Sermon: A Life of Service

“Caring for One Another:  A Life of Service” (Part 1)
Romans 1:11-15
July 19, 2015

It’s hard to be a servant. To serve others is to do something that is contrary to our natural inclinations and to fight against the flesh. That’s why we just read the story of Epaphroditus. We don’t know much about him, but isn’t his story remarkable? He risked his own health and life to serve the Philippians in Paul’s place for Christ. His service wasn’t even for his own benefit — it was for the benefit of Paul. Who does something like that?

We know that kind of service is contrary to our flesh by an account from the disciples. Jesus has just been transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John. They have seen the outshining of His eternal glory (Mk. 9:1-8). And then after coming down from that mountain, they heard Jesus speak about his coming crucifixion.

“For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.’” (Mk. 9:31)

Evidently things were pretty quiet as Jesus and the Twelve continued on their way to Capernaum; it was quiet except for some low murmurings, maybe from the back of the group. So when they arrived in Capernaum, Jesus asked them, “what were you discussing on the way?” (Mk. 9:33) And Mark tells us, “they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’” (Mk. 9:34–35). The first must be last. We nod, “that’s right.” But it’s easier for me if you are last; it’s hard for me if I must be last.

Service isn’t easy. But it’s essential as a follow of Christ and as a member of His church. And the “first shall be last” kind of service is what the apostle Paul himself models and extols for the Roman church. As we have been slowly making our way through the introductory section of the great letter of Romans, we have seen Paul’s model for how a church cares for one another through a life of prayer (1:8-10). Now in verses 11-15, we are going to find how Paul models care for one another through service. Here is Paul’s point —

Believers who care for one another serve one another.

Now that’s easy to say and just a little harder to do. How can we cultivate the desire to serve and joy in our service? We begin by having our minds renewed about service and ministry. And in this passage, Paul identifies eight attitudes to cultivate so that we will be more able and joyful servants. We will examine the first four of these this week and look at the rest next time. Here are eight attitudes to cultivate and develop to become God-honoring servants.

  1. Cultivate a Desire for Service (v. 11)
  2. Cultivate a “Blessing” Mindset (v. 11)
  3. Cultivate Humility (v. 12)
  4. Cultivate Persistence (v. 13)
  5. Cultivate a Desire for Fruitfulness (v. 13)
  6. Cultivate a Sense of Duty (v. 14)
  7. Cultivate an Awareness of Sin and Grace (v. 14)
  8. Cultivate an Eagerness to Serve (v. 15)

Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 1:11-15.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.

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