Today's communion meditation is taken from Romans 12:11, but I will start reading at verse 10. God says,
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
Charles Spurgeon once said this: “He is no Christian who does not seek to serve his God.”: For many Christians, that may seem like a shocking statement. Let me read it again. He said, “He is no Christian who does not seek to serve his God.” Does that sound too dogmatic? too exclusionary? I submit to you that there are hundreds of Scriptures which say the same thing. Service to God is not an option. Malachi 3:18 says “Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. “ The saved are there defined as the righteous and the ones who serve God. The unsaved are called the wicked and those who do not serve Him. Service is not an option. 1 Peter 2:16 says that believers are freed to be “servants of God.” And there are numerous Scriptures which show that service is an inescapable concept. We either serve the creature or we serve the Creator; we are either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ. Revelation 7:3 indicates that only servants of God are spared from His judgment. And so Spurgeon very correctly said, “He is no Christian who does not seek to serve his God.” He may not do it perfectly , but he seeks to serve. Spurgeon did not say that we are saved by our service, but he said that if we are saved, we will seek serve.
So if you are a genuine believer, today’s communion message is not a challenge to begin serving God. It assumes that you have been serving God, and that you desire from your heart to serve God. So, this communion message is a challenge to improve your serve so that your service is worthy of the title of Servants of the Most High. What an awesome incredible privilege- to be servants of the Most High God. There are three points from verse 11:
Serve with diligence (v. 11a)
First, verse 11 says, "not lagging in diligence." There are many who only put in enough time and energy to do the minimum and tonavoid being called on the carpet. But God calls us to not lag in diligence. There are many housewives who need to improve their serve because when they clean, they are not doing so diligently; when they teach their youngsters, they put no effort or thought into it. The same is true of many children who only do the amount of chores that will keep them from getting balled out. Now children, if that is true of you, I want to challenge you to be diligent in service. God says, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.“ If you have been entrusted with the grocery money, then be diligent as a steward of that money.
Even secular historians have said that it was the work ethic of the Reformers that revolutionized and transformed society. Christians were called upon to excell in all that they did. The Puritans called upon farmers to be the best farmers that they could be; or the best teachers or housewives, or politicians. They urged them to put thought and effort into their work, always seeking to improve, always seeking to do their best. And it was that world-transforming ethic that has been dubbed, “The Protestant Work Ethic.” Most protestants today do not have that Protestant work ethic. Someone once said, “Many people avoid discovering the secret of success because deep down they suspect the secret may be - hard work!” And it is. There is no substitute for diligence. As you come to the Lord's Table today, I would encourage you to pledge yourself to be a diligent servant and ask God for more grace to obey this verse.
Serve with enthusiasm (v. 11b)
But the second phrase in Romans 12:11 is “fervent in spirit.” Not only are we to be outwardly diligent, but we are also to be inwardly enthusiastic. Paul told the slaves in Colossae to do their menial chores heartily, as to the Lord. In other words, enthusiastically. That requires a different attitude and perspective work than we typically have. He told the slaves in Ephesus to do it with good will from the heart. An old Dutch proverb says, “Unwilling service earns no thanks.” But our service takes on a whole new character when we do it with enthusiasm and joy. Oh, what a difference it would make to an employer if all of his employees were enthusiastic in their work! It would make a huge difference.
One of my life verses is 1 Corinthians 16:15. Paul in this verse urged every Christian to imitate the household of Stephanus. The verse says, “I urge you, brethren - you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” Or as the KJV has it, “they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” Anyone who is addicted to something knows that you can’t get along without it. You love the thing you are addicted to; you are devoted to it. They were addicted to service and did it with enthusiasm. And this enthusiasm was so contagious, that the whole household caught the bug. Let's not model to our children a grin and bear it approach to our service. God desires us to be enthusiastic - not because of the circumstances, but because of the privilege of serving Him with it.
If you only serve out of guilt, or because of the expectations of the pastor or others, you will not have this enthusiasm. This is God-given, and comes from doing everything that you do as unto God. Paul didn’t want the Galatians enthusiastic in service only when he was around, because that would mean that they were only doing it for Paul. Instead he said this: “But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.”
Serve with devotion to the Lord (v. 11c)
So first, be outwardly diligent. Second, be inwardly fervent or enthusiastic. Third, be religiously devoted to the Lord in all that you do. Reading from Romans 12:11 again: “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. “ Spurgeon once said, “I think I know of no delight on earth that is higher than that of knowing that you really are serving God.” And he was referring to any work you do. I was able to find great delight in working in a vulgar extremely difficult work environment in a plywood factory, as an orderly cleaning up the diarrhea of incontinent patients, as a janitor in a hospital and in other jobs because of point III - I did it to the Lord. When you cook dinner, if you consciously cook it for Jesus Christ who is eating that meal, when your husband eats it; who is eating that meal when your children eat it, it will transform the way you prepare meals. And isn’t that exactly what Christ said happens in Matthew 25? Listen to Christ’s words:
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, You did it to Me.’”
The phrase, the least of these, is a reference to children. When you mothers change the diapers, feed your children, take care of sick ones, Christ says, you are clothing, feeding and caring for Him. If you lay hold of that and do your housework for the Lord, it will revolutionize the way you do it. There is not a task you have that is exempt from doing it for God.
So as you come to the table, commit yourself to outward diligence, inward enthusiasm, and religious devotion to Christ in all that you do. And ask God to enable you to keep that commitment by His grace. Amen