Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Finding Transformers #8
7 PM, Tuesday, November 24, 2020
The Organic Church #8
The Church is a Serving Community
Jonah 1:11-16 / Philippians 2:6-8
Sunday Sermon on August 23, 2020
These days I am experiencing a new kind of joy through the feeling I get with Live Worship. I feel that our church families are with us online during our Sunday worship. So I want to thank you for being good examples of caring by sending cards after the service last Sunday. I am learning about caring hearts everyday by witnessing what you are doing for me, my family, our church, and the Kingdom of God. I know there are many more people who serve their neighbors, community, and church families physically, emotionally, and spiritually in places we cannot see. Thank you for those who share daily devotion on our church website and hit the little hearts to support and appreciate sharings. These are spiritual foods for the people who eat spiritual food every day. Thank you for spiritual cooks as well. I pray that our church can keep caring for our neighbors, community, and church families with the love of God in a variety of ways.
One thing I would like to do after this series of the organic church is to talk about the organic church together and share the thoughts from one another so that we can have time to learn more about God’s understanding of us as a church. I hope we can find something we can do together for our neighbors, community, and the world.
The purpose of studying the Word of God and knowing God is to transform ourselves into the beings God designed in the beginning and restore ourselves to the image of God. We should not lose our focus on this, with whatever we study and whatever we do as Christians for the church and the Kingdom of God. I hope all of us can hold our focus on the internal and external transformation of ourselves as an organic church through the input and out processes we have explored.
Today, we are going to think about the last core value of the external components of the organic church and the second output process of the organic church, which is serving. After this, we are going to think about the components of the internal transformation of the organic church for the following four Sundays, which are Transformation, Restoration, Wisdom, and Witness. I encourage you to look forward to thinking about our internal transformation based on the Word of God.
The Word ‘Serving’ came from the Greek word, Kenosis, which means ‘self-emptying’ our own will and to receive God’s will. Serving starts by emptying oneself, and changing our will to reflect God’s will. Throwing out our own greed, our craving for physical pleasure in everything we see, and our pride in our achievements and possessions in order to fill ourselves with the everlasting virtues which came from God. This kind of serving is well described in Philippians 2:6-11. This is the foundational principle of Serving others. It stands as the original example.
Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV)
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
The first step of serving is to consider ourselves as something not to be used for our own advantage, rather to humble ourselves by taking the very nature of a servant. One of the most interesting things I have found in my life is this. When I want to serve someone as a servant with the heart of Jesus Christ, it is okay. But if someone else considers me a servant, it is not okay. Ideally, both must be okay in the deepest part of our heart. If we truly want to serve others as Jesus did for us, we must be able to enjoy being used for the Kingdom of God. This is what we must do in order to aid in the fruition of God’s dream to save all people and lead them to come to the knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ.
So, in order to be used for someone else, the first thing we need to do is to sacrifice ourselves. Without giving up my time, energy, and money for our own sake, we cannot sacrifice and serve others. I bet most of us don’t like to give up what we have. We would rather use our possessions for ourselves. But, giving up something for others and sacrificing for others is the first step in serving others. This is the reason Jesus came down on earth.
An excellent example of sacrificing ourselves and serving others is in 1 Corinthians 9:18-23.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV) Paul’s Use of His Freedom
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.
To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
These scriptures show us how to use our freedom of will. We can do whatever we want. We can use our time for ourselves and our families. You can use your time for yourself and your families as well.
Paul knew that he had freedom to use what he had. He was free and belonged to no one, but he made himself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible because he thought this was the most valuable thing for which to use his life on earth.
To the Jews, he became like a Jew
To those under the law, he became like one under the law (though he was not under the law)
To those not having the law, he became like one not having the law (though he was not free from God’s law but was under Christ’ law)
To the weak, he became weak.
He became all things to all people because he wanted to save others by all possible means.
In verse 23, he finally said, “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings,”
When do you feel as if you must do everything? For what purpose would you do everything you can? -- when you have something to do for your family? When you have something to do for your future, your vision, dream, or passion? All of us try to do our best and give our all when we have something very important in our lives. In other words, we pay the price when we need to do something valuable for our lives.
How about God? Do you feel you need to do something for God with the same intensity as doing something for your family? Are you willing to pay the price for God’s dream? God paid the price for our sin and death through Jesus Christ, to save all people and come to the knowledge of the truth. Are you willing to do all things through all possible means to save some? Without sacrificing ourselves, we cannot serve others. No pain, no gain. No cross, No Crown. No sacrifice, no salvation.
Jonah is another good example of sacrificing for others.
Jonah 1:11-16 (NIV)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
When people around him on the boat in the storm encountered problems, Jonah repented his disobedience. Jonah admitted his fault and decided to pay the price. So he asked the others to throw him into the sea.
Nowadays, we need more people who are willing to admit their faults and wrong doings, to repent and accept responsibility and the consequences for their behavior. Too often when we have problems or we have done something wrong, it is easier to blame someone else. Playing the blame game does not please God.
What kind of Christian must we be? The person who recognizes one’s own sins, repents oneself to the Lord, and kneels down before the Lord. We must be the Christians who pray for others and furthermore pay the price for others just as Jesus did for us.
What is the ultimate purpose of sacrificing and serving others? The first reason is that God loved us first and Jesus sacrificed his life for us. So the worthiest life in the Kingdom of God is the life exalting Christ through sacrifice and serving others as Jesus did for us.
Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV)
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is to gain.
No matter what we do as a Christian or in the name of Jesus Christ, our life must exalt the name of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul said, “for to me, to live is Christ is do die is gain” It might seem very hard for us. Actually we cannot do this with our knowledge, experience, or strength alone. However, with God’s strength, we can do it.
2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are just weak clay jars but the reason we can do this is because of the all-surpassing power from God in us. I hope and pray that we can keep the all-surpassing power in us so that we can do the difficult things we are asked to do, for His Kingdom.
LET US PRAY
Father we thank you for giving us a clear direction for our lives as Your people. To be honest with you, it is hard for us to live like Jesus or even Paul. But now we remember which direction we must strive toward and we can do this with your all-surpassing power in us.
Lord, help, guide, and strengthen us to walk straight in the right direction with your all-surpassing power even though our faith is not strong enough to walk straight. Keep us on the right track so that we can move closer and closer toward You every day. Thank you for being with us in Spirit to guide and walk with us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Questions for discussion:
Did the message alter your perception of what service means? If yes, how so?
How would you define the concept of giving sacrificially for others?
The Pastor said, “No cross, no crown.” How do you interpret that saying? What does it mean in terms of service?
Jonah repented of his disobedience and sacrificed himself for the sake of others. How did God redeem his faithful action?
The analogy of jars of clay was used for our lives without God. Can you recall a time you felt the all-surpassing power of God in you? How did it make a difference in your life or the life of another?