The Discipline of Delighting in Our Service

Steve Viars November 1, 2008 Psalms 100:

 

- Some of you have probably heard of a restaurant in Chicago called Ed Debevic’s...

- it’s not known for the quality of their food or reasonableness of their prices…

- you can kind of get a feel for what the place is all about by the sign out front in this picture…

- “Get in Here”…you don’t normally see something like that on the side of a restaurant…

- but that’s part of the fun…apparently…rude service…

- so on purpose, the waitresses and the managers and the cooks insult you…

- they’ll tell you to “eat and get out”…

- or, “if you like what you’re eatin, order more…if you don’t, there’s the door…”

- one restaurant guide reported that one of their staff members who was there to review Debevic’s asked if the tableside jukebox was real…her waitress said – “No, it’s as fake as your blonde haircolor…”

- but all of that is part of the joke…and everybody who goes there understands that the idea of rude service is so outrageous that it can actually be funny…

- however, most of us have been to restaurants where the service was rude, but it wasn’t a joke…

- the waiter acted like our presence there was an inconvenience to him…

- or the waitress gave you the impression that she would really rather be doing something else…

- in fact, if you Google the phrase rude service in restaurants, there are 315,000 results…

- I was in a store the other day and the young lady was having a conversation with one of her co-workers about some intimate detail of her personal life and never acknowledged my presence…she took the money, gave me a receipt, never looked at me or broke stride in her conversation with her friend…

- I’ve been at cash registers where clerks gets a personal call on their cell phone and think nothing of stopping what they’re supposed to be doing with you so they can plan what they’re going to do with their friends after work…

- now, on the other hand, have you ever been served by someone who actually gave you the impression that they enjoyed what they were doing?...

- sure it was work, sure it required effort…but the person had found a way to enjoy what they were doing…

- isn’t it amazing how the attitude of the server can have a tremendous impact on the overall quality of the event?...

- now, let’s bring that into the church…

- how does the Lord deserve to be served?...

- how does the Lord want to be served?...

- and then from a personal perspective—how do you tend to serve Him?...

- with that in mind, would you please open your Bible to Psalm 100 this morning…[page 435 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you]

- this is Stewardship Month at our church…this is where we think about what God has entrusted to us and whether we are being faithful to the trust…

- this year we’re focusing on the spiritual disciplines… the basic components of what it means to develop a godly life…

- we want to be in step with the apostle Paul when he said -- 1 Timothy 4:7 - …discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

- one important aspect of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter is the discipline, or self-control…we understand that apart from that, we will not be able to be the faithful stewards God desires, and deserves, and expects…

- however, we also want to be sure that we are making this parallel emphasis…that the foundation of our discipline should be delighting in our Savior…

- that’s why we started last week in Psalm 34, and Psalm 37…where we read verses like:

- Psalm 34:8 - O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

- Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

- so on the one hand we’re trying to avoid laziness, or failure to focus on being good stewards of all God has entrusted to us…

- but on the other hand, we also have to avoid stewardship that is disconnected from the foundation of a growing love and adoration for our God…

- the concept of “lazy stewardship” is a contradiction of terms…but so is the idea of “humanistic stewardship”…or stewardship that only focuses on the outer man…

- so the overall title for the series this year is, Seeking God’s Plan for Our Stewardship – The Discipline of Delight

- this am, we want to focus on The Discipline of Delighting in our Service.

- we’re going to start here in Psalm 100, and then we’ll branch out to several other passages as well…

- Read Psalm 100…

- with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 steps to serving God with a joyful heart.

I. Respond to the Call to Delightful Service.

- Psalm 100 was especially a call to corporate worship…

- you can imagine the children of Israel entering the temple and singing these very words to help prepare themselves for worship…

- it would be perfectly appropriate for you and me to do the same thing today when we come into God’s house…

- but that was always then intended to spill out to the way God’s people lived throughout the week…

- especially now as New Testament believers, where our bodies are referred to in Scripture as temples of the Holy Spirit…there is a sense in which our lives are intended to be walking worship services…

- our love for God and our adoration for Him that is especially fueled when we come together for corporate worship should be evident in all sorts of situations throughout the week…

- that is why we would read a verse like 1 Corinthians 10:31 - Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

- it’s all about worship…

- now, please look over the verses we’ve just read – and think about, how would you summarize the kind of service that God is calling us to?...

