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Sunday, February 21, 2016 am                                Others 2016  Index

 Others (8)
THE QUALITIES OF A SERVANT OF GOD

 

The Christian life is about others.  Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  It is with this in mind that we are addressing the relationship of Christians to others this year.   Last month we addressed attitudes that affect others.  This month, we have been noting the importance of serving others as Christians.   We have addressed what a servant is and last week we noticed the example of Jesus as our servant.  Today we want to discuss the qualities of a servant.

 I.                     A true servant:

a.       Thinks about others as noted in Philippians 2:3-4.
Again, we consider the example of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-8
1 Cor. 10:24 – look out for the well-being of others; 33 – we seek the profit of others.

b.       Is always available – a servant is someone who will be there when needed.   There are some people who have ongoing needs.  Others, because of circumstances, have frequent needs.  But often, things just come up.  Usually, when emergencies happen, they are unexpected and at the worst possible time. 
Are we available WHEN we are needed?  Are our schedules so full that helping someone when a need arises becomes a crisis for us?  Would we give up some of our time and resources, and change our schedules to help someone? (a television program, going to some event, etc.). 
Are we available to whoever needs us?  Are we selective in who we are willing to help?  We will help those we like, but the one we don’t get along with, will we help them too? 
Romans 12:20 (Prov. 25:21-22) – if your enemy is hungry, freed him. 
2 Tim. 2:4 – no one engaged in warfare entangles himself in the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a solder.
The rich are called upon to be ready to good and be willing to share – 1 Timothy 6:18
Consider what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:46-48 – as Jesus taught us to love our enemies.  He illustrated how even the worldly take care of their own

c.        Is always attentive – we speak about being alert and sober as Christians.   Galatians 6:10 – as we have opportunity, do good to all.    Are we looking?
One who has the heart of a servant WANTS to help others and will look for opportunities to serve others.
Jesus said that He needed to go to other villages to preach (Luke 4:43).  He couldn’t spend all His time in one place. Others needed Him there as well.
Titus 3:8 calls for us to be careful to maintain good works
Open your eyes, He told His disciples (John 4:33).  While this is speaking of reaching the lost, it describes the disposition of the servant.

d.       Never makes excuses – typically in life, we do what we want to do.  If there is something we don’t want to do, we can find an excuse to avoid it.   There are a million reasons we can give for not serving others.   We can justify our actions by saying they don’t really deserve it, we are too busy, we can’t afford it, we have something else to do, etc.  (NOTE: you might have legitimate reasons, but here we speak of one seeking to justify their conduct). 
What justification did the Levite and priest give for not rendering aid to the man robbed and beaten? (The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:29-37) We are certainly not told, but could one say, “He should not have been traveling on this road by himself, he deserves what he got.”  Or “I’m in a hurry to take care of some important business”.  “I don’t know what I can do for that man.” “I’m sure someone else is coming who can help him.” Or “Look at that bum.”  Etc.
ONE who genuinely desires to serve will not let excuses keep him from doing what he can for others.
God doesn’t have much use for excuses and those who make them. 
Luke 9:57-62 – some said they wanted to follow Christ “but not right now”.  

e.       Is clothed in humility – far too often, pride gets in our way of doing humbling things.  We may think we are too good for a particular task.  Our pride causes use to make the excuses we just mentioned.
Romans 12:3 calls for us to not think to highly of ourselves.
Proverbs 25:27 says “It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.”

Recall Matthew 10:24 (a servant is not above his teacher), Mark 10:43 – as noted last week, one who desires to be great (in God’s eyes) must do so by serving others.   Remember the example of Jesus.
Even Paul served the Lord with humility (Acts 20:19).
Our mantra needs to be Luke 17:10, we are unprofitable servants.  We have done what was our duty to do.

f.         Is Dependable – 1 Corinthians 4:2, a steward is required to be faithful. 
One who has the attitude of a servant is going to be consistent in his conduct.  He is going to be one that those who have a need know they can turn to or trust if he offers to help them.
Just like the five and two talent servants who were commended by their master for doing what they were supposed to do.  (Matt. 25:19-23)
IF he accepts a task, he will do it to the best of his ability (Col. 3:23).  See also Eph. 6:5-7.  These are actually spoken of a bondservant obeying his mater, but it gives us the principle to live by.  (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:10) 
1 Cor. 10:31 calls for us to do all to the glory of God

g.       Gladly serves – again in this we emphasize attitude.  The attitude you have will affect all the qualities we have discussed thus far.  We ought to find joy in the opportunity we have to help others.
Paul - 2 Cor. 12:15, “I will gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.  Phil. 2:17-18, even being sacrificed as “service of your faith” Paul was glad and rejoiced.
Psa. 100:1-2, “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.”   A point we haven’t emphasized thus far, is that we are to be SERVING THE LORD.  In reality when we serve others, we are serving the Lord. 
That is the message of Matthew 25:31-46. 
Matthew 10:42, “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.  EVEN a cup of water given to another is seen by God. 

h.       Does his best with what he can – 1 Peter 4:10-11 – (minister) with the ability which God supplies.  That is all expects of us.
In Mark 14:8 we find a woman anointing the feet of Jesus and criticized for being “wasteful”.  Jesus told them to leave her alone because it was a good work.  It might not have been much but, “She has done what she could…”
God never expects more of us that what we are capable of doing.  But He expects us to do what we can do.

 II.                   What are some ways we can serve others?

a.       Pray for them – James 5:16 – we are to pray for one another.
We are to pray for our enemies – Matt. 5:44
Prayer is always something we can do and should do. 

b.       Physically – if you have the ability to help one, in whatever way you can – help them.  You may be able to help financially.  You may be able to help with transportation or doing chores for another.  Whatever your skills, can You use them to help others. Feed and clothe those in need. 
Do more than merely render lip service!  James 2:14-18 – faith without works (actions) is dead!

c.        Be there when you are needed – sometimes, someone just needs someone there for them to support them in what they are going through.   Think of visiting someone at the hospital or about to face surgery or something else that is challenging.  
Stand up for your brethren and those you can stand up for.

Be willing to listen!  Often times, that is all someone needs. 

d.       Encourage – Ephesians 4:29 – let our speech be what will build up and impart grace to the hearers>
1 Thessalonians 5:14 – comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all

e.       Seek to teach them – of all the things we can do for others, what is more important than striving to win them to Christ.   That was Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 – he became all things to all men that he might by all means SAVE some.   “Relationship evangelism” is truly the most effective way to reach the lost.

f.         NOTE of caution (but not an excuse): Doing what you can doesn’t mean that you must do everything for everyone.  It is impossible to do that.  As Jesus said in Matthew 26:11, “the poor you have with you always”.    His point was not to say don’t do anything, but no matter how much you do, it will not solve everyone’s problems.  
 Just help who you can AS you have opportunity to help them.  And one who is a servant should prepare to be taken advantage of and therefore must be cautious as to how far you will allow that to go.  Use discretion.  It is ok to say no at times!  (Even Jesus said no – leaving to go to other villages, etc.)    E.g. Don’t lose your family while helping everyone else.  Nor do not neglect your responsibilities toward God for something that is not necessary. 

g.       Finally, since we are all to be servants, let us make sure we do not overly burden others.   Galatians 5:13 calls for us not to abuse our liberties – but rather to serve!

 

May we in this study be reminded of our need to serve others.  If you want to be viewed “great” in God’s eyes, you will do so by giving of yourself for others.  That is what we need as the Lord’s body AND that is what this world needs more of.  What does the world see in you?  Matthew 5:16.  Think about it.