- “15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
- “ Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:25)
- “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
- “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11)
- “ Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:2)
“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”. Today we talk about what it means to serve God. I have a sense that we may take a short side journey or two, but that’s all up to the Holy Ghost. If He feels the need for us to take any side journey’s we will…other wise…we’ll stick with the message before us.
“Serve the Lord with gladness:”…that’s the fun thing about what I am doing here with Christlike Ministries NWA. It’s such a joy to write these messages, and to see that there are so many being fed by these messages. It encourages me to keep going, but it also helps me to know I’m doing things the right way…and because of that…God’s drawing people to this ministry.
The truth is, friends, this ministry isn’t about me at all…it’s all about Jesus, and my sole motivation for doing this is to help you to know Him better so that you can have that more intimate relationship with Him. I’m glad to be doing what God’s called me to do, and I’m enjoying the teaching and learning I’m doing along the way.
I hope you’ll enjoy this message as much as I enjoy writing it…and all the messages that I’ve written. So…let’s get into today’s message: “What Does It Mean To Serve God?”
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). What does that mean?
Before we get into what Mr. Piper writes let me just say that to me…I have been blessed with a wife and a son who are both believers in Christ, and that we all serve the Lord in some capacity. I serve the Lord by doing more than just these messages. I’ve been on evangelism outreaches with my church, I’m involved in Discipleship training, but it’s more than that.
Friends. We’re ambassador’s for Christ. That’s our job. We’re to represent Christ every where we go. We’re to represent Him to our neighbors, our co-workers, and our family. We’re to represent Him at the grocery store, in the drive thru at McDonald’s, and the gas station.
Listen. All Christians are called to fulfill the Great Commission, but that doesn’t mean all are meant to be pastors, evangelists, apostles, prophets, or teachers…Ephesians is clear that God called SOME to all of those positions in the Body of Christ…and we also read that the Holy Ghost places them in the body as HE sees fit…and that is pleasing to HIM.
Okay…back to the message:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). What does that mean?
– It means to do what he says in a way that makes him look supremely valuable in himself.
– It means to submit to him in a way that makes him look thrilling.
The Bible says that we’re to do all that we do for the glory of God, and not man or ourselves. I love how Jesus talks about things like prayer, giving, and so forth of how if we do it openly for man to see…the pat on the back we get from people will be our reward…but when we do them in secret for the Father to see…then we receive a reward in Heaven.
You see, friends, I appreciate your comments, I appreciate when you like my posts, and I appreciate whenever someone let’s me know that something I’ve written inspires or helps them. However, as much as I appreciate those things…the real reason I am doing this isn’t for pats on the back from you…but so that God will be glorified through these messages. I do this so that your relationship with the Lord will be more intimate, and that you will receive fresh revelation and understanding. I am doing this so one day I’ll hear those treasured words of “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”, and that’s the real motivation and heart of what I’m doing here.
There are ways to submit to God that only make him look threatening, not thrilling. There are ways to do what he says that only call attention to the fact that he is an authority not a treasure.
That kind of service is not the service God commands.
We talked a while ago about the motivation for everything we do as Ambassador’s for Christ should be done out of a motive of love. Love for God, and love for His people. That anything done outside of the motivation of love is…well…meaningless.
Another point is the one I just made a moment ago. We’re to do all that we do for God’s glory, and not our own. If we do things for our own reward then we’ll have that reward. The pats on the back that lead to us getting into pride, and thinking that we’re doing such great work for the Kingdom. The more work we think we’re doing for the Kingdom that we’re really doing for our own reputation and pats on the back…the more praise we receive, and the more pride we get into.
I believe…I truly believe that all those who are the goats that Jesus spoke of as when they’re standing before God giving them a list of all they thought they had done for the Kingdom of God…and when He says to them: “Away from me I never knew you.” What I believe is that all of those who beat their chest about what great work they did for God, got the pats on the back, and began to get into pride…I believe those are the ones who Jesus is going to say that to. Because their response is “I clothed you, I feed you, I gave you drink, I visited you…notice the emphasis here is on “I”…and that tells me that they were serving God for their own selfish ambitions and gains…and while there are many who believe that God’s talking to believers who have sinned away their salvation…I believe this is God talking to those who did things for their glory instead of His…I may be wrong, but this is what the Holy Spirit just gave me…so either He’s wrong…or He’s right…but I’m certainly not going to question what I get from the Holy Ghost.
On the other hand, there are the sheep. The ones who served God without thought for themselves or their own reputations. They are the ones who Jesus says: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” The reason I think that is because their response is: “When did we clothe you, when did we feed you, give you drink, visit you.” Jesus answers them: “If you’ve done so for the least of these…you’ve done so also unto Me.” I believe part of the reason they don’t know when they served God by serving others is because they served God for His glory…the motivation for serving was so that God (not them) gets all the praise, adoration, and glory. Their motivation was love…not self…and I believe that’s why they are unaware of who they served as for the glory of God…because remember Jesus said that whatever we do in secret God is the One who will reward openly?
Listen, I am certain there are people I’m reaching that I don’t even know about. I used to be so consumed with wanting people to follow Christlike Ministries NWA, but now…I realize that it’s not about that. In the beginning I thought the lack of growth had something to do with me, but the Lord began to help me to realize that just because people aren’t clicking the “like” button it doesn’t mean people aren’t being reached.
Then…came the sweet rebuke of the Lord. He began to help me to understand that my motive for ministry needed to be about Him, and that He would be the One to draw people to the ministry. Once I began doing this for the glory of God, and not my own…people began to start clicking the “like” button on our Facebook page, the “follow” button on our WordPress and Twitter, and now we’re close to about 200 people who are following us…but that’s only the ones who I know about.
Now…I am doing this 100% for the glory of God. I want God to be glorified, and I want people to come to know God more through this ministry. It doesn’t matter if I write to 1 person or 1,000 people…I’m writing for the glory of God…not my own. Now…I’m learning to serve God in secret…so that He will be the One who gives me the reward…the ministry is absolutely about Him and not at all about me…and now that my priorities are correct…now God’s drawing people to Christlike Ministries NWA…and I believe that someday I’m going to meet maybe thousands of people who I helped without even knowing it…because I’m doing this for the least, last, and lost…and for God’s glory…not mine.
What’s the difference?
The difference is that God has told us not to serve him as though he needed anything.
Can I tell you that I’m aware of the fact that God really doesn’t need anything from me? He did give me the gift of writing, and He did call me to use this gift for His glory. However, He doesn’t need anything from me…and I know this flies in the face of the religious, but we’re not exclusive. If I didn’t answer the call upon my life I know there are many who wouldn’t be reached, but I’m also certain that God can and would be able to find someone else to do what I didn’t want to do. I’m expendable…the Word of God is not. I can be replaced…the Word of God cannot. That’s just my opinion…I’m nothing special in and of myself…I’m special because of Christ in me…the hope of my glory.
“He is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Both these texts put all the emphasis on God’s giving to us when we serve.
I have to be honest. The more I do this for God…the more I knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and revelation I get from Him. I constantly go back and read past messages…and I receive as much from them as I hope you do. I have a sense of peace and joy from doing this that I know comes only from Him. The joy of the Lord is my strength…and it motivates me to continue doing this.
So the kind of service that makes God look valuable and thrilling is the kind that serves God by constantly receiving from God. The key text to describe this is 1 Peter 4:11 —
“Whoever serves, [let it be] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
God is seen as glorious when all our serving is moment-by-moment receiving from God’s supply.
I’ve mentioned many times while writing these messages that the inspiration comes from the Holy Ghost. Yes, I may use my understanding, but can I tell you that most of what I write comes from the Holy Ghost? I’ve mentioned many times that I am an alright writer, but there’s a major difference in how I write when I’m writing these messages. I can tell you that there are things I write that I don’t even remember writing, and that there are things I write that I couldn’t write from my wisdom or understanding…and I would guess that 95% or more of what I write is by anointing and unction that comes from the supernatural ability of the Holy Ghost.
In other words, the ability to write these messages comes from God’s supply, and to be even more transparent and honest…the gift of writing itself is supplied by God. I can’t even take credit for the ability to write because it’s the gift that God gave me…and now that I’m using it for Him…He’s supplied the ability for me to write better. He’s helping me to become a better writer…because the ability to write is from Him so the development of the gift also comes from Him.