A. It is passionate.

- you get the impression here that the Lord is getting their best…

- it is wholehearted…

- even right at the beginning – v. 1 – make a joyful shout…

- it’s from the Hebrew root Ru – ah – it literally means – Raise a shout

- that’s the same word that was used in Joshua 6 when the children of Israel defeated the city of Jericho…

- Joshua 6:20 - So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.

- picture in your mind the level of passion that would have been involved in that event…

- that’s the way the Psalmist calls upon us to serve and worship God…in a way that is wholehearted…

- in fact, it reminds you of Colossians 3:23-24 (speaking of our attitude in the workplace)  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

B. It is sacrificial.

- v. 2 – Serve the Lord.

- there’s no apology here that God’s people are to find their delight in serving Him…

- that is one of the primary metaphors in the NT to describe what it means to be a follower of Christ…

- that’s why Jesus told His disciples that He didn’t come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many…

- He taught them repeatedly on that subject…

- he modeled it the night before He died by washing their feet at the last supper…

- in the NT church, the writers of the epistles often refer to themselves as bondservants of Christ…

- so a person who serves God today in a way that is rude, or half-hearted, or in a way that gives the impression they think service is somehow beneath them does not understand a fundamental aspect of their call…

C. It is joyful

- that is what I would like us to especially focus on this am…

- v. 2 – Serve the Lord with gladness

- whether you are coming into His house to worship…or whether you are taking out the trash at home…and everything in between…

- we’re talking about developing the discipline of serving on a foundation that actually delights in the privilege to do so…

- here’s a great NT example of what this looks like in real time…

- you may recall that soon after the church was born, there was great famine in Jerusalem so the Gentile Christians in the various churches gathered a love offering for their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem…

- in the providence of God, that act was used to cement the bond between Jews and Gentiles in the church…

- but listen to how Paul describes the way one Gentile church viewed this act of service…

- 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 - Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord,begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

- do you see the emphasis there?...

- and remember the obvious racial overtones – many of these people before their conversion would have been deeply anti-Semitic…

- this would be like asking someone from Iran to participate in a love offering for impoverished people in Israel today…

- but don’t miss this – the grace of God had been given to them…they had trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior and everything about the way they viewed life was profoundly different…including the way they served God and served others…

- the passage says – they gave liberally…even though they too were struggling financially…

- and they even begged, Paul said, “with much urging for the favor of participation…”

- and please be sure to lock onto this – “their abundance of joy…overflowed in the wealth of their generosity…”…

- that’s what we’re talking about this morning…

- serve the Lord with gladness…the foundation of our service should be a delight in the privilege of doing so…

- in fact, do you remember what Nehemiah taught the people of his day during a great construction project…Nehemiah 8:10 - …the joy of the Lord is your strength.

- now, where does all of this come from?...it is certainly counter-cultural…perhaps it’s even counter intuitive…we would not naturally think this way…

- that’s how the rest of the emphasis of the Psalm fits in…yes, this call is passionate, and sacrificial, and joyful…but it’s also…

D. It is God-centered.

- all of this is focused on the God of heaven and earth…

- He’s the One to whom we shout joyfully

- He’s the One we serve with gladness…

- He’s the One we seek to know and love…

- He’s the One who made us…

- He’s the One who’s the Shepherd…

- He’s the Owner of the gates we enter, and the courts in which we shout praise…

- We want to thank Him…We want to bless His name…

- Psalm 100:5 - For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.

- it’s not a drudgery to serve this kind of God…it is our delight…

- Serve the Lord with gladness…

- well, there are some obvious questions that flow out of this, aren’t there?...

1. Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that has transformed the way you think about service?...

- [review the way the way the grace of God transformed the men and women in the Macedonian churches…]

2. Do you delight in serving Him in your home and other relationships in your life?...

- not just do you, but do you delight in doing so?...

3. Do you serve joyfully in our church?...

- cf. the Ministry Fair going on today in the gym…

- so how does all of that fit into stewardship?...

- Scripture teaches that God has entrusted each of His children with spiritual gifts and abilities…

- He also provides opportunities to serve Him…

- and the question during this month is – are you being a good steward of that trust?...

- compare where you were a year ago in that area?...

