ACTS 6:1-7 1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
MARK 10:42-45 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
How can you tell if someone truly loves you? If they serve you. Jesus says that Deacons are lead-sevants in his church that are qualified and then appointed by Pastors to serve alongside them to love, lead, feed, and protect the flock. Deacons serve alongside the Pastors in order that the Pastors may focus on studying the Word and prayer. Though Deacons are lead-servants, all those who are in Christ are servants of Jesus, of his church, and of the entire world (Mark 10:42-44). In Mark 10:42-44, Jesus is saying in effect, “Do you want to be great? Serve. Do you want to leave a legacy? Serve. Look at me! I’m the only one that truly deserves to be served, yet I am serving you by living, dying, and resurrecting in your place as your substitute. The only way you will be freed from your sin and made righteous is by my serving you, so that’s what I’m doing.” How will the world know that we love them? If we serve them. How will our husbands or wives know that our “I love you”‘s are more than flattery and lip service? If we serve them. How will our coworkers know that we truly love them and care about them? If we serve them. The gospel message will be more receptive in people’s ears off-the-bat if people know that we actually love and care about them.
While we are freed from sin, called, and commanded to serve, we do not find our hope and identity in our service to Jesus and others. We find our hope and identity in Jesus’ service to us. Jesus is the true and better servant that “came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus didn’t come to merely show us how to live; Jesus came to die for our sin so that we may have life. This sets Jesus apart from the founders of any other major world Religion. Every Religion is essentially teaching you how to scale the mountain of god, but Jesus is the righteous One that came down the mountain to throw us on his back and carry us up by his own strength. This is the gospel. At the heart of Religion is advice. At the heart of Christianity is news that brings joy (gospel). Religion says, “repent and do better!” The Gospel says, “Repent, and believe that because of Jesus, ‘It is finished!'”
Q.1 Was there anything from Sunday’s sermon or the big idea that was new to you or had an affect on you? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?
Q.2 What stands out to the in Acts 6:1-7 and why? What stands out to you in Mark 10:42-45 and why?
Q.3 How does the reality of Christ’s serving you by becoming your substitute affect your present reality? We have a tendency to see Jesus’ sacrifice as covering of all our past sins, but how does it affect today and tomorrow?
Q.4 Discuss the difference between Religion and the Gospel. Is this the posture of your heart: “My hope is built on nothing less (and nothing more) than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”?
Q.5 Share and discuss ways that we can be serving people in all areas of life.
**Spouse, Relationship(s), Home, Job, School, Church, etc.
Q.6 Discuss the difference between serving being your activity vs. your identity? Why does it matter either way? How does it strengthen you to know that Jesus is the True and Better Servant?
Every attempt to become better or moral or religious; every attempt to find your own truth or become enlightened is like pulling a parachute while you’re falling to the earth from 10,000 feet. But these parachutes are full of holes and don’t slow you down a bit. You’re still falling, whether you want to admit it or not. You can pull all of the chutes in the world, but it is all false hope and futile against the fall. You need a substitutionary sacrifice; you need to be served. The good news of Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice is that he jumped out of heaven and caught up to us. Jesus didn’t grab us and fly away, but positioned himself in between us and the ground. He absorbs the blow of the fall and we are spared- we are ransomed by a Jesus serving us and being our substitutionary sacrifice. On the cross, Jesus substituted himself for his enemies so that He could make them His brothers and sisters; Jesus served the very ones who opposed him so that they could be born again as sons and daughters of God. Out of the this good news, go and serve others like Jesus has served you. “It is finished!” What are you going to do now?