Serving One Another Freely
In the month of October, we will encourage our church to "sign up to serve." Opportunities to serve one another are opportunities to respond to the Gospel. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve us, so that we could be free and empowered to serve others and no longer live for ourselves.
I’m in the middle of studying the book of Galatians for the sermon series that will follow Psalms. Paul's main focus in Galatians is the importance of correctly understanding the Gospel of grace in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is not “grace plus something.” It’s just grace. Amazing, liberating, life-transforming grace.
Once Paul makes this clear, he reminds the church in Galatia, “You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” These gospel-rich words deserve our attention.
“In the gospel, you were called to freedom…”
Now that Jesus’ perfect righteousness counts for me, I’m free. Free from condemnation, shame, guilt, and judgment. Free from the burden of trying to earn my way into God’s good graces. Free from the rigorous and merciless Law. The true scope of our freedom will only become perfectly clear when we see Jesus face to face.
“Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh…”
Now that we are free, how shall we live? Having been freed from the curse of sin, would it be wise, prudent, honorable, or good to dive right back into it? Think through this metaphor with me; The curse of sin is like the destructive green slime in Ghostbusters (1984), its only purpose is to destroy. Sin's only purpose is to steal and destroy our joy in Christ. Sin thrives on our self-centered “flesh.” Freedom is found in the Grace of Christ, but is stolen away by sin. Paul is plainly saying that believers should not use grace to excuse the selfish behavior (sin) we are prone to choose when we forget the Joy of the Gospel found in the freedom of God's Grace.
“Through love, serve one another.”
Jesus said, “they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” The love Christ gives to us is the fuel for our love for others. When we are freed by God’s love, we no longer need things from others (like their approval, acceptance, security, and justification) and we start living to give. The gospel whispers the liberating truth into our hearts, “everything you really need you already have,” so that we can breathe a sigh of relief and say to others in need, “I can help you.”
Sign Up to Serve Sundays will be October 22 and October 29