring forth fruits worthy of God’s Kingdom.
Joseph had a dream, a great dream. It was his dream. Or so he thought.
“Joseph had a dream and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more… Then his brothers asked him, “Are you going to be our king or rule us?” They hated him even more for his dreams and his words.“ Genesis 37:5,8
No matter the size of a dream or plan or goal, if it is from God it will meet opposition and face great hardship. But fear not!
The purpose of adversity is to mold us into Christ’s perfect image before God can make our goal a reality.
By dream or plan or goal we are not talking about marriage and such. Different situations require different biblical approaches. Let wisdom be our guide. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint and Of Authority and Christians.
What we’re talking about is the plan or goal that will cause us to deal with the world outside our own little world, like Joseph’s unexpected new environment as pertained to his destiny which was set in motion by his God-given dream.
When we execute such life-changing plans or goals, different scenarios might take place.
1) If a plan is not of God, we may still meet hardship. In turn, we will get discouraged and abandon it, or it will quickly succeed and then crash.
2) If it is from God, it will materialize. But if adversity causes us to abandon it, somehow it will, in spite of ourselves, become a success, especially after having put a lot of hard work into it. Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t fail later on.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
The vicissitudes of life and the pressures thereof are God’s tools to constantly adjust our hearts. A grateful heart welcomes them like David did.
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119:71
Is it any wonder that God loved David?
No plan or goal is bigger than a regular act of service. In reality, God’s plan for our lives, once implemented, is itself also an act of service.
Joseph’s dream was not for his benefit. It was to be his opportunity to serve by saving the lives of others, including his family’s.
“I am Joseph, the brother you sold into slavery in Egypt! Now, don’t be sad or angry with yourselves that you sold me. God sent me ahead of you to save lives.” Genesis 45:4,5
Every plan or goal must be looked at from the angle of serving others, lest we’ve concocted it just to satisfy our own greed and ambition.
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3
By taking real stock of how we plan to serve, we come to understand that the riches of God’s Kingdom and of our inheritance can only be measured by how much love we have one for another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another.” John 13:34
Love is not a feeling. It is an act of service, a sacrificial deed, a heart adjustment.
“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:18