Releasing People to Serve Jesus
Acts 2:44-45 are powerful texts. Modern culture resists the implications of these verses. They suggest a life so devoted to others that:
One is willing to sacrifice one’s own possessions for others. One is willing to live beneath one’s means for others. One sees the value God places on serving others; that blessings come from serving rather than being served.
Acts 20:35 - In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Rick Warren rightly said, “Thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators and the Body suffers. Most of the time believers are more interested in ‘serve-us’ rather than service. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?”
We believe serving others is critical to becoming a true disciple of Jesus.
Serving in Ministry facilitates Discipleship because…
1: You become more like Christ.
We are never more like Jesus than when we are giving to others.
Matt 20:26-28 - “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
2: You are released into your God-given purpose.
We were put here to contribute not just consume; we are saved to serve! Maturity is for ministry!
Eph 2:10 - For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
3: You give God a reason to empower you.
What need do we have for “the Anointing” if we are not willing to serve?
Matt 10:1 - Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
4: You develop a Kingdom mentality, an essential for a true disciple.
Lk 14:33 - In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.Having given his life to Christ in service, Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
5: You learn the power of discipline and self-sacrifice.
Matt 16:24-28 - Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward everyone according to what they have done.
6: You are better able to fight against pride.
1 Pet 5:5 - All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed."
7: You are able to walk in the Lord’s joy…a key source of your strength.
Jesus “endured” the cross for the joy (Heb 12:1-3) of filling His Father’s plan and of removing the barrier between God and man. He loving served us by giving His life.
8: You learn that serving others is actually serving the Lord.
Eph 6:7-8 - Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one of you for whatever good you do, whether you are slave or free.
9: You learn right motives.
Many of God’s “servants” received very little earthy reward. A true disciple learns to serve out of obedience and love for Christ and others rather than the desire for personal fulfillment.
Lk 6:31-33 - Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
10: You learn how to faithfully steward God’s grace.
1 Pet 4:8-10 - Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.
Phase three of our Vision process is serving in ministry. Biblical Discipleship is incomplete without being released into joyful service. As we commit our lives to serving others, we walk not only in the message of Jesus but also with the heart of Jesus and in the power of Jesus. This is Discipleship.