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Becoming True Servants of God

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Becoming True Servants of God

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Becoming True Servants of God

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On this day of Pentecost, we need to ask ourselves, why has God called us to be part of that effort to bring His Kingdom to this earth and assist His Son in that mission? If we truly want to be a part of the body of Christ, we must by all means be a part of that body. To aid in its mission and purpose. What does it mean to be a true servant of God, and as we contemplate Pentecost this year let us ask ourselves, are we being used by God to aid His son in fulfilling His mission? His mission did not end with the ultimate death that He paid for the sins of the world.

Sermon Notes

In Matthew 12 we see the familiar exchange between the Pharisees who accused Christ’s disciples when they ate the grain walking through the field.  At first, Jesus gives them a lesson on mercy and says the priests were given a pass to work in the Temple on the Sabbath and that someone greater than the Temple was in their midst who is Lord of the Sabbath. 

Jesus leaves there and goes into their Synagogue and sees a man in need of healing with a withered hand.  Here was another lesson in Mercy they did not understand.  The challenged Him on the subject of Healing on the Sabbath so they could accuse Him.  Let’s read along in verse 9

Matthew 12:9-13 Matthew 12:9-13 9 And when he was departed there, he went into their synagogue: 10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11 And he said to them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Why it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 13 Then said he to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
American King James Version×
NKJ Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”– that they might accuse Him. 11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.

So did they get the message on Mercy?  Did they see that the power of God was used to do good on the Sabbath and to minister unto those in need?  To the hungry?  To the infirmed? Or was it just another chance to tear Him down?

14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.  15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. (Matthew 12:14-15 Matthew 12:14-15 14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. 15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from there: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
American King James Version×
NKJ)

But to those who believed, and were healed he said the following:

Continuing on to Verse 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.  19 He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; 21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.” (Matthew 12:16-21 Matthew 12:16-21 16 And charged them that they should not make him known: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit on him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. 19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment to victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
American King James Version×
NKJ)

We are supposed to follow Jesus Christ and become His disciple.  But what does that mean?  It isn’t simply someone who knows about the man and tell all about Him.  To follow someone means to pattern their lives after Him.  As Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ.   In this passage we see that Jesus declared Himself a servant of God who had a mission to bring God’s Kingdom to give justice to this world.  Jesus came to bring healing and hope to this world and call those who would help Him bring it.

The title of the Sermon today is,

Becoming True Servants of God

On this day of Pentecost, we need to ask ourselves, why has God called us to be part of that effort to bring His Kingdom to this earth and assist His Son in that mission?  If we truly want to be a part of the body of Christ, we must by all means be a part of that body.  To aid in its mission and purpose. 

What does it mean to be a true servant of God, and as we contemplate Pentecost this year let us ask ourselves, are we being used by God to aid His son in fulfilling His mission?  His mission did not end with the ultimate death that He paid for the sins of the world. 

How do you recognize a Servant?

In the Old Testament, A true servant was easy to define, God literally calls someone and when they answer and do what God tells them to do, you have a true servant of God.  Some are greater than others.  On one hand you have Noah, Abraham, David, and the prophets.  But others had much less visible roles to play.  You have reluctant servants like Moses, Jonah, and Balaam had to be talked into their service. Some Like Moses became a Legend and others like Jonah, struggled with their attitude throughout their service to God.  In the new testament, God poured out His Spirit to His church and instead of a few servants doing the work, you had True Servants–but by the thousands.  Let’s take a look at this new chapter began in Acts chapter 1: The time is shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus came to them and taught them for 40 days on the plan of God, how they should proceed. And starting in verse 4:

Acts 1:4-8 Acts 1:4-8 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power. 8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×
NKJ And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

So they were told to wait till Pentecost to start the church because they would receive power from the Holy Spirit to aid them in their mission. A true servant therefore is known to have and use God’s Spirit.  In chapter 2 we see the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of these True Servants to God.

NKJ Acts 2:1 Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
American King James Version×
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Many of you remember when I told of a United pastor in Africa who was invited to speak to a church that was keeping the Sabbath and wanted to learn about the Holy Days.  He came to speak but in the middle of the service, a woman from their group, one revered to be a holy woman who frequently had the spirit take control of her body and cast her to the ground and she shook violently and uttered incomprehensibly and disrupted the whole service.  They were told that this speaking in tongues and being possessed by the spirit was a gift from God. 

What did the pastor do???  He walked directly toward her, commanded the demon to come out of her and to be silent in front of her whole congregation and she went limp.  They carried her back to her seat.  He then continued his message by saying, the Holy Spirit does not interrupt the Holy Spirit.  Many people from around the world misunderstand what the power of the Holy Spirit does for the true servants of God.  It is not for show.  It is not a parlor trick to impress.  It is for performing the will of God. 

A true servant of God wants only to serve God and those that God is calling.  To spread the news of the Kingdom of God and make disciples of Christ in all the nations.  As we keep reading we will see another trait of a true servant of God.  That is, a true servant does not speak of his own understanding but that which he learns from the word of God.  We can see this in action on that first New Covenant Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to the church.   

Continuing to verse 5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 “Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 “Cretans and Arabs– we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:5-11 Acts 2:5-11 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
American King James Version×
NKJ)

So some thought they were drunk, but notice two things here:  First, they were not speaking gibberish.  They could hear plainly in each their own language.  There was no need for an interpreter.  Second, they were speaking of the wonderful works of God.

Hold your place here and turn over to 1 Corinthians 12 and let’s look at a negative example of those that were not following this example.  We know it is a negative example because Paul was writing this corrective letter and he was pointing out the result of their gifts did not have the same outcome as in Acts 2.

1 Corinthians 12:7-10 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
American King James Version×
NKJ But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

So this is not the same thing.  These different kinds of tongues require an interpreter.  Whether they had this ability supernaturally all at once or learned to speak various languages over time is not known.  But was it a case of speaking some heavenly language that only God can understand?  I don’t believe it was that at all.  On what basis do I believe this?  As we read the section we see that Paul chastises them for speaking in a way that no one understands.  Then says the gift of prophecy was far more valuable.  Now if these words were some heavenly language, then the words would have been very valuable to hear and Paul would have noted that.  What he did say, if you are going to speak in another language, you need an interpreter or it has no value.  In Acts 2, no interpreter was needed and the words spoken were the words of God.  Just like people in the United Nations need interpreters to understand one another, not because someone is speaking gibberish but because they are speaking a foreign language.  In Corinth this gift was being abused. In Chapter 13 is a whole chapter devoted to the subject of Love.  Paul says having the gift of Tongues and not using it to speak from the Love of God is worthless.  The use of the phrase, tongues of Angels was used to contrast that without Love it has no value.  God would not give words of no value, ever.

He goes on in Chapter 14 talking about how tongues have a purpose. It is not to show off or to impress others but to reach people who otherwise were not reachable.  He says in Chapter 14 and starting in verse 21

1 Corinthians 14:21-23 1 Corinthians 14:21-23 21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak to this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, said the LORD. 22 Why tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad?
American King James Version×
NKJ 21 In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. 22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

So this was not the miracle we say in Acts 2.  In acts 2, God was compelling the words and inspiring the content.  Just as when King Saul prophesied when God filled Him with the Spirit, not in tongues, because everyone Saul was speaking to had the same language.  

A True Servant seeks God’s will and truth and not their own

So what was God saying in Acts 2? Let go back to Acts 2 and read some of that message.  Peter defends these men and says they are prophesying about future events.

Acts 2:19-21 Acts 2:19-21 19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
American King James Version×
NKJ I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.  21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

A true servant will preach the Truth of God.  It not by our will or works does a true servant go through life.  Here they are referring to the time right before the return of Jesus Christ.  He is saying that there will be great tribulation but God has a plan of Salvation that starts with His Son.  He tells them about how the man they had all heard about was truly the Messiah, that David prophesied about Him and that He was real.  But even now, after His death, it is not too late for them.  Then in verse 41 we read:

41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:41 Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
American King James Version×
NKJ)

There are a lot of people out there who claim to speak for God and tell us falsely that God is a trinity and we will live forever without God and the only hope to avoid damnation is live in a better zip code.  To move to heaven and exist there with God.  But none of these views are supported by scripture and a true servant speaks that which he receives from God.

