Life in the Spirit – Relationship – Overseeing 3


Matthew 18:15-20 (NLT) [Jesus said] “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

When one Christian brother or sister sins against another, creating relational discord, the Christian’s responsibility is to not push them away, but rather to lovingly confront them. And leaders must lead the way, modeling how to rebuild trust in broken relationships. We have to protect the relational unity of the church.

Life in the Spirit – Guidance – Overseeing 2


Mark 6:6b-13 (NLT) Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
“Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

Jesus gives a clear task to his disciples before sending them out, combining responsibility and authority. And he never sends them out alone. but always in community with others (a partner in this case). This guidance is an important part of godly leadership. Spiritual leadership needs to help people see what the mission of God looks like for them, and encourages them to walk in the Spirit.

Life in the Spirit – Accountability – Overseeing 1


Matthew 24:45-51 (NLT) [Jesus said] “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

First and foremost, Christian leadership must embrace accountability, both before God and before the family of God. As this passage tells us, those whom the Lord finds faithful will be given more responsibility, while those who prove unwilling to be faithful and accountable will be pruned from leadership, to clear the way for real leaders to emerge and for God to grow His church.

Life in the Spirit – Avoiding Hypocrisy – Service 7


Luke 12:1-5 (NLT) Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.”
There will always be those who claim to have faith, but don’t support those who would follow God’s leading into sacrificial service. But remember that “Where God guides, God provides.” Don’t fear the criticism or fear-mongering of those who would discourage you from boldly serving God, wherever and however that may be. Trust the guidance of God every time.

Life in the Spirit – Faith without Works? Service 6


James 2:14-17 (NLT) What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Good works in our own strength, to help earn our salvation, is not what James is recommending here. Rather, when we are living in faith under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we recognize that when we “see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing”, that is God calling our attention to a need which he has prepared us to meet. When we act in God’s strength, we serve willingly and gladly; since God is doing the work, the only thing that can stop that is when we say “no.” So let’s say “yes” instead, let God lead our lives today, and live in true faith.

Life in the Spirit – Humility – Service 5


Luke 18:9-14 (NLT) Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
As we think about God serving the world through us, it’s very important to remember that all the good we do is God’s doing. We must remain humble like the tax collector, knowing there is nothing good in ourselves. When God shows up and does something amazing through us, remember to give God all the credit and glory.

Life in the Spirit – Being Served – Service 4


John 13:3-7, 12-17 “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

“Do you understand what I was doing? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you’re right, because that’s what I am, and since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their masters, nor is the messenger more important that the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.”
Most of us are much more comfortable being the person who serves rather than the person being served. Being served puts us in a position of need, and often our pride rebels against that, just as Peter’s did. Unless we embrace the reality that we need to be served by God, and by God through people every day, then we won’t be built up, we won’t be completed into the masterpiece that God is trying to be us into. Only in this way can we learn to daily let God live in and through us as a servant as he serves the world through us.

Life in the Spirit – God Through Us – Service 3


1 Peter 4:7-11 (NLT) The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as if God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever. Amen.
As we are changed to become deeper and deeper people of faith, God will empower us to serve the world. As we move out in the power of God, we’ll know the difference because there will be spiritual fruit, and we will be living our faith among our friends in the world. And God will get all the glory.

Life in the Spirit – Sacrifice – Service 2


Matthew 20:17-19 (NLT) As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
Service involves sacrifice. It involves emptying ourselves so that God can do something through us. As God makes us new creations, that includes our being like Jesus while He lived here on earth, and, among other things, not serving the god of comfort. What does it mean for you to count the cost, and then pick up your cross and serve Him today?

Life in the Spirit – God in Us – Service 1


Matthew 16:24-28 (NLT) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
When our motivation for service is to be a good person by serving others in our own strength, we can easily drift into religion. True service is when we let God serve through us, putting the emphasis more on Christ and less on us. This is the path of faith, where we think about God (not ourselves) building us up, where we think about God serving the world through us.