The Challenge of Servanthood

We are continuing our series at Cityview through the New Testament Challenge with this week’s message, The Challenge of Servanthood.  My published outline is below.

New Testament Challenge:  The Challenge of Servanthood

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”  Philippians 2:5-7

The Big Idea:  God’s servants serve without demanding special status.

Text:  Philippians 2:1-30

1. Humility and engagement are characteristics of the Christian servant.

Humility
A.  Our walk with Jesus begins with humility.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.   James 4:7-10

B.  Our fellowship with each other requires humility.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3
Engagement
A.  Hopeful, obedient activity in response to God.  “If you have any…”

B.  Hopeful activity in response to the interests of others.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.”  2:4

 

Jesus perfectly models the combination of humility and engagement God desires to bring out in His people.
See Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus did not strive or compete for domination.  Vs. 6

Jesus pursued the way of a servant.  Vs. 7

Jesus humbled himself accepting the world’s contempt.  Vs. 8

Jesus acted in obedience to His Heavenly Father.  Vs. 8

Jesus served even unto death.  Vs. 8
2. Christian servanthood cooperates with the Holy Spirit to lift up Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.

We serve under our exalted King.  See Philippians 2:9-11

“…it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his
good purpose.”  Philippians 2:12-13

 

3. Christian servants work together to infiltrate our generation  with the word of life.

“…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”  Philippians 2:15-16

Our Cityview’s Olympic Plan:

Pray————————Serve————————Speak

 

Today, let’s commit to pray, serve, speak for and with those in
our circle of influence who are lost without the life of Jesus Christ.  On the ALPHA sheet write down their names.  At the end of the service turn this in and our team of intercessors will serve by praying for them.

 

4. Complaining and arguing destroys the effectiveness of our service in a world separated from God.

Do everything without complaining and arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault…”  2:14-15

 

The New Testament Challenge: Forgiveness

Here are the notes from Sunday’s talk at Cityview.  You can listen to the audio later in the week.  I have included in the notes the song Forgiven, by Jacob Favela, that we watched and the link for the interview with Kim Phuc that I referenced.

 

New Testament Challenge:  The Challenge of Forgiveness

“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins
against us.”   Luke 11:4

The Big Idea:  When I forgive someone I decide that they don’t owe me anything anymore.

1.  Admit the debt pain/hurt creates in your heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of  life.”  Proverbs 4:23

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.   Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”
Proverbs 28:13-14

After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’?  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)  He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’  For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'”   Mark 7:17-23

 

2.  Turn to Jesus who has paid it all and forgiven you.

“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34
“In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”  Ephesians 1:7-8

 

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.   2 Peter 1:5-9

 

3.  Choose to forgive the one who sinned against you.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 5:32

Matthew  18:21-27

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.   “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

 

4.  Make yourself available to God for His redemptive work.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans  8:26-29

 

The Challenge of Generosity

Here are the notes from Sunday’s message at Cityview in our series, The New Testament Challenge.  The audio will be available later this week.

“Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

The Big Idea:  Generosity relies on the abundance of God.

1.  Jesus believes you can afford to be generous.
2.  Jesus confronts us with an alternative economy.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.   Matthew 6:19-24  NIV

See Luke 18:18-33

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”    23   When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a   man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

Common Challenges to Generosity

A.  “I’m not sure I have enough.”

“Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his posses- sions.”  Luke 12:15

Generosity challenges our vision of success.

B.  “I’m in too much debt.”

“The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the
lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Generosity challenges our addiction to stuff and lack of restraint.

C.  “I’m not sure the other person deserves it.”

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!   James 2:12-13

Generosity challenges our judgmental nature.

D.  “I’m overwhelmed; there are just too many people with needs.”

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but   has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:14-17

Generosity challenges us to act now.

E.  “I don’t want to be part of the problem.”

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”  Galatians 6:1

Generosity challenges us to seek wisdom.

F.  “I didn’t know.”

“They will answer, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you.”  Matthew 25:44

Generosity challenges us to see Jesus.

G.  “I just need a little bit more.”

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with every thing for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  1 Timothy 6:17-19
Generosity challenges our greed.

