Serving Together In Our Church

Faith Church December 31, 1998

Introduction to Faith
Lesson
4


Serving Together In Our Church
One of the great joys of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the opportunity to serve in His church.  While the idea of serving is often looked down upon in our society, Christians view serving God and others as a high and holy privilege.
Prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet Malachi spoke of people who said, “It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his charge. . .?” (Malachi 3:14).  He went on to tell of the day when God would “distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (3:18).
Knowing Jesus Christ puts servanthood in its proper perspective.  He is the One who “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” (Philippians 2:7).  He is the One who said “whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:26).  Not surprisingly, many people involved in the foundation of the church were commended for the way they served, including Paul (Acts 20:19), Timothy (Philippians 2:22), Epaphrus (Colossians 1:7), Tychicus (Colossians 4:7), Appollos (1 Corinthians 3:5), and John (Revelation 19:10).
This is such an important Biblical theme that God’s Word exhorts us to “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing” (Psalm 100:2).  Even heaven is described as a place where “there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bondservants shall serve Him” (Revelation 22:3).


I.  THE MODEL OF SERVICE


Please read John 13:5-17 and answer the following questions.
A.  What was Peter’s initial reaction to Jesus’ offer in verse 8?

What does this tell us about Peter’s view of serving?

B.  What did Jesus ask His disciples at the end of verse 12?

Do you believe that by asking this question, Jesus wanted His disciples to think about the literal act of foot-washing, or the principle of serving others?  Please explain your answer.



C.  How did Jesus want His disciples to be different as a result of hearing this instruction?



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D.  According to verse 17, what did Jesus say would be the result of not only “knowing” these principles, but “doing” them?
 
E.  How should the fact that Jesus Christ was a servant impact a New Testament believer today?


 II.  THE IMPORTANCE OF SERVICE

Many people think of a servant as a person with little ambition, intelligence, giftedness, or skills.  In other words, he is a servant because he can’t be anything better.  However, in the Word of God, being a servant is at “the top of the totem pole”!
Servant is from diakonos, from which the term deacon is derived.  The original Greek word was purely secular, referring to a person who did menial labor, such as house cleaning or serving tables.  It was not necessarily a term of dishonor but simply described the lowest level of hired help, who needed little training or skill.
But Christ elevated diakonos to a place of great significance, using it to describe His most faithful and favored disciples.  He could have chosen any number of more noble words to characterize obedient discipleship, but He chose this one because it best reflects the selfless, humble life that He honors.  It is also the life that He Himself exemplified, as He would go on to say (Matthew 20:28).
John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago:  Moody Press, 1988), Matthew 16-23.
A.  A sign of Christian greatness:
Please read Matthew 20:20-28 and answer the following questions.
1.  What request did the mother of Zebedee make in verse 21, and how was her desire for her sons different than Jesus’?
 
 
2.  The “rulers of the Gentiles” and the “great men” that Jesus speaks of in verse 25 were the unsaved rulers of the day.  Notice that the Lord described their leadership as “lording it over them” or “exercising authority over them.”  What words might we use today to describe this kind of leadership?
How does Jesus want His children to be different, according to verses 26-28?
 
William Barclay has written, “The world may assess a man’s greatness by the number of people whom he controls and who are at his beck and call; or by his intellectual standing and his academic eminence; or by the number of committees of which he is a member; or by the size of his bank balance and the material possessions which he has amassed; but in the assessment of Jesus Christ these things are irrelevant.”
William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew (Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1959).
B.  A matter of stewardship:
In 1 Corinthians 4:2, the apostle Paul wrote, “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”  In Bible times, a steward was a servant who was entrusted with the care and administration of his master’s household while he was away.  The steward’s responsibility was to care for what had been entrusted to him in a way that would please his master when he returned.
Please read Matthew 25:14-27 and answer the following questions.  
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1.  In verse 15, the master gave each of his servants a number of talents (a kind of money in Bible times).  Did the master give each of his servants the same number of talents? _______
What is the implication of that when we think of serving in Christ’s church today?
 
2.  One servant ended up with 10 talents (cf. verse 20 - he started with five and earned five more) and the second servant ended up with four talents (cf. verse 22 - he started with two and earned two more).  Was there any difference in the master’s commendation to them (see verses 21 and 23), even though they ended up with different amounts?  _______
What is the implication of that when we think of serving in Christ’s church today?
 
3.  What did the master say to the third servant who squandered the opportunity to increase the one talent he was given (see verses 26-27)?
 
4.  What are some things God entrusts to people today that can be used in His service?
 
 

III.  THE GIFTS OF SERVICE


God never asks us to do something without giving us the resources to accomplish the task.  The Bible refers to these divine enablements as spiritual gifts.
A.  Spiritual gifts:
The Word of God teaches that each believer in Jesus Christ has been given at least one spiritual gift.
Please read 1 Peter 4:10.
What lessons can we learn about this subject from this important verse?


[Note:  It is beyond the scope of this lesson to examine all that the Scriptures say on this subject.  Six key Bible passages are Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:6-10, 12:28, 12:29-30, Ephesians 4:11, and     1 Peter 4:11.  Teaching tapes and outlines are available on this subject by contacting the church office.]
B.  The responsibility of the church:
Please read Ephesians 4:11-12 and answer the following questions.
What terminology does verse 12 use to describe the church’s responsibility to its members so that each member can use his/her spiritual gift effectively?
What are some ways our church seeks to do this?

Three “big words” around our church are identify, equip, and deploy.  We believe we have a responsibility:
• to help each person identify his/her spiritual gift(s).
• to equip (train) each person to use his/her spiritual gift(s) in local church service.
• to deploy each equipped person into meaningful aspects of local church service.  
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C  The responsibility of church members:
Please read 1 Corinthians 12:7 and answer the following questions.
1.  Is each Christian given at least one spiritual gift?
2.  According to this verse, what is the purpose of that gift?
 
3.  What would you say to a person who had no interest in using his/her spiritual gift to serve in Christ’s church?
 

IV.  THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE


Any person who seeks to serve Jesus Christ can find plenty of opportunities at Faith Baptist Church.  Our church is what it is today to a large degree, humanly speaking, because of faithful people who love to sacrificially serve Christ.
A.  Informal opportunities:
Many ministry opportunities at our church are informal in nature.  These would include things like:
• taking a meal to someone who is ill.
• being friendly to a guest at church.
• inviting a friend to a special church event.
• praying for those in need.
• thanking someone for working in the nursery, teaching a lesson, etc.
Of course the list of informal ministry opportunities is practically endless, but the point is that much of the Christian service that takes place in our church is informal in nature.
B.  Formal opportunities:
• Puppet Ministry
• Choir / Orchestra
• Annual Pig Roast
• Vacation Bible School
• Living Nativity
• Passion Play
• Sound Ministry
• Tape Ministry
• Housing for Conference Guests
• Facilities Set-Up / Cleaning
• Clean for Special Events
• Serve at Special Events
• Lawn or Shrub Care
• Snow Removal
• Utilities Maintenance
• Office Data Entry / Collating
Literally hundreds of persons are involved in serving in our church each week.  Here is a partial list of those service opportunities.
• Nursery Living Nativity
• Nursery Cleaning Passion Play
• Sunday School Teacher
• Children’s Church Teacher
• Weekday Clubs Teacher/Helper
• Afterglow Youth Ministry
• Usher
• Greeter


A few of the ministry opportunities at our church are designed so that anyone can participate.  Most however, require church membership so that we are being responsible to investigate a person’s testimony prior to their serving.  Some of the ministry opportunities even require adherence to our church’s Leadership Standards.  Please ask one of our pastors or the leader of the particular ministry you are interested in for more specific information.

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