Faithlife
Faithlife

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Are you willing to adjust your life to whatever God reveals of Himself in the coming days?
Who our Master is will determine how we serve Him. The measure of His dignity and rule must be the measure of our obligation and privilege in serving Him. Tonight we will be looking at passages that describe the sovereignty of the King of heaven.
The attribute of God’s sovereignty is going to teach us that God possesses and exercises the solitary right to do all His pleasure with all His creation, without explanation or interference. . As with all other attributes, God’s sovereignty is part of who He is and never requires any effort on His part to maintain it.
It is difficult for us to imagine a being who can possess such rights. A question I had to face before my right relationship with Jesus was this, “What right does God have to rule over all areas of my life, over all lives, or over all the universe?”
So tonight in a timely manner we are going to exhaust our minds and bibles to see this truth. A.W Tozer said
As the knowledge of God becomes more wonderful, greater service to our fellow men becomes for us imperative. 
READ the verses below and summarize what they say of God’s rule.
READ the verses below and summarize what they say of God’s rule.
Conclusions
In these Scriptures, we see that He has the right to rule upon His self-established throne (no one helped Him gain His kingdom). He has the right to rule over all that He has created (from nothing, not from materials which He received from another). He has the right to rule over all that dwell in His realms (every galaxy, planet, angel, human, animal, plant, and atomic particle). He has the right to govern all that occurs throughout the duration of His eternal reign (He will never be replaced). He not only possesses the right to rule over all; He also has the ability. His power, wisdom, righteousness, and goodness demonstrate the perfection of His rule. Thus we see that if anyone disputes His claims, he is guilty of the most irrational rebellion against the most perfect king.
It is God upon His throne, whom we trust. 
— C. H. Spurgeon
The Lord is worthy of our service. Seeing God as He is, the Christian joins the apostle Paul when he exclaimed:
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. ()
Nearly sixteen hundred years later, a dying Scottish minister expressed the same determination to do all for Christ. Surrounded by friends and fellow workers, Samuel Rutherford pleaded with them:
My Lord and Master is chief of ten thousands of thousands. None is comparable to Him, in heaven or in earth. Dear brethren, do all for Him. Pray for Christ. Preach for Christ. Do all for Christ; beware of men-pleasing. The Chief Shepherd will shortly appear.*
*This statement is taken from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford.
Service in Christ’s kingdom must begin with a clear look at the King.
The brightest example of a servant life, built upon an appreciation of the majesty of God, is the life of our Lord Jesus
He is, after all, the One we are called to follow. This may appear to be an unnecessary statement, but if we look at the modern church scene, it becomes apparent that few of us are treating the pattern of Christ as the only option for Christian service. Happily, the pattern of Christ is the most beautiful, God-exalting, and joyful pattern for service, as well as being the only truly practical one. Nothing is more impractical than attempting to serve others in Christ’s name while ignoring Christ’s pattern. Therefore, few things are more beneficial to a person who wishes to serve God than to carefully study and imitate the servant life of Jesus.
Does God ask us to do what is beneath us? This question will never trouble us again if we consider the Lord of heaven taking a towel and washing feet. 
— Elisabeth Elliot
We will begin with one of the loftiest servant passages of the New Testament, . In this letter, Paul encourages the believers to interact with each other in humility and self-forgetfulness. To help them in this calling, Paul offers them a motive and a pattern, both of which are found in the life of their Lord. Christ’s humility is unveiled in the choices He made as He did the Father’s will by serving others on earth.
READ and list the descriptions of this Servant.
Jesus demonstrated the close connection between humility and faithful service offered to God
We should ask ourselves: How can we imagine that it is right to serve this King with our hearts full of self-importance? One fruit of real humility is self-forgetfulness. It is one thing to say, “I am not more important than others.” It is quite another thing to pour your life out for others while forgetting yourself. The Christian aims to be like his Lord. He desires to live free from the tyranny of constant self-focus which would elevate his desires and needs above others. Self-centered pride refuses to serve others if the service requires being taken advantage of or putting our own needs behind another’s. Our pride will occasionally stoop down and help someone, but only after we know that we can still get what we want. These proud thoughts were foreign to Jesus. Listen to what Paul said to the Christians in Rome who were struggling to forget themselves and love each other:
