Serving One Another

August 2, 2008 Galatians 5:13

 

INTRODUCTION &  DISCUSSION -

1. What is the relationship between freedom and serving others? What parallels do you see between being a servant of Jesus and a servant to others.  How does this relate to “freedom”?

2. What are Christians “free” from? How do you or have you experienced this in your own life?

A budding artist once painted a picture of the Last Supper. He took it to the famous writer, Leo Tolstoy for his opinion. Carefully and understandingly, the Russian master of words studied the canvas. Then pointing to the central figure, he declared, “You do not love Him.”

“Why that is the Lord Jesus Christ,” exclaimed the artist!

“I know,” insisted Tolstoy, “but you do not love Him. If you loved Him more, you would have painted Him better!”

Few of us are budding artists in this sense, but the Bible teaches we’re all to be servants- servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and one another. With this is mind we could easily reword Tolstoy’s statement to read, “If we loved Him more, we would serve one another more!”

INPUT QUESTION:  Why don’t Christians serve more? What excuses are commonly used to justify the answers above?

1. WE ARE TO BE SERVANTS:

  • There are 4 basic words in the language of the New Testament that are translated “serve,” “servant,” or “serving.” In all, this concept is used over 300 times (about 130 times in the Gospels and Acts, and approximately 170 in the Epistles).

  INPUT QUESTION: WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SERVING?

  • Two words used most frequently: Douleo and Diakoneo                                                             

Douleo: means to be a slave, to serve, to obey, to submit . There is a positive meaning to this- to serve God and others. There is a negative meaning- to become a slave to some base power. ie. In Romans , Paul taught that people can be “slaves” to sin (Rom 6:6)    

INPUT: How does Romans 6:6 relate to Galatians 5:13, as mentioned above?

Diakoneo: means to “minister” to someone. The NT uses this word to describe one who serves food and drinks, and who cares for another’s needs. It is from this concept we get the word “deacon.”

  • It is clear that the first word mentioned, Douleo, is the stronger in meaning.  It is used 160 times in the NT. A douleo was a slave, a bondman. It is this word Paul used in Galatians when he said we should “serve” one another in love (Gal 5:13).

INPUT: WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT HOW WE ARE TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER AND HOW DOES THIS CONTRAST TO SOCIETY TODAY ?

Chuck Swindoll, in his book Improving Your Serve identified this emphasis with a verbal pyramid :                       I

                                     ME         

                                    MINE       

                                  MYSELF

INPUT: WHY DO PEOPLE FUNCTION THIS WAY- ie SIN?

INPUT: HOW DOES KNOWING JESUS SET US FREE FROM THE “ME” ATTITUDE?

INPUT: HOW CAN WE BE SET FREE FROM THIS PROBLEM?

Read Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it”

2. WE ARE TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE

  • Two words used for love, agape and phileo are used over 300 times! Half of the time they are used to describe our relationship with Christ and half of the time they are used to describe our relationship with each other.
  • Read Scripture Verses:  Gal. 5:14, Matthew 22:36-40, 1 John 3:11, 1 Cor 13:13, 1 Cor 16:14, Eph 4:2, Eph 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:22)

INPUT: SO WHAT’S THE MEANING FOR US?

OUR LIVES ARE RELATIONAL…..OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST WILL IMPACT OUR RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS !

3. FREEDOM TO SERVE

  •  Galatians 5:1 Paul states, “ It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”
  • Romans 8:1-2 “ Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”

INPUT QUESTION:  WHEN IS A CHRISTIAN FREE?  (Various answers- the Bible teaches that the moment we put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ we are set free!!!)

INPUT QUESTION: ARE YOU “FREE” TODAY? HAVE YOU ACCEPTED CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR AND EXPERIENCED “FREEDOM” AND NO LONGER SLAVES TO SIN?” (Rom 6:6-7)

4. PAUL’S WARNING

“Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature”

  • Read  Gal. 5:19-21   and discuss.

INPUT QUESTION: DOES PAUL MEAN THAT IF A PERSON INDULGES IN HIS SINFUL NATURE THAT HE CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN?  ( No, rather, this is the lifestyle of those who do not know Christ, but that there will still be temptations to gratify the desires of the sinful nature (v.16)

  • Christians should use freedom to serve others rather than live in fleshly/carnal ways!
  • Contrast Galations 5:19-21 with Galatians 5:22-23.

INPUT QUESTION: HOW DOES THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT RELATE TO SERVING ONE ANOTHER?  

5. PRACTICAL STEPS FOR SERVING ONE ANOTHER

(Evaluate how much you personally and others in your church may be reflecting “the acts of the sinful nature” in your relationships rather than the “fruit of the Spirit” ) 

                                                                                                              Never Visible         Always Visible                  

                                                                                                                                    1       2      3      4      5      6      7

  1. Is there Christian love being expressed among one another in my church?
  2. Are there evidences of joy and happiness?
  3. Is there peace, oneness, and unity?
  4. Are believers showing patience with one another?
  5. Are they kind in their actions and attitudes?
  6. Are the demonstrating goodness  (acts and not just words!)?
  7. Are they faithful to each other (opposite of fickle and untrustworthy)?
  8. Are they demonstrating gentleness and sensitivity in their relationships with one another?
  9. Is there self control in their conversations with each other and in their lifestyle?
  10. Are they serving one another?

DISCUSS PRACTICAL WAYS TO BETTER SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE