Message Scripture:  Mark 10:43-45 (KJV)

“But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 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 10:43-45 (KJV)

Introduction:

Greetings everyone.  I am sorry that I got too over zealous about what I was going to be able to do.  Easter came upon us a lot sooner than I was ready for, and trying to do a daily countdown series the first week I resumed full-time stay at home daddy duties was a bit too much.  It caused me to get way out of balance.  God has, however, lead me to a new teaching series for us to get into, and in it we’re going to be talking about living an others-first lifestyle.  How many of you know that is one of the things that Christ came to show us how to do, and as we picture in our minds our Savior wrapping a towel around His waist to wash the feet of His disciples He’s teaching us the ultimate way to show others you are a Christian isn’t by how holy you think you are, how many Bible verses you can quote, but how much you are able to put others before you.  He later went on to say that the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who serve without a desire to be served in return.

So, let’s get into the first message of this new series, and see what God has to say to us about living an others-first life.

Praise & Worship

Since we’re talking about others-first living as I was getting to close I had this song by the Sidewalk Prophets come to mind, and knew that it would be the perfect song to accompany this message.  I hope y’all like the song, and I hope even more that we’re challenged by today’s message.

The Foundation Of Others First Living

What do you think of when you hear the words “others-first lifestyle”?  For me, I don’t exactly remember where I heard it, but it brings me back to the acronym of J.O.Y.  For those of you who don’t know or have never heard of that…it stands for this.  (J) Jesus, (O) Others, and (Y) Yourself.  In other words, the way to finding true joy is by putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself last.  I know.  That’s easier said than done some times, but do you know that when I live my life based upon that simply acronym I find that it’s actually true!?!

This brings me to a revelation that the disciples didn’t have as they were arguing about who the greatest was, and that revelation is that joy comes when I have the proper priorities.  I have talked many times about when Elisabeth was born God spoke to me three things.  He said slow down, enjoy life, and adjust your priorities.  By having my priorities in the proper order I find that life really is a lot more enjoyable…and more balanced.  So, let’s get into this series to find out how we can be more like Christ, and live the others-first life that He modeled for us in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The Bible talks early on about how you were created in the image of God. YOU! You are made to be like Him. If you truly embrace that, then you’ll realize you were made to serve, help, and be there for other people.

Here’s the thing that so many in ministry have forgotten.  It’s not about us.  It’s not about all the programs we start, it’s not about all the sermons we preach (or in my case write), it’s not about all the places we go, it’s not about all the volunteering we do, the community outreach, or anything else.  It is always first and foremost about Jesus, and it’s also always about what we do that shows that we LOVE others.  One of my pastor’s is always saying that people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care, and I take it a step further to say that affection for others has to be authentic or the skeptical world today is going to sniff out the fakes in a heartbeat. It is important that we are authentic with the world with our love, care, and concern for it.  If we are not…they’re going to know it.  How do I know that?  I am one of those people who knows the difference between people who genuinely and authentically love me…and those who don’t.  I can tell you that the list of people who genuinely love me is a lot shorter than those who claim to love me with their lips…but their actions don’t support that at all.

How many times does the world have to say to the church “show me you love me” before we understand that if we’re not authentic with our love of others we aren’t going to reach the world.  Paul wrote about how we can do all kinds of things, but if we don’t do them with the love of God that’s shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost…and if that love for others isn’t genuine…they will sniff that out and everything we do for them will be absolutely worthless.

One of the main reasons I left my former church wasn’t because I didn’t like the pastors, but because their love for me and my family wasn’t as authentic and genuine as they claimed it was.  How do I know this?  Their actions didn’t support their words.  They spoke of how much they loved me and my family, but all they had were words.  At the change of the calendar both my wife and daughter we sick.  I let them know this, and not one of them ever contacted me again to find out how they were doing.  Do you know who did contact us to find out?  The pastor that they forced to step down for whatever reason, and that’s the reason my family has moved to another church.  The church my family attends now I know that people really love and care about us…and I know this because their words and actions match.

Listen, if we tell people one thing and treat them another way…it doesn’t matter how often you say you love them…they’re going to go by what you DO not by what you say.  The best way to make sure what you say matches what you do is to serve them like Jesus served His disciples.  We have finally come back to the point that we are created in the image of His Son, and the truth is we have all the love the world needs residing on the inside of us.  What we have to do is ask God to help us put that love on display for the world…and when He gives us opportunities to show the world that love…we need to do them.

Come on, friends.  We all know that if someone says they love us, and their actions don’t match their words.  It don’t matter what they say, we never fully believe they love us because their words and actions don’t match.  Take that on a larger scale, and look at the way people in the church treat people in the world (and in the church)…and you’ll see why the church is having such a hard time reaching a world that is dying and going to hell.  It’s because we somehow think that Jesus told us to judge one another when He said that the world would know who His disciples were by the authentic, genuine love we shared with it…because He spilled His blood to show the world His love for them.

I can’t even move on to point two yet.  Listen to me.  Are you the kind of person that folks in and of the world will come and talk to or are you the kind of person that no one wants to approach?  I have to be honest.  I’m some where in the middle, but I’m becoming someone who more people will approach because they have come to know there is a God living on the inside of me by the fact that I’m working to love and serve people with the love of God that’s shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost.

One of the reasons I have been encouraging you to start sowing into this ministry is because I know God wants me to do more in my community, and for people who are in need of help.  I want to be able to go to my local grocery store, and pay for someone’s entire grocery basket just because I want to share the love of God with them.  I can’t do that right now because the finances aren’t there.

If you call yourself a Christian, that means you want to live like Jesus. And if you look at the life of Jesus, it was all about other people. He was always helping people, healing people, teaching people, serving people, loving people; the list goes on and on and on.

I want to live and love like Jesus did.  I want to be the kind of person that is easily approached by people no matter who they are, what they have done, and in order to do that I have to live this others-first lifestyle we’re talking about.  You see, it’s not enough to just say that we want to live and love like Jesus if we’re not going to actually find out how He lived…and try to incorporate that into our lives.  You never saw Jesus put Himself before anyone else, you never saw Jesus ask anyone “if I do this for you…what’s in it for Me”, and we never saw Jesus think anyone was beneath Him…even though every single person He came across was beneath Him.

Let that point sink in for a moment.  Jesus never saw anyone as being beneath Him…even though they were.  I was just talking with my wife the other night about how the greatest piece of advice I received as far as being in ministry goes is that if I can’t see beyond the person standing in front of me I will never be able to minister to them effectively.  Why?  Because we all need to learn to look deeper.

Think of all the conditions people came before Jesus with.  Think of the lepers.  Jesus never once looked at their leprosy…He simply asked them if they wanted to be made well?  Think of the woman caught in adultery.  He never addressed the adultery until He was the only One left standing with her…and even then He didn’t do like we would do and grill her about it for twenty minutes.  He simply said “go and sin no more”.

Would be to God that we would start treating people like He treated them instead of how we think He would want us to treat them.  Do you know if half of us would stop to think about the fact that whatever we do to another human being we are also doing unto Him I bet you we would be treating folk a whole lot better.  When we are rude to someone we’re being rude to Jesus.  When we cuss someone out we’re cussing out Jesus.  When we’re punching someone in the face we’re punching Jesus in the face. What ever we do to the least of these we are also doing unto the Lord.

Listen.  On the Christlike Ministries NWA Family Facebook Group page I have two simple rules.  The rules are:  If you wouldn’t say it to Jesus…don’t post it, and if you wouldn’t say it about Jesus then don’t say it about anyone in this group.  The Bible has the Golden Rule we all know it as do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but I’ve begun working to live by an even harder rule…do unto others as though you are doing it unto Jesus.  In other words, I’m learning to view the way I treat others as though I am treating Jesus that way…don’t you know that has helped me be a little more Christlike?  Don’t you know it’s helped me be a little more others-first?  Don’t you know it’s given me greater motivation to work on having that others-first mentality?

If we would simply think about the fact that the way we treat others is a direct indication of how we treat God…I bet we would not only be nicer to the people around us, but we would probably take a moment to repent and ask God to forgive us for being so rude to Him.

If you want to be like Jesus and truly live a Christian life, that means you do the same. Live like you believe you were created in the image of God. Serve others like you’re living out the life of Jesus.

Christ is the foundation for a others-first lifestyle.  Christ is the foundation for everything we are, and everything we are trying to become.  If we want to truly be like Jesus then we have to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to find out what He was like.  The only way to learn how to live like Jesus lived is to read about it, study it, and meditate upon it.  Then we have to ask God to help us learn how to live, walk, and love like Jesus did.  We don’t get it by calling ourselves a Christian.  In fact, we don’t get anything just because we call ourselves a Christian…everything always comes by grace through faith…and by earnestly seeking God for the things we lack.

We need to learn to live and walk like we believe we were created in the image of God.  I think we also need to adopt the understanding that if we’d treat everyone like we would treat Jesus I believe we would be much nicer people…and become the kind of people that draws people TO the church instead of repelling them from it.  I don’t know about anyone else…but I want to be the kind of person that draws people to Christ.  Amen!?!

Let’s Pray:

Father God, thank You for leading us to this series to talk about how to live an others-first life.  Forgive us, Lord, for being so self-centered.  Help us, as we go through this series to learn how to become more Christlike.  We thank You for being our Foundation, and we ask You to teach us how to build better materials on top of it.  In Jesus’ name. Amen & Amen.

In Closing:

There’s one final thought that I felt was best to wait all the way till the end for, and in a way it’s like we’re getting home work.  This is the way it should be with sermons.  We get the Word, and now we are faced with doing something to help us incorporate what we learned into our lives.  It’s always about growing and becoming more of the kind of people we want to be, and that God desires for us to be.  It’s always about laying our lives down so that Christ can live through us, and we can draw a world that is dying and going to hell to Jesus.  The goal for those of us who are saved should be to become more like Christ so that we can lead and draw more people to Him…but there are so many that are working to repel people from the Body of Christ.

My friends…I don’t think I need to say this…but we all know that shouldn’t be.  One of the main ways we do this is by living a me-first lifestyle instead of the others-first lifestyle that Jesus lived.  Remember…if we want an example for how to live like Jesus…we need to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to see how He lived.

Challenge yourself every day to look for opportunities—big or small—to serve, help, love, and be there for other people. When you do this, you’ll be living the way God created you to live.

Speaking of opportunities to love, help, and serve others…Have you been blessed by this ministry? Would you like to help me out? Here are some really practical ways you can help me out.

1) Engage – I don’t always have time to reply to everyone but I read every single comment and post on here. I reply to every message and email and every one blesses me! Please do get involved and let me get to know you in the little ways we can online.

2) Share – If you love the posts here, or maybe an article on the website… please share it on Facebook or Twitter… it really helps new people find this ministry and be blessed by the good news of the gospel…and tell people about us.

3) Pray – We really value your prayers. Pray for this message to find good soil – that God would continue to bring new faces to this ministry that are ready to accept His embrace.

4) Give – Running a ministry is a lot like running a business. There’s always a cost, and if this ministry blesses you in any way…you can now help by giving to it financially. I’ve set up a ministry card that is used specifically for ministry needs & expenses. If you’d like to give to this ministry contact me directly at christlikeministriesarkansas@yahoo.com or more information.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. All of you who follow me are of great encouragement to me…and I’m grateful for all of you. Please check out http:www.christlikeministriesnwa.com to find out more about me & my ministry.  You can also follow me on Twitter @ChristMinistNWA & Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ChristlikeMinistriesNWA

Blessings & Grace to you!

Pastor Bryan Kizer

TheKizerFamilyPicture_thumb.jpg