Posted April 29, 2013
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
This is a continuation from last week as Paul calls Christians to work out their faith in light of Christ’s great work for them! These things are to mark those who are a part of true Christian community. In these 3 verses, he gives us three strings of commands:
1. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Ask yourself a question: where is your zeal for God? Over the last year? The last month? Have you found yourself in a spiritual cruise control? The Christian should be one who refuses to grow stagnant or apathetic about his love for God and others. The lazy Christian is a contradiction! Note that we don’t serve for service sake alone, but rather we serve the Lord. Our goal is not merely to be good people, but rather a people who are the Lord’s and serve Him with our whole lives. There’s a great sermon resource from Sam Storms here: http://bridgewaychurch.com/sermons/sermon/2013-04-28/holy-dissatisfaction-and-relentless-pursuit:-overcoming-the-threat-of-spiritual-stagnation. You can download the notes if that’s easier for you.
2. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Christians have a reason to rejoice: not just all God has done, but what God has yet to do. He will one day return and right the wrongs in the world, restoring a holistic peace to it (shalom). This truth gives us both reason to hope as well as patience in the in between time. Not only are we to be patient, but also cry out constantly to God until he does return! John Piper said, "Prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie for spiritual warfare; not a domestic intercom to increase the comfort of the saints.” Are you going through a tough time? Rejoice in the hope you have in Christ, be patient for his return, and cry out to him! He hears your prayers...
3. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Because of how generous God has been with us, and because of how loving He has been in inviting us into his presence through His Son’s death and adopting us into His family, so we are to be a generous and hospitable people! Do we view all of our money as God’s money, or only a portion of it? Do we view our home and possessions to be God’s home and possessions our “ours”? If we saw that we are mere stewards of God’s gifts then perhaps we’d be more open-handed! May the Holy Spirit loosen our tight grips on the things we often love more than Him, and teach us to look for opportunities to be like Him in our generosity.
This week’s artwork was created by Jesse Owen (www.10am.org); the song was written by Joel Limpic and produced by Dustin Ragland.