Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Through Love Serve One Another

Paul wrote, in Galatians 5:13-15, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

Love and service are integrally connected. Failure to serve is a failure to love. If, as Colossians 3:24 says, it is the Lord Christ whom we serve, then we need to be looking to Jesus and following His example. Jesus said, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:14-15).

What we might call biblical leadership is, in reality, about serving rather than following worldly wisdom. For example, when a congregation seeks out those who would serve as shepherds, they aren’t simply looking for men who make big decisions and tell a church what they will do. It is not a talent contest to see who has the greatest ideas. It is not a popularity poll. God’s people are looking for those who have demonstrated themselves to be servants. They are looking for examples. They aren’t looking for someone to turn into a servant if he’s not already one, but are looking for servants who already have demonstrated the qualities for which overseers are to be known. But this goes beyond shepherds, for all of God’s people are to be servants.

Further, we don’t look to give promotions among God’s people, as in business, or act as if we are giving out prizes based on competition. Servanthood among God’s people is to be honored by following the examples of those who have sanctified Christ as Lord and doing His will.

There are no Lords among God’s people, except for One. Jesus taught His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28)

Peter wrote of elders in 1 Peter 5:1-3, “I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” If they are examples to the flock, then they are examples to be followed so that all would act accordingly.

What we need among God’s people are those who exemplify service. We are to be examples in how we serve others in love. What does this service look like, biblically?

1. It looks like sacrifice. Jesus is the perfect example. “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Here is the mind of a servant who presented Himself as a sacrifice (see vv. 3-4, then 6-8). In Jesus we find the perfect servant-leader, the good Shepherd who gave His own life for the sheep.

2. It looks to take focus off of self. This was Paul’s attitude: “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (1 Cor. 3:5-7). “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1).

3. It looks to unite, not divide. If we sought to be selfless servants, then unity will be the natural result among like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be true family.

Notice the emphasis on unity in Ephesians 4. Verses 11-12 tell us what we all are to be equipped to serve, but then see what’s said next: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (vs. 13).

Sacrifice, selflessness, and unity are vital in understanding service among God’s people! May God help develop this perspective as we work alongside one another in the Kingdom.