By David Bennett
I could make a list of things that we can do as Christians to serve Jesus, but it would only end up being is a list from which to reference different things to choose from. Is that what we need to do to serve God? Eeny meeny miny mo–this is the area of service to which I will go. That’s a bit too pragmatic, don’t you think? We all have gifts, which oddly enough tend to be cultivated in the lives we live as children of wrath before we repent of our sins and turn to God. Not always, but often.
The former journalist who ends up writing Christian study books, the heavy metal band guitarist who ends up writing uplifting worship music and leading a church music ministry, or the truck driver who drives the church bus. Or the former public school teacher who bags it and becomes a Christian school teacher. We’ve all heard of things like this, and that’s great. The Body of Christ has many testimonial stories like these.
More often than that though, the Body is full of many other people who have not ever used their talents to serve Christ. I think there are only a few reasons for that:
1) They don’t know how.
2)They’re afraid to.
3) They give no weight to the importance of how it is that the Holy Spirit will use the gifts that He has given them.
4) They aren’t really a believers; they’re just sitting in church.
5) They are believers but they just want to sit in church.
That may not be a comprehensive list, but I think it’s close enough.
Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
And we could grab onto that passage and build a doctrine out of it. “Look! See? Right there! We are supposed to do these things and insulate ourselves from the world! I get to plant myself in the pew and stay there.” That might be a lot easier to do than to engage in the world, if it weren’t passages like Matthew 28:19-20:
“‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
That by the way is a little thing known as a commandment, from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Just a little, tiny responsibility we have, to reach out in the Spirit and truth about God to the lost and give them the gospel. That isn’t always easy when you consider that most of them don’t want it. Whether people want it or not is not the litmus test for sharing it either. We are commanded to do this. So share we must, and wanting to do so should be a normal outgrowth of our faith. There is really no excuse for not doing so.
Somewhere, someone is saying, “Okay I don’t get to sit in the pew, but I just can’t talk to people that way.” I understand those feelings. I still have those feelings. I’m 6′ 1′ and not a tiny guy. I shared the gospel with an older guy of very slight stature the other day, and I had butterflies in my stomach when I began to share with him. I don’t always get those feelings, but I still get them. So should I only share when I am not afraid?
No, I should share the gospel of Jesus whenever I have the chance because the Bible has given us predictive prophecy to show us that time before His return is growing extremely short. It also tells us that we are either saved from God’s wrath, or we are children of wrath. The Bible speaks of sin, righteousness and of God’s judgment. We know that Jesus is loving, but we know that He hates sin, and that He is coming back to tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Revelation 19:15). How can we ignore the eternal direction that so many are moving in?
We need to be active for God and we need to be doing that because we love Him and because He loves those who are perishing in their sins. I’m sure that there are other passages that sum up how we are to behave as believers, but I believe that 1st Thessalonians Chapter 5, when coupled with the Lord’s great commission from Matthew 28, is a pretty good picture of how Christians should act and what they should be doing.
1 Thessalonians 5 5:1-28
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing”
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”