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A Life of Full Service


  1. One of the scribes, hearing Jesus teach, asked the question,
    ( Mark 12:28-31) 28 And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord;30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'31 "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
  1. In this reply, Jesus delineated FIVE different avenues through which we serve God and show to Him our devotion.
    1. Through these different ways we show our discipleship.
    2. They are inter-related, over-lapping, and dovetail perfectly as the Christian graces are developed in the individual's life.
    3. They relate to the heart, soul, mind, strength, and love of neighbor.

I. HEART -- Emotional Service

Our love to God must spring from a pure heart.

And by the heart, we mean the site of the affections and emotions.

God demand our heartfelt devotion.

  1. The heart must be pure--
    1. Jesus said (Matt. 5:8) "Bless are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
    2. And since the heart must be pure, we are instructed, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8).
    3. Your outward actions may fool your associates, but God looks to the fount of all action, for He probes the heart.
    4. Therefore it was told Samuel, "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).
    5. Further we are told that the word of God "is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
    6. A man cannot be pure if his heart is not purified, "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7).
    7. An impenitent and impure heart will condemn!

  2. How is the heart purified?--
    1. As the heart is made impure by the evil thoughts that it harbors, so the heart can be purified by that which it entertains. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness" (Rom. 10:10).
    2. This faith in Christ purifies the heart, for it prompts acceptable obedience to the gospel. "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but he have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servant of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18).
    3. They could have become servants of righteousness through no other course than "obeying from the heart."
    4. This was necessary then-- it is just as essential now.
      1. For this reason infants cannot obey from the heart!
      2. The heart must believe, it must also repent toward God, and submit to His will!

  3. The heart speaks--
    1. You can tell when a man is a good man by hearing what comes from the heart!
    2. Often I've heard someone try to make excuses for some degenerate reprobate's swearing and cursing, by saying, "Oh, he is really a fine fellow at heart."
      1. But this is a colossal lie, and my Lord said so!
      2. Hear Him: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things" (Matt. 12:34-35).
    3. When you hear a man lying, cursing, swearing, or telling filthy stories, you mark it down-- that man is rotten in the heart!

  4. The heart serves--
    1. When Paul was speaking to servants, he told them to be obedient to their masters "in singleness of heart as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Eph. 6:5-6).
    2. And to show further that the heart enters into our service to God, he wrote, "Follow after righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Tim. 2:22).
    3. Then when he was giving instructions for the gathering of an offering for the poor saints of Judea, he told the Corinthians, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
    4. Thus what we give to the Lord is dependent on the heart.

  1. Advice concerning the heart --
    1. The Wise Man said, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23).
    2. The final culmination is stated by Paul in these words, "But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned" (1 Tim. 1:5).
    3. Surely we should never minimize the importance of the service of a pure heart in worshiping God!

II. MIND -- Mental Service

Bear in mind that the Lord said the mind also must be given to love of God!

Here is the service of the mentality, as well as the emotions and affections.

  1. It must be pure--
    1. The mind of the Gentile race shows the corruption that beckons when the mind is not devoted to God.
      1. In a catalogue of sins, Paul pointed out this salient factor: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting" (Romans 1:28).
    2. While guided and directed by such a corrupt mind, it is impossible to please God! "For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally ;minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6).
    3. It is no wonder then that Paul wrote, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5).
    4. In speaking of all them who were the enemies of God's truth, Paul referred to them as "men of corrupt minds" (1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 3:8).

  2. How is the mind purified? --
    1. The mind is purified by receiving and retaining the word of God. "These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
    2. This spiritual growth is encouraged in every saint: "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" (Romans 12:2).
    3. Or as Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:23 -- "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."
    4. When this acceptance of Christ as been achieved, we can truthfully say, "But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor., 2:16).

  3. The mind also serves God--
    1. When Paul rehearsed his life in Asia, he stated that he had been "serving the Lord with all humility of mind" (Acts 20:19).
    2. And in 1 Peter 5:2 we find that elders were to serve God "with a willing mind."
      1. Therefore it is established that we do serve God also with our mind.
    3. Paul said, "I think God through Jesus Christ. So with the mind I serve the law of God" (Rom. 7:25).
    4. And concerning what folk gave to the Lord, he wrote, "For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to that he hath not" (2 Cor. 8:12).
      1. We, too, must have a ready mind.

  4. The mind is protected--
    1. The Christian is not to go through life handicapped by mental disturbances.
    2. God intends that the mind should serve Him in peace and tranquility.
      1. Therefore, we are told to cast all our cares on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7).
      2. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ" (Phil. 4:7).
    3. We are given complete assurance of mighty, divine protection, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of stronghold;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
    4. Here is the protection and shield we have against mental anguish and troubled minds!

III. STRENGTH -- Physical Service

As we are to love God with all our heart and mind, we also find the whole physical being is to be brought into this love of God!

Our bodies belongs to the Lord and it is to be used for Him (1 Cor. 6:13); it has been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

  1. The body must be pure!--
    1. But it is far from being pure after having been degraded by sin!
      1. Paul said, "I know that in me, (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform it, I know not" (Rom. 7:18).
      2. This caused him to exclaim, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24).
    2. Yet there was a way out, "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:13).
    3. So, there was a way by which the body could be purified to prevent this death!

