Serving Like Jesus

Heb. 10: 19-25


Opener:  Previously on Pastor Bates Do Something series 

as a congregation we want to be both a word and deed church.  Then last week, we cautioned that if we simply enjoy our salvation but never reach out to others, it becomes a self centered rather than a Christ centered lifestyle.  This week, I want to talk about some specifics in reaching out to people by serving like Jesus.  

Hebrews is a book that helps us understand the movement from the old covenant to the new covenant.  Vs. 1  the law is only a shadow of the good things coming.  Vs.8- 9  he sets aside the first to establish the second.  This book continually talks about how the law is fulfilled in Christ our great high priest. 

Heb. 10 vs. 19-25

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Vs. 19-21 he talks about this new relationship with God through Christ – we are now part of the family – Christians – followers of Christ – over the next verses he tells us four things we need to do:

1.     vs. 22 draw near to God  presence of God 

2.     vs. 22-23 hold fast to your faith   your belief 

3.     vs. 24 consider how to spur one another to good deeds

4.     vs. 25  meet together for encouragement

today, I want to concentrate only on item 3 – how can we spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

You weren’t put here just to take up space, consume the tangible things of life and be worm food when you die.  You were put here to serve God Part of the way we serve God is to serve others.

Do you know that you are a minister?  When I say that we usually think of a pastor or priest.  Someone who wears a robe or a collar or who draws out his words and uses the phrase “God says” a lot.  Not all of you will be a pastor or priest in that sense but if you are a believer in Jesus Christ you are a minister.

A minister is simply someone who helps another person in the name of Christ.

Any time you use your talents, abilities, gifts or experiences to help another person, you are ministering to them.  We are called to minister to one another.  We look to Jesus as our great example for that:  In Matt. 20:28  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”(NIV)

What does it mean for us to serve like Jesus served?

I.  Serving like Jesus means being available

If we study the story of Jesus as told in the four gospels, we will find an interesting fact.  He was constantly being interrupted.  He was walking down the street and someone stopped him and asked for a favor.  He was going to eat and someone was pulling on his robe seeking his attention.  Sleeping in a boat – interrupted.  His first miracle was when he was interrupted at a wedding celebration.  The blind, lame, weary and the curious were always stopping him.  In fact they interrupted his life so much, he got up early in the morning to have his quiet time because people always wanted his attention. 

The Bible says in Prov. 3:28  never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.” (TEV)  There is never a convenient time to serve.  There are always going to be other things to do, places to go and people to see.  If you want to serve people, be prepared to be interrupted.  Servant hearted people are spontaneous and sensitive to the needs of others and willing to temporarily set aside their agenda for the needs of others.

Most of us have a big sign that we hold up for other people to see:  DO NOT DISTURB.  Don’t disturb my agenda, my life, my goals, my time.  I have a nice little life going here and I don’t want to be disturbed by your needs.

There are some barriers to being available to serve:

self centeredness keeps you from being available

Phil. 2:4  says:  “forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (MSG)

Example of Honduras work camp

Wanted to serve – give of ourselves Plane canceled – not enough passengers – El Cheapo airline    50 vouchers

Very nice motel – swimming pool – Rick – ordered room service – pie  ala mode    pastry tray

Recognized that within a 24 hour span we had turned from willing servants to greedy tourists  - its easy to become self absorbed.

Perfectionism keeps you from being available

We are living in a time when excellence is not only a desired quality but almost a necessity.  That bleeds over into the church.  Servants don’t wait until everything is absolutely right before we serve.  Real servants do the best we can with what we have and leave the results to the Lord.

We should always strive to do our best, we should prepare but we don’t worship perfection, we worship God.  And what God has to work with at Bayside is a bunch of imperfect people including your pastor who are striving to serve God with the gifts we have.  There aren’t enough superstars to go around so God has to use normal people like us.

Listen to ECC. 11:4  “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.” (NLT) If you waited for all the light to turn green before you started for church today, you would never have made it.

Ever watch superman growing up.  Man of steel.  Helped everyone.  Had that big S on his chest.  Impressive – mine letter has been more like a small case b.  lost both of his parents; lost his homeland – never had to go to therapy.  He was perfect. 

Your not superman – quit trying look smarter, act more spiritual than anyone else and be a servant.  

II.  Serving like Jesus is a privilege not a punishment

because we have such a high need for volunteers in the local church, it is not uncommon for the leadership of the church to lay a heavy guilt trip on people.

Guilt trips work – because you are loving and gracious people but only for a while and then you begin to feel pressured, trapped and used and even to resent what is happening.

It’s the wrong motivation and I have tried never to use guilt because it is only a short term solution for a long term problem.

We should want to serve not out of a sense of duty but out of sense of delight – a privilege not a punishment.

If we aren’t careful, our motives for serving may be wrong.  Jesus said in Matt. 6:1 “when you do your good deeds, don’t try to show off.  If you do, you won’t get a reward from your father in heaven.” (CEV)  We don’t serve people to show off our gifts, - self promotion and servanthood don’t mix.; we don’t serve so other people will like us; we don’t serve to use as a bargaining chip with God.

          You know I stayed in the nursery for the last 3 Sundays – now I need you to take care of me; we don’t serve to manipulate God.   Then why do we serve?

It is an opportunity to show forth the love of God to others and to advance His kingdom.  That’s it.

When we get that, we aren’t miffed when we don’t get noticed . . . no one gives us a plaque or we aren’t recognized in public. We serve out of gratitude for the fact that Jesus died for us, forgave our sins, offers us His help through the Holy Spirit and promises us eternal life when we die.  When we lose our sense of gratitude to God, we will only serve out of obligation and the joy of serving will be lost.

III.  Serving like Jesus means being faithful

It means you don’t give up.  You keep on going.  Jesus is praying to the Father and he says: John 17: 4 “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you me to do.” (NIV)   Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and he lived his life in such a way that he fulfilled his mission.

What motivates us to be faithful over the long haul?  Certainly our hope of heaven is a strong motivator. . . but I think there is more. When you are willing to serve others in the name of Jesus, we know for certain that what we are doing really matters. 

Tony Campolo tells of a prank that some teenagers did when they went into a store and changed all the price tags and then he asks the question of us:  who switched the price tags?  Why are we putting so much time, effort, and money into things that aren’t valuable and ignoring things that are essential?

But listen to the promise of God when you minister in the name of Jesus from I Cor. 15:58  throw yourselves into the work of the Master confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”  (MSG)  Jesus puts it this way – if you even give a cup of cold water in my name – you will be blessed.  Did you get that?  Nothing you do for him is wasted – even if no one else notices – even if you never get recognized – if it is done in the name of Christ it counts.

If you change a diaper so a mother can be in church it counts.

If you fold a bulletin, sweep the floor, make the coffee for fellowship time, visit a shut in, teach a class, sing in the worship service; it all counts. 

Serving others in the name of Christ gives your life significance. Anything done for Christ is always important.

When you are willing to serve others in the name of Jesus, we know for certain that what we are doing really matters. 

Maybe we need to change our sign.