Gospel-Centered Service

Village Identity explores what a maturing disciple looks like at The Village, focusing on the mission of the church: to bring glory to God by making disciples through gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered community, gospel-centered service and gospel-centered multiplication.

Topic: The Village Church Scripture: Galatians 6:910

Transcript | Audio

Transcript

We are in week six of this series, but a sub-series within this series has been this idea of family traits. So what we’ve done is said, “This is what God is doing, this is how we are joining God in what God is doing and this is how it plays itself out in the church.” So as we talked about what our mission and vision is as a church, we said that the Village Church exists to bring glory to God. That is us joining God in what God is doing. God is about God. God is for God. God is after the praise of God. So we established that in the first couple of weeks and talked at length about why that’s such a good thing. And then we moved on to say that God displays His glory in thousands of ways, but He primarily does that through His covenant community. And it’s not so much in how awesome they are but rather His love for them despite their lack of awesomeness. We then asked what it meant to be a maturing follower of Jesus Christ. What does it look like to be perpetually growing? Because what we understand is that, although we can mature, we don’t ever arrive until the return of Christ or until we stop breathing and then what we now know in part, we know in full. So we said in week three, we said that a disciple is gospel-centered in their worship. And last week, we said that we are gospel-centered in our community. When God awakens our hearts to the reality of Christ and reconciles us to Himself, that forms a community. Although our relationship with Christ is personal, it was not meant to be private. We have been reconciled to God, but we have also been reconciled to one another.

And then that takes us to this week, which is gospel-centered service. Now serving one another is not a distinctive Christian attribute. Although I do believe that outside of the gospel, serving one another doesn’t make a lot of sense or is actually far more difficult and weighty than it is under the banner of the gospel. So let me try to attack both of those. If you’re secular in how you view the world, the problem with serving other people under that banner is that you’re actually being far more hypocritical than anything the church could ever throw out there. Because if you’re saying that you believe that we got here through the evolution of mankind, through the strengths of mankind and seeing the weaknesses of mankind being weeded out, anytime you help anyone, you are attacking the very premise of what is best for mankind in your worldview. So anytime you help the homeless, anytime you take care of those who have fallen under the weight of some sort of natural catastrophe, you’re actually assaulting your own world view, because, according to what you believe, what’s best for mankind is for the weak to die, for the weak to be weeded out, for the shallow end of the gene pool to somehow be cleared away so that what is dominant can go on and become what’s best for mankind. That’s what you believe, even though you wouldn’t say it like that. But if you want to chalk up our reality to evolution and some sort of Darwinistic kind of ideal, then for you to ever help anyone makes you a bit of a hypocrite. You are actually living in contrast to your own world view. The second thing that I would like to address in regards to humans serving humans is this. What makes Christianity very different than other faiths when it comes to this idea is we do not serve in order to earn the favor of God. So I don’t serve others so that I may have a résumé I can throw out before God and say, “See? I can get in, huh? We’re cool, right? I mean, look at this. I worked at this homeless shelter. After Katrina, I sent this money to the Red Cross. After this, I did this. See, God? I’m doing things, so that means I’m in, right?” No, that’s not my motivation as a believer, as someone who sits under the gospel. I serve others because I have been greatly served, and I mimic my Savior because I have been conformed into the image of the Son and the Son has set an example for me about what service to the world looks like.

Now, motivation matters. Jesus is very concerned with not just action but with motivation when it comes to action. This is true in the Old Testament just as well as it is in the New Testament. You do know that there is unity in the Scriptures, right? It’s not like the God of the Old Testament is kind of grumpy, and then for whatever reason, he has cheered up

there in the New Testament and just became a lot cooler, a lot more mild in His old age. It’s the same God, beginning to end. And what you get in the Old Testament are statements like this. When Israel, the covenant community of faith, is presenting sacrifices to God but their hearts are far from Him, when they are going to temple, they are singing, they are doing the rites of their faith but their hearts are far from God, how does God rebuke them? First of all, He asks them rhetorical questions all the time. He’s like, “Do you really think I need bulls? Do you think this thing is about bulls and goats? If you need to feed Me, we’re in trouble here, aren’t we? If you’ve got to help Me out, then how would I ever be capable of helping you out?” And then He’ll often just complain about what they’re doing that isn’t in obedience to what He told them to do. He’s like, “Oh, this trampling of My courts! Why do you keep coming into My presence? You drive me crazy.” “Well didn’t You ask us to come into Your presence?” “Yes, but I want your heart, not just your physical presence.

I don’t want you to come check it off your list; I want you to come and delight in Me.” And then in the New Testament, Jesus just aggressively comes after the heart not just the actions. I’ll give you two examples. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’” Now adultery is an act, right? It’s not an idea; it’s an act. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So this is good news and bad news here. Here’s how it plays out. Jesus is saying, “If you’re not committing adultery because of some sort of white-knuckled ‘I know it’s not right, so I shouldn’t do it,’ then you’re not free. I have come to set you free. I have come to transform your heart so that your actions are transformed, not because of white-knuckled self will, but because of a new heart.” And then He goes on to say, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder.’” Now murder is an act. It’s not just an idea; it’s an act. So Jesus says, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Do you see that Jesus and the Father are very interested in the motives that drive our actions, and you can do the right thing with the wrong motive and have God call it sin?

Now let me walk through some of the motives, both Christian and non-Christian, that really push us into serving one another. The first one, probably the most popular one, is compassion. We see something that moves us, and we begin to feel empathy, we imagine how it would be if that were us and our souls are stirred up, and with compassion, we serve our fellow human beings. That’s one of the motives that drive us. Another motive that drives us is guilt. Sometimes we serve others out of guilt. I think the pace of our culture moves so fast that most of us are completely unaware of how many of our daily actions find their motivations in shame and guilt. So guilt is a powerful motivating force in the service of others. We serve others because we feel guilty and that somehow in service of others, we kind of expunge that guild or shame that we’re feeling. A third one is force. Sometimes we serve others because we’re forced to serve others. Have you ever called a customer service hotline just furious? Now, let’s talk about this poor guy who answered the phone. He has done nothing to you, nothing. He is not responsible for what was or was not in that box. He is simply operating under the policies that were set for him by someone four or five spaces higher up the food chain who has no idea of what life is like on the ground. And you’re ripping into him and chewing them out about how they ruined your kid’s birthday party or how this thing that you were going to do has now been completely ruined and your life has stopped as you know it and have planned for it because of his. He’s making like $7/hr to take your calls. You’re screaming at him, and he’s just going by the standard that was set. He’ll say things like, “Well, that cable can be purchased at our on-line store,” which makes you angrier because you already bought the product. He’s just getting worked by you. And what is he doing? He’s going to continue to calmly serve you. But what’s in his mind? Do you think he’s wishing you a Merry Christmas? Do you think his motivation is empathy? “Oh, this poor guy. This birthday party was ruined. I’m so sorry. I’m welling up right now. Seriously. I’m hearing your story about not being able to pitch the game on to your theater wall so your buddies can watch it. I’m tearing up. I’m misty.” Do you think it’s compassion? Do you think it’s guilt? No, he’s being forced. He’s serving others because he’s being forced to serve others. Sometimes we serve others out of pride. It is a way to elevate ourselves above others and feel better about us because we serve. So it’s never private service; it’s always public service. “Where have you been, Bill?” “Well, I was at the homeless shelter. What are those people going to do without us? You

ought to try it sometime. You have to quit spending all that money on you, and you should join me in helping those less fortunate.” It’s a pride that motivates.

And I don’t know what to call the last one except that you serve others out of some sort of unspiritual, selfish positioning. To be clear, you’re a suck up. You’re not serving except to get something for yourself. Now in some ways, this type of hedonism is what we are a Christians. So to make this very clear, we follow Jesus and we make much of Christ because, in making much of Christ, our joy is ever-expanding. That’s what we talked about in weeks one and two of this series. So we are, by definition, hedonist in that we are pursuing our greatest possible joy in obedience to and a knowledge of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, that type of positioning and pursuit does not work well when you get down on the man-on-man (or woman) type of relationship. If I’m at work doing these things in order for my coworkers to do these things and they don’t do these things, now I am immediately entitled and frustrated. “I did these things. Why aren’t they doing these things?” Or if I simply serve my wife only so that she can do certain things for me and she doesn’t do those things for me, that’s going to lead to conflict. It will lead to conflict in both directions because I think I’m owed because I did these things and because she’ll think I just did those things to elicit some things over here.

So the unity, harmony and peace that comes about as the gospel drives service doesn’t exist in almost all of those motivations for service. So our service as believers in Christ is gospel-centered. The foundation our service is built upon is that Christ has lived, died and was resurrected to reconcile us to the Father, and our example of and the motivation for the type of service required of us is found in the life of Christ.

