A Decision to Love; An Expression of Thanks

Preached by Andrew Smellie, May 13, 2007

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Mothers reflect a love that only God could create!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus responded to a mother’s request for her two sons. Here, Jesus made sure this family understood what greatness really is in God’s eyes and gave us the perfect example of what our motivation needs to be–in order to keep serving one another like Jesus served us!

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

So many of us have experienced the amazing love of our mothers. Through the years our moms have made many decisions to love us, when we weren’t so lovable! But even if we didn’t get to experience this kind of sacrificial love from our own mothers, all of us can look to how Jesus, the prophets and even the apostles served us and poured out their lives for us.

The question for us today is: “Are we living our lives as an expression of thanks to God for His love?”
“Service: a Decision to Love and an Expression of Thanks”

Preached by: Andrew Smellie
Sunday, May 13, 2007

Matthew 20:20-28
Question: What good mother does not try to do what her children desire?
• The mother of James and John wanted the best for her children.
• She did not understand the significance of what she was asking for.
• Serving the Kingdom requires sacrifice and servitude.
• In order to be great in the Kingdom of God, you must serve.

Question: Do we have that heart to serve God and each other?
• God Himself did not come to be served but instead He washed the feet of the apostles.

Question: What kind of heart do we have?
• In order to be thankful of the people who served you, you need to think back to when God served you first.
• Some of us may not be so fortunate to have a positive example from our mothers.
• We need to realize that God has served us first.

Isaiah 49:15
• That is the heart of God.
• He continues to serve us until the end.
• If you are not serving out of the heart of love, then it is an obligation.
• When you are thankful, you will serve.

1. We have and will continue to be served by Jesus.
• Jesus lives to intercede between you and God. Jesus lives for us!
Hebrews 7:24-25
• To have the heart of a servant is not easy, it is hard.
• To serve is a decision to love.

Question: Does that encourage you?
• That is the heart of love. That is the love of Jesus.

Question: How many of us are willing to lay down our lives so that others may be saved?

2. We have been served by the prophets.
1 Peter 1:10-12
• Jesus serves you right now. God serves you right now.
• The reason why we have the Word right now is because the prophets were willing to stand up and preach the Word.
• That is the heart of servitude: trust, faith and obedience.

3. We have been served by the example of the prophets.
1 Corinthians 4:13-17
• The prophets and the apostles were willing to lay down their lives for us.
Question: Are you grateful?

4. We have been served by each other.
Question: Are you grateful for staying with us?
• Call the person who helped you to become a Christian.
• With so much service we can feel pampered.

Question: Don’t you take these things and people for granted?
• Familiarity breeds contempt. It is a decision to love.

Question: How do we show that appreciation?

Question: What is the expression of thanks that we should have?

i. We serve others through our personal evangelism.
John 1:35-42
• Here is Jesus: these guys just roll up at Him and Jesus just took them in.
• Andrew was so grateful to find Jesus that he invited others to meet Him.
Question: How grateful are you to follow Jesus?

Question: How grateful are you to look at this truth – the Bible?

Question: How grateful are you for others to know this truth?
• It is a decision to love because we have been loved.
• It is a decision to love because you have been loved.
• Everyone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ has been led by someone to Jesus.
• It starts by being hospitable: offering to invite them to Bible Talk, church service and/or to study the Bible with them.

2 Corinthians 4:13-15
• Our personal evangelism is an expression of thanks to God.
• God does not want us to speak if we do not mean or believe what we say.
“I want to show my thanks to God by sharing my faith with others.”
• We do what we do because we want to give thanks to God.

2 Corinthians 5:10-21
Question: Who am I that I get to thank God by living as an ambassador?!

Question: Do you see evangelism as handing out an invitation to forgiveness and eternal salvation, due to your own gratitude for what God has given to you? Or do you see it as an invitation you pass out to attend a meeting?
• You won’t continue to do something simply because someone tells you to do it.
• You’ve got to get your own gratitude together.
• God is trying to express His love through us. Do not hold back God’s love.

ii. We serve others through our discipling relationships.
• If we see anyone with a spiritual funk, then we need to get that Word and wash that brother up.
• That is why we have discipling relationships. (Luke 6:40-42; Mark 10:35-45)
• We have to recommit ourselves to one another in these discipling relationships because that is an expression of thanks to God.

Colossians 1:24-29
• We want to make sure that every part of the body of Jesus is clean!
• James Metts and Charles Anderson are part of Jesus’ body. . .their a part of your body if you’re a part of Jesus’ body: so with the same energy and priority you take care of yourself, you should care for the others in your ministry/life!
• “When I’m taking care of guys in my ministry, I’m cleaning Jesus’ body.”

Colossians 2:1-2
• Paul called everyone to be unified and have the same conviction and the same standard.
• That is why we have these relationships—for accountability.
• It is a decision to love others and tell them the truth.

Question: Do we look at our relationships that way?
• We need to care enough about the person to be concerned about his spiritual well being because we are part of the same body.

iii. We serve others through our financial resources.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
• Whether it is weekly contribution, benevolence contribution or mission’s contribution, we need to be giving.
• We need to discern what is best to win the world.

Question: What is going to help people stay strong and not fall for Satan’s schemes?
• It is raising the standard for what God wants us to do.

Question: Are we willing to give our best for God?
“All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” – John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, Friday, January 20, 1961

• It may not happen in our lifetime, but we still do it . . .just like the prophets of old served future generations with their faithful devotion and proclamation of God’s Word!

Question: How much is a soul worth to you?

Question: Are you willing to sacrifice to be a mom or a dad in the faith for someone?

Question: Am I willing to give anything to help them?
• Be willing to be men and women of service—spiritual donors/benefactors and not just the beneficiaries of other people’s service.
• Serving others is the path of happiness in life.

Acts 20:35
• God wants your heart.
• In order to have an eternal impact, God calls us to have the heart of a mother.