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Category Archives: service

Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #16): Chapter 15- “Jesus’ Example”

We are in chapter 15 of Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? this morning. The question he is seeking to answer is What Brings Fulfillment?

Thielen gives several examples of those who learned that true contentment comes from serving others. He talks about the founder of Habitat for Humanity who made millions but was unhappy until he began to care for others, especially those needing low-income housing.

Jesus’ example of washing His disciples’ feet shows us that serving others is a key ingredient of a rewarding life.

MY RESPONSE:  Boy, do I disagree with Thielen in this chapter! Wow! Serving others? Is he kidding? Actually there is nothing in this chapter that raises my theological hackles [I don’t even know what “hackles” are or what causes them to “rise”].

Of course we should be servants like the Lord Jesus. So . . . look for someone to serve today! [I’ll do the same and try to give a brief report in our next post on Thielen’s book].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2019 in service

 

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“Servants of the Servant” — A Sermon in Preparation — Part 4 (Conclusion)

The normal Christian life involves knowing and using my spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.  And — watching a lot of episodes of “Little House on the Prairie”!  Just kidding about that last one.  Although I will be staying with my 92-year-old mother-in-law as I preach for two Sundays at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey (their website is here).

On September 30th I will be speaking on our responsibility to the poor (the message is entitled “The Poor You Have with You Always”).  On October 7th, the message will be “Servants of the Servant” and will focus on the four primary passages about the Christian’s spiritual gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4).

We’ve looked at the first three texts — Let’s look at I Peter 4 this morning and draw some final conclusions to this brief series of posts.  Here’s our text:

 

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2018 in service

 

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“Servants of the Servant” — A Sermon in Preparation — Part 3

I’m looking forward to catching up on the episodes of “Little House on the Prairie”!  What?  Yes, I get to stay with my mother-in-law Mary (who’s 92) — and that’s what she watches.  During that time I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel (their website is here) in New Jersey Sunday, October 7th,on the issue of our using our spiritual gifts to serve in the local church. And I’m entitling this message “Servants of the Servant.”

Becoming servants of the Servant, the Lord Jesus, involves knowing and using our spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.Our four passages on spiritual gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4) all emphasize the point that every believer has a gift or gifts and must use them to serve the Lord!

We’ve looked briefly at Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12.  Let’s examine Ephesians 4 this morning and draw some tentative conclusions:

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2018 in service

 

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“Servants of the Servant” — A Sermon in Preparation — Part 2

I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel (their website is here) in New Jersey Sunday, October 7th,on the issue of our using our spiritual gifts to serve in the local church. I’m entitling this message “Servants of the Servant.”

My friend and former colleague Dr. Don Howell, Jr., wrote a book with that title (subtitled “A Biblical Theology of Leadership”).  I would highly recommend that text as an in-depth look at the model of servant leadership seen through the Word of God.

A major facet of our becoming servants of the Servant, the Lord Jesus, is knowing and using our spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ.  Four passages (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4) drive home the point that every believer has a gift or gifts and must use them to serve the Lord!

We’ve looked briefly at Romans 12 and the principles there about our service in the local church.  Let’s move to our second passage, I Corinthians 12, and see several further guidelines in our ministries.  There’s an immediate problem with I Corinthians 12 and it is this:  This is a long text!  We will reproduce it below and then draw several conclusions from this rich passage:

Servants of the Servant! (con’t):

1. The Holy Spirit is mentioned 12 times in I Corinthians 12. And there is no doubt that He is also referred to as “God” or “Lord” (see verses 4, 6, 18, 24, and 28). My relationship to God the Holy Spirit is vital — and it is HE who gifts me so I can serve others!
2. God delights in variety among the people of God. But such variety can bring division or pride or unbiblical shame or a sense of not being needed (vv. 15-26).
3. We should not see ourselves as but tiny cogs in a great machine, but as vital parts in the movement of God Himself! (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2018 in service

 

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“Servants of the Servant” — A Sermon in Preparation — Part 1

As some of you know, I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel (their website is here) in New Jersey Sunday, September 30th, on the topic “The Poor You Have With You Always.” On the following Sunday, October 7th, I will address the issue of our using our spiritual gifts to serve in the local church.  I’m entitling this message “Servants of the Servant.”

One preacher said, “God has no sons who are not servants!”  I beg to disagree.  I believe it is quite possible to be a child of God but not be fully engaged in serving Him or His Body, the church.  There may be a variety of reasons for such non-service (one we will examine in this post), but the normal Christian life is to live a life like the Lord Jesus — one who “came not to be served, but to serve” (Mk. 10:45).

One reason some Christians do not serve the Body of Christ is that they may not know what their spiritual gifts are.  Ministry out of one’s giftedness is the biblical pattern, so knowing what abilities one possesses to serve the Lord and His people is critical.

There are four major passages on “spiritual gifts” and they are Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4.  Let’s spend a few minutes this morning looking at Romans 12.

I see four truths from Romans 12 —
1. We serve out of humility, not out of pride or poor self-image (Rom. 12:3). It is difficult to be grateful and prideful (or thankful and downtrodden) at the same time!
2. We must strive to preserve and advance the unity of the Body! (Rom. 12:4-5). The unity of the church is critical. It is not maintained by believers standing around just shooting the breeze (although shooting the breeze is a vital element of friendship). Our gifts contribute to our unity!
3. We will serve out of thankfulness for God’s grace in gifting us! (Rom. 12:6-8).
4. We must be aware that the Holy Spirit gave us our gifts and empowers our using them (Rom. 12:3; we will see this more extensively in our next post which will be on I Cor. 12:1-6). There is another Person involved in this issue of service — and that is God the Holy Spirit. He is continuing the work of the Lord Jesus — through us (Jn. 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15)!

Assignment: Please list your gift below as a comment.  Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in service

 

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