So let’s look at John 13, starting in verse 3. “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” To catch you up culturally in a way that won’t make me lose my job, I’ve got to try to paint this picture in the most accurate way I can without getting as graphic as I need to be full on. Think of how nasty feet are today. Now multiply that times a billion and you’re still not there. There is no act more demeaning

in the 1 st century than the wiping of men’s feet. And yet Christ, the Son of God, takes off His outer garment, takes up a basin, fills it with water and begins to wipe the muck and the mire off of these men’s feet. The equivalent would be to think of someone in power, someone well beyond you in wealth, status and in fame. I wanted to use the President here, but some of you would love for him to come to your house and do what I’m about to say. So that’s not going to work, but think about whoever you look up to. He comes over to your house for dinner. After dinner is over, he just quietly gets up, takes off his jacket, goes to your bathroom and then begins to scrub around your toilet. Aren’t you going to go in and begin to go, “What are you doing, man?” He’s like, “Who can’t aim?” So you ladies are like, “Tell me about it. For twenty years, I’ve been trying figure that out.” Then he’s like, “What’s this? What happened in here?” And then he just can’t

be pulled off of cleaning the nastiest part of your house. That’s what’s happening in this moment. Jesus, who is well beyond them in every possible way, has stooped to the lowest rung on the ladder and is serving them. And our boy Peter is going to point this out like he always does.

Verse 6, “He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ”Lord, do you wash my feet?“” You can’t hold this against Peter. Peter simply says, “What are You doing? What You’re doing isn’t right.” Look at the next line, because it’s important. “Jesus answered him, ”What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.“” He’s going to understand afterward, because Jesus is going to explain it to him, but this is not a bad thing that Peter would say, “What are You doing? Why are You doing this? You’re going to wash my feet?” It would be the same thing in that scenario if you were to go, “Why are you cleaning my bathroom? Why are you down there? You’re a guest in my house. Why would you be cleaning my bathroom? You are beyond this. What are you doing?” So we can’t fault Peter for that, but we can however fault him for the next line. “Peter said to him, ”You shall never wash my feet.“” I always love Peter here, because

he’s already said that Jesus is God and this is the second time he has tried to argue with Him. “You’re God.” “Well I’m going to have to go die.” “No You’re not.” “Well am I God or am I not God?” And then here we go again. “You are God.” “Well I’m going to have to wash your feet.” “You’re not going to wash my feet. Why would You wash my feet?” “You don’t understand now. I’m going to explain later.” “You’re still not ever touching my feet.” He’s passionate and that passion usually goes really fast and hard in the wrong direction, but Jesus is always willing to pull it back in. That’s why Christ’s unwavering mercy for Peter makes me feel much more comfortable in God’s love for me. Verse 8, “Peter said to him, ”You shall never wash my feet.“ Jesus answered him, ”If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.“” And then Peter just swings hard the other way. Peter said to Him, “Simon Peter said to him, ”Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!“” You’ve got to love this guy. “You will never wash my feet.” “Well, then you can’t have any part of Me.” “Wash all of me then.” And then Jesus has to pull him back from that. “Jesus said to him, ”The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.“ For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ”Not all of you are clean.“” Now let’s just sit in a moment and think about this. This means that Jesus Christ, in full knowledge of his becoming betrayal and death, is washing the feet of Judas Iscariot, the one who is going to sell Him off to the officials for thirty pieces of silver.