4. Beware the temptation to make godliness and generosity a formula for this world’s vision of success.  Beware the temptation to make generosity another system of divine credit.

3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.   1 Timothy 6:3-10

5.  Next Steps

A.  __________  Enter the Kingdom of Jesus and His new economy of the Abundant Life.

B.  __________  Memorize the verse.  “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   Luke 6:38
C.  __________  Determine to give from what you have.

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  Matthew 5:42

D.  ___________________________________________

The Challenge of Gratitude

Here are the notes from Sunday’s message The Challenge of Gratitude which is part of our continuing series, The Challenge of the New Testament.  The audio will be available later in the week here.

The Challenge of Gratitude

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The Big Idea:  God is a reason for thanksgiving in all circumstances.

1.  ALL is a small word with big coverage.

2.  God is greater than we are.  Gratitude battles pride.

The absence of gratitude toward God is the first step down a slippery slope away from God.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glo- rified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking be- came futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 1:20-21

3. God is greater than our circumstances.  Gratitude battles despair.

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”  Ephesians 5:3-4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and peti- tion, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

4. Gratitude is not just personal it is communal.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  Romans 12:15

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.  1 Timothy 2:1-7

“If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
1 Corinthians 10:14-17

5.  Spontaneity is great.  But there are seasons in our lives when we need to put thanks into practice by creating a trigger for thanks-giving.

__________  Memorize the verse.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

__________  Create an emotional trigger.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions…”  Ephesians 6:18

__________  Create a scheduled trigger.  (example:  Mealtimes.)

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.”  Matthew 14:19

__________  Plan on sending thank-you notes regularly.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:12-15

Radical Love

Here are the notes from the New Testament Challenge Message at Cityview this weekend on Radical Love.

The Big Idea: Radical love flows from a gracious and just God.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:44-45

radical:  1) arising from or going to a root source
2) departing markedly from the norm or the culture

3) favouring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes

4) slang:  wonderful

1.  Jesus describes radical love as a product of knowing Him.

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciple, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

“My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.”  John 15:12-13

2.  The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7 is not another “law” from which we try to gain acceptance from God if we perfect it.  Rather the Sermon on the Mount is descriptive of the lifestyle that flows from a person being transformed (blessed) by Jesus Christ. As Jesus concludes the message the nature of this life becomes more clear:

Ask the Father for good gifts… Matthew 7:7-12
Enter the narrow gate for life… Matthew 7:13-14

Good tree bears good fruit/entry into
the Kingdom of heaven via knowing Jesus Matthew 7:15-23
Wise builder puts Jesus words into practice Matthew 7:43-48

3. The Sermon on the Mount does give us insight on what hinders us from loving people radically.

A.  Contempt for people, the bearers of God’s image.  Matt 5:21-26
B.  Lust, a desire to use people for selfish ends.  Matt 5:27-30
C.  Building throwaway relationships.  Matt 5:31-32

D.  Making throwaway promises, words.  Matt 5:33-37
E.  Vengeful justice-seeking.  Matthew 5:38-42
F.   Smallness, limiting love to those who love us.  Matt 5 43-48
G.  Desiring the applause of people over the applause of God.  6:1-18

H.  Valuing financial security over the works of God.  6:19-24
I.  Worrying over the stuff of earth over the kingdom of God.  6:25-
J.  Using other people’s failure as reason to elevate ourselves. 7:1-6

4. Jesus creates a window for us to see examples of Radical love:
A.  Seeks out a person who we have heart when we realize it.

B.  Interacts with people with out using them for selfish pleasures.

C.  Values people and seeks to maintain covenants even when tough.

D.  Speaks clearly and sincerely about one’s intentions.

E.  Gives people more good than they deserve.

F.  Pursues the highest good possible even for enemies.

G.  Doesn’t mind doing good without earthly recognition.

H.  Treasures what is close to the heart of God and invests in that.

I.   Trusts God with the details of life in order to realize God’s
Kingdom and righteousness.

J.   Recognizes one’s own desperate need from God’s mercy and
grace and humbly participates in His healing and restorative work
in another person’s life.

5. Jesus is The Source for Radical Love:

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.   1 John 4:10-17