The Bare Soul - December 14, 2008
His Servants

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "His Servants" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on December 11, 2008.

His Servants - December 11, 2008

"Gotta Serve Somebody"
by Bob Dylan
(Courtesy of YouTube)

Psalm 119:91 - They [heaven and earth] stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants.

After his conversion to Christianity in the late 1970s, Bob Dylan recorded his 19th studio album titled Slow Train Coming. After the album's release in 1979, many long time fans were horrified.  What happened to their free-thinking, political and social activist?  Had he really lost his mind by giving his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ? Believers (including myself) praised God that He had delivered yet another from the narcissistic "me" generation of the 1960s and 70s  Side one of this controversial recording featured a song named "Gotta Serve Somebody". It won Dylan the Grammy for the best rock vocal performance by a male in 1980. Probably the most striking and gut-honest words in this song are in the refrain. Clearly, these lyrics speak about how none of our lives are our own:

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes, indeed
Serve somebody
It might be the devil or it might be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

In response to "Gotta Serve Somebody", John Lennon wrote the song "Serve Yourself" shortly before his untimely death in December of 1980. This irreverent composition was Lennon's statement against all organized religion, especially Christianity. These two songs were testaments to whom and what controlled the destiny of these two men. Ironically, both were so-called seekers after truth, yet only one attained to a true understