To Serve Him
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 KJV
We Are All Called to Spiritual Service (He extends his will through us).The will of the Father is extended through the Son/Messiah. The will of Messiah is extended through His church (Called-Out Assembly). Ultimately, the will of the Father is extended in all of His Assembly over all of the Earth through Christ.
Let us deliberately start seeking to submit to the will of the Son the Christ today. And how do we do this? Well, first you learn to do what He commands you in His written word. Then you learn to be led by His Spirit. Initially, you submit to His Spirit at the initial infilling of the Holy Spirit (Please see Kingdom Gospel Salvation). Then you pay attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and respond obediently to His promptings. Worship service is a good place to begin to learn this, although you can learn this anywhere. During worship service, the Spirit of God comes upon us. If we would yield and submit, He would take us farther.
We have a problem in our churches that keeps this from happening. This problem mainly stems from our types of liturgies which we have inherited from the outside churches. This is a liturgy of control that turns the worshippers into an audience. The pulpit becomes a stage. The laity becomes spectators. Then there are rules and norms as to how this audience is allowed to behave. In fact, the actions of this audience are, for the most part, dictated from the pulpit, either directly or through those deputized by the pulpit to direct the audience. The outside churches, from whom we inherited these habits, do not have a need for the Spirit of God to influence and guide their laity in worship; they already have well-honed programs. They add excitement to their programs with choreographed activities or presentations. A church of atheists could do equally as well. They look good! And if you are in the flesh, you are none the wiser. You want to go back; you want to be a part of it; you want to be entertained again. Techniques, techniques are what they use to fill up the churches. Techniques can be used to build mega-churches. Pastors learn from the builders of mega-churches. They buy books from them and learn from their ways from those books. But there is a Book that they are not learning from when it comes to the New Testament way of worshipping; as it is written: John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
We know that music in our worship gatherings is a good thing; it is one of the elements mentioned in I Corinthians 14:26, but we have let it become a crutch in the absence of the other things mentioned in this verse. The gospel music industry provides a lot of filler for worship services. Filler is needed only because the move of Christ is absent. This void is made by us. We also have worship music icons, whose music we use to fill out our worship services. This becomes a crutch that we depend on instead of letting Christ come in and be the Head in our services. Some of this music is misleading—shaping our view of God. Take for instance how black gospel music commonly portrays Him as a santa claus God and a lawyer in a court room and a doctor in a sick room, “Call Him up and tell Him what you want”. Thus they fail to portray Him as Lord, the One we are all required to submit ourselves to. How many would be offended if someone was to suggest they find out what He wants. It’s like, obedience is not necessary, “just believe”. If you want something, just believe. Pay attention to your experience; God is not a santa claus God. I know, I know, if you keep believing and don’t doubt, “you are gonna get what you are asking for”. What if He does give you what you are asking for? Is that going to convince you that you do not have to obey Him? What if He doesn’t give you what you ask for? He is not a santa claus God! Are you going to give Him what He requires of you?
He is the one to be served. Let us endeavor to serve Him. “Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant”. Does that ring a bell? Let us appreciate His lordship and magnify it by deliberately serving Him—by deliberately submitting to Him. Let us present our bodies a holy, acceptable, living sacrifice. Such a sacrifice can be of use to Him as opposed to a slain sacrifice as in the Old Testament form of worship. Christ moves in us, He acts through us. A live sacrifice is able to respond.
Let His Grace Flow through Us
Looking carefully at Romans 12, we see that God’s grace flows through His people. We see Paul being able to minister to the people according to the grace that was given to him. We see him admonishing the members of the Assembly to minister to one another according to the graced that was given to each one of them.
Romans12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Rom 12:3 Revised Standard Version: For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.
Rom 12:6-8 Revised Standard Version: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 12:7 if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; 12:8 he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Please notice that this is one of the most important ways that grace is supposed to work in the church (more rather, the Called-Out Assembly). These things are needed in the Assembly and must to be done according to the grace that has been given to us. This is important, therefore I stress unto you, they must be done.
God’s grace helps us: Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
God’s grace produces good works in us: Ephesians 2:8-10. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 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.
It is also true, that by His grace, He gives the gifts revealed in I Corinthians chapters12 through 14. If you will pay attention to Romans 12, you can see that God enables us by His grace (that is to say that by His grace He makes it possible for us to do certain things); by His grace He enabled Paul to admonish the people and to encourage them in the right direction: verse 3: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you…
Also, going back to Romans 12, we can see that the people of God were able to serve one another by God’s grace: Rom 12:6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; Rom 12:7 if service…
Let us look now at I Corinthians 12 starting at verse 7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 12: 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
These gifts are all through His grace and what do they do? They teach us; they help us; they enable us. They are given to each for the profit of all. Thank God for His gifts, which He has given to us by His grace.
I Peter 5:5 …………………… for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Therefore, what might evidently be happening in so many cases where churches are lacking these signs of grace? For one thing they feel sufficient with how they are able to carry-on relying on their own abilities. They have programs that work like well-oiled machines and they polish their programs. They look good in the eyes of their neighbors. Their laity boasts of their programs. Visitors like their programs. Chest thumping is hard to resist; so humility must be feigned. And they are good at feigning.
Although always boasting of, “saved by grace”, these churches have lost the meaning of grace. (Is it politically incorrect to tell the truth about things)? These churches need grace but grace is given to the humble. They want prophecy; they get fake prophecy; I know this by my burnt experiences. I can see other people, even masses of people, getting set up to be burned by those who are deceived, themselves, or by people charismatically equipped to skillfully deceive.
We all need to humble ourselves and receive what God desires to give to His people. The alcoholic has to first admit that he is an alcoholic before he will seek help. We need help—grace to help in times of need. These gifts are given by God by His grace. Popular churches have spurned them, saying that they were only for the early church. Men, who insist on professing that, should get a day job and stop exploiting the assemblies of the people of God.
We need to profit from the gifts He has ordained that each one of should have for the profit of all. We are a body. Every single member is to receive gifts from God to work on behalf of the body. And being in the body, we are to benefit from what each member supplies.
I Corithians12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.
We are supposed to be earnestly desiring something; we are not to consider ourselves as having even almost arrived, but rather, we are to go to God and aspire for things beyond our natural abilities. God has more and more that He desires to give us. This is characteristic of grace. He wants to give things to us through one another; therefore, out of love for our brethren, we are to go to God to receive these things; are not these things that He gives us “for the profit of all”? See I Corinthians 12:7 World English Bible. In order for Him to strengthen and build up the whole body through each of us, we must be vessels through whom He works.
This is aimed at holiness assemblies—assemblies of people endeavoring to present themselves acceptable to God. The people must dare go to God desiring these things. He is telling you to covet or desire the “best” gifts. He wants you to be earnest about it. He wants you to want them; He wants you to go after them. These things are more important than the things we commonly desire to fill our church services with. They are a clear New Testament injunction; Paul charges us to go after these things in I Cor. 12:31.
A living sacrifice is live, able to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Not as much can be said about a dead sacrifice. Will you come alive in the things of the Spirit? Will you let Christ move through you? What is the understanding? When it comes to spiritual service, is it proper that only through a designated individual are these things supposed to happen, while everybody else serves as an audience? Is Christ in you; can He move in you? The body is not one member. I Cor. 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
Are you free to pursue things outside of your present practices and the present ways of doing things? I know some pastors try to get the congregations to go after these things, to break from the dead norm and seek to do things in a more biblical way, to learn to respond to Christ inside of them. They have an understanding that these things are needed in the midst of God’s people. If you are not in the presence of such understanding, do you always have to be headed by an elder in order to do anything in response to God? I dare ask, do your elders know to obey these scriptures, themselves? Do they know to teach you to do the same? If they do, I would urge you to bring this matter up to them, that there will be assemblies around the country and around the world that come to understandings in these matters and learn and experience actual spiritual service. I am calling to and admonishing men everywhere to let spiritual service be the norm.
