Transformation – Growth through Service

Transformation Series, Part 6

Often the primary obstacle that keeps us from a truly vibrant spiritual life is our pride.  And our pride takes on many forms and disguises to mask its existence in our lives as it chokes out the flow of the Spirit.  This message identifies the face of pride in our lives and once freed from its influence, allows us to serve others in a loving, life giving way.

NOTES

Transformation Series Part 6

Growth through Serving

Dave Spooner – Mosaic Rockford – Nov. 8th, 2015

 

Intro:

  • Hopefully this series has been helpful to you in your spiritual growth – remember to apply what you have been learning – from slowing, to prayer, to listening to God, to scripture.
  • Today we are focusing on how we can grow through serving. And before we can talk about how this works we need to talk about what keeps us from it.
  • Seeing ourselves better than others hinders the spirit of service from flowing in our lives. And this is one of the ways that pride negatively impacts our ability to be like Christ.
  • Often times when we think of pride we have a general understanding of what it is. We need to look at a few less visible forms it assumes in our lives.

 

The three faces of pride

  • Vanity
    • A preoccupation with my appearance or image.
    • Trying to make ourselves look better than we are
  • Stubbornness
    • Shunning correction
    • Always defending ourselves – never really listening to others
    • When someone points out an effort or flaw, we evade of deny or blame someone else.
    • Prov 29:1

Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.

  • Exclusion
    • The choice to exclude both God and other people form their rightful place in our hearts.
    • Jesus said that the essence of spiritual life is to love God and to love people. Pride destroys our capacity to love. Pride is a form of anti-love.
    • Pride moves us to exclude instead of to embrace. Pride moves us to bow down before a mirror rather than before God. Pride moves us to judge rather than to serve. Pride means not only that we want to be smart and wealthy, but also that we will not be satisfied until we are smarter and wealthier than those around us. Pride is essentially comparative in nature.

 

Luke 18:9-14 NIV

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

 

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

 

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

  • “confident of their own righteousness” . . .
  • “Looked down on everybody else” . . .
  • “Prayed about himself” . . .
    • Remember your own brokenness and need of mercy and a savior
    • We are all equal before God
    • Exalt God with thanksgiving – present your requests . . . not present yourself . . .
    • One of the hardest things is the world is to stop being the prodigal son without turning into the elder brother.
  • So how do you “Humble Yourself”
    • Not showing off –
    • Using your gifts and ability to benefit others – not to benefit yourself
    • Have a healthy “self-forgetfulness” that is not preoccupied with yourself
    • Humility is the freedom to stop trying to be what we’re not, or pretending to be what we’re not, and accepting our “appropriate smallness”.   Humility is the decision to “let God be God”.– John Ortberg

 

The practice of service

  • We as Christian are called to follow Christ. And how did Christ live His life? In service.

 

Matt 20:28 NIV

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

 

Phil 2:6-7 NIV

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant

 

  • When Jesus came in the form of a servant, he was not disguising who God is. He was revealing who God is.
  • We should all be living a life of service. The life of Christ is a life of service. Serving others is the activity of God. And when we serve others we are participating in the activities of God and becoming more like Him in the process.
  • This is our calling and this is the highest calling. This is our ministry. And here is our ministry job description
    • The ministry of the mundane
      • This is everyday stuff . . . just help people.
    • The ministry of being interrupted
      • The ministry of availability . . . see this in the bible all the time . . .
        • Just take a day to be available to your family . . . with no agenda of projects or tasks of your own. The ideas is that when my only task is to be available, it is impossible to be interrupted.
      • The ministry of building others up

Eph 4:29 NIV

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

  • The ministry of bearing others burdens

Gal 6:2 HCSB

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

  • Not just giving people what they want – but really serving them and giving them what they truly need.

 

Conclusion

  • Descending into greatness – I must decrease and he must increase

 

Mark 10:42-45 NIV

You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

 

  • Be diligent in identifying and repenting of pride on a regular consistent basis.
    • Ask God to give us His heart
  • Choose to live in humility and gratefully and lovingly allow God to fulfill His ministry through you.
  • Next week – the practice of celebration and then the practice of thanksgiving
  • Prayer people
  • Pray