Delivered on July 3, 2016
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Loving one another is no new commandment from the Lord as some translation has put it. In fact, the command to love was mentioned in the Old Testament...Leviticus 19-18, teaches Gods people to “love your neighbor as yourselves”. The new element is the change from “neighbor to one another”. And a change from “yourselves, to as I have loved you”. Christian love has Christs sacrificial love as its model, and the community of believers as the primary, though by no means exclusive just for the church, but on how we are even to non believers. Or else, how will they see Jesus in you and me?
“while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. (Rom 5:8) The test of friendship in Christ, as mentioned in this verse, is done in obedience. The Greek term translated for “friends”, could be rendered as “beloved ones”. Since it is related to a Greek verb, meaning “love”. Everything that we are is done out of The Fathers love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only Son”. And because of that love we were saved.
Jesus earlier used the analogy of a master’s relationship to servants to characterize His relationship to His disciples. “Friends” suggests a closer relationship than that of a servant. Meaning a closer relationship, and the language of a brotherhood. Belonging to a family.
“for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain”.
Jesus does not want any of us to lead unproductive, or unfocused lives. He chose you not only for salvation, but also to play a role in His kingdom. Jesus wants each of us to fulfill a particular purpose. Why were you called, and what is your duty in Gods Kingdom?
1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Paul, a “bondservant of God” in other translation, Paul would call himself a “slave of God”. Regardless of which translation you choose, it all falls to one who is by... and by who serves God. Paul mentions, “acknowledgment of the truth which accords to godliness”. Which also lines up with our previous verse where Jesus said... “for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you”.
The goal of Paul’s apostleship is faith in Christ, which is grounded in knowledge and leads to godly living on the part of being Gods elect.. Paul does not simply desire to convey information, but to see God’s people to grow in godliness through a believing reception of the Truth he proclaims. “Gods Truth”. Paul will note that, the appearing of Gods grace in Christ trains believers to renounce evil passions and live godly lives, devoted to good works...God’s work! The question still remains...why were you called, what is your duty in Gods kingdom?
For those who are children of God there are many benefits we are provided with salvation and eternal life. We have a relationship with the Father. We are adopted into the family of God. We are joint heirs with Jesus. We have a home in Heaven and we have the opportunity for an abundant life while we are here on earth. Those are just a few of the benefits of being a child of God.
But God did not just save you and i,to keep us from Hell! He did not redeem us simply to give us a home in Heaven! Our ultimate purpose in this life is to bring honor and glory to our Heavenly Father. If that is true in your life? And it should be if you call yourself a christian. Then it is safe to say that you were saved to serve! Hence the term, “called for a purpose”.
If you look at the life in ministry of the Apostles it becomes clear that Jesus had a plan for them. Yes, they received many benefits from following the Savior. But they were called, commanded and commissioned to share the Gospel for the remainder of their lives.
In our selected text we find that this was not just the case for the original Apostles. It is the case for everyone who is "in Christ". Which includes you and i. I would like to look at the first four verses of Paul's epistle to Titus and see that we are called to serve. In this passage we see that 1.Paul was saved to serve 2. Titus was saved to serve 3.You were saved to serve. Let's begin in verse 1 and see that. (Read Titus again) ....As you can see as mentioned in these verses...Paul, an apostle, was saved. God speaking of His elect before time began, and to Titus a true son in the faith. Scripture is clear, and all to be true!
In the beginning of the churches,there were not many people who were feared more than a man named Saul of Tarsus. He was a devout Jew... a self described "Pharisee of Pharisees". He spent his days persecuting Christians and seeking the complete destruction of the Church. When Stephen was stoned to death, Saul was there consenting unto his death. What Saul of Tarsus did not know was that God had chosen him for a specific task. If you still remember, from our responsive reading which says... “all the days ordained for me was written in your book, before one of them came to be”. He would soon become one of the greatest leaders & missionaries in this church that he fought so hard to destroy.