For even Christ did not please Himself. ()
So simple! So humbling to our pride. Yet nothing less can be called “Christian” service.
And I will labor to be like my Savior, by making humility lovely in the eyes of all men, and by following the merciful and meek example of my dear Jesus. 
— George Herbert
Another fruit of humility is the willingness to serve from the motivation of love (to God and others). We should serve for the good of the people and refuse to use our service to gain a sense of personal worth. It is amazing how much we will do in religion to obtain purpose and significance. Purpose and significance are certainly found in the Christian life, but they come through seeing Who it is that loves us. When feeling good about ourselves becomes the goal of our Christian service, we have left the pattern of Jesus and embraced “crooked patterns.”
How can we grow in Christ-like humility when pride is so natural to us? Andrew Murray’s little book Humility: The Beauty of Holiness is a friend to any Christian who desires to follow Jesus. Murray points out a number of truths that promote humility in believers, such as realizing the depths of our sin and the great grace of God. However, the main reason he gives for humility is this: seeing the majesty of the Creator and the beauty of taking our proper place before Him.*
*Andrew Murray, Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (London: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1969), 5–7.
We are weak and sinful before the thrice-holy God, but Jesus stands before Him perfect and sinless. Unlike us, shame over sin was never a part of His humility, yet He willingly chose to humble Himself, taking a role of submission to His Father. When we turn our eyes upon the Son of God, we find One who is essentially humble. In reality, humility was as much a part of His divine nature as holiness. How can we understand the manner in which His humility is expressed toward the Father while carrying out the work of our salvation? The answer must lie in part in the reality of His perfect love for the Father. Jesus’ love for the Father made submission to the Father’s will His great joy. His determination was to live in perfect harmony with His Father. All of His service to mankind was ultimately an expression of the love and humility He bore toward His Father.
For believers, seeing God in His regal splendor brings a gentle and voluntary humility. Seeing God’s majesty and His unexpected grace reaching out to us, we find that we are happy to take our proper place as servants. Being loved by Him, we do not feel the need to gain other people’s approval. Serving others out of love for God, we are happy to lay aside our personal rights as Christ did.
SELF-EXAMINATION
What think we of Christ? Is He altogether glorious in our eyes, and precious to our hearts? May Christ be our joy, our confidence, our all. May we daily be made more like to Him, and more devoted to His service.
— Matthew Henry
READ again.
Do you have those characteristics of humility that Jesus possessed? Are you presently pursuing them?
Do your actions toward others demonstrate a humble or a proud heart? (You might consider Paul’s simple command in as a good test.)
Do you find the humility of Jesus a quality that attracts you or repels you?
Will you plead with Christ to teach you how to gain and demonstrate a humble servant’s heart?
LIST ways that you serve:
at home ________________________________________________
at school ________________________________________________
at work ________________________________________________
at church ________________________________________________
in your community ________________________________________________
Do you serve in the above ways with the self-forgetful humility of Jesus?
Ask yourself: “What is my motivation for serving?”
to feel good about myself? to make others think well of me? to earn God’s approval? to show love for God Himself?
In order to follow Jesus’ pattern as a servant, we need to do more than imitate His outward actions
We must understand His thinking, the heart of a servant. But how can we know what was going on under the surface of Jesus’ life while He was serving mankind? The answer is found in the last Gospel to be written—John. John expects us to have already read what the other Gospels reported about Jesus’ life. The Holy Spirit guides John to give us a look beneath the surface of Jesus’ life. John’s Gospel reveals treasures about Jesus that cannot be found anywhere else. He records Jesus’ own explanation of the how and why behind His service. You will be looking at some of these today as they relate to he pattern of Jesus as a servant.
To begin with, let’s look at those aspects of Jesus’ service which were foundational—Jesus’ response to the Father’s will and to His word.
We do good deeds, but God works in us in the doing of them. 
— Augustine
JESUS AND HIS FATHER’S WILL
What moved the heart of Jesus? Did He have ambitions? What was it that He looked forward to each morning when He awoke? What made life worth living for Him?
