Serve the Lord with Gladness

We are called to serve the Lord with glad and sincere hearts, this calling is not the result of some legalistic obligation but a heartfelt response to God’s grace. It is not surprising therefore that we find the Lord Jesus teaching about serving at the time of the Lord’s supper.

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The New International Version. (2011). (Lk 22:19–30). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

First, of all the Lord shows them the greatness of his love as he points forward to his sacrificial death upon the cross. It is only after they are taught something about God’s grace that they are reminded that they are to serve the Lord and other people.The disciples wanted to show that they were important, looking to see who is the greatest but Jesus cuts across all this and reminds them that he has come to serve and they must do the same. We are called to minister God’s grace to one another, we can only do this if we have the heart of a servant.  Jesus is the great example of one who comes to serve and he demonstrates that to the disciples in many ways, we can reflect upon so many accounts of his serving others in the gospels, but really the whole of his life’s ministry was one of service to others. But we should not only be inspired by his example but also by his bringing of the grace of God to us through his ministry because of this we should respond to him with gratitude of heart.

The Apostle Peter also shared some insights in his first letter, which help us to expand the horizons of this subject a little.

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

The Apostle Peter places the whole concept of service within a life of prayer and of love to one another. It is vital that we recognise this context or we will tend to evaluate the concept of service wrongly. a life of prayer and love leads inevitably to acts of service. True love will express itself in concrete acts of service. This leads us to the subject of spiritual gifts and we are called to use those gifts as faithful stewards of God’s grace. Notice here that spiritual gifts are not given to us make us feel good about ourselves but rather so that we can serve others. Peter tells us that we must serve with the strength that God provides. Perhaps this old hymn gives a good summary of what I am trying to say,

When we walk with the Lord,
In the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
Let us do His good will;
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove,
The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet,
We will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

In Ephesians 6 Paul exhorts us to be strong in the Lord,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
The New International Version. (2011). (Eph 6:10–18). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The real key to serving the Lord is to do so in his power, that is why we need to emphasise that the New Testament concept of faith is that of trust in God, it is only as we trust God and look to him that we can step out in obedience and do what he says. This is why it is so vital to realise that even though we are in a spiritual battle we cannot be defeated as long as we stand in the strength the Lord provides. We need to put on the full armour of God and when we have done so we will be able to stand. We are called to serve the Lord with gladness in the midst of a broken and fallen world, in this world we are constantly in a battle but we are on the winning side. The Word of God calls us to a life of serving the Lord this is not always easy but true service comes as a response to God’s grace and therefore we can serve him with gladness.

About pneumaandlogos

David Rollings was born in Luton in1949 and raised by my Christian parents in the Gospel Standard Strict Baptist denomination( Hyper-Calvinistic} in the sixties I rebelled against this background and got involved in left-wing politics. I became a Christian in 1969 and soon started reading Francis Schaeffer's books and came to embrace a Christian Worldview. I had the privilege of being on the staff of L'Abti Fellowship from1975 - 1979. After L'abri I studied at London School of Theology where I gained my BA.(1983) A few years later I studied for my MA by distance learning with The Nazarene Theological College Manchester (1999) For the last 25 years, I have been an elder of Shoreham-by-Sea Baptist Church. I also regularly attend the Christian Doctrine Study Group of the Tyndale Fellowship.
This entry was posted in faith, gifts of the Holy Spirit., grace, Jesus Christ, love, sanctification, Spiritual gifts, Spiritual Warfare., Theology, Word of God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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