July 26, 2015
Servant of God
This morning we are going to begin a series of lessons I have titled "Servant of God"
- In this lesson we will examine what it means to be a true servant of God
- We'll also get a better understanding of the joy and love that comes from being a servant of God.
I am not a fan of snakes...never liked them.
- My understanding is that you can tell what type of snake one is by its "markings."
- Poisonous ones have certain marking while harmless one have different ones.
In our text this morning, we’re reading about an entirely different kind of “marking.
- Deuteronomy describes a marking that only special people had.
- From that we will see that we as Christians also have a "mark."
We'll see that he mark that we have been sealed with is also a covenant that we have made to obey and follow the one who marks us.
- All too many times we become "spiritual hitchhikers"
- A hitchhiker on the road just wants a ride, they don't want to help with gas, maintenance...no commitment.
In the same way, in just about every congregation you’ll find these “spiritual hitchhikers”.
They essentially say to God "If I’m comfortable. If I’m happy. If I like the preaching, the song service, and I like people… then I’ll SIT at church and take it all in."
- I do want to be involved with personal work, visitation, benevolence.
- By the way, if anything happens that irritates me, I’m outta here!
- So, on my own terms, I’ll ride along with you, God"
This is not the commitment we find when we are "marked" by God.
12 “If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13 And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. 14 You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16 But if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, 17 then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slave you shall do the same. Deut. 15:12-17
In our society, a person who gets into financial trouble goes on welfare.
But in early Israel, they had a little different kind of welfare.
- God demanded that His people have compassion on the poor and help them.
- He commanded that a certain portion of the Temple tithe was to go to help those struggling financially.
- He also required that a certain portion of fields and vineyards were set aside for the needy to collect food.
- The poor were allowed to glean what they needed from the unharvested parts of fields.
There was another option open to them.
- They could sell themselves into slavery.
- The money from being sold into slavery would be used to pay off the person’s debts.
- This slavery was only be for a limited amount of time...God decreed that after serving 6 years, these slaves were to be set free.
- But what if this slave didn’t want to be set free?
- What if he wanted to stay with his master?
- God allowed the slave to make the relationship permanent.
- And the way this relationship became permanent was that the servant was voluntarily “marked” for the rest of his life.
- 17 says: “then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your maidservant.”
Does any of this apply to us?
- "...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
The committed servant
In the days of Jesus if you called someone Lord you were stating that they owned you.
- During this time slaves were slaves forever.
- Their only hope was that their master would set them free.
- But in Romans 10, God is telling us that you can choose to be Jesus’ servant.
- You get to choose if Jesus is going to be your Lord/Master.
- You get to choose whether or not you will serve Him.
- You get to choose if you will allow Him to have ownership of your life.
In Deut. why did God choose the ear to be marked?
- God chose the ear of the servant because - in this ceremony (where the awl was pushed thru) - the servant was declaring something to his master.
- He was going to “listen” to him the rest of his life.
- What the master said would be Law to him.
- He would be eager to “hear” and obey.
When you and I became Christians we declared to God… we’re going to listen to you.
- Your voice will be the ONLY voice that gets our full attention.
- This implies more than just hearing what God says.
- The implication is that you are saying, “I not only hear, I will obey!”
A loving servant of God
What is the kind of servant God wants?
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15:1-2
- I’d rather be the servant who hears and obeys.
- I’d rather not be the branch that God cuts off and throws away.
Another thing important to the Deut. text is that his process was voluntary...the servant did not have to go through the process.
- Jesus said “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching” John 14:24.
- The only reason for someone to become a Christian and live for Jesus is because they love Him so much.
- They love His family (the church) so much that they can’t think of doing anything else with their lives.
Multiple text in John confirms this:
- “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…" John 14:21
- "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching…” John 14:23
- “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:10
The good servant obeys Jesus… because he loves Him.
So the question this morning for you is this… do you REALLY love Jesus?
So the question this morning for you is this… do you REALLY love Jesus?
- I’m not asking the question to make you feel guilty.
- I’m just asking: are you so consumed with love for Jesus that you literally want to please Him in everything you do?
In Deuteronomy 15 we find that the servant was marked for life.
Are you are marked?
- Well, yeah. Once you became a Christian… God marked you.
- 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Eph. 1:13-14
When do we receive his "seal" or mark?
- Eph. says comes by "hearing the word of truth" and "believing in Him".
- Deut. 15 shows us that the slave could not stop by simply declaring they wanted to belong to the Master.
- There was a piercing that took place.
- We too can't stop at a confession.
In Acts 2 there was a confession, "What do we do?" was the question.
- Here is the answer:
Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Isaiah 53:5 say “… he was PIERCED for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
- We weren’t pierced to belong to Him.
- He was pierced so WE COULD belong to Him.
And where did that piercing take place?
- On the cross… where He died for our sins.
- So we did NOT have our body pierced to belong to Christ.
But the beauty of the salvation act is that God allows us to identify with what Jesus did on that cross.