  2. How is the body purified? --
    1. Paul tells us, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness" (Rom. 8:10).
      1. This is a commentary on 2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
    2. And to develop the same line of reasoning in showing the new life in Christ, we read, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:26-27).
    3. The heart is purified in believing on Christ, and the boy is purified for service in baptism:
      1. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22).
    4. After Paul had crucified the old man of sin, he wrote, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
      1. When this is done, the body is purified for service to God!

  3. The body serves!--
    1. Paul knew that his body was devoted to the service of God!
    2. Therefore he wrote that he was "always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the live also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (2 Cor. 4:10).
    3. It was because of his having served the Lord with his body that he said, "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" (Gal. 6:17).
    4. He was so devoted to Christ that he could say "So now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death" (Phil. 1:20).

  4. Body to be raised--
    1. One of the fundamental doctrines of the New Testament is that the body shall be raised from the grave.
    2. This hope Paul expressed in saying that we anticipate the return of Christ "who shall change my vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Phil. 3:21).
    3. Jesus taught plainly on this theme: "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29).
    4. The longest chapter penned by Paul is given over wholly to the bodily resurrection (see I Cor. 15).
    5. Never forget that the body is very important in our service to God. Keep it pure!

IV. LOVE NEIGHBOR -- Social Service

Man has also a social obligation in his service to God.

This is emphasized in 1 John 4:20 -- "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"

  1. Social service must be pure--
    1. It must be realized that our social life must also be pure if it serves the cause of Christ.
    2. Keep in mind His admonition: "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1).
    3. No hypocrisy in society can commend the life of Christ to others! "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:6-7).
    4. We must put away all social ties that would detract from the influence we exert among those who are lost!
    5. Jesus said His disciples were the salt of the earth, but emphasized that if the salt had lost its savor it was fit for nothing but to cast out and trodden under foot of men.
    6. He then said, "Ye are the light of the world ... Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good words, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).
    7. This influence must be kept pure at all times!

  2. A pure example--
    1. Our social behavior must be such that others, beholding will glorify God.
    2. Thus Paul wrote Timothy, "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4:12).
    3. "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak evil against you as evildoers, they may be your good works, which they behold glorify God in the day of visitation" (I Peter 2:11-12).
    4. God's saints must always strive to set forth this kind of life!

  3. Social service to all --
    1. God's people must always set forth social responsibility.
    2. Where there is a need, the Christian must strive to supply that need.
    3. Please bear in mind the promise of the Lord, "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward" (Matt. 10:42).
    4. Again we are taught, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10).
    5. We must follow after Christ "who went about doing good."

  4. Our care for others--
    1. Above all things we should have great concern for others in Christ: "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (I Cor. 12:25).
    2. The church is the purest society!

V. SOUL -- Spiritual Service

We now come to the crux of the whole study!

Regardless of how great the emotional, mental, and social service, without the spiritual development it is wasted effort!

Therefore we must give far more thought to the soul!

  1. It must be pure -- I
    1. t is not at all strange that Paul wrote Timothy, "Keep thyself pure" (1 Tim. 5:22).
    2. This is essentially important if we are to serve God.
    3. Keep in mind the statement from Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 -- "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

  2. How is it purified?--
    1. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul" (Psalms 19:7).
    2. Since the soul must be changed, then we must have the word of the Lord to effect the change!
      1. "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).
      2. The word of God converts the soul, and when received, saved the soul.
    3. But Peter wrote, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth" (1 Peter 1:22).
      1. Thus obedience to the gospel purified the soul.
      2. "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

  3. The Soul serves--
    1. When Jesus was tempted of the devil, He replied that man should worship the Lord God, and serve none other (Matt. 4:10).
    2. But in our text this is expanded for greater detail.
    3. And we find that the soul of man does serve God!

  4. The importance of the Soul --
    1. Too many have a very light appraisal of this importance and worth of the soul.
    2. But Jesus put the spotlight of truth on the subject in saying, "For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37).
    3. There is nothing of equivalent value, and no way to place a price on its worth!
    4. Therefore Jesus said, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).
    5. Why lavish so much attention on the body, and ignore the needs of the soul?
    6. Paul said, "Bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:8).
    7. The worth of the soul is seen in that Christ is the Shepherd of it (see 1 Peter 2:25).

  5. Completeness--
    1. Even when the emotional, mental, physical, and social phases of life have been perfectly developed, man is still incomplete until the spiritual has also been nourished!
    2. For this reason, Paul wrote, "Ye are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power" (Col. 2:10).
    3. When the soul of man has been ignored, man is woefully undone! We need a Savior!
    4. The soul cries out for God!

  6. End of faith--
    1. When the toils of life have ended, when the battles have all been won, when God beckons the weary pilgrim home-- O the joy of an anticipated eternal home!
    2. This is the end of our spiritual service to God! "
    3. Receiving the end of your faith even the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:9).
    4. Here is the grand reward for the love we give unto our God.


-- Windell Gann -- Sermons -- http://home.hiwaay.net/~wgann/sermons.htm

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