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A Motive for Christian Service- The Character of God 1

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A Motive for Christian Service:

The Character of God 1

Hebrews 6:10

Ministering To Christ

       There was once a quiet little man, a vendor of fruits and vegetables, who regularly passed the door of a Christian.  One day the peddler dropped a small notebook.  The believer retrieved it, and was about to hand it back to the man when his eye was caught by the words on the first page.  The inscription read, “For His body’s sake, which is the church.”  Then came these notations:

·        “The following were absent from Bible school last Sunday - be sure to visit them.”

·        “Ask about the sick baby.”

·        “Leave fruit for the blind lady.”

·        “Speak a word of cheer to the old cripple man.”

The peddler took the book modestly from the hand of the Christian.  “You see,” he said, “this is my book of reminders.”  Pointing to the first page he continued, “This is why I do these things, ‘For His body’s sake, which is the church.’  It keeps my soul out of the dust; because I encourage His children, I know I am ministering to Him.”

       This fruit vendor’s motivation for Christian service was to minister to Christ, by ministering to His body:  the church.

·        What is your motivation for ministry?

·        What keeps you going in the face of adversity?

·        What waters your soul when it is parched from service to people?

I would like to encourage today, by suggesting a source of motivation that you can draw upon.  This source is found in

Hebrews 6:10 (NASB), “10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.”

       In this short verse of Scripture there are some powerful truths and an eternal source of motivation for the Christian worker.  The source of motivation is:  the character of God!

·        Some work for the mayor and some for the congressman.

·        Some work for senators and some for the president of the United States.

·        Some work for Fortune 500 companies and some for royalty.  But,

·        We work for the King of kings and Lord of lords.

·        We work for the Source and Giver of all life.

·        We work for the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

·        We work for God, Almighty!

(That should be encouraging enough, but sometimes it isn’t:  because we forget the character of our boss.  But there are two things about the character of our boss that should keep us encouraged:)

I.     God Is Just.

The writer of the Hebrews simply stated this fact about God’s character from a negative perspective.  He says that God is not unjust.  I have stated the same thing positively:  God is just!  God as to His nature and character is just.

       The particular attribute of God that the writer is highlighting, in the passage before us, is God’s justice.  Justice is one side or one manifestation of God’s moral excellency or holiness.  The other side or manifestation of God’s moral excellency is righteousness.  Righteousness is the positive manifestation of God’s holiness which is seen in righteous standards like the law.  Justice is the negative manifestation of God’s holiness which is sometimes seen in requiring an accounting towards the keeping of His righteous standards.  In righteousness, God shows His love for holiness.  In justice, God shows His hatred for sin.  Justice is, from another perspective, getting what we deserve.

       We must come to understand that God is a God of justice who holds us accountable for keeping His righteous standards.  He is committed to establishing final justice upon this earth.  One day everybody will get what they deserve!

(Alright we know that God is just, but what is the focus of God’s justice in this particular Scripture?  Why is God’s justice a motivation for ministry?  Well, the focus of God’s justice is seen in His second attribute:)

II.    God Is Caring.

This attribute of God cannot be seen in the English translation, but it comes into view when the words of the text are exegeted.  The fact that God is a caring God is seen in considering the word “forget.”

forget 1950 epilanthanomai “to forget:  in the sense of neglecting, no longer caring for.”

The writer is saying that God is not neglectful or uncaring.  I have simply put this meaning forward positively:  God is caring!

(But what is the object of His caring?)

1.     He cares about our work.

work 2041 ergon “1) business, employment, that with which any one is occupied, enterprise, undertaking.”

“God is just to care about our Christian work,” is the positive or way of saying, “God is not unjust so as to not care about our work.”  Being an effective counselor is work!

(Not only does He care about our work, but:)

2.     He cares about our love.

Being an effective counselor involves loving people! 

(Not only does He care about our love for Him and His people, but:)

1)    He cares about the demonstration of our love.

We are not discussing loving words alone, but loving deeds.  Faith without works is dead.  This is more than love which is talked about; this is love which is shown!

shown 1731 endeiknumi {en-dike’-noo-mee} “1a) to show, demonstrate, prove, whether by arguments or by acts.”

The Greek word for “shown” contains a compound preposition which suggests a more complete demonstration.[1]  This is love which has been proven by acts!  You can act and not love, but you cannot love and not act in behalf of the one you love!


(The love that the Hebrews had for God and His people was shown, demonstrated, or proven in a particular action.  What was that action?)

(1)    This love was demonstrated in past ministry.

The words “ministered” and “ministering” are in this specific context:

ministered/ministering 1247 diakoneo “3) to minister, i.e. supply food and necessities of life; to relieve one’s necessities (e.g. by collecting alms).”

Of course the context of Christian ministry includes a much broader definition of diakoneo.  It involves supplying the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of those under our care.

(This love was not only demonstrated in past ministry, but:)

(2)    This love was being demonstrated in present ministry.

Loving or caring about people through ministry is a continuous proposition!  We must occupy until He comes!  Just as there are no chairs in the tabernacle or in the temple, there is no final rest in this life.  There remains therefore a rest for the people of God, it is eschatalogical.

So, God cares about the present demonstration of our love for Him and His people.

(In addition:)

3.     He cares about the motivation of our love.

The motivation of this kind of love must be the name of God.  The word “name” is interesting.

name 3686 onoma “2. By a usage chiefly Hebraistic the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is roused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellencies, deeds, etc.”

So the motivation of our love is all that God is - which is embodied in His name!  He sees and cares about the divine agape love that every good counselor, and Christian for that matter, has demonstrated towards His name.  We are not merely serving Man, we are serving God.

       What a motivation to Christian ministry and to Christian counseling!  God’s character is just and caring.  He is a just God that will do what is right in every situation and He is a caring God who cares about the work we do and the love which have shown towards His name in the past and present ministry of teaching.  Because of this, we look forward to eternal blessings!  Be encouraged and consider what Paul said in

1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”


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[1] Fritz Rienecker and Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980, p. 682.

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