Christian Service and Love
See on YouTube
Christian Service and Love
I have said it once before and I will say it again. The times we live in are a major culture war. It is a war on who or what will influence the society and culture of that of which we live. What defines our values seems to be constantly changing in our culture today and these values are very unstable. However, the one place where we find timeless stability is the values set apart for us in the Word of God. The culture of the world though seems so loud and so out there today that it is easy to think that the world is winning the culture war. The truth that the world does not want us all to know though is that the tide is starting to turn in favor of the values from the Word of God. Even in this war against abortion, the untold secret that the pro-choice supporters and the abortion clinics do not want to let you know is that the pro-life movement is making ground and is beginning to win in many areas. The question though is what is it that we must do to influence the people of the world towards the culture of the church and biblical truth?
History is a great indicator of what may happen in our present. During the early church years, it was a time of great persecution for Christians living within the Roman Empire. The Emperor Nero in particularly went insane with his hatred for Christians. Had fires and more destruction set upon his own citizens and framed the Christians as the ones who caused these destructive fires. He then had soldiers tie many Christians up, soak them with oil and set them on fire to burn alive and light his garden at night. They faced so much torture and turmoil. Yet despite all this Christianity flourished within the Roman Empire and from that we even still today have the Roman Catholic Church as a base for Christianity within the old Roman Empire. The question though is how did Christians influence the culture so much despite all the persecution they went through in the beginning? The Roman Empire at that time was known to go through a cycle of plagues every 10 years or so. People would break out in red sores all over their face and body. When it was apparent that someone got sick then the belief was that this was their fate so would be cast out into the street and away from any shelter or family just left to die so that they would not infect the rest of the household. While some people would ignore them, Christians would stop, take pity on them, and then risk their own health and lives to care for them. What they were doing was they were being Christ to those who needed Christ. What an amazing concept? As a result of their love and sacrifice to serve those in need despite the risks to their own lives they began to influence the culture of Rome. From those humble beginnings we have the church as it is today.
At the end of Acts chapter 2 it describes the fellowship of believers and how they helped and served one another as the devoted themselves to the teaching and instructions of the apostles. Everyone sold all that they had and gave to anyone who was in need. They would meet together everyday and would break bread together meaning they would share a meal. Everyday was a Sabbath day for them. They were completely engrossed into the faith in Christ. Because of that more were being added to their numbers daily. As their numbers grew, they little by little began to influence the culture around them. This culture of sacrifice, love, and service to others became the way of the Church.
In Luke 22 the disciples were discussing about who was the greatest disciple among the 12 of them. Essentially, they were focused on who was in charge, who was the leader, who will be closest to the kingdom. Jesus points out to them that the standard that they are looking for is not the standard that God is looking for. Jesus is by far the greatest among all of them as he is God in the flesh. Yet he came humble as a servant and was more focused on serving everyone instead of being served himself.
John 13 describes the last Passover meal that Jesus and his friends all shared together. I think it is fitting today as we are going to partake in communion today to discuss this meal. The disciples were in an argument with each other because they had forgotten to arrange for a servant to wash their feet as the ceremonial cleansing for the meal. Suddenly Jesus come and begins to wash all their feet. When he gets to Peter, he begins to object to Jesus washing his feet. He believes that it should be him that should be washing Jesus’ feet instead. Jesus tells him that he may not realize what is happening now but later he will understand. Peter again objects however, Jesus says that unless he allows him to wash his feet then Peter has no part with him. When Jesus is finished, he asks, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” They all call him Lord and teacher which is the highest-level esteem and title that someone could have in those days. In the business world today, it would be like the CEO coming out of his office to help and serve his employees. In the Military it would be like the Generals and other senior officers working in the mess hall to serve and feed their soldiers. Jesus tells them that by his example they should now also do the same for each other and for others that come after them. Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” By doing these things they are told that they will be blessed. However, I would venture to say that by doing these things they were able to influence an entire culture.
How is it that the church can influence the culture today? I wonder if the church has become too complacent and comfortable with itself that it appears to be silent as the evil one gets his way into influencing the culture around us. It used to be that many of the government programs for the sick, poor, and unemployed were not needed as the church would serve these people. Somewhere along the way though we have let the world take over the Church’s ministry and by doing so the world now has more influence than the church. The Church does not serve like the used to serve. The come together on Sunday or for some fellowship or small group time throughout the week but all they do is worship or study however, very rarely will the church go outside of itself to serve. Now understand that not all churches are like this. There are a few out there that are still sacrificing and serving others by being like Christ for their community. However, they are far and few in between compared to the past. How is the Church to influence the culture today? By washing the feet of those in need.
There are things going on in our world today that we as the church say that they are wrong. We see all the abortions in the world from young unwed mothers yet how does the church support these mothers and help them bear the load of caring for their child so that they don’t have to feel that abortion is their only option. Instead we tend to shame them for their sin leaving them to feel that they have only one option. Don’t misunderstand me, we should all be ashamed of sin. However, we should be more ashamed of our own sin before we curse the sins of others. We instead should express love to the sinners and tell them to sin no more.
We see homosexuality, and transgenderism taking over the world by storm. Yet how does the church influence this culture. Do we stand by and just accept it as is and that there is nothing, we can do about it so might as well just allow it? Or do we educate, serve, and love these people and show them how the were fearfully and wonderfully made and how sin wants to twist all our minds to make us believe in something that isn’t true. I would venture to say that the LGBTQ community believes that the world and especially the church and Christians hate them. As long as they believe that there is hatred then they too will develop hatred against the church. How then are we to influence that culture? By washing their feet and being as Christ to them.
I must tell you that I felt guilty as a Christian and a Pastor this week. It is easy for us to point out the sins and the evil that is in the culture of the world today however it is another thing to do something about it. I believe that the enemy has an agenda to use this pandemic to force the church to stay hunkered down in the bunker just waiting things out. However, no plague had ever scared, stopped, or slowed down the early church. The early church was willing to risk their lives for the Kingdom. I think it is time to tell the evil one that we have an agenda as well and that is to wash the feet of our community. I believe it is time that we stop letting the evil one slow us down and stop giving into fear for our own lives and start being the church again. It is easy to make excuses for why we cannot do certain things to love and serve but instead of finding excuses not to do something we need to shift our minds to find excuses to do something about our culture today. Otherwise when Jesus returns, I fear that he will not be pleased with what he sees. Let us wash the feet of our culture around us and then witness the change as was seen in Rome during the early Church.