Serving Others – Pursuing Holiness 8

See full series: 2022-sermons
See full series: closer-to-god-2022

Serving Others – Pursuing Holiness 8

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr


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Pursuing Holiness (8)



Today, we continue our 2022 theme and our focus on pursuing holiness.  We have noted our need to pursue holiness in various areas of our live.  Today, I would like to talk about serving others.

  1. The Bible and serving
    1. It is no secret that as Christians, we are expected to be servants. It is a subject frequently referenced in various lessons, whether we are speaking about one another as brethren or serving others in general.  And, if we are pursuing holiness, we will have the heart of a servant.
      1. A servant by definition is one who serves. To serve means to be helpful to others, viewing them as equals and worthy of sharing with.  Philippians 2:3-4 summarizes this.
      2. The word “ministry” is found 26 times in the NT, and the word “minister” is found some 50 times. Both of these words, though often times have a specialized purpose (namely, related to the word of God), they involve the idea of serving – either God or others.  The overwhelming majority of these words are based upon the word from which our English “deacon” is derived.
    2. Numerous passages address the subject of serving others
      1. Acts 20:35, Paul to the Ephesian elders, I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
      2. Romans 12:7, recently we addressed the gift of ministering (cf. 1 Peter 4:10-11 – whatever our gift, we minister to one another, etc.). We noted that if you have the ability to help others, it is a gift from God.
      3. Galatians 5:13-14, through love serve one another, for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
      4. Ephesians 2:10, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…
      5. Hebrews 13:16, do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
      6. James 2:14-17 speaks of living faith is demonstrated
      7. Luke 6:38, Jesus taught, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
      8. Matthew 25:31-46, the judgment scene portrayed based upon how we help others, especially brothers and sisters in Christ.
    3. These are a handful of passages, that either directly or indirectly allude to our need to be serving others. Many more could be added to them.
    4. Jesus, the ultimate servant –
      1. We know if we are pursuing holiness, we are going to look to the ultimate example in all that we do. Jesus was the greatest example of a servant.
      2. Matthew 20:25-28 – on one occasion He taught about humility and serving.
      3. Luke 22:25-26, on another occasion, he taught similarly, And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
      4. Philippians 2:7, He left heaven and became a bondservant.
      5. John 13:1-15 one of the greatest examples of His service as He washed the disciples feet and encouraged them to serve each other in like manner (not the ritual, but the attitude).
  2. Serving others
    1. It is not always easy – It is not hard to serve when the task is pleasant, or even for loved ones. But what about when it is going to require sacrifice on your part?  Genuine service is sometimes difficult and unpleasant.  Yet that is what our Lord expects of us.  And recall, as already noted, that is the EXAMPLE He set for us.
      1. Think of all He gave up and went through because it is what we needed – Romans 5:6-8 – Jesus did not just die for the good and pleasant, but for everyone. Consider, He ALSO washed the feet of Judas before he betrayed Him.
      2. Matthew 5:43-44 – Jesus taught us to love and do good for our enemies. See also Romans 12:17-21.
    2. It must be genuine
      1. There are many who serve, but it is self-serving in some way. They do it for notoriety or to get something they want.  That is contrary to the life of a Christian. Matthew 6:2 – Jesus described some as doing their charitable deeds to be seen by men, sounding a trumpet.  God is NOT impressed.  He then addressed prayer (Matthew 6:5) and fasting (Matthew 6:16).  In each case, Jesus said, you are different.
      2. It needs to be motivated by love, not compulsion.  This is what makes our service different.  We act because we genuinely care.  We need the “heart of a servant” – be reminded of what Jesus taught in Matthew 20:25-28 – where Jesus taught humility in serving, especially as leaders.  1 John 3:16-19 calls for us to be willing to lay our lives down for our brethren in love.  Love, in deed and in truth.
    3. Requires humility – humility is a fundamental quality we have previously addressed. It is at the foundation of genuine service.  We realize our place and how unworthy we really are.  Luke 17:10, So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
    4. Do whatever you can do – many want to know what they can do.
      1. Help those in need – literally, if you can help someone, do! James 1:27, etc.  This would include the obvious.  Typically, we know what it means to help someone.  Look for opportunities and do what you can.
      2. Encourage them – Always be kind (1 Cor. 13:4, Galatians 5:22-23) and seek to build others up. That alone will make you stand out in this world.  If they are in error, especially your brethren, if you care you will seek to redirect them – Galatians 6:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 5:14
      3. Stand with them when they do the right thing – people appreciate it, and are often emboldened when someone stands up FOR them or WITH them as they seek to do what is right.
      4. Pray for them – 1 Timothy 2:1. Even if they do not notice, keep praying. Cf. 1 Samuel 12:23, as Saul is coronated king of Israel, Samuel warns them about what is about to happen, but then he says, Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.  We need to be praying for others.  James 5:16 – the effective, fervent prayer…
  3. Serving and holiness
    1. It brings glory to God – Matthew 5:16 – as your light shines, God is glorified. Many of the passages that address serving, ministering and ministry are about our service to God.  That is a motivation behind our serving others, especially our brethren.  We realize it is God who is watching –
      1. Proverbs 19:17, He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.
      2. Hebrews 6:10 – God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you ministered to the saints, and do minister. NUMEROUS passages address our need to be helpful to one another as brethren.  They are our prioritized focus.
      3. Again 1 Peter 4:10-11 – that in all things, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ…
      4. Realize that when you serve others, you are serving God – that was the point Jesus was emphasizing in Matthew 25:31ff. It can also be implied in the above texts.   Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23 – speaking of bondservants, what you do, do it, “as to the Lord”
      5. Serving God will prompt you to serve others – 2 Corinthians 8:5 (1-5), Titus 2:14 – Jesus gave Himself for us, to purify us as a people, “zealous for good works”. Simply stated – we belong to Him and that motivates us to serve others (cf. Matthew 22:37-39).
    2. It takes the focus off of you – “It is not just about you”. Romans 12:3 reminds us not to think too highly of ourselves.  Again, be reminded of what Jesus said to his disciples as they argued about greatness and position – Luke 22:24-26.
    3. For the sake of the church – as we serve it helps us to grow as the church –
      1. Closer to one another and reaching out to others. People want to see a caring church.
      2. Galatians 5:13- through love serve one another.
      3. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:15, declared that he would, “spend and spent for your souls.” He is the great example of serving for Christ AND His church. Colossians 1:24-25, I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God
      4. So much of the teachings about the Lord’s church is about the way we serve one another.
    4. It can turn others to God – 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 – Paul served to win others to God. Again – Matthew 5:16 – people want to SEE you serving God before you tell them what they need to do. And that is a primary point associated with this section of our study when we talk about how it is going to affect EVERYTHING we say and do.
    5. As a Christian, it is the right thing to do – as we have seen, serving others is commanded and expected. That alone makes it a quality of holiness.

And thus we continue to see how pursuing holiness will affect every area of your life.  We have a couple more lessons in this section and then we will move on.  Meanwhile, as we examine our lives, do it reflect a genuine pursuit of holiness?  Think about it?