Nothing I do for ministry is in and of myself. It all comes from God’s supply whether it’s my knowledge and understanding of the Word, the ability to write in and of itself, or even the subjects and topics we get in to…it all comes from God’s supply…and that’s the way I prefer it…because the truth is…anything done out of my own supply…false way short of the glory of God…and I don’t want anything I do for Him to fall short…I want it to reach the fullest of it’s potential…and the ONLY way for me to do that is to surrender any ambitions I have…and make sure this is ALL about God…and ALL for God.
We receive this supply by faith. That is, we trust moment-by-moment that what we need, in serving him, he will supply (“life, breath, and everything”). This is the opposite of being anxious. Such serving is happy. And it makes God look no less authoritative, but infinitely more desirable. This is the glory he means to have. The giver gets the glory.
I couldn’t have said this any better myself. In fact, I’m not even going to add anything to what John Piper wrote here. I’m going to leave it as is…and finally close it with this last point:
Therefore, “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2).
I most definitely have found that the more I do this…the more gladness I serve God with. It’s like one of the rewards I receive now is gladness, joy, and can I tell you that writing messages like this is actually a lot of fun? Writing these messages is actually a lot of fun, and I enjoy being able to use a gift I’ve had for so long to reach people for Him…and I am glad that He called and chose me to do this…and I’m glad to be doing this for you too.
The ability to serve God is a gift that should not be, and cannot be taken lightly because we’re all called to serve God in some capacity. I know what you’re thinking because I used to think the same thing. Not all of us are called to stand behind a pulpit and preach. Many of us are called to serve God in our every day lives.
We’re called to serve God by being salt and light to our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members. There are some of you who are called into ministries like mine that are done in the shadows, and behind the scenes. I may never be featured on TBN, I may never have an article written about me or interviewed because of the work I do for the Lord…but like I mentioned in the message today…that’s not my motivation for doing this.
I believe there are many of you who are wondering what God’s will is for you, and how you and your house can serve the Lord. To you I say…start with gifts you know you have. Maybe you’re a musician…try finding other like-minded musicians and form a worship band…and instead of seeking to be on the radio…just go around to coffee shops and other places to play music just for the glory of the Lord. Maybe you’re a amateur writer like me…and you don’t know where or how to start. I didn’t neither. I may never write a book or magazine article, but I’ve written over 200 messages, and I know that this is just the beginning.
Listen. I think a lot of times people make ministry way more complicated than it needs to be. Ministry is really just serving God and serving people in the name and motive of love…sharing God’s love with the world. That’s all it really is, and we have to keep in mind that God’s the One who calls people into the offices of pastor, prophet, evangelist, teacher, and apostle. Most of us will serve in lesser known capacities, but the point is this…if you have a special gift or talent that you’ve always had…start seeking God as to how to use that gift for Him.
That’s what I did with my ability to write…and now I’m writing messages on a regular and some times daily basis. It wasn’t complicated…I always knew I had the ability to write, and once I surrendered this gift…and asked God to help me use it for His glory…that’s how Christlike Ministries NWA has come to be.
Can I ask you a question? What gift or talent do you have that you’ve been sitting on for years that maybe you could use for God? Maybe you’re into cross stitching, maybe you’re a painter or sculptor, a writer, a speaker, or whatever it is…but I can assure you that there’s maybe one gift that you’ve had all your life…I bet that if you asked God…He’d start showing you how to use that gift for Him…and that the reason you’ve had that gift all your life…is…well…so that you can serve Him with it…Amen!?!
Father, I thank You for the ability and talent in which You have supplied me with. I thank You that You supply me with the ability, and the words to write as I learn to continue to use this ability to write for You and for Your glory. Lord, I ask that You would always be the One who receives the glory and honor for all that I’m able to do through this ministry and gift in which You have blessed me with the ability to do. I ask that You would be glorified and lifted up through this ministry…and that none of this would be done out of personal desire or gratification. I pray for those who have talents and gifts of their own that are reading this message that You would speak to their hearts about the gifts and talents that You supplied them with…and that You would give them wisdom and guidance to know how to use that gift to serve You. Oh, Father God…do I love You…and thank You for all that You do in me, with me, and through me…and I ask that Your name would be magnified, that You would be exalted, and that You would receive ALL the glory, ALL the honor, and ALL the praise. To You, Lord God…be blessings and glory…and in the name of Jesus I pray…Amen & Amen.