Verse 12, “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ”Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.“ Now, Jesus is beginning to explain Peter’s concern. Now this culture, like our culture, is a culture built upon the premise of power. The more powerful you are, the wealthier you are, the more talented you are, the less expectation there is on you to lower yourself and help other people, and the less amount of power, wealth and talent you have, the more you are expected to serve those with more than you have. It’s a culture predicated on power. It’s how almost all cultures exist and operate to this day. So the more gifted you are, the fewer expectations there are on you. The wealthier you are, the fewer expectations there are on you. Tell me that’s not true that the more you’re known, the easier life is for you in regards to the acquisition of things and opportunities. Isn’t it funny that, once you become famous and wealthy, stuff gets given to you? Now that you can afford it, people just give you stuff. Why? Because it’s a culture of power. ”They’re known, so I’ll just give them free stuff. The fact that they have my stuff all of a sudden makes me powerful.“ So this is the game we get caught into and that mankind has been caught up in since day one of the fall. Now, Jesus is turning this idea on its head. Remember that the promise made in Genesis 12 and Genesis 15 was that the kingdom of God was coming and that the kingdom of God was going to reconcile all things to the Father in heaven and on earth. Basically God was going to fix all that went wrong in the fall through His Son Jesus Christ. So when Jesus shows up and says, ”The kingdom of God is at hand,“ He takes this idea of the more power you have, the more wealth you have, the more prestige you have, the more influence you have and the more talent you have, people should come serve you and He’s going to flip it on its head. Because He’s saying to them, ”You’re right in calling Me Lord and Teacher, because I am.“ So Jesus is acknowledging Peter’s wrong view. ”I am beyond you. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I have always been, and I will always be. I can tell it to stop raining, and it will. I can tell it to start raining, and it will. I can tell dead people not to be dead, and they’ll listen. I can tell sick people that they’re no longer sick and any illness will leave. I am beyond you. You call Me Lord and Master, and you’re right, for I am. You are My servants. I am your Master. The message is Mine, and you are the messenger. And yet I do this to set an example. I’m setting an example for you that, in the kingdom of God, we don’t operate this way. We do not use our power, we do not use our influence, we do not use our position to not serve those under us. But rather we use that power, position and ability to actively lower ourselves in humility and to serve those under us and around us.“ With Christ as our example, we mimic our Savior who turns the power system on its head.

I want to show you a place where this happens graphically. In Matthew 20, James’ and John’s mother comes to Jesus and requests that James and John sit at the Lord’s right hand and left hand in His kingdom. So Jesus asks a question of them. He’s like, ”Are you willing to do what it takes to do that?“ And both of them are like, ”Absolutely!“ So Jesus acknowledges, ”Oh you’re going to pay the price, but that’s not Mine to give.“ A that, the other disciples become indignant towards these other two. I’d probably be indignant too. I’d probably go, ”Why is your mom here, bro? Why do you have your mama asking these questions? You’re a grown man.“ But they’re indignant at the request for power and authority. So Jesus responds to the indignation by telling them to huddle up. And here’s what He says in Matthew 20:25- 28. ”But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”“ So as Christ our Savior empties Himself of His authority and serves us, so we are to empty ourselves of any entitlement and to serve others. Jesus takes the power system and turns it on

its head. He says, ”We don’t walk with swagger, we understand that whatever we have is by the grace of God and we give glory to God by emptying ourselves of it for the good of others. We serve one another.“

And then the church actually does a pretty good job of this as we see the Scriptures tell the stories in Acts, but I love Philippians 2. Starting in verse 3, ”Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.“ Now, this runs against the grain of everything inside of us that is not of Christ. We, as our default mode of operating, have learned to spot the weaknesses of others to justify us being above them in the pecking order of service. Why do you think that you can so quickly spot the weaknesses of others? Sometimes those weaknesses are silly, and sometimes those weaknesses are legit, but almost all of us are connoisseurs of the weaknesses of others. It doesn’t take us long. We can do it pretty quickly. Some of us can do it at first glance. For some of us, it’s just a feeling like something’s not right about them. And then if you could ever say out loud what you’re thinking, you would realize what a fool you are. But because all that conversation is taking place in your head and your heart, you never see that nine times out of ten you’re comparing your strength to their weaknesses, sometimes in completely opposite categories. ”I can’t believe that guy talks to his wife like that. I work long and hard at my office. You see, I work long and hard at my office so I can buy stuff for my wife and children, to provide for them and give them a happy life, but he speaks so aggressively to his wife that there is no way that’s good for their relationship.“ So this is what we do. ”Here’s what I do well. Here’s what you do poorly. See how much better I am than you? See why I shouldn’t have to serve you? See why I shouldn’t have

to lower myself and help you? Because I’m so much better than you are.“ And if we put the cards down on the table, if we put weakness next to weakness, you could easily see that there’s nothing but black sheep in this family. Some of us just prefer the fleece of self-righteousness. There isn’t anything but sinners in this place. To think differently is an unbelievable display of spiritual arrogance. 1 John says, ”If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.“

