Psalm 4:5 “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” (KJV)
Sanctified, Empowered, Renewed, (able to) Volunteer, (and) Equipped
There are several outstanding service organizations known to us today. Lions Club, Rotary Club, The Gideon’s, and The Full Gospel Businessman’s Association are a few of these types of organizations. We talk about being the servants of God but what does it really mean to serve? For our study today, there are a few things we will explore. First of all, to serve is an act or action. That means that something is going to be done. Second, to serve, as long as it is service we are talking about and not slavery, is voluntary. We cannot be forced to serve.
After delivering the Israelites from the bondage of slavery God established the system of sanctification and sacrifices to be used by His people in worship. They were rituals that identified the Israelites as being set apart and holy. Through these rituals God was recognized as “the LORD who makes you holy.” He is forever and always the same. He is making us holy as we commit our lives to Him. (Exodus 31:13)
The process of becoming holy is sanctification. We are being sanctified, made holy, by the grace, power and Spirit of God. Every area of our life should be committed to the calling God has placed within us individually. As we answer the call of God, He works to purify our hearts and keep us blameless before Him. Each of our individual callings fit together into the fully functioning, highly effective and gloriously beautiful Kingdom of God. (1Thessalonians 5:23)
God has chosen each of us to serve Him. The requirements of our sanctification are met in Christ, and God directs us according to His plan for us. Sampson was a judge, set apart from birth. The circumstances of his birth demonstrate the miraculous power of God. The end of Sampson’s story speaks to us about the grace of God after we repent. Each part of this story teaches us that we must be set apart, holy and sanctified. (Judges 13:3-5)
The source of Sampson’s might was the presence of the Lord. The same is true for us today without the presence of the Lord and commitment to following God’s plan we cannot be sanctified and we will have no real power to impact the world for Christ. If we do not surrender our plans to His and serve Him completely, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is not available to us. God called us to be set apart for Him. When we live by His standard He promises to receive us. (2Corinthians 6:17)
We have access to the awesome power of God through our relationship with Jesus Christ. As we serve Him we experience His power, in fact, He gives power to us.
There is an old chorus that tells us about the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead and it says, “It shall quicken your mortal bodies if that Spirit dwell in you.” When that Spirit quickens us and His word gives us strength we can proclaim the awesomeness of God. (Psalm 68:35)
The empowerment He offers brings us true prosperity. We are not promoting any kind of “Name it and claim it”, or “Blab it and grab it” theology of God making millionaires. We do expect our souls and our physical being to prosper by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. According to scripture, God is the ruler of all things and He bestows His great gifts on all believers. Those gifts become our inheritance as the children of God. He lifts us up as we live to serve Him but the blessing is infinitely more than financial. (1Chronicles 29:12)
The unfortunate reality is that we do not always live up to God’s standard. Though we have access to the power of God we do not always depend upon it. That is where we get into trouble and it is not too far from that point in our journey we begin to realize the need to repent. When we repent God hears us and we are renewed. (Jeremiah 31:18-20)
As we repent and our lives are changed by the presence and power of God we are renewed. We live out the profession of our faith in service to God. We are built up by the word of grace and we are able to apply our inheritance to our lives along with our brothers and sisters in the family of God. The inheritance is not a vast fortune left to us by relatives who have died, but the living hope we have in Christ. It is faith, hope, love and forgiveness. (Acts 20:32-35)
To serve God is to give to others. We are renewed and strengthened daily in order that we can do the will of God. As we stated before, no one can be forced to serve. Service must flow from the love we have toward God. God expects that we will help those in need and work together to build His Kingdom. Do we recognize the value of our gift of service? SERVE — Sanctified, Empowered, Renewed, (able to) Volunteer, (and) Equipped. When we have been set apart, empowered and renewed, by the Holy Spirit, we experience the vitality and refreshment that allows us to serve voluntarily. We choose to take the next step and “GO” be disciples. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3)
When we volunteer it should not be out of overwhelming emotionalism, or ambition because those things will lead us into trouble. We should carefully evaluate the needs we attempt to meet. We often make faith pledges within the church to get involved with projects, or support ministries that we feel strongly about, but our promises become “the sacrifice of fools” if we do not live up to them and serve. (Ecclesiastes 5:6-7)
For as long as I can remember there have only ever been two things I wanted to be when I grew up. They are both related fields and I have been able to accomplish both as I submitted to the leading and direction of our Lord. One thing I wanted to be was a teacher, and the other was a preacher. How did I get where I am? Have you ever asked yourself that question?
And the answer is: Our God truly is an awesome God! He does not ask anything of us that He will not equip us for. Most people, most of the time, do not protest serving if the areas of service are easily noticeable, but avoid like the plague the simple day-to-day tasks of ministry that are less glamorous. Unfortunately, God calls us to serve wherever there is a need. (Deuteronomy 22:4)
We may find ourselves in ministry saying, “I never signed up for this.” Being equipped to serve is a painstaking process through which God accessorizes our lives. We never know which life lesson God will choose to use for His glory but we know all our serving is going to build the Kingdom of God when it is pleasing to Him. We all know the quickest way to please someone is — just do what is asked. There is no task too small to be noticed by God. He is at work in our lives making sure that we are equipped for every good and pleasing service. He is accessorizing us! (Hebrews 13:20-21)
One key to effective service is worship. God speaks to us as we worship Him. He calls each of us to a specific ministry before Him. We are all Sanctified, Empowered, Renewed, (able to) Volunteer, (and) Equipped when we faithfully answer God’s call upon our lives. (Acts 13:2)
Service pulls us into unity. The faith we share stretches us beyond our comfort zones and we become mature functioning members of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
As God’s people we are being made ready to serve by the teaching and training available from the many gifted pastors and teachers God has given us, but the message should challenge, empower, and equip us for the work of serving God. We have been sanctified, set apart and made holy, by the will of God. We have been empowered by the Spirit of God. We are renewed daily by the grace of God. We are able to volunteer by acts of our free will, and we are equipped for service by the word of God. What better use of our time can there be but to serve? SERVE — Sanctified, Empowered, Renewed, (able to) Volunteer, (and) Equipped — go ahead you know you want to!