Theme: In week 2 of our series “Re-engage”, we are looking at re-engaging in serving. Paul does a great job in Romans 12 of getting to the heart of serving. As you study this passage I encourage you to reflect deeply on how serving has characterized your life and the motives behind that service.
(Serving is a lifestyle)
When we hear the word “serve” we often think of a physical act or service. Paul on the other hand wants us to think of serving as more of a lifestyle than an action. We’re supposed to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” each day, meaning we die to ourselves and live in service to the kingdom of God. Let’s consider three things about a lifestyle of serving:
Why we serve: Paul makes clear that this is our “true & proper worship”. That means that we serve in response to the grace & mercy that God has shown us. Paul has spent the first 11 chapters of Romans explaining the Gospel and what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. When you contemplate Jesus overcoming the depravity of man, it should compel you to give all you have in service to God and building his kingdom.
How we serve: Jesus came in the form of man and offered himself as a living sacrifice not only to reconcile us back to God, but also to model how to live for all who would follow him. In this particular passage Paul paints a beautiful picture of Jesus. As we look to other places in scripture (Matt. 23:11, Matt. 20:28, John 13 just to name a few) we see Jesus being very blunt in shaping us to be servants while modeling how. The closer we examine Jesus the more clearly we see an example of a servant.
The cost of living this lifestyle: Living this lifestyle is NOT easy, nor did the bible ever promise it would be. Luke 14 makes clear this would be a difficult task living in the world we live in. This is not convenient, it will require sacrifice, and it will draw out of comfort in most cases but it is very worth it. To live this lifestyle will take more time, effort, and energy than most people are willing to give: this is why it’s a sacrifice each day. This lifestyle will typically draw out the sin and selfishness in your life and require you to fight that sin daily, but on the bright side it will sanctify you and enrich your relationship with Jesus the longer you walk in it.
(God’s design for His church)
At Connection we believe every person has a purpose. God designed the church this way for a reason. When each person in the body is serving with the gifts God has given then we are functioning as God planned. To walk in this design we need to remember:
Be a humble steward: God has gifted you so you can steward that gift for His church. We can never use those gifts for our own glory. You’re not great at something so people can praise you, you’re great at something so people can praise God for working in you.
Value diversity: No one christian has all of the gifts. One individual can not carry the church on their back. This means the church should be one of the most diverse places around. Gifts come in different forms (although you may not be super gifted in one area doesn’t mean you don’t participate in that area) and we should all learn to appreciate others and their gifts for the role they play in the kingdom.
Maintain Unity: The plan of the enemy is to divide us. He wants us to have division over things like gifting and how we serve, but we have to unite against the enemy and not each other. We aren’t supposed to huddle into our groups of people that are gifted just like we are, rather we are supposed to embrace people that aren’t like us and people that are gifted differently than us & learn to appreciate our differences in an effort to battle the enemy.
(Watch the kingdom grow)
When the church steps into a lifestyle of service we begin to see the kingdom take shape around us. This means that devoting yourself to service causes you to live on mission & when you do people will see Christ magnified and lives will be changed. When we embrace our gifting and serve people with those gifts, the body will grow and the church will multiply. Think about the people around you that you want to see follow Christ. Those people will come to Christ when we begin living a lifestyle of service to the kingdom of God.
How has your week been spiritually? / What is God teaching you?
What sins are you struggling with that you need to confess?
How would you practically define a lifestyle of service?
What specifically has Christ done for you that compels you to serve?
What are some passages that you think of when you think of a model for serving?
How has serving cost you anything in your life? If it hasn’t, why do you think that is?
What gifting is God calling you to steward in service to him? How are you going to use that gift?
What types of diversity are present in your circle of intimate friendships (not acquaintances)?
What forms of disunity are you experiencing in the church?
Who are some people you’ve seen reached because of people living a lifestyle of service?