“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
What is “Our Service of God”? The Bible explains that as a servant (or bond slave) of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18), you are to carry out the Commandments of your Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. It means that you are not to question what, when, where, and how to carry out His Commands; but to be a “doer” of His Word (James 1:22) according to His Instructions as outlined in His Written Word.
The fruit that you bear, as a servant of Jesus Christ, will not be of the “flesh,” but of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); even works of holiness (Romans 6:19-22); and this fruit will remain (John 15:16).
However, many so-called saved people view “Service of God” in the following ways:
- They serve Him only because it is commanded;
- They serve Him because if they think if they don’t, He will make them serve Him; many view Him as a harsh taskmaster; or
- They serve Him for their own self-interest, such as receiving His blessings and His rewards.
However, the Bible defines “Service of God” opposite of these views. The following outline will briefly explain the Scriptural view:
The Mandate of Service (His Command):
- After His Resurrection, but before Pentecost: When you read the accounts by Matthew, Mark, and Luke of what Christ commanded His Apostles to do, you have to place each account in proper order:
- Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Here Jesus commanded His Apostles to teach all nations, baptizing them; then to disciple the baptized believers. Christ promised to be with always, unto the end of the world (or age).
- In Mark 16:14-20, they were commanded to preach the Gospel (the Good News) to every creature. It appears from verse 19, that Christ spoke these words just before His Ascension to heaven. Verse 20 reveals that they went forth and preached everywhere, in the Lord’s power, with signs confirming their words.
- However, in Luke’s account (Luke 24:46-49), Christ told them to preach the Gospel, but with one exception; they were to tarry (wait) in the City of Jerusalem “…until ye be endued with power from on high” (meaning until the Day of Pentecost).
- Summary: Therefore, they were commanded to teach, preach (the Gospel); they were to baptize the believers; and then disciple the believers. But they were to wait until the Day of Pentecost, when they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (See John 14:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2:1-47.)
- After Pentecost:
John 14:18-20, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (19) Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Acts 2:1-4, 38, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance… (38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
As born-again people of God, which means you have been baptized into His Body (1 Corinthians 12:13), which is the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16); you are commanded to be His witnesses of His reconciliation of sinners to God in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is the Church’s reasonable service or priestly duty (1 Peter 2:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Therefore, the Church has been commanded to teach, baptize the believers, and disciple them in truth. Yes, it is a command of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, our Lord and Master.
The Message of Service (His Atonement): The Message that the Church (pastors, teachers, etc.) has is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (or the Good News of His Atonement for sin in His Death, Burial, and Resurrection).
(1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4) “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand… (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
(1 Corinthians 2:1-2) “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
(Galatians 1:4) “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”
The primary theme of the Gospel (or the Good News) of Jesus Christ is His Atonement for sinners in His office work on the cross as our Substitute, Sacrifice, and Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24-25; etc.); which is summed up in His Death, Burial, and Resurrection. The Message is Jesus. Therefore, the message of our service is Jesus Christ and Him crucified and raised from the dead for our Justification (Romans 4:24-25). Paul said there is only one Gospel and if any “…preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
(Romans 1:15-17) “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
The Motive of Service (God’s Love in the believer): The motive of service is two-fold, to God and for God.
- God’s Sovereign Call to Salvation:
(2 Timothy 1:9) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
(1 Corinthians 1:9) “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In this call to Salvation, the Elect is regenerated, made the temple of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:5-6); wherein the love of God is shed abroad in their heart (Romans 5:5c). In regeneration, the elect sinner is set apart in his body, soul, and spirit. He is no longer his own, but belongs to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); now he is a servant of Righteousness.
- God’s Sovereign Choice to Service:
(John 15:16) “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (speaking to the Apostles, His Body, the Church), and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit…”
(Ephesians 2:10) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Paul said, we were created unto “good works”; we were ordained to be servants (servers) of God (Romans 6:17-22).
We then serve Him, or obey Him, because of His Love in us. And when we do obey Him, it proves His love is in us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
The Manner of Service (it is your reasonable service)
- You are to glorify God in body and spirit:
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(Romans 12:1-2) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
- Our service is to be in word and deed:
(1 John 3:11-17) “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (12) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. (13) Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. (14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
- Our service is to be like Christ:
(John 13:34-35) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
- We must receive the engrafted Word and be a doer of His Word:
(James 1:21-22) “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Then How can we perform this Service of God pleasing to Him and an honor to Him? The answer: only by the Power of the Indwelling Christ (Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13; Galatians 2:20). Therefore, we must walk as He walked (1 John 2:4-6). That is in complete surrender to God of our body, soul, and spirit as His child; complete submission to His Written Word, acknowledging that therein are our marching orders and how they are to be carried out; and in complete obedience to his Command of Love, because His love is in us; and we must endure until the end in His Love.
When we do these four things, not only are we rejoicing in Christ’s Suffering (or in His Atonement for our sin); we are walking in His Service pleasing to Him. It is a service of love; not because we have to, but because He first loved us and gave Himself for us in His Service. He has changed our will from the old man and his lusts, unto the new man and righteousness. Now we desire to serve Him in Peace, Righteousness, and Joy of the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
Saved man, examine your service of Christ. Does your service flow from love, His love? The answer is not in your works for Him, but in your attitude toward Him and others.