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Would You Serve God For Nothing

By Ron Kyker

I listened to a sermon of a good Pastor friend of mine. He brought up a very good question that I think all who profess to know God should ask themselves often. Would we still serve God if we expected nothing from Him in return? He used Job as a good example. Job was innocent of doing anything to cause God to allow he had to be taken away. Job served and praised his God anyway. The Devil’s argument to God was that Job served Him only because of all God had done for him. I wonder how many of us who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, would still serve Him when all was taken away. The gospel preached today is all about the perceived blessings and promises of God to those who believe. I am not talking about just the “prosperity preachers”, for they are easy to recognize. Our mainstream Churches preach their own, less recognizable, brand of the prosperity gospel.

This less obvious prosperity gospel is called the “Four Spiritual Laws”. Its focus is on God’s Love and that He has a wonderful plan for your life. How the majority of people who hear this “plan of salvation” perceive this wonderful plan is much like the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Just ask Christ into your heart and your life will become wonderful. While this plan mentions sin twice, it does not speak of God’s judgment, repentance of sin, or of Hell. Christ called all to repentance. He told all who would listen to repent and follow Him. He also said that in this world, we would see much “tribulation” (John 16:33). The gospel we preach is not all that different than Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now”. After asking four simple questions, we ask them to pray a prayer asking Christ to come into their hearts. This is based on Rev. 3:20 representing Christ as standing at the door of your heart knocking and waiting for us to answer. This verse was written to a Church, a body of believers, not to a lost person.

Eternal life, which is Christ, is a gift of God (Rom. 6:23). We do not “receive Christ” as our personal Lord and Savior. We, after being convicted by the Holy Spirit of our sinfulness, go to God as a beggar pleading to Him that He might receive us. Our gospel’s focus is on what Christ will do for us: we will go to Heaven, we will be blessed, and our lives will be better. All Pastors will tell you that the majority of those Church members sitting in the pews are lost. Most who are baptized into the congregation never even regularly attend, much less show any signs of genuine conversion. If they do regularly attend, they soon fall away when the promised better life does not come to them. What is the true gospel of Jesus Christ is one not understood even by many seasoned Pastors. The “good news” of Christ that has the power to change a man’s heart has been reduced to understanding these spiritual laws and praying a prayer. Would we still serve God if we were to receive nothing in return, but knowing Him; or having Him know us? The bible tells us that to give ourselves to Christ as a “living sacrifice” is our “reasonable service”. Those that make a decision for Christ soon fall away. Those that Christ has made a decision for, the elect of God, they are the ones that receive eternal life and whose hearts have been truly changed by the power of God’s Spirit. They will never fall away, for who Christ has set free; they are free indeed. We must stop leading people to make a decision for Christ and start battling for men’s hearts to be changed into the likeness of Christ. It is Christ; He is the gift offered. This present gospel that promises Heaven and blessings on Earth is deadly leading many to be deceived thinking they have received His salvation. They will serve Christ only for what they have been promised to receive. That is a “prosperity gospel”. When they don’t receive it; they leave the Church.
—Romans 12:1

1 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.
Paul writes this following chapter 11 where he spoke of God:

—Romans 11:33-36

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again ? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Paul says “therefore” considering all that I have just said that all things are of God, all things are for Him, and all things are to Him; we are to present ourselves to Him. We are to give ourselves to Him to know Him, to agree with Him, and to do only His will. The Apostle pleads with them “by the mercies of God” to give the whole of themselves to God; their bodies and their souls. We are to offer ourselves, our service to God, for nothing. For nothing is what we have to give Him. Mercy is what we shall receive; and God gives it as He wills. No man can give God anything that wasn’t first given him. We have no claim or right to anything. Can we do anything that God would then owe us? God has no obligation to bless us. Only by His mercy do we receive anything; including salvation. We do not merit what we have. It is given us by His grace alone. Can we ask God why He chose Jacob over Esau? Can we question why David was a man after God’s own heart and King Saul was rejected. No man can know the heart of God. He blesses who He wills and He does as He pleases.

We offer our service not for what we will receive, but to be found “acceptable unto God”. Job, after losing all that he had, sought only God’s acceptance; to be found pleasing by Him. He did not plead for his family back, his fortune, or his standing in the community. He pleaded only for God’s mercy. To know God, for Job, was enough. Satan’s claim was that Job served God only because of how God chose to bless him. Satan claimed God put a “hedge” of protection around Job against all of Satan’s attacks. His claim was that if God would remove that protection; Job would curse God with his lips. God knew Job’s heart. He knew Job served Him for nothing, but God’s mercy. Though Job questioned God much; in the end Job praised God in nothing. He stood alone is serving God when even his wife and friends accused him of being guilty somehow for losing God’s favor. That idea is prevalent in today’s Christianity. It is evident in our plan of salvation. It is a lie. R.C. Sproul said: “Ultimately the only answer God gave to job was a revelation of Himself. It was as if God said to him, “Job, I am your answer.” Job was not asked to trust a plan but a person, a personal God who is sovereign, wise, and good. It was as if God said to Job: “Learn who I am. When you know me, you know enough to handle anything.” [ R.C. Sproul, Surprised by Suffering]

As my Pastor friend said in his sermon: “let God’s grace be enough”. Paul asked God to remove a thorn from him three times. We don’t know what his thorn was, but God did not answer yes or no to Paul’s request. That is partly why I don’t believe God’s answer to true spiritual prayer is ever “no”, but that is another bible study. God merely said “let my grace be enough”. Paul’s example of offering himself up as a “living sacrifice” to God seeking nothing for himself, defies today’s cultural gospel filled with promises of Heaven and a better life on Earth. Paul suffered as Christ suffered. He did so because it was his “reasonable service” to do it; not because of what he might receive. He did it for nothing. Well, he did do it for something. He did it out of his Love for God and his Love for others. His reasonable service was to give himself so that others might know the tender mercies of God’s grace as he did. That is all he sought. Self had died. It was crucified with Christ. A new heart was resurrected in Paul following his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. A change of heart took place in Paul. Instead of devoting his life to killing Christians, he devoted his life to Christ seeking to kill sin in all who had rejected Christ as he once did.

Will we still serve God when we have nothing is the question my Pastor friend posed to his congregation. Job did. Paul did. Christ did for the salvation of us all. Will we follow their example serving God seeking only His will and not any worldly gain for ourselves? When Christians in America have lost every religious freedom and they, and their families, are severely persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ; will they yet praise Him? If ISIS plants their flag on the White House like they claim they will do, when they demand the Christian to deny Christ or die; will he be willing to die having nothing left but Christ? Will His grace be enough then?

Our gospel preaches accepting Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Clearly this verse in Romans 12:1 preaches a different gospel. It is us that need to be accepted by our Savior. It is His acceptance of us, by grace, that we seek. We cannot present ourselves as holy and acceptable to God unless we are made holy and acceptable by Christ. It is the power of God that makes us acceptable. It is a total regeneration of our hearts and minds. Christ is our King. It is into His presence we beg to enter into. We do not request the King to come into our presence. That is heresy. It is into His presence we wish to be accepted. It does not happen by any decision that we might make. Many make a decision for Christ and never repent. Our faith to believe and our repentance from our sin is required, but it is God who gives us that seed of faith and the power of God’s Spirit that leads us to repentance. It is not a simple prayer we should be guiding men to; it is to a life-changing power of God in them that we should be battling for, and searching for the signs of true conversion in them.

We need to return to seeking God’s mercies instead of man’s decisions. “Nothing” is what needs to be preached again. We are nothing and God is everything. When we compare our sinfulness to God’s holiness; how can we preach anything else? Nothing is what we are and nothing is what we have to give. Our present gospel preaches entitlements; what we can expect from God. We live in an age of entitlements. This worldly focus of “what will it prosper me” has worked its way into our Churches and into its gospel.

Paul Washer said:

“The greatest need in the evangelical community today is to learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ because in simply surveying the sermons and the witnessing techniques and the methodology of church growth and everything else that I see, I can only come to one conclusion: we know not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

George Whitfield said:

“Come by faith to Jesus Christ. Do not come, Pharisee-like, telling God what you have done, how often you have gone to church, how often you have received the sacrament, fasted, prayed, or the like. No, come to Christ as poor, lost, undone, damned sinners. Come to him in this manner and he will accept of you.”

Charles Spurgeon said:

“I have always considered that the sum and substance of the gospel lies in that word Substitution,Christ standing in the stead of man. If I understand the gospel, it is this: I deserve to be lost forever; the only reason why I should not be damned is, that Christ was punished in my stead, and there is no need to execute a sentence twice for sin. On the other hand, I know I cannot enter Heaven unless I have a perfect righteousness; I am absolutely certain I shall never have one of my own, for I find I sin every day; but then Christ had a perfect righteousness, and He said, “There, poor sinner, take My garment, and put it on; you shall stand before God as if you were Christ, and I will stand before God as if I had been the sinner; I will suffer in the sinner’s stead, and you shall be rewarded for works which you did not do, but which I did for you.” I find it very convenient every day to come to Christ as a sinner, as I came at the first. “You are no saint,” says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope I have none. By looking to Him, I received all the faith which inspired me with confidence in His grace; and the word that first drew my soul”Look unto Me,”still rings its clarion note in my ears. There I once found conversion, and there I shall ever find refreshing and renewal.”

Jonathon Edwards said:

“They who truly come to God for mercy, come as beggars, not as creditors; they come for mere mercy, for sovereign grace, and not for anything that is due.”

R.C. Sproul said:

“The kingdom of God is not of the people, by the people, or for the people. It is a kingdom ruled by a King, and God does not rule by the consent of His subjects but by His sovereign authority. His reign extends over me whether I vote for Him or not.” [R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord]
Nothing is what I should rejoice in. I came into this world with nothing and I shall leave with only what God has by His grace given me; and that is Christ’s holiness imparted to me. God promises us that our labor will not be in vain. I’m afraid our gospel has turned it into something it is not. Only in my nothing, will I be something in Christ. We should rejoice in nothing. Here is a poem I wrote for a friend in January of ’13. She was feeling like nothing. I decided to research biblically this idea of rejoicing in nothing. I wonder how many who profess Christ rejoice only in knowing Christ and not for just what blessings He might bring us temporally on this Earth. Will we yet serve Him and rejoice when we have nothing, but Christ?

Rejoice In Nothing

(2 Cor. 12:1-10, Psalms 119:67, 2 Cor. 4:16-17, 1 Thess. 3:3,

1 Cor. 1:26-31, 1 Peter 4:12-14, Psalms 73:2-14)
I will boast only about my own weakness

A messenger of Satan comes to trouble me

A thorn in my flesh has been given

It reminds me of my arrogance

God’s message has not been imprisoned

It has been set free within me

Before I was afflicted I strayed from the truth

I am truly glad that I am weak

I am very content with my weakness

With the insults and the troubles

With the persecutions and difficulties

My trials are nothing to me

I will not be shaken by my afflictions

For I know it is what I am destined for

My pain is not pointless or meaningless

I thank God I am weak and foolish

For He uses them to confound the world

His power is perfected in my weakness

SoI rejoice and enjoy my afflictions

Am I talking like I am out of my mind

God chooses what the world thinks foolish

To shame the wise and glorify His name

God chooses what the world thinks weak

To shame the strong and glorify Him

God chooses what is low and despised

He uses the nothing to set aside the something

That is why I boast of my weakness

I have a relationship with Him only because of Him

He alone is the reason I sing

He alone makes my nothing something

Do not behave as though this is some strange thing

Don’t be surprised by this fiery ordeal

Keep on rejoicing in your sufferings

His Glory will be revealed to you

If you are reviled You will be blessed

Do not try to save yourselves

Our need for grace is most obvious to me

In our weakness and through our suffering

How can God keep blessing the wicked

While letting the righteous suffer

How can God bless the righteous

If the righteous do not suffer in their weakness

In our suffering We become more like Him

In our suffering We enter eternity with Him

In our suffering We grow close to Him

Don’t be envious of the foolish

Don’t be envious of the wicked who prosper

Would you rob yourself of His grace and glory

Would you have Him bless you

According to your meager works

His grace is bountiful abounds

Would you receive your reward on your own merit

Though we cry out in pain to Him

God rewards Grace in His own timing

Be patient  Wait upon the Lord and His endless Grace

His Grace is sufficient enough for us

His Grace is found in “nothing”

Rejoice in “nothing”

For in my “something”

His Grace will not abound

I am a layperson with 35 years of teaching, studying, and sharing the love of Christ. I am a thirty year Social Worker. I have preached, led bible studies, taught Sunday School, sang, and acted in dramas to the furtherance of the gospel. My website vasquezsavage.com features my poetry and writings.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

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