- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 09/20/2020
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Vital Signs of Growing Church Sermon Series
Commitment to Service
Rev Dr Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- The church grows when the church is committed to service. In different ways and seasons, we are called to serve God by serving others in the church as individuals, families and the entire church. When we serve, we will grow.
- When the church dedicates itself to a spirit of service, the Holy Spirit provides different ministries and gifts to fulfil serving through our roles and responsibilities we have in our life and church.
- Today’s scripture reading reminds us to serve God by serving others in our church and this world through our roles and responsibilities.
- Hebrew word: Abhodhah. This Hebrew word means to serve to work, to till and to use.
- Greek words: Diakonia. This Greek word means to wait, to attend, to serve, to minister and to receive. Deacon comes from this word. Douleuo: This Greek word means bonded service, charity and relief.
- Paul refers to serving means ministry, a bonded service to God and also to wait for God and people to serve. In this passage, he emphasizes that roles and responsibilities are the opportunities for us to serve God by serving others.
Context of the text
- The apostle Paul wrote Colossians Christians this passage to encourage them to do their best service in their roles and responsibilities. Husbands, wives, parents, children, employees and employers in the church should perform their roles and responsibilities as God-given opportunities to serve. It is not just an exhortation to families only, but families of God, the church.
- We are called to serve God by serving others
- 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
- Paul reminded the church at Colosse that God has given different roles and responsibilities in the church as Father, mother, husband, wife, children, employer and employee but ultimately our Lord (Kyrios, meaning Superior to all) is Christ only, not people. By serving the people, we ultimately serve God, our Lord. The attitude towards our serving is focused on God and it should be reflected in our roles and responsibilities.
- God wants us to do our roles and responsibilities and serve Him by serving others with sincere hearts, integrity, frankness and also with reverence and respect. Whatever roles and responsibilities we have, we have to know that our Master is Christ and by serving, we serve God. Serving the church is a growing church.
- Eph.2:10: 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
- Titus.2:13-14: 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
- Biblical Example: Parable of Reward: Matthew 25:34-40; 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
- Sermon illustration: We know that General William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. In his old age, he lost his eyesight. His son Bramwell was given the difficult task of telling his father there would be no recovery. William Booth asked his son: Do you mean that I am blind? His son replied: I hear we must contemplate that. William Booth continued: I shall never see your face again? His son said: No, probably not in this world. William Booth said; Bramwell, I have done what I could for God and his people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God without my eyes.
2. We are called to serve God by serving others with our best
- 18 fitting in the Lord, 20 well pleasing to the Lord., 22. but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, 4 just and fair,
- Paul exhorted the Colossians to serve God by serving others with their best. He exhorted the church to do everything with their best abilities, with their best times, with their best talents, with their best attitudes. Serving God and others should not come with compulsion or pressure but with gladness and joy
- As the church, we are called to serve God and serve others with our best. Our quality of serving others through our roles and responsibilities should be supreme and also beyond normal. When we do, we show how much we revere God and his opportunities to serve. As the church, we serve God and others with our best and God will bless us to grow.
- 1 Cor 10:31: 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- 2 Tim.2:15: 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- Biblical Example: Jesus was anointed at Bethany: John 12:1-8: 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
- Sermon Illustration: Once upon a time there was a man who had nothing. Then God gave him ten apples. God gave him the first apple so that he would have something to show his gratitude for the other nine. God gave him three apples to eat, three more to trade for shelter, three more to trade for clothing. Then the man looked at the first fruit he had received. He knew why God gave him that first apple—to give it back to God in thanks—but the apple looked bigger and juicier than all the rest. And the man reasoned that God still had all the other apples in the world; God didn’t need his. So the man ate the first apple and gave God the apple core.
3. We are called to serve God by serving others so that we may receive rewards from God.
- 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
- Paul called the Colossians to serve God and others so that we may receive God’s rewards who would like to give to us generously and graciously. He exhorted them that they should not be discouraged in serving God and others in this world as God has prepared our reward to share with us in His Kingdom.
- We, as the Church, have the responsibility to serve God and others in our roles and responsibilities and God will reward us. Jesus promised that God the Father will honour us when we serve Christ. Well, every service we do is qualified by God to be rewarded. God will reward our church.
- 1 Peter 1:6-7:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been [c]grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
- 2 John.1:7-8: 8 Look to yourselves, that [c]we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
- Biblical Example: Generous and rewarding Master: Matthew 20:1-16
- Sermon Illustration: Henry C Morrisons and his wife worked as a missionary in Africa for 40 years. When they retired from their missionary work, they came back by ship to New York. On the same ship. President Teddy Roosevelt also returned from one of his big-game hunting expeditions. There was a grand send-off to him in Africa. When the ship was docked in New York, the Mayor and other dignitaries were there to welcome him. The missionary Henry thought: Something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these years and have no one care a thing about us? This president comes back from killing animals in Africa and everyone makes much over him. When he thought about it, the Lord put his hand on his shoulder and said: Henry, you are not yet home yet.
We are called to be a growing church. One of the vital signs of church growth is our commitment to service. From Colossians.3:18-4:1, we have learned three important ways we do this commitment to service.
- We are called to serve God by serving others
- We are called to serve God by serving others with our best
- We are called to serve God by serving others so that we may receive rewards from God.
Questions for Discussion
- We are called to serve God by serving others. What are your roles and responsibilities in your family, your workplace, our church and in this world? How do you serve God through your roles and responsibilities?
- We are called to serve God by serving others with our best. How do you bring your best in your roles and responsibilities? How do you show God your best in your education, work, church work? How do you bring your best in your roles and responsibilities in your family?
- We are called to serve God by serving others so that God will reward you. Do you expect rewards from others by serving or from God? Are you discouraged so much because you see others who do not serve do better than you? If so, would you please focus on God and his reward for you as you serve God by serving others? God will honour you and rise and bless you.