Net Questions

1. When you take an honest look into your life could you say you are engaged in serving? On a level of 1-10, with 10 being the highest level of engagement, what level are you?

2. If we aren’t saved by our works, why is it so critical that we engage in works of service?
Heb 9:14  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
1 Pet 4:8  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Pet 4:9  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Pet 4:10  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

3. If we claim to have a saving faith, but it does not effect the way we live, then there is a big problem. What might that problem be?
Eph 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
Eph 2:9  not by works, so that no one can boast.
Eph 2:10  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

4. We need to be willing to be obedient and engage in serving even when we don’t feel like it. However, God wants us to want to serve Him! Why is a persons motivation in serving so important?
1 Peter 5:2 (NIV) Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;


Sermon Notes

This morning, I'm going to encourage you
To do something with your faith.
To do something with your beliefs.
To do something with your convictions.
To do something with your God-given talents.
To accomplish things that will have an eternal impact.


Let's pray and ask God to teach us and then to help us to follow through by engaging in serving!!

PRAY

If you've been paying attention, you might remember I preached a sermon in October entitled, "How Can I Make a Difference?". Out of that sermon we developed our "Make a Difference Team." People who sign up to be on this team, get an email every week with volunteer opportunities. We've given you guys a little holiday break, but we'll begin again this week.

If you've been really, really paying attention, you might remember back in May I preached a sermon in our One Another Series, entitled, "Serve One Another!"
You might wonder why I would even broach this subject again and so soon.

Reminds me of a story I heard about a little country church.
They needed a pastor and formed a search committee to go and find one.
After a time of searching, they settled in on on a good old country preacher. Very practical guy. He was a farmer like most of the members.

He preached his first sermon with heart and soul and the folks went home and talked about how wonderful their new preacher was. They really liked him.
When they came back the next Sunday, something really strange happened.
He preached the same sermon! Word for word!

This time the discussion around Sunday lunch was a little different. Was their new preacher just forgetful. Maybe he was just nervous about being new on the field.

Well, everybody makes a mistake now and then, so they would give him this one.

There was great expectation in the air the third Sunday as everyone wondered what the preacher would preach on. When he stepped up to the podium, everyone was waiting.
Then he began.

You should have seen the jaws drop, when he began preaching the exact same sermon!
Had he lost his mind?
They had an emergency meeting of the committee. What to do?
They decided to call a meeting with him.
They asked him what in the world he was doing. "Why have you preached the same sermon 3 times?"

His reply,
"You guys haven't started doing what this sermon talks about, so how can I move on to the next one?"

Let me assure you, this is not a repeat, but the old boy had a point. Sometimes we cheer the preacher on and even give him a good old amen, but are we willing to put the word into practice?

I want to remind you that in Biblical Christianity, (that's Christianity based on God's Word, not man's opinion), a person is not saved by what they do. But if they are truly saved and know God in a personal way, their faith will affect what they do!


James put it this way...

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
James 2:14 (NIV)

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
James 2:15 (NIV)

If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2:16 (NIV)

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:17 (NIV)

James is not saying we are saved by our works, but he is saying this: If you have a living faith, it will affect the way you live! If your faith doesn't affect the way you live that faith is dead!

If your faith is dead, exchange it today for a living faith based on God's amazing grace! Exchange it today for a faith that will impact your life and your eternity!

Our text today is found in 1 Peter.
Peter was writing to a group of believers who were going through intense persecution.

He wanted to assure them of their salvation by grace, but also exhorted them to live out their salvation by engaging in service!

Two weeks ago we learned the importance of engaging in following Jesus. A decision must be made whether or not we are going to be just a fan, or a follower.

Last Sunday we discussed how a true follower of Jesus will be thrust into leadership. One way or another a Christ follower will be engaged in some level of leadership.

The greatest leaders are leaders who engage in serving! Total opposite of what the world believes. The world believes that leadership is about control, power, and lording it over people.
Let's see what Peter had to say to those engaged in leadership...

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
1 Peter 5:1 (NIV)

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3 (NIV)

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

I guess you could say that in God's Kingdom, servant leaders rule!!

Let's break it down and see what we can learn about servant leadership.

The most important credential of a servant leader is to be a follower Jesus!

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
1 Peter 5:1 (NIV)

Peter was talking to the leaders in the church in this verse, but not just the church staff or team members. He was talking to all the adults. He lets them know he had the credentials to talk to them about the subject at hand because he had actually been with Jesus and had witnessed first hand what it cost Jesus to make God's grace available.

He had been an eye witness to the greatest servant leader who ever lived.
The One who washed His disciples feet!
The One who carried the Cross you and I deserved, but didn't get because Jesus was a servant who had come to this earth to do His Father's will!

Peter then says he "will share in the glory to be revealed:"

How does he know anything about the glory to be revealed?
Peter had been with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Listen...

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
Matthew 17:1 (NIV)

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
Matthew 17:2 (NIV)

Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17:3 (NIV)

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Matthew 17:4 (NIV)

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Matthew 17:5 (NIV)

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.
Matthew 17:6 (NIV)

But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 17:7 (NIV)

Peter and the other guys had gotten a glimpse of the Glory of God.
Peter, was like, "Hey this is really, really cool! Let's just stay up here on the mountain. We'll build shelters and everything!"