Paul refers to Himself as a "servant of God". The Greek word is "doulos", meaning a slave. Paul proclaims that his life was no longer his own. He belonged to God and his Savior Jesus Christ. How did this happen? What brought about this transformation? Back in Acts Chapter 9, this great persecutor had an encounter with the Savior. Saul was headed to Damascus with the intentions of bringing Christians bound back to Jerusalem in order to persecute them. There on Damascus Road, Jesus appeared to Saul and changed his life forever!
Each and every believer should have their own “Road To Damascus”, story. Which in term we use the word “Testimony”.
Why did Jesus confront Saul? It was not to give the churches rest from their persecution, though this was one of the results. The reason is seen in...
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Paul was saved to serve! And serve He did! In fact, millions of people all over the world are still benefiting from his service. This was two thousand years ago, many are still learning from this letter, which includes you and i. After he was called, Paul spent the remainder of his life serving Jesus Christ. Let's examine that for a moment. Consider Paul’s ministry, an Apostle speaks of "one who is sent". Specifically one who is hand picked by Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself chose 12 men and entrusted them with the organization of the Church and the proclamation of the gospel. We know that Judas betrayed Jesus and eventually killed himself. I believe it is evident that his position was filled by none other than the Apostle Paul. Yes! We all know the famous casting of lots story between Justus and Mathias, and the lot fell on Matthias. Now...keep in mind, if you are familiar with the story, casting lots was an Old Testament tradition, which they have used to decide on who will take the place of Judas, which around that time, they have not yet received the Holy Spirit. Paul was chosen by Jesus Himself, and by men, not by chance. ( No lot casting for Paul ) Remember what i said in one of our bible studies...You are either called to be a Pharoah or Judas, or your called to be a child of God. Either way, you are called for a purpose. Whether you bow to Jesus now, or you bow to Jesus in hell. Either way, you will bow to the King!
1 Corinthians 15:8
8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
1 Corinthians 15:8 ( NIV )
8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
The Corinthian church held Paul in low esteem, being born prematurely, meaning that they were not talking about physical birth here, but by how Paul was chosen by God. Unlike the twelve, including Mathias, the one who replaced Judas. Paul did not experience any association with Jesus in His earthly ministry. Paul did not spend three years with Jesus, unlike the twelve.
We can all relate to Paul, we weren’t there, we never walked Jesus. But, same thing with the world we live in now. If you are not properly trained in scriptures, meaning, if you never attended seminary, you’re least qualified. But the fact still remains, if you are called by God, who are we to say no!
Listen...everything we need to learn about God, comes from above. Yes! we have the bible, but without revelation from above, its only a book. Without the Holy Spirit, who will teach us all things. We would not understand! “The person without the Spirit, cannot accept the things of the Spirit” Paul went to many areas preaching the Word. He established new churches and strengthened others. Many souls came to Christ because of his ministry. Many others matured in the faith as well! But Paul didn't just preach... he also suffered! He was constantly arrested and imprisoned. He was beaten, stoned and eventually gave his life for the cause of Christ. He faced all of these hardships willingly. Why? Because he knew that he was called to serve. He was chosen by God, for His purpose. Let me ask you, what is your duty in Gods kingdom?
Are you using the gifts that God has given you? Are you being obedient to your calling?
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Every believers ministry exists only because of Gods grace, hence... “being saved”. As do spiritual gifts that comes from above. Realistic assessment of one’s gift, being sober minded, and lead by the Spirit, is essential and involves a recognition of the one’s measure of faith. As Paul used the analogy of the body as mentioned in (1 Cor 12) and its various parts to illustrate the nature of the church. Paul stresses, its unity, its diversity, and the need to recognize one’s gift and to use it eagerly and appropriately to serve God, and service to others.
Paul & Titus were very different men with very different backgrounds. But they both came to Jesus the same way and for the same purpose. If you are born again, you were saved the same way that they were. And if you are saved you have an obligation to serve the Lord! Now, serving the Lord, and serving others, does not have to be in a church setting. If you are a parent, guess what, disciple your children, you dont even have to go far, they are right in front of you. You can be a prayer warrior, and pray for the saints while you’re at home. Internet is available to everyone, be an online evangelist. Let God direct you on what He has already prepared in advance.
