THE PATH TO SPIRITUAL EXISTENCE
Last year, for four quarters in Sunday morning adult Bible classes, we focused
on the importance of Christians being God's servants. The first quarter we focused on
the fact that Jesus was God's servant. God could send His son to be anything God
wanted him to be. God chose for him to be a servant.
The second quarter we focused on the fact that Jesus teaches people who follow
him to become servants. We examined Jesus' enormous emphasis on the fact that his
disciples are servants.
The third quarter we focused on the fact that God's servants live surrendered
lives. We noted that emphasis again and again throughout the New Testament.
The fourth quarter we focused on the fact that God's servants seek to be God's
stewards. The most trustworthy servants became stewards. We seek to be God's
Little by little we have changed Christianity. I wonder if Jesus would recognize
what we call faith as being faith. I wonder if Jesus would recognize what we call love
as being love. I wonder if Jesus would recognize what we call commitment as
I fear all of us have transformed Christianity in two basic ways. Much of the
time, Christianity is not about what God wants but about what we want. Because we
misunderstand what God wants, we substituted what we want. Much of the time
Christianity is not about serving, but about getting. We are so spiritually confused we
often think getting is serving.
We are greatly concerned about baptizing people. Seldom do we have equal
concern about us baptized people serving. We even create the impression that people
can follow Jesus without serving.
- John 4 tells us on one trip Jesus went from Judea north to Galilee by passing
- Perhaps John stated the route Jesus took because it was so unusual.
Before Jesus initiated his conversation with this woman, his disciples left
Jesus at the well to go into the town of Sychar to buy food (4:8).
- In Jesus' time, Jews despised Samaritans so much that they rarely traveled
- On this trip Jesus did many "unacceptable" things: he traveled through
Samaria; he talked to a woman he had never met; and the woman was "the
wrong kind of woman"--a divorcee who was living with a man to whom she
was not married.
- When the disciples returned to the well and Jesus, the Samaritan woman
was leaving to return to Sychar.
- The disciples left Jesus tired, hungry, and thirsty.
- When they returned with food, they urged Jesus to eat, and he did not.
- Instead of eating, Jesus said he had food they knew nothing about.
- Then they asked among themselves if someone fed him.
- They had no idea about the meaning of what he said.
- Jesus then made this statement:
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."
John 5 tells of the man Jesus healed at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.
- After healing the man, Jesus told him to pick up his pallet and walk.
- Jesus healed the man on a Sabbath day.
- When the man started walking in the city of Jerusalem with his bed mat, a
number of people were offended.
- To keep God's commands, Jews did no act of work on the Sabbath.
- They considered carrying his bed mat to be an act of work and
condemned him for it (5:10).
- The man explained that the person who healed him told him to carry
his pallet (5:11)
- They asked him to identify the person who gave him those instructions
- He did not know who Jesus was, but later when he learned who he
was he told those who condemned him.
- When those who were offended learned that Jesus did it, they began to
persecute Jesus (5:16).
- To them, the fact that Jesus healed the man violated the Sabbath day.
- In their thinking, Jesus made himself equal to God
- Those two things increased their desire to kill Jesus (5:18).
- In response to those people, Jesus made this statement:
John 5:30 I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just,
because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
In John 6, Jesus fed 5000 people starting with very little food.
- This all happened in an uninhabited area.
The next morning Jesus was in Capernaum.
- That evening, Jesus sent his disciples away in a boat and went alone up a
mountain to pray.
- The disciples rowed most of the night in the wind and waves, and did not
make it across the sea of Galilee.
- This was the night that Jesus walked on the water in the early morning
- The people Jesus fed on the other side of the lake searched for him and
could not find him.
- Finally some of them crossed the lake to Capernaum, found Jesus, and
asked how he got there (6:25).
- Jesus said, "The only reason you are looking for me is that you want more
- "You need to be looking for the food that gives you eternal life."
- That began a tense conversation in which they tried to manipulate Jesus.
- They said, "Moses fed our ancestors. He gave them manna from
- Jesus answered, "Moses did not feed them. God did. God sent your
ancestors manna, and now God is sending bread from heaven that is the
true bread that gives life."
- Then Jesus made this statement:
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who
For just a minute, I want you to focus on God, focus on Jesus, and focus on
- Jesus is the only person who ever did God's will perfectly as a human.
"Yes, David, you are right. That was a Jesus thing. Nobody can be like
Jesus. Nobody can do God's will like he did. Doing God's will definitely
was Jesus' thing."
- Jesus could tell his disciples that doing the will of God was his food because
it was (John 4:34).
- Jesus could tell his Jewish enemies that he was devoted to God's will, not his
own will, because that was the actual situation (John 5:30).
- Jesus could tell the people he fed that he was committed to God's will, not his
own will, because that was the actual truth (John 6:38).
- Jesus could pray in the garden of Gethsemane just before his arrest, "Your
will be done, not my will" (Luke 22:42; Matthew 26:39) because that was
always the focus of his life.
Let's get really practical about doing God's will as people owned by God.
- Is that your response? Doing God's will was Jesus' thing? What does that
mean? What does that mean about you and me doing God's will?
- Let me ask you some questions:
- How often is there a week in your life when for that week doing God's will
is your food?
- How often is there a week in your life when you can tell your enemies
that doing God's will, not your own will, is the focus of your existence?
- How often is there a week in your life when you can tell those who are
trying to take advantage of you that you are committed to doing God's will,
not your own?
- How often in a life and death crisis do you ask God to do His will even if
doing His will results in your death?
- "Wait a minute, David! Before any of us answer those questions, let's get
- "Doing God's will in the way you are talking about is a Jesus' thing, not an
- Really? Is that your perspective? Because Jesus did God's will so well
you and I do not have to do it.
- In Jesus' sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7, in chapter 6 he taught his
followers how to pray.
- He even shared a simple prayer as an illustration of how to pray.
- In that illustration in verse 10, Jesus said his followers should pray, "Your
will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
- How do you think God's will is done in heaven?
- If God's will was done on earth in the same way God's will is done in
heaven, what would Christians do?
- If God's will was done in your life in the same way God's will is done in
heaven, what would happen in your life?
In contrast to that, how many days in my life are not about God.
- How many days as you climb into bed to sleep can you say, "I really was the
person God wanted me to be today."
- How many times when you get home from a date and you are all alone can
you say, "I really was the person God wanted me to be on that date."
- How many days can you say, "I really was the husband God wanted me to be
- How many days can you say, "I really was the wife God wanted me to be
- How many days can you say, "I really was the parent God wanted me to be
- How many times as an employee, and employer, a customer, a stranger, a
neighbor, a friend, can you say you were what God wants you to be?
- How many times after entertainment, a "winding down" time, a "having fun"
time, a "going out with the boys" time, or a "going out with the girls" time, can
you say you were what God wants you to be?
- How many days end by your being able to say to yourself, "My life served
God's purposes today."
- How many things that I do are not at all about God?
- I am not asking how many things do we do that we know to be evil.
- That is another discussion that we all need.
- I am asking do we consciously try to serve God?
- Is that not the basic focus of being a Christian: consciously serving God?
The words each of us as Christians want to hear God say to us are, "Well done,
good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21,23). I ask all of us, myself included, two
questions. Why should God call me a servant? Why should God consider me a loyal,
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 29 July 2001
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