Being a Servant

See full series: 2019-sermons
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Being a Servant

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr



Sunday, November 24, 2019 am       


          We have come to the third and final part of our theme about shining as lights in a dark world. In our study thus far, we have addressed: 1) The importance of being a good example – talking about what it means to let our light shine, addressing the darkness around us, and noting several godly examples in scripture.   2) How we are to be examples in every aspect of our lives – both what we do (spiritually, financially, and our health, as well as social media AND in every relationship we are in – our families, our job, our brethren (the local church), etc.

Today, we begin our third and final section – Shining as lights.   In this section, we are going to address some things we need to consider and things we need to do as we let our lights shine.     Our last lesson dealt with holiness (which actually fits into this category). Next month we will deal with: Examining attitudes that turn people off and attitudes that win souls, our call to go into all the world, AND today’s subject dealing with serving others.     We will conclude this theme with a lesson about looking toward eternity.

There are some other topics we could address in this section (endurance, trusting God, building courage, judging properly, how to deal with sinful lifestyles, and our need for prayer in these matters), but time will not permit these. Perhaps we can address these at a future time.

Today, let’s get started with the need to serve others.

What does it mean to serve

  1. What is service? The word service is defined as – the act of helpful activity.[1]
    The word serve is defined as – to act as a servant…to be useful or of service to, help[2]
    Biblically, it is doing something helpful for someone else. This can include serving God or our fellow man. Think of the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).   When we use the term as Christians, we usually associate it with a proper attitude toward who someone is and humility.
  2. Jesus, the ultimate example of service – Matthew 20:28 – He came to serve and give His life a ransom…  Luke 22:27 He described Himself among His disciples as one who serves.
    Philippians 2:5-8 in describing the humility of Jesus notes that He took the form of a bondservant to come to this earth and die for us.
    The 3 years He spent preaching and teaching were filled with service. He healed and taught and helped.   He often went to those despised by the Jewish rulers.   He went to tax collectors and “sinners”.   He went to the poor. He went to the needy and desperate.   He loved and had compassion.
    Jesus taught many parables about faithfulness as servants (and slaves).   Luke 12:42-48 speaks of the faithful servant who does his master’s will while he is gone. Matthew 25:14-30 – the parable of the talents;
    John 13:1-15 – as He washed the disciples feet, we find the ultimate example of service.
  3. We are called upon to serve others –
    Romans 6:17-18 – we have become slaves (servants) of righteousness
    Ephesians 2:10 – we are created in Christ Jesus for good works
    Titus 2:14 – we ought to be zealous for good works
    Matthew 22:37-40 – the command to love one another includes serving them.
    James 2:14-18 – our living faith is demonstrated by how we treat others
    James 1:27 – pure and undefiled religion is this…   to visit (etc.)
    Galatians 5:13 – through love, we are to serve one another
    Matthew 25:31-46 – our judgment will factor in how we treated others by serving them.
    1 Peter 4:9-10 – Be hospitable to one another… as each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Serving Others

  1. First, realize that it is not always easy.   It is easy to do good things for others, when they are pleasant and loved ones. But looking at the example of Jesus, was His service limited to that group?   NO!   Jesus loved all and lived for all (Romans 5:6-8 – He didn’t just live for the just, but the unjust).
    Note His teachings in Matthew 5:43-44 – you do good to your enemies.
    Romans 12:17-21 – as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men…
  2. Let your service be genuine – yes, we are commanded to serve others, but we know that what we do needs to be out of sincerity and love, not out of compulsion.   1 Corinthians 13:3 says such – you can bestow all your good without love and it accomplishes nothing before God.
  3. Realize that when you serve others, you are serving God
    Proverbs 14:31 says, He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.
    When you serve others, you are serving God: #1 – Because He told you to – see above verses;
    #2 – Recall Matthew 25:34-40 – Jesus noted, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (vs. 40). This is followed by the negative and its condemnation.
    Matthew 10:42 – even to give a cup of cold water in His name will not go unnoticed.
  4. Do what you can do.   No one can do everything.     Some are better than others at a specific task.   Do what you are able to do.   Romans 12:6-8 gives us an example of this.
  5. Some ways we serve others
    1. Help them – literally. If there is a need someone has and you are able, help them with it.   Galatians 6:2, 10, James 1:27.
      This includes the obvious – doing good deeds for others.   Being a good neighbor.   Random (or not so random) acts of kindness.
      But it can also include helping them become better through teaching, advice, etc. Sometimes, we can serve by showing someone what to do.
    2. Yield – let others see that your faith is not about you – Philippians 2:3-4 – look out for the interests of others.   Give the right of way, open a door, etc.
    3. Encourage them – build them up. Be kind always (1 Corinthians 13:4). Galatians 5:22-23 – it is a fruit of the Spirit as well.
      Romans 15:2 calls for us to please our neighbors, “leading to edification.”
      1 Thessalonians 5:14 – warn, comfort, uphold and be patient with all.
    4. Stand up with them when they do the right thing – people appreciate it, when someone stands up for them, while they are being derided by others, and often times, the masses.
      Jesus was left alone as He faced the enemy at His trial.   Paul, was alone (except for the Lord) at his first defense (2 Timothy 4:16-17).
      Sometimes, just standing with someone during a time of struggle is the best thing one can do.
    5. Pray for them – 1 Timothy 2:1. They may not notice but it is certainly something we ought to be doing.

When we let our light shine by serving others

  1. It makes our faith real – we show others that we care about God and His will.       James 2:18, I will show you my faith by my works. Our actions, WHEN accompanied by a godly attitude, show others we genuinely believe in God.
    From a practical standpoint we MUST realize that others know how Christians are SUPPOSED to act.   They are watching and many are making judgments.   Notice 1 Peter 2:11-12 – be honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
  2. It makes our faith practical – we show that we care about others, including them (personally).       James 2:14-15 – it’s not just lip service.   1 John 3:16-19 – let us love in deed and in truth.
  3. It can cause others to glorify God – Matthew 5:13-16.   Be reminded, as your light shines, it gives others opportunity to glorify God because they see you good works.
  4. It could lead to opportunities to teach – as we noted often, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” We have to care.
    The most effective way to reach the lost is by letting your light shine.   When you do good for others, it can in time lead to opportunities to teach them.

There are many things we do that help us shine our lights in the midst of this dark world. Serving others is fundamental among those things.   Do others see your light through your service to them?   Think about it.

[1], “service”, November 22, 2019

[2] Ibid, “serve”, definitions 1 & 13