Turn over to John 16.  Our Bibles, when discussing the spirit of God, usually use the personal pronoun He when referring to the Holy Spirit.

John 16:12-15 John 16:12-15 12 I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you.
American King James Version×
NKJ 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

If you look at this passage, you count 10 uses of He or His.  The actual Greek has two places where the word ekinos is word He.  This Pronoun in English is used instead of the actual name Parakletos (Comfortor). 

 1565 ἐκεῖνος ekeinos {ek-i’-nos}

Meaning:  1) he, she it, etc.

Usage:  AV - that 99, those 40, he 40, the same 20, they 14, misc 38; 251

All the other uses of the word He were added by translators because English demands a pronoun and they insert one for that reason.  Oddly enough.  There are two uses of the word it here and they were not in the Greek and were added for the sake of clarity and are actually not needed at all.  So choosing the more accurate translation IT and adding IT instead of He where no word is used but needs one.  And removing the italicized words because they are not needed.  You get the following.

John 16:12-15 John 16:12-15 12 I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you.
American King James Version×
NKJ 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 “However, when IT, the Spirit of truth, has come, IT will guide you into all truth; for IT will not speak on ITS own authority, but whatever IT ears IT will speak; and IT will tell you things to come. 14 “IT will glorify Me, for IT will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that IT will take of Mine and declare it to you.

So God’s Spirit is just that, God’s Spirit. It is offered to those who follow His Son to whom God gave all things.  The Father gives everything to His Son, and His Son is the Door in which we can go through to Get that self same Spirit to live in us which allows God’s true Servants to know Him, understand Him, and build righteous character.  One day, God’s true servants will be changed, in a twinkling of an eye, into that very Spirit of God. Until that time, we must go onto perfection. 

Going onto perfection

A true servant of God does not simply do the job they were called to do and continue with that until the return of Christ where He will heap praises on them for simply staying at their post and not quitting.  Sounds absurd to say it that way but a true Servant is not called to just hold their ground.

Daniel 11:33-35 Daniel 11:33-35 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. 34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall join to them with flatteries. 35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
American King James Version×
NKJ “And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34 “Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 “And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

We know that Revelation talks about some of God’s people being taking to Safety while others are persecuted by Satan.  Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×
tells us to pray that we be counted worthy to escape the things that will surely come to pass.  A true servant is one who is going to allow himself to be refined in this life to prepare for the return of Christ. Turn over to Hebrews 6. 

Remember that the entire book of Hebrews was written to those in the church that came from Jewish roots, who were trying to reconcile the Old Covenant with the New.  That everything in the Old was a foundation and preparation of the new.  Everything there pointed forward to the new.  It was not all in vain.

NKJ Hebrews 6:1 Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
American King James Version×
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame

A true Servant of God, is first and foremost focused on Eternal life in the Kingdom of God serving His Son Jesus Christ.  This is a calling that is bigger than anything we could possibly accomplish on our own or collectively.  Everyone has hobbies and interests that take up some measure of our time.  Have you ever wondered what the Apostles favorite past times were?  It’s not recorded. Outside of their former professions that we see they left behind to become ministers of God, we don’t know.

You see, if they had been very involved in other pursuits, that took up so much of their time that they could not serve God then they would not have been the Apostles we know.  All other hobbies and activities were secondary to their mission of serving God and His People.  It’s like the scripture says, you can’t serve two masters.  We must choose, and as we celebrate this Pentecost together (tomorrow) that pictures God’s Spirit being poured out to His church to allow us to be at one with Him, we should ask ourselves if we have pursuits that separate us from God or His people.

The calling we have is to be sons and daughters of God.  To be led by His spirit, to seek God’s will and not our own and to serve Him together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  These are true servants of God.

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