Service vs. Intimacy

Posted on 05/28/2011 by Rev. Jennifer L. Faust

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***

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I will bow down
    hail you as king
I will serve you
    give you everything

I will lift up
    my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
    I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise


I worship You Almighty God
    there is none Like You
I worship You O Prince of Peace
    that is what I want to do

I give You praise
    For You are my righteousness

I worship You Almighty God
There is none like You


There is none like you
No one else can touch
    my heart like you do
I could search for all
    eternity long and find
There is none like you

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

Serving vs. Intimacy
By Jennifer Faust

Lord Jesus, thank you for this day and this chance to share what you have put on my heart. I pray that the words I say and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. I ask Holy Spirit to give me the words to speak and the boldness to do so. I pray that all that occurs here will bring people closer to you, Lord. In Your name, Amen.

I'm going to read from Luke 10 verses 38-42. It says 38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Today's sermon is titled Serving vs. Intimacy. I hope and pray that what I have to say will help you discern between the two and show you both are needed.

In Luke 10, we meet Mary and Martha, or if you are a man I give them the names Matthew and Michael just for our sermon today so that I can show men that they are like Mary and Martha, too. There is Martha, the server, and Mary, the worshiper, the one who wants to spend time with Jesus.

We will start with Martha and the Serving part of this sermon. First, let's talk about serving the poor and needy. Go with me to Proverbs chapter 19 verse 17. And it reads 17 He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given. As I see this verse, it says that when we pity or help the poor, it is like we are giving of ourselves to God.

The next verse is in Proverbs 31 verse 8 to 9. 8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy. Here, I believe it is saying that when we open our mouths for the poor and needy it is a form of service since they can not plead for themselves.

Acts 20:35 says 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Here the author is quoting Jesus and reminding us how good it is to give than to receive. It is a wonderful reminder in deed.

Let's look at a few verses where Jesus is serving others. Matthew 20:28 says "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Jesus is saying that He came to serve not to be served. What an example He is for us in this verse and also the next one.
Jesus is washing the feet of his disciples in John chapter 13. In verses 12-14 He says "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then,your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

We need to remind ourselves that to serve is better to be served. That we are not greater than our Master Jesus. As we serve others, let us remember to be humble and follow the guide of Jesus.

Let's talk about serving fellow believers. Galatians 6 verses 9 and 10 reads 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Here, the author is telling us to do good to fellow believers. Let's remember that when we gossip about other believers or do something to hurt each other. We are to build other up, not tear them down.

The last part of the Serving half of this sermon will be about serving God. A believer serving others, including fellow believers, serves God, too. In Luke 21, we hear of a woman who put in all she had in the offering for God. She sacrificed all she had. Let's read about this woman in verses 1-4 of Luke chapter 21. 1 And He (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had." Is this not serving God? Knowing that He owns all things, we should remind ourselves to do likewise. It is better to give than receive in deed.

Philippians chapter 2 verses 1-11 says 1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (talk about as I read this one)

The last verses for this section are in 1 Peter chapter 4 verses 10 and 11. They say As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. In all we do, whether for others, believers, or for God, the glory should go to God. It is rightfully His afterall.

I want you all to realize that when Jesus said that Mary had picked the better part and Martha didn't; He didn't mean that serving is wrong, but that having intimacy with God is better.

You could be the top missionary in the world or the #1 pastor in the country. You could be the first to sign up to help out at church on this committee or that one. But if you don't spend time with God, at His feet, you will burn out and will be no help to anyone, least of all God.

The next section is the Intimacy part. Intimacy with God is important to a Christian's walk. We must have time, quiet time with God. Many parts of the Bible talk about having a quiet time with God and what it is like. We'll talk about a few today.

We'll start with the Old Testment. In Deut. Chapter 33 verse 27 it says The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, 'Destroy!' What I want you to remember in this verse for our sermon today is the first part. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Doesn't that sound intimate? God holding us. Wow.

Let's flip over to the Psalms. Psalm 34 verses 8-10 says 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.

There are some great words here. I highlighted the last part that says "But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing." Seek the Lord, friends, then you will not lack any good thing! Praise God!

Two chapters later in Psalm 36 verses 7-9 it says How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. 8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Oh Lord, you are wonderful! Here I want you to put your eyes on the part that says Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings." Here again we are under God's protection, such intimacy. Such love He has for us!

Psalm 44 verses 20 and 21 says 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God, Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god, 21 Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.

This verse 21 wows me. How about you? Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. How can we believe God doesn't see our sin when HE KNOWS THE SECRETS OF OUR HEARTS! If that isn't intimacy, I don't know what is!

Sometimes we'd like our spouses, children, friends, family to have that kind of intimacy with us where they know our hearts and we don't have to try to put into words what is going on within us.

Let's hop over (so to speak) to the New Testament. Romans 5 verse 8 says But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Another aspect of intimacy. Loving someone so much, we would die for them. We all say that we would, but when the time comes will we follow through? I pray we would all stand and fight for Jesus no matter if that meant dying.

Hebrews 10 verses 19-22 says 19  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Here is what I highlighted here: boldness to enter the Holiest (as in the Holy of Holies) by the blood of Jesus! Thank you Jesus! Draw near with a true heart. We are clean by the shed blood of Jesus! Holy Lord!

It is so amazing and awe inspiring to understand that God, the Creator of all things, wants this intimacy with us AND He wants us to understand that we need our quiet times to ready ourselves for our serving times. Let's not be a Martha whose mind is wholly one serving. Let's be a Mary first, or a Matthew first depending on your gender.

Let's remind each other that what we need most in more time with God and less time trying to serve without God's approval. I think that is key: pleasing God in all we do.

There is one last scripture I want to read. It's in 1 John chapter 4 verses 7-19. I'm going to take it apart as I read. I want you all to understand that I'm not a theologian, but I do understand the message of the Bible. Be a good Berean. Study the Bible for yourself.

Okay these verses in 1 John chapter 4 say 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

I pray you all have got the point of the sermon. It is to remind us that serving is good to do, but we must remember that God is first. Before serving or any person. He is a jealous God after all.

Let's pray. Father God, thank you for your word and for us being able to look at it and own it without fear. I ask that what I shared will go with us. Help us to be more intimate with you. Help us to remember to be servants and give to the poor and need. Thank you again for Your Word and what it shows us. I love you Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

As I close this service, we'll have a time at the altar for prayer and ministry. Come and kneel.

You are free to go now. May God bless you this day and always. Go with God. May He show you wants to serve and grow more intimate with Him.