- [develop – people who are taking clear steps of growth – cf. the young lady from one of our public schools who comes into the community center before school to help with the “early morning crowd” that comes to the community center…we could multiply stories like that by the hundreds and thousands – but what is especially important for our purposes today – God has allowed many persons not only to get to the place where they would serve in that way, but that they would actually delight in doing so…they have answered the call to serve the Lord with gladness…]

- this is also where this stewardship commitment card comes into play…

- [develop – see this as your friend…]

- encourage you to complete this prayerfully, and carefully…

- it is a statement of intent between you and the Lord…

- you say, then why would I turn it in?...because God asked me and our other pastors to watch over you…

- now, let’s go back to the Scripture and think about some…

II. Recognize the Obstacles to Delightful Service.

A. A lack of passionate corporate worship.

- as we’ve said all along, this Psalm is first and foremost a description of other God wants His people to worship Him when we come together in His house…

- and you could think about the way you tend to worship when we’re together---the amount of focus, energy, passion --- and then draw a fairly straight line to whether that positions you to be able to serve with those same qualities…

There should be some preparation of the heart in coming to the worship of God.  Consider who He is in whose name we gather, and surely we cannot rush together without thought.  Consider whom we profess to worship, and we shall not hurry into His presence as men run to a fire.  Moses, the man of God, was warned to put off his shoes from his feet when God only revealed Himself in a bush.  How should we prepare ourselves when we come to Him who reveals Himself in Christ Jesus, His dear Son?  There should be no stumbling into the place of worship half asleep, no roaming here as if it were no more than going to a playhouse.  We cannot expect to profit much if we bring with us a swarm of idle thoughts and a heart crammed with vanity.  If we are full of folly, we may shut out the truth of God from our minds.

Spurgeon at His Best, comp. Tom Carter (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), pp. 223-224

B. A lack of passionate personal worship.

- please tie what we’re talking about today to what we studied last week…

- taste and see that the Lord is good…Delight yourself in the Lord…

- people who are developing that kind of lifestyle are far more likely to serve the Lord joyfully – they have developed a disciplined mind that sees serving this kind of God a privilege…

C. A lack of thanksgiving.

- v. 4 – Enter His gates with thanksgiving.

- some people always have something to complain about…

- they don’t like this and they don’t like that…

- and when it comes time to serve…their heart is not filled with delight for God and all He has done…

- a grumpy heart that tries to serve is a train wreck waiting to happen…

D. A satisfaction with just going through the motions.

Malachi 1:13 - But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord.

Malachi 3:14 - You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts?

Deuteronomy 28:47-48 - Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things;therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.

E. Busy service without a growing relationship with Christ.

- you remember this story where the Lord had come to the home of 2 sisters, Mary and Martha…

- and Martha is running around getting everything ready and her sister Mary is listening to Christ’s teaching…

- the text says that…Luke 10:40 – Martha was distracted with all her preparations…

- so she comes out and actually accuses the Lord of not caring that she’s not getting any help in the kitchen…

- do you remember what the Lord said?...Luke 10:41-42 - But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

- it is possible to get burned out in serving Christ…but that’s because serving is bad, it’s because serving without an underlying relationship with Him is bad…

F. Comparing yourself to others.

- some lose their joy in service because they can’t do it as well as so and so…

- since when was that the standard?...

- 2 Corinthians 10:12 - …But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

G. Serving selfishly.

1. Cf. the parable of the laborers – Matthew 20

- do you remember the parable of the laborers…

[a landowner hired laborers early in the morning 6 am – “agreed with them for a denarius”, then hired more at the third hour – 9 am, “whatever is right I will give you”, 6th hour -- noon, 9th hour – 3 pm, 11th hour – 5 pm, then had the workers line up in reverse order – paid those who had worked the least amount of time first…paid them a denarius…a day’s wage…]

- Matthew 20:13-16 - But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?‘Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ So the last shall be first, and the first last.

2. Cf. Simon the sorcerer – Acts 8

Acts 8:18-23 - Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!“You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.“Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

- some people try to serve God in that way today – what do I get out of this and when am I going to get it?...

- if you’re not serving out of the pure delight in your heart that comes from serving God, you’re setting yourself up for failure…

III. Rejoice in the Blessings of Delightful Service.

A. You are becoming more like Christ.

- Philippians 2:5-8 - Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

B. You can have a wonderful impact on your family.

Philippians 2:19-22 - I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.But you know Timothy’s proven worth…

- we don’t know everything about Timothy’s background, but we know he had a godly mother and grandmother who had a tremendous impact on him spiritually…

- develop the issue of teaching our kids to serve…

- also hit the issue of having “child centered homes…”

C. Joy of participating in what God wants to do in the lives of others.

3 John 4 - I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video