Three Prerequisites To Serving The Lord With All Your Heart!
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 2/19/06
My message is clear and simple this morning. It is titled simply Ė Three Prerequisites To Serving The Lord With All Your Heart! Turn with me to 1 Samuel 12:1
Samuel the prophet is an old man. In this chapter Samuel is giving his farewell address to the people before he turns over the government to Saul who would be their king. He calls upon the people of Israel to attest to the fact that he had led them in integrity. He did not steal from them; he did not take bribes; he did not oppress anyone. They affirm that he was a man of integrity. Next, Samuel reminds them of the great and good things the Lord had done for them in times past, and had given them the king that they desired. He reminds them it was their best interest to fear and serve the Lord. He tells them that if they do not His hand would be against them.
Letís pick up from there. Turn in your Bibles to -- 1 Samuel 12:14-20 "If ye will fear (to revere) the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers. 16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king. 18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. 20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart." Hence my title, Serve The Lord With All Your Heart!
We will begin by looking atÖ
The Prerequisites of Serving The Lord
Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
As my wife and I walked the streets of London this past week we walked past the Museum of London. It was there, just around the corner John Wesley got saved in a meeting just off Aldersgate street, on May 24th, 1738. (see http://members.cox.net/stegcraj/meditation2.html)
He wrote in his journal Ė "In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change, which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
Hereís why I am tell you this. John Wesley had already traveled to the American Colonies. He had preached in the Old North Church in Boston and other churches and meetings in this country. His desire was to evangelize the Indians. The problem was, he was not saved! He was trusting in own good works. He thought his own religious, methodical life made his right with God. He says he visited prisons, assisted the poor and sick in town. He began observing the Wednesday and Friday fasts, commonly observed in the ancient church, tasting no food till three in the afternoon. Wrote in his journal, "I omitted no sort of self-denial, which I thought lawful." He further writes, "Now these were, in truth, as much my own works as visiting the sick or clothing the naked; and the union with God thus pursued was as really my own righteousness as any I had before pursued under another name."
John Wesley was not saved by all of his good works. It was not until be he trusted in Christ and Christ alone that he was saved. All of his righteousness was as filthy rags before he was saved.
The first prerequisite to serving the Lord is Salvation. Have you called upon the name of the Lord and been saved?
2 Timothy 2:19-21 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."
A genuine salvation encounter with Christ changes a person for the better! If we will serve God and be "a vessel unto honor" fit for the Masters use, we need to cooperate in the clean up. God wants to use clean Christians, that donít have the stench of the world on them. Christians who are not clean in their life make Godís message smell and the unsaved crowd is repulsed and turns away from Godís message.
Let me illustrate. When I was a teenager, I did yard work for several wealthy people. There was one job I hated. Every spring one lady I worked for ordered a huge truckload of chicken manure. It was my job to fill the wheelbarrow with the foul smelling stuff and spread it all over the garden. By the time I work all day in it, I smelled! When I went home, my brother and sister would get a whiff and stay away. My mom shoed me out of the house and told me to put my clothes on the back porch. I could not wait to get a bath!
My point is simply this. If we will do our Lordís work, God wants us to clean up and get the stench of the world out of our lives. Turn to Titus 2:14 "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem (Gk. lutroo = to deliver us from all kinds of evil inside and out) us from all iniquity, and purify (make us clean) unto himself a peculiar people (especially selected for oneís own), zealous of good works." Consider also Ephesians 4:22- 32.
Those who serve the Lord must depart from iniquity.
1 Peter 2:2 "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
I agree with Steven Hankins who wrote this about 1 Peter 2:2: "Nothing satisfies a newborn baby more than milk. He lives for several months on milk alone. When a new baby is hungry, he will cry until he gets nourishment. While feeding, he concentrates on it and nothing else. The believer must have the same desire toward Godís Word as a newborn baby has toward milk."
The key point of the analogy is simply this. If a
believer is to grow there needs to be a stead inflow of the Word of
God into his life. The main focus, I believe, in on the intense
desire for the Word of God, not on the maturity level of the
believer. David of old put it this way Ė "As the hart panteth after
the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." Psalms 42:1. Hungering and thirsting after Godís and
His Word must always characterize the Christian whether he is young
or old. Those who would serve the Lord Must drink deeply of the Word