Being Christian, we are exhorted to serve as we spend our time here on earth. It’s paramount to ask the question, “Who and what are you serving?” I believe there are clear mandates in God’s Word concerning these things and I’d like to present those mandates for you today. Serving Christ is the focus of this article.
Much has been said about Christians serving in this world, but are we truly serving Christ and not our ideas of what we should be doing? There is a difference which I will demonstrate in a moment.
Who Are You Serving?
Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
In the above verse, God shows us His viewpoint on who we should be serving. It’s “his people.” Now that brings up quite a debate on who God’s people are. One school of thought affirms that all people are God’s people, but is that what the Bible says? I believe it says those who believe in God are God’s people.
God’s People in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, God called Israel to serve Him. Israel is continually called God’s “chosen people.” The Old Testament scriptures are dotted throughout with phrases indicating Israel makes up the chosen people of God, including Deuteronomy 6:3-4, 1 Chronicles 16:13 and Isaiah 41:8-9.
What about those who were not chosen of God? They are called Gentiles in the Bible and, in the Old Testament, they had a limited promise in God’s plan. Gentiles could become proselytes and partially share in Israel’s blessings, but only partially. They could only enter the outer court of the temple as God restricted their access to the inner court and the Holy of Hollies.
The entire Old Testament teaches that God’s people are those He has called and chosen, not everyone on planet earth. I can affirmatively declare that at one time in the not-so-distant future, all people will be God’s people, but not in the Old Testament and not even now.
God’s People in the New Testament
We come to a sudden break and change in the New Testament concerning who are God’s people. The mystery revealed to the apostle Paul and declared in Ephesians teaches us that now, in the administration of Gods grace, the body of Christ is God’s “chosen people.”
Ephesians 3:1-6 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
The truth that the Gentiles would share equally in God’s inheritance was not revealed in the Old Testament scriptures. It’s also not revealed in the four gospels because the time period covered in the gospels is still Old Testament (Old Covenant) law. The division between the Old Testament and the New Testament in our current Bibles, along with all chapter divisions and verse numbers do not exist in the actual manuscripts we have. They all were added by translators. It is obvious that new New Testament (New Covenant) began on Pentecost in Acts 2 with the giving of the holy spirit on the day of Pentecost. That’s the actual start date of the Grace Administration and thus the Christian church.
God’s chosen people in our day and age are those who have confessed Jesus is Lord and who have believed God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
Ephesians 1:4 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
If God “chose us in Him” then we, Christians, are God’s chosen people in this current age.
So what happens to Israel? Don’t worry, once the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, the church will be removed from the face of the earth and God’s work regarding Israel will once again take center stage. They have not lost their calling, they have just been held “in abeyance” for the time being.
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
It’s important to understand that our calling is as children of God. This is our “standing” before God as His sons (both men and women who believe in the Lord Jesus are included in this phrase). Israel’s standing is not as children but as servants because the new birth was not available until Pentecost. Nobody in Israel was “born again” as a child of God. In fact God only put His spirit “upon” selected people in the Old Testament including, of course, all the prophets. This “placing upon” was not permanent but was subject to the recipient’s walk before God. They could ‘lose’ the spirit whereas we cannot because that spirit is “seed” implanted within us.
Our standing before God is that we are God’s own children through the spiritual seed of the new birth. This is our vertical relationship with God. What we are called to do is to serve God’s people, making us servants on the horizontal plane to fellow believers.
Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
What Are You Serving?
Now that we know who we are to serve (God’s own people), what are we to serve?
I Peter 4:11 If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man ministers, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The “oracles” of God are indeed the Word of God. We are to serve the Word of God to each other and to non-Christians.
1 Peter 4:10-11 As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Romans 12:6,7 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;
Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
The “gift” is holy spirit. That is our power base for service. We are to serve each other in the power of God’s holy spirit. We have the manifestation of the spirit, the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the spirit to serve others with as we develop our God-given abilities.
Acts 20:35 have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
We are to serve each other regarding physical needs. If you have to give and you see a brother in need, it’s your choice or not to deliver that need. God exhorts you to do just that.
Most of all, we need to do what God wants us to do in any given situation.
Ephesians 2: 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
God ‘ordained’ what we should be doing, and those are the things we should be pursuing in this world.
Serve Christian and Non-Christians God’s Love
Who and what are you serving? I hope it is Christ. Serving Christ is our God-given duty now that we are His children. We are to serve His people first, then people of the world. We are to serve each other the Word of truth as well as things people need in order to live and survive. Providing food, clothing and shelter are included in these exhortations as we help each other trust God more to meet our own needs.
As you go about your daily business, commune with God in prayer and serve others the bread of life. God will be with you and Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us. It’s God’s work we are doing on earth and He and our Lord Jesus are right with us at all times to help carry out their agenda for the salvation of mankind.
Praise God that we are able to serve Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth.