sermon follow-up: SBMT (minister)

If you’re seeking God and growing in respect for him, I encourage you to begin putting into practice what you understand God expects of you. Decide to do what you know. Put it into action. In a word, minister to the Lord, serving him with your ways. He has good things in store for those who follow him with their life.

“Taste and see how good the LORD is! The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!” (Psalm 34:8a)

“Whoever practices what is good belongs to God. Whoever practices what is bad has not seen God.” (3 John 11)

God is about life and if you’re seeking God, you’re seeking life, not just good intentions about life or warm, fuzzy feelings about God. Intentions are important, but intentions must at some point become actions. So just do it and do it now; don’t put it off. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out, until it all makes sense, until you have strong emotions about it, or whatever. Just do it whenever you get it. Whenever the light turns on in your head and you say to yourself, “This expectation God has shared with me in Scripture is for me to do,” that’s the time to begin doing it.

As you decide to do God’s will, do it consistently. Determine to do it when it’s not easy for you or convenient to do so. Decide to do it even when you don’t feel like it or when you’re not in the mood. Deliberately put skin on your understanding to do God’s will as you understand it and to never stop in the doing of it unless you see your understanding of God’s word put the brakes on it.

By “do it” I don’t mean “try it.” Jesus said that if you want to be his disciple, you have to take up your cross and follow him. This much is certain about a cross: you don’t “try it out.” You either do it or you don’t. As he calls you to take up his cross and follow him, lift it and respectfully bear it as he shows you each step to take in doing so.

See, what God is after in this is for you to grow toward him. You will learn in your doing what you grasp about his will. You will be shaped and matured with your living out of God’s word. Your action, coupled with your good intentions, will develop you and drive you further down the road in your constant search for God and to bow down all the lower to him. Your practice will lead you further down the road in your quest for the One who alone is perfect.

“Practice these things, and live by them so that your progress will be visible to all. Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach.” (1 Timothy 4:15-16a)

“… the senses of the mature are trained by practice to distinguish between good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)

Think about it. What God wants to see in you is precisely what he gives of himself to you. God does for us. All the time. He serves us. Everyone. He meets our needs. Inside and out. He ministers to us.

Every breath we take is evidence. Every new day is an expression of his patient love and extension of hope to us. Every night is his continual expression of rest and rejuvenation in us. Every morsel of food and every drop we drink is served to us by his hands. Every good thing we experience comes from God and so we can rightly say “God ministers to us.” And so God has the right to say to us, “Serve me. Do what I show you. Practice at being my minister.”

“You will keep my rules and do them; I am the LORD, who makes you holy.” (Leviticus 20:8)

That’s right. Be his minister. As you do his will, do it for him. Don’t do it for any other reason. Don’t do it for any other person. Just do it because of him and do it for him. That’s what his Spirit meant when his Spirit said:

“Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

So let me just say it one more time. Minister. Put into practice what you learn from God as you get it. Minister. Don’t wait for anything or anyone. Minister. As you understand something, do it and keep at it. Minister. Anytime is a good time, the perfect time, for you to grasp what God is giving you so grab a hold of it and go with it. Minister. Offer whatever you do up to God as a sacrifice of respectful service to him. Just do it. Minister.

“Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.” (John 13:17)

“… there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do.” (James 1:25)

questions and answers (3)

Q. “Please explain … what you understand the Bible to teach on Christian fasting.”

A. “I think the Scriptures teach very plainly that it is the duty of Christians to fast. The Savior, in the Sermon on the Mount, gives directions for giving alms (Matt. 6:1-4), for praying (verses 5-15), and for fasting (verses 16-18). The three duties are treated here exactly alike, as though they are equally binding. He does not here command either one of them, but assumes that they will all be observed by his disciples, and gives direction as to how they are to be observed. … Christians should fast when tried and tempted, which affliction and sorrow come upon them, when they grow cold and lukewarm in the service of God, when the flesh gains the ascendancy and they become forgetful of their duties to God and indifferent to their spiritual condition or that of the world. When they feel these states begin to approach, fasting and prayer will help them much. When trouble, lukewarmness, and sin come upon a church, they should fast and pray, that deliverance may come through an increase of faith and devotion.”

Questions Answered by Lipscomb and Sewell edited by M.C. Kurfees (McQuiddy Printing Co, 1921); p.228

Note: “Lipscomb” is “David Lipscomb” and “Sewell” is “Jesse P. Sewell,” prominent leaders in the Restoration Heritage, particularly Churches of Christ, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in the United States.