There are a lot of things I can say about church reality but I won’t get into them now. I could write a book about such things, but right now, that would distract from the vital subject we are dealing with. Maybe some of you out there can write books about those things, but let us at this time, rather focus on the positive—this positive direction we are trying to go in. The Bible is not just for reading, it is for doing the things we read about in its pages. Find your freedom in Christ to do these things. Band together and do this. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
I have tried to point out, that in the modern style of church gatherings, people are not given opportunity to freely present themselves to be used by Christ in spiritual service; the programming of things, the choreographing and orchestrating of things, do not leave space for Christ to do His will though the individual members of an assembly during the times of institutionally condoned gatherings. Excuse me for the term I am about to use here: Man-nipulation does not leave people free to properly serve Christ. You can, and actually do, make your church services dry and starchy through man-nipulation. To those of you who think church should be quiet and starchy, you have accomplished your “vision”. Fake hyper-energetic pep rally style worship services do the same thing—moving, but not moving by the Spirit. Many ministries fill their churches’ worship services with things that make them loud but leave them dead—loud but dead. The things they do, the way they worship, fills the time and space of the worship gathering. Christ does not break in on their services if they would rather enjoy what they are used to doing; He is a self-respecting gentleman; He will not take the hand of a woman who would rather keep looking the other way with her eyes and heart full of other things, even worship practices that miss the mark. The churches have their eyes on something else when He wishes to take them by the hand. These are things that they think are benign, but that are standing in the way between them and Christ.
Is the laity forbidden to seek to gather together in His name outside of designated venues? Would you be scared numb over the very idea of seeking to express such freedom? If authority was on one side and Christ was on the other side, which way would you go? Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. Man does not have the authority to preempt the commands of Christ. Gather together and earnestly seek these gifts that God desires to give His church through Christ, Who in turn, gives them through us. Gather together in holiness, seeking to be acceptable to Him.
I Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.
So if you do dare to gather together, along with your elders, will you dare begin to diligently labor to learn to come together seeking what we see in this scripture?
I Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
If the elders do not agree as for as allowing people to assemble and seek to obey I Corinthians 12:31 and 14:1, will your zeal be quashed, or will you step out on God’s word anyway? Be sure to continue in holiness, always seeking to be acceptable to God, presenting your bodies—living sacrifices.
It happened in Topeka Kansas in 1906; it was not an elder who first dared; it was a girl who asked her Bible school teacher to pray and lay hands on her so that she might receive the Holy Spirit as in the Bible days. We have all benefitted from this girl’s daring. We do not likely know her name; but we all know Charles Parham’s name. Elders do not always take the lead; and if they will not, somebody else must; we all must.
Will every one of you go after such things as are mentioned in the passages we have seen? Or will these things only be relegated to the veteran front-and-forward people. The Bible says, “every one of you”. Must we adjust the scriptures so as to have them NOT say, “every one of you”?
A clearer English version says, “each one of you”. It does not say, “select ones of you”. It does not say, “exclusive ones among you”.
Whereas it says, that He divides these gifts among us severally as He wills, He also attempts to let us know that we are all members of one body with each bodily member having a designated function as in the functions we see given in these chapters. We are a body and a natural body does not consist of a few dominant members with the rest of the members latently passive and serving mainly as on-lookers.
I Corinthians 14:26 World English Bible
What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up.
These are things God has for each one of us. Out of love for our brothers and sisters, we are to desire these things from Him so that we can build one another up through gifts He gives us by His grace.
Where will our conformity be—with the Scriptures or with our habitual ways of doing things. Which has more weight with your faith—the Scriptures or your way of doing things? The Scriptures say you should earnestly desire these things. Your habitual ways say you should just glance over such scripture passages, or maybe just let it be part of a Sunday School discussion and a day later, out of sight, out of mind.
I admonish the assemblies; make room in the times you come together and focus on seeking God for the things He wants to give to you all. Do not let us just keep seeking our own old ways of doing things.
Romans 12:1 World English Bible:
Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.
This is not a worldly church. He does not want us (the individuals among us) to limit ourselves to natural abilities, but to all be used in spiritual service. John1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. Please come to understand what grace actual is; that attribute of God, out of which through His own kindness, He gives us the things that pertain to our salvation and completeness.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless every one of you, whoever receives this in good faith. Amen.