These issues are vital. Our ambitions and desires mold our character and exert a constant influence upon us. Jesus was a real man, genuinely human (yet without a sin nature). What was His aim in life and how did this translate into service? When we attempt to answer questions like these we must be careful. It would be easy at this point to sketch a Jesus of our imagination, one who is like us, or someone we admire. The only safe source is the Bible.
READ and summarize what these verses reveal about Jesus and His Father’s will.
Food! Essential to our existence
The GodMan was hungry, and the disciples went to a local town to purchase lunch. Jesus met a woman at Jacob’s well and gave her water that brings everlasting satisfaction. When the disciples returned with lunch, He told them He had food they did not yet understand. To what was He referring? His food was to do exactly what His Father gave Him to accomplish. That is what sustained this Servant. Jesus was so dedicated to His Father that obedience was to Him what food is to us—essential. Obedience for our Savior was not a nice extra which made life a little better—it was life itself. Notice here a very important distinction. Jesus does not say that His food is to go about doing all the good He can. There were many towns He did not visit, many sick people He did not heal, and many nations that never heard His voice. Jesus, the perfect Servant, left the planning up to the Father. His food was to do whatever the Father gave Him to do that moment.
He told His disciples they knew nothing of this food. But in a few short years, as seen in the book of Acts, it is clear that these same men have learned from their Master that obedience to God is life. Do you see a glimmer of hope for those of us who have not yet learned this lesson?
Love is obedience. Obedience is both the expression and evidence of genuine love towards God. 
— Clyde Cranford
SELF-EXAMINATION
What sustains you? 
your friendships? your family? your work? your plans for the future?
Can you say that you know what it is to live on obedience, or are you in the same camp as the disciples, who were ignorant of that kind of life?
READ . What does Jesus say about His relation to the Father’s will here?
Why was Jesus on planet earth?
Why did He wake up that morning and get ready for the day? Although each day might have different tasks, the big picture was always the same for Jesus—He was here to do His Father’s will.
Why did you wake up today?
Why did you get dressed and drive to work?
Why are you raising your children?
What is your goal for this weekend?
Can you say, “I do many things in a week, but they are all united under a greater ambition—to do the will of my Lord.”
If we give God service, it must be because He gives us grace. We work for Him because He works in us. 
— C. H. Spurgeon
JESUS AND HIS FATHER’S WORD
To desire to do the will of the Lord is wonderful, but it is not enough. If this devotion to the Father’s will is genuine, a person’s response to the Father’s word will reflect that.
Think back on . The Servant is awakened each morning to listen to the Father. Do we see this in Jesus? Often the Gospel writers tell us that He was up early meeting with His Father. We frequently see Him quote from the Old Testament. If we turn to , we hear from His own mouth what His response is to the Father’s word:
It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
This was His answer to Satan’s temptation, and it reveals something of His heart. His food was to do the will of His Father, and He understood that a life of obedience could only be sustained by having an open ear to all that the Father was saying.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Do you believe that hearing from God through His word is what makes life worth living?
BOOKENDS OF THE SERVANT’S LIFE
We will close our studies today with two statements from Jesus that are not in John’s Gospel. The first is in Luke, and the second is found in the Psalms. They might be described as the bookends of our Lord’s life, of every servant of God’s life.
“I Must”
Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? ()
This was Jesus’ question to His mother and Joseph when they found Him in the temple. He was surprised that they did not yet understand Him. His life was always characterized by this “I must.” A divine necessity was laid on Him. To be about His Father’s business was His determination. But there is a second and even clearer portrait of His heart in , telling us that the Messiah will take delight in doing the will of the Father.
“I Delight”
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.
()
Here the whole of Jesus’ service is described: I must. I delight.`
People who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks: 1. they are facing only one direction, 2. they can never turn back, and 3. they no longer have plans of their own.  — A. W. Tozer
We may be tempted to think that this standard is too high for the average Christian and that we cannot be expected to speak with any sense of guidance from the Lord
It is good for us that a man who was known for rash statements wrote the following:
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. ()
That is a very wide command from Peter. To whom is he talking? Any person who serves. What does he expect? That they do so by the help of God and in such a way that Jesus will be reflected in their service. The only pattern we have in the church is the pattern we see in our Lord.

JESUS AND HIS FATHER’S METHODS

Well-meaning people say that our methods must constantly be updated to keep pace with the changing appetites of the culture around us. Certainly we must not allow ourselves to get stuck in traditions that hinder our reflecting Christ to people in our day. A devotion to tradition can be a denial of the Lordship of Christ just as much as a devotion to whatever is new and trendy. Jesus was neither a traditionalist nor a chaser of the newest religious fad. He followed the Father. This was seen not only in what He did and what He said, but in how He did and said these things. Method is part of the message. That is an inescapable reality. People will watch how we do “church” and learn what we believe about God. What we say we believe will only carry weight if our methods back up our words. Godly words and worldly methods never go together well. People simply believe our methods and ignore our words.
If we choose a false way of worship we shall, ere long, choose to worship a false god.  — C. H. Spurgeon
Listen again to what Jesus said in :
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”
Take note of that important phrase: “the Son also does in like manner.” Whatever Jesus understood to be His Father’s method of reaching people was to be His method too. Our Lord never took the role of strategist. He was a servant. The Father was the strategist. Too much that we do in our churches and families, hoping to promote the spiritual welfare of our loved ones, seems good on the surface. But it is flawed; it is not God’s way of doing things.

JESUS VALIDATES HIS CLAIMS TO SERVE GOD

Another issue that we must consider is Christ’s manner of presenting evidence to people. How did our Lord validate His claim to be serving God when all around Him the Bible professors and denominational leaders of His day were accusing Him of being an impostor? How can we speak with any authority in an increasingly multicultural environment where it is no longer taken for granted that our Bible is the only “holy book”? How can we gain a hearing with people when so many other voices are clamoring for their attention? It is a great help to us that Jesus did not merely stand up and shout, “Listen to Me! I am God.”
We could hardly follow that pattern in our workplace. Rather, He gives us a pattern that is workable for every Christian in any environment. Let’s look at two passages in John where He explains.

READ .

In verse 30, Jesus makes certain claims about Himself. 

Write down the various witnesses that Jesus calls on in verses 31-39 to validate His claims.

What is the chief witness that Jesus is sent by the Father? (verse 36)
READ .
In verses 31–36, Jesus has again enraged the Jews with His claims. 

What evidence to support these claims does He offer them in verses 37–38?

Jesus’ pattern for validating His claims is perfectly suited to every Christian, yet so rarely taught and followed
We tend to use very different methods for validating the claims we are making about our service, our doctrines, our church, or even our Lord.
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work.  —
Here are samples of popular methods for validating our religious claims. “You know that you can trust what I am saying about God because...”
God is saving so many people through my efforts. I am quoting the Bible. What I am saying is sound and logical. I told you I am a Christian, and I am doing this for Jesus. My church or pastor has entrusted me with this task.
None of the above proves that someone is following the pattern of Jesus Christ.
In , Jesus said that His own testimony, if not confirmed by another (His Father), was not enough. The testimony of a great prophet (John) was not enough. Even the voice of the Father from heaven was not enough. The standard by which they could judge His claims was simple: Was He, or was He not, doing the works which the Father had given Him to finish? In , we again find the same evidence offered, but this time it is stated in an even more forceful manner. The proof He offers is that He is doing the works of His Father. Do they see Jesus doing the kinds of things God the Father has assigned to Him, or not? But the shocker here is the command found in verse 37: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me.” This coincides with the strong statement back in “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.”
This is certainly not a popular pattern today. Just imagine for a moment a church that prints a great banner and hangs it over the pulpit. It reads: “If our minister does not do the kinds of things that are in harmony with our God, then he is a liar and you are not to listen to him.” That would certainly get the town talking! Yet that is exactly the kind of banner God is spiritually hanging over each of us as we serve in His name. If our lives are a living contradiction of what God has commanded us to do, then we are liars, and we are not trustworthy representatives of Jesus Christ. (We are not talking about sinless perfection, but the general pattern of our choices.) How many denominations and churches have shipwrecked themselves by simply ignoring this very simple pattern in their Lord? Our churches would be much healthier if we listened only to those whose lives (as far as we could know them) were in harmony with God’s commands. How different things would be if we chose only Sunday school teachers, deacons, youth ministers, and pastors whose lives reflected the pattern of Jesus Christ.
God counts that free service, which not necessity but love dictates.  — Augustine

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

We have looked at a great deal in this week regarding a life that serves others for love of God. It does not matter whether this service is behind a pulpit, in front of a Sunday school class, or in a nursing home. The pattern of Christ is applicable to all forms of Christian service. The question that looms in front of us is simple: Will we, by the help of our God, embrace Jesus of Nazareth’s self-described pattern as our only option for serving God? Or will we reinvent Christian service along lines that are apparently more sensible, practical, and manageable?
It is only as we are reintroduced to the King of Majesty, the God revealed in the Bible, that we feel the gravity of this issue. Only then will we quit thinking that any service, other than that which is in line with Jesus’ pattern, is appropriate to offer Him.
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