Now, the thing we need to answer here is, what does this look like? So each week, we’ve tried to go, ”Okay, if this call of God is on our lives to worship the gospel as our base and do community with the gospel as our foundation, what does it look like to be driven by the gospel in service to one another organically? And then what does it look like in regards to what the church does?“ So let’s talk organically. What I mean by ”organically“ is it’s not a program that the church provides; it’s you knowing, loving and walking with Jesus on a daily basis. Here’s how it looks. It will look daily as your interactions with people in concentric circles. So for me, gospel-centered service begins in my relationship with my wife. If you’re not married, it’s with your roommate. If you don’t have a roommate, I want to encourage you to get a roommate. And if you’re going, ”Well, I’m older and I don’t like people,“ most of the time we don’t like people. Because being around people reveals our selfishness and sinful nature. So it’s a lot easier to isolate and keep things like we want them so we don’t have to deal with that. And then you get married and wonder why that first year is a train wreck. ”Because I was so awesome when it was just me in a house by myself.“ You were doing great, but now this person has come in and

look what has happened. There’s now all this conflict. No, you just isolated yourself and showed a few of your cards to some people. But without iron sharpening iron, without interaction in a way where there are not a lot of secrets, you have a hard time really gaining traction in growth. So for me, that starts with my wife. Our relationships are all going to be different, but Lauren and I have learned to have frequent conversations with one another about how I can help her, how she can help me. So we’ll talk this afternoon and look at a calendar at everything from Reid’s football game to Audrey’s piano practice to what I’ve got going on this week to what she’s got going on, and we’ll look at all of that and just have a straight up talk about who’s doing what this week and how that works. We don’t have set jobs, although there are set expectations. Our set expectations have almost everything to do with communication more than it does with action. So when I walk in the house and see dishes in the sink, I’m not thinking, ”Hey, that’s Lauren’s job.“ I’m thinking that something has gone awry today and somebody has lost their mind and my beautiful, hard-working wife had to handle that. It might have even been her who lost her mind. So I want to get in there and do the dishes. And I’m not doing it to get something in return. I’m doing it to serve my wife, because I have been faithfully served by Jesus.

And then my next circle is my kids. Kids are hard. Serving your children in a way that’s rooted in the gospel is difficult. Because sometimes serving your children well takes a lot longer than just handling the situation. There are times in our home that I could clean up after one of my kids and it takes five minutes. Or I could make them clean it up and would take an hour and a half and I’m going to have to spank them at some point in that time. And then, I’m going to have to clean up all of that anyway. So sometimes what’s easiest is not what’s best. It’s my understanding from the Word of God that I have been asked to train my children in life, in the glory of God and in all those things. So sometimes what is best is for me to take the hour and a half, dole out those whippings and then vacuum up what would have just taken three minutes earlier. Because I get to train and shape, and that’s a way to serve my children. Why? Because there is going

to come a day where it’s not me to clean it anymore. It will be their spouse or it will be their roommate. So I would be already setting my children up for conflict, for stress and for failure by not taking the hour and a half today. And let me be straight. I stink at this. It’s why I’m using it as an illustration. Because I get convicted of this all the time. I stink at it, but it’s one of those ways that the Lord presses on me. He’s like, ”What’s your role here? What’s your job here? What have I asked of you concerning them? Think about how patient I am with you. Think of how I let you stumble about to learn lessons.“

And then from there, it rolls out to my neighborhood. How can I serve my neighbors? Most of the time, it’s just really simple stuff. For us it’s pulling Rich and Martha’s trash cans up on Tuesday if they’re out of town or it’s picking up their newspapers. Or maybe it’s just helping if they’re doing projects. If they’re in the yard, it’s as simple as going, ”Hey, can I help you? I don’t have a green thumb, but I can rip stuff up if you need that.“ I want to serve my neighbors. As best I can, I want to be in my front yard and engage those around our neighborhood.

And then it goes from there to work. At work, you have those under you, those with you and those above you, and the gospel says you serve them all. ”Well it’s cut throat out there, Chandler.“ Okay, I want you to climb the corporate ladder. I want you to become CFO’s and CEO’s. I want you to have all of it, but not at the expense of your soul. I want you to get promoted, I want you to work hard and I want you to be trustworthy, but I don’t want you to do that by cutting other people’s legs out from underneath them. To obtain some level of authority and power at the expense of your conscience and witness is an idiotic trade. So work hard and do good, but love and serve those underneath you, those with you and those above you. And I don’t pretend to not know that some of those people can be extremely difficult. . .just like you.