But Jesus knew they couldn't just stay on the mountain. He still had a cross to bear and Peter, James and John, also had work to do.

Sometimes it's tempting just to bask in the glory of Worship on Sunday. We get on a mountain and want to stay there, but we've been called by Jesus to engage in serving. We too have a work to do!



This leads us to our next credential for a servant leader...

Another crucial credential for a servant leader is love for the job!

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

Now you might be thinking, "Bro. Larry I know this is talking about preachers or other leaders in the church. I'm not called to be a shepherd!"

Wait a minute. Do you not think God has called you to shepherd your family? Your children? In fact, there will be people in your circle of influence I will never have the opportunity to shepherd, but you will.

Just wanted to point this out so you don't this doesn't apply to you!
Peter said to be shepherds of those who are "under your care."
And I love what he said about being a shepherd...

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

Serving as overseers not because you have to, but because you want to!
Motivation makes the difference for a person engaged in serving. If you serve because you feel you have to do as a part of earning your way to heaven, you won't do a very good job of serving!

There's a difference between doing something out of obligation and doing something out of love! A big difference!
Like effectiveness, and quality!

A servant leader loves his or her job. They may or may not get paid, but they don't do it for the money! Let's look at that verse one more time...

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

Eager to serve! God wants us to be eager to serve Him and to serve others!

Maybe those who aren't eager to serve God haven't experienced the joy, and great sense of purpose that comes from serving Him or His children.

This leads us to our next credential for a servant leader engaged in serving...

A servant leader leads by example not by force!

not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3 (NIV)

A shepherd is out front leading his sheep, not behind them driving them with a whip!

A rancher drives cattle, a shepherd leads sheep. Big difference!

You might say this. "Pastor Larry, I've tried to get my family to follow me, or my wife, or my friends, but they just won't do it! It's all very frustrating!"

Here's two questions for you to consider...


"Are you leading by serving?"

and

"Are you leading by example?"

If you are doing both of these, then their refusal to follow is on them. They bear the responsibility for their choice not to follow a Godly example. However, if we are not engaging in serving those we lead and if we are not being a Godly example, then the responsibility rest on the shepherd. God had something to say about this issue in the Old Testament...

The word of the LORD came to me:
Ezekiel 34:1 (NIV)

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
Ezekiel 34:2 (NIV)

You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.
Ezekiel 34:3 (NIV)

You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
Ezekiel 34:4 (NIV)

Kind of sounds like the Jesus' words in the New Testament concerning the religious leaders of His day...

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
Matthew 23:1 (NIV)

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
Matthew 23:2 (NIV)

So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
Matthew 23:3 (NIV)

They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Matthew 23:4 (NIV)

“Everything they do is done for men to see...
Matthew 23:5 (NIV)

Jesus led by serving and by example...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 (NIV)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:11 (NIV)

The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
John 10:12 (NIV)

The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
John 10:13 (NIV)

So we've got to decide if we're going be like Jesus in our leadership. Leading by serving and by example. If we engage in true servant leadership, Peter gives us some really exciting news...

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

And who would that Chief Shepherd be? Jesus of course! And as we've just seen, He's the Shepherd that set the standard for shepherds and for servant leadership!

And what about that crown of glory that will never fade away?

The rewards of engaging in serving impact here and now, but also eternity!!
When you choose to engage in serving, you will make a difference in someone's life right now, but never forget, Jesus will remember those things done for others and you will not lose your reward. We don't serve to get a reward, we serve because we care, but Jesus made this promise...



And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42 (NIV)

And just in case you young folks were wondering if this servant leadership thing was anything you have to worry about, or if you ladies were thinking, "Boy this would have been a good 'Father's Day' sermon...think again...

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

And this verse reveals to us yet another credential for servant leaders...

A true servant leader's credentials will always include humility!

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)

Humility is the secret ingredient to servant leadership. Without humility you won't serve others or care what kind of example you are to others.

In God's Kingdom, those who are humble will be exalted and those who are filled with pride will be brought down.

Why is this?

A humble person realizes they could never be good enough to earn God's love or to deserve God's love. A humble person sees very clearly his or her need for a Savior.

Pride, on the other hand, leads to self-righteousness, and this was a problem even in the Old Testament...

Psa 10:4  In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.


I love what Micah said in the last book of the Old Testament...

Micah 6:8  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


Micah's advice takes us to our last credential mentioned in our text...

One final credential is the servant leader's ability to live at peace no matter what the circumstances

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

A servant works for someone else, so ultimately someone else is responsible for the outcome. A person engaged in serving the Lord and His children knows he simply has to be obedient. God takes care of the rest! A servant leader is following Jesus, so the anxieties and worries are handled for the servant leader by Jesus!

How do we know Jesus will take care of the things we cast on Him?

We know because He cares for us!!
How much does He care for us?

Jesus Himself put it this way...

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (NIV)

You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15:14 (NIV)

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15 (NIV)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit —fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 15:16 (NIV)

How amazing is that? We are His servants, but He refuses to call us that because He considers those who engage in serving,
His friends.

Let's Pray!!