Adrian Rodgers, a Pastor, Author and president of the Southern Baptist Convention in the late 70’s and early 80’s said that... "many church members come down the aisle of the church, get baptized, then come Sunday after Sunday and just sit, soak, and sour. God did not call you to sit, soak and sour...HE CALLED YOU TO SERVE!"
So...What does God want from His people? Scripture makes it clear, the cost of being a disciple...
In Luke 14 a large crowd was assembled before Jesus. As He addressed this crowd He revealed the requirements of discipleship. There were many people following Jesus, but many were following for the wrong reasons. Some wanted to see the miracles. Some desired a healing of their own. Some hoped that Jesus would overthrow Rome and establish God's Kingdom. As Jesus preached to that crowd the number of followers began to thin out. What was this radical message that caused people to cease from following Him?
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Jesus is not demanding that we hate our family members in the conventional sense of hatred. Rather through this shocking overstatement, Jesus teaches that being His disciple means loving so unreservedly that all other love seems hatred by comparison. Keep in mind that “God is a jealous God, who’s name is jealous”.
Nothing should come first, when it comes to our relationship with Him. Here’s another one...
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In other words, Jesus was laying out some absolute requirements for discipleship. Yes...God wants you to be delivered from your sins. Yes... God wants to rescue you from the torments of Hell. Yes... God wants to have a personal relationship with Him. Yes... God wants you to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. But ultimately God wants you to be a disciple of Christ! If you are saved, you were saved to serve! Of course, every believer has a different level of spiritual maturity. There’s the new born babies, the youth, and the mature. But in every believer these last two sets of verses that we just read, the conditions still remains the same. If you are a disciple, you belong to Him. ( Jesus ) And there is no turning back. ( Read Luke 9:62 )
Consider for a moment the difference between a convert and a disciple - Converts are believers who live like the world. Disciples are believers who live like Jesus. Converts are focused on their values, interests, worries, fears, priorities, and lifestyles. Disciples are focused on Jesus. Converts go to church. Disciples are the church. Converts are involved in the mission of Jesus. Disciples are committed to it. Converts cheer from the sidelines. Disciples are in the game. Converts hear the word of God. Disciples live it. Converts follow the rules. Disciples follow Jesus. Converts are all about believing. Disciples are all about being. Converts are comfortable. Disciples make sacrifices. Converts talk. Disciples make more disciples. Each and every disciple has a role in Gods kingdom. Let me ask you again. What is your role?
We often use the term "inactive church member" to describe those who have quit attending church. Sometimes we refer to those who attend but simply fill a spot on the pew as "inactive". But there is no such thing as an "inactive church member". You are either building up the church or tearing it down. Like i have mentioned last week, “satan is joining the church, only to tear it down”. I am thankful that everyone of you is equipped enough to see the difference. We are seeing some amazing things take place in our assembly. Can you imagine how much more we could do if we have more faithful servants? Now...here are some hard realities that we need to face...
Are you faithful to the Kingdom work? If you have a position in the church, are you devoted to it? Can others depend on you to carry out your responsibilities faithfully? If you neglect your responsibilities you are not only letting the church down...you are not only letting your brothers and sisters in Christ down....you are saying to your Lord that serving Him is not as important as whatever is keeping you from doing your duty! There is a job for you to do! You and i are “Called To Duty” We are called for His purpose!
If you believe that you were saved to serve say amen!!! If you really believe that, then you must acknowledge the fact that if you are not serving, you are either rebelling, being prideful or you are not saved! You are either obeying the command of Christ, or you are still taking ownership of your life. You were never crucified with Christ!
I will end this message with a promise, and a warning from the Lord.
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Paul was saved to serve, Titus was save to serve, The Apostles, and disciples after them were saved to serve. You and i, were saved to serve.
If you are not saved, you can be today! I would love to tell you more of Gods saving grace. Surrender your heart and life to Christ. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him! And when you do, you too will find that YOU ARE SAVED TO SERVE!
Pastor Richard Santos
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