A Serving People

MEMORY VERSE: “Let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” —Titus 3:14

I PETER 2:9; II CORINTHIANS 8:1-7; JAMES 2:14-17

IN OUR last lesson we concluded that the highest expression of love for God is found in the obedience and willing service of his people. And so we find the true people of God with an insatiable desire to serve and glorify the Heavenly Father’s name.

To serve God acceptably requires that the service be in harmony with his will. So we ask, “What is God’s will for his people during the Gospel Age?”

The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 10:5-10, indicates that it is God’s will that the church follow in Jesus’ footsteps in the laying down of their lives in sacrifice. In verse 5 he quotes Psalm 40, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” Jesus’ mind was enlightened that he might understand that the sacrifice of bulls and goats did not really accomplish anything, nor were they pleasing in God’s sight. (Micah 6:6-8) What God desired was a ransom for Adam, and for this purpose he provided the life principle of the Logos with a perfect human body so that he could be the sacrifice that would take “away the sin of the world.” (John 1:14; Heb. 2:9; John 1:29) Since Adam was perfect when he sinned and all the race was condemned in him, it was necessary, to satisfy justice, that a perfect man take Adam’s place in death. This man was Jesus.

In the 7th verse of Hebrews 10 the apostle continues to quote the 40th Psalm, a prophecy concerning Jesus, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Then the apostle continues in verse 9, “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”

In other words, Jesus, by offering himself in sacrifice, brought an end to the typical sacrifices of the Law Covenant arrangement under which the sacrifice of animals was required. But in doing this he established the better sacrifices of the present age. Unlike the old covenant, under which the priest offered animals, the Abrahamic covenant provided that the Priest sacrifice himself.

This was God’s will for Jesus. In the process of laying down his life he was required to be obedient under difficult and trying circumstances. It was in meeting these experiences that he developed his spirit-begotten mind—the fruits and graces of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 5:8,9 says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect [mature] he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

In verse 10 of Hebrews 10 the apostle says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is evident that the same will that determined that Jesus sacrifice himself is also operative toward us, not because we have merit of ourselves, but only because Jesus took Adam’s place in death, thus providing the ransom price which during this Gospel Age is applied on our behalf. This gives us justification, and being justified by the blood of Christ we become an acceptable sacrifice.

In the process of laying down our lives, we too must learn obedience under difficult and trying circumstances. In these experiences we develop the fruits and graces of the Spirit. We learn that in serving the Lord’s people he accounts this as service unto him. Jesus said, “Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” (Mark 10:43,44) “By this we have known love, because he laid down his life on our behalf; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”—I John 3:16 (Diaglott)

The Apostle James emphasizes the reality of our commitment to serve thus: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”—James 2:15-17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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