And then it rolls out to the covenant community. We’re still not talking organizationally here. We’re simply talking about the kingdom of God, those who are believers in Christ. Galatians 6:10 says, ”So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.“ So let us do good to everyone, but especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ as we have opportunity. So as we have opportunity to give to, to help and

to encourage our brothers and sisters, we should take every opportunity to do that. If there is a question of those outside the faith or those inside the faith, what does the text say? ”. . .especially those who are of the household of faith.“ The outside world should watch our affection for one another in awe. In regards to those of you who are thinking of a local church vs. a church universal, one of the best ways you can serve a church is, when you see a weakness or shortcoming in that church, rather than ranting and complaining about it, why don’t you step in and help? Why don’t you help solve the problem? Even to this day, if you send an e-mail going, ”I just feel like we should be doing this,“ we tend to reply, ”Somebody should be doing this, and it looks like God has placed a call on your life. How can we come alongside of you as you reach out on this new endeavor that God has called you to?“ So you can work for the good of the church rather than critiquing and complaining about what is or is not there.

Now as an organization, I simply want to make you aware of this. Every weekend at the Village Church, we require hundreds and hundreds of volunteers to make this thing go. You were greeted, you were parked, you were given information, there were men and women leading you in worship. Those are not paid positions. A volunteer transcribed this sermon for you to read. During the week there are groups that meet. It is all driven by people who, under the weight of the gospel, gladly serve those who are in the covenant community of faith. So at all three campuses, we have a room called Connection Central, and in that room, you can find all the needs that we have as a covenant community and how you can fill them. I love John’s testimony (link) simply because he’s serving in a way that is right in line with his gifts. He excels at this. He has already built out these systems, and he sees how God has gifted him and what he does for a living can bolster and strengthen all of us as a community of faith. In fact, if you can get a seat at one of our services that are packed full, it’s because someone made a sacrifice to go at a different time, to ride a shuttle bus or something like that in order to make space. This is a way that we serve. If you are a part of a group, that’s because someone has been willing to serve. If you rode the shuttle bus, it’s because someone was willing to serve. You got handed a bulletin because someone was willing to serve. These are ways that people are willing to serve the covenant community at large.

Now let me press on this in closing. I said in week one that the most beautiful aspect of God being about God is that it sets us free from everything being about us and sets us free to make much of Him. And there is an unbelievable amount of freedom that comes in that. So let me press on two areas in particular. Where you refuse to serve others or simply serve others with the wrong motive, then what’s really being revealed about your heart is that you think this is all about you. You think that God gave you a spouse as some sort of divine waiter or waitress. You think God gave you a church to meet all your felt needs. I can’t tell you how many people, because of the programatic influence on church, really put on the church responsibilities that aren’t the church’s to bear. So fathers, I will not give an account for your children. Our children’s ministry will not stand in front of God and give an account for the discipling of your children. The onus of that falls on you. Our role is to equip you, walk with you and encourage you in that calling. But the role is given to daddies and mommies, not to the church. The church comes alongside daddies and mommies. So if you want us to do this or do that, you’re revealing in your lack of service or your serving with the wrong motive that you honestly believe that the point of the church, the universe and all of this is you. We said in week one and two, how frustrated must you be at almost all times? How often must everyone disappoint you? How easily agitated must you be? In reality, you need to confess, repent and throw yourself on the mercy and grace of Christ to be set free to make much of Him and free to serve others. Do you have in your mind other people you will serve and people you won’t serve? Can you ferret that out? Can you find out what that line is? Who is it that falls under the line of service? Who is it that is above the line of service? If you really dig around in there, you’ll find out just how idolatrous you are, how prejudiced you are and how unwilling you are to sacrifice what your owed and what you’re due for the betterment of others.

Thank God for His grace that covers our selfishness. Let’s pray. ”Jesus, thank You that even to this day You call us clean and continue to wash our feet. Thank You that we sit under Your pronouncements to Peter that we are clean if we know You, worship You and follow You. And yet still to this day, there is muck and mire on our feet. Some of us,

even around this idea of serving others, of making much of others, of humbling ourselves, of considering others better than ourselves, as we have been exposed today, You’re simply washing off our feet. You’re simply revealing areas that we need to repent and confess. I pray our hearts would be laid bare before You. Holy Spirit, would You create us us contrition and repentance that would leave to life and joy? It’s for Your beautiful name. Amen.“

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