Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saved to Serve

This is my second post in the part series of my final research paper for my school work. In the first post i was trying to show that God expects to serve him. In this post i want to take a step further and show that He also equips us for service.

The paradigm is simple: when God calls you to himself, he also calls you to be a servant, an instrument in his redeeming hands. All of his children are called into ministry and each of them needs daily intervention this ministry provides. This need will remain until our sanctification is complete in glory[1]
In other words we here to be used by God to carry out His purposes and His will for His glory and the edification of others. Failure to carry out this purpose is to reject the purpose of existence as Christians. God expects His children to serve.
            Having said that it is also true that there are misconceptions and wrong teachings concerning serving the Lord, the first is the suggestion that service will earn you salvation. That cannot be far from the truth. The scriptures are very clear that salvation is by grace through faith and not of works (Ephesians 2:8). Therefore we are not talking about salvation of works but rather of salvation that produces fruits. The reformer Martin Luther was right when he said “We are not made righteous by doing righteous deeds; but when we have been made righteous we do righteous deeds.”[2] Service is a fruit of salvation.
            The second issue that has to be mentioned concerns the motive for service. There are several motives of service that are unbiblical and should not be encourage, namely, guilt (serving out of fear), pleasing people (for the sake of people that they may see), and pride (so as to receive praise).  Our service for the Lord should be motivated by obedience and love.
            The Lord not only expects us to serve Him, He further equips each believer with a gift for service. God does not just command us to serve him; however, he also equips to do the work of service. Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift given to them upon salvation. This is given with a purpose and goal, namely service. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:7 "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." And in 1 Corinthians 12:7 it says "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." Then in verse 11 it states "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." So it is very clear that every Christian has at least one spiritual gift. A quick study of Acts 1:7-8 might be helpful at this point. The passage says; He said to them, it is not for you to know times or epochs which the father has fixed by his own authority; but you will receive power when the holy spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to remotest part of the earth. The Lord gives us the enablement through the Holy Spirit by gifting us and he gives us the mission as well. Therefore with the mission comes the enablement, with the command comes the gifting. 

Wayne Grudem is spot on when he says “another aspect of empowering Christians for service is the Holy Spirits activity of giving spiritual gifts to equip Christians for ministry”[3]

[1]               Tripp, Paul. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. Pg xi
[2]               Barnes, Stanley. Here I Stand; An Inspirational Treasury of Martin Luther. Pg 29
[3]               Wayne, Grudem. Systematic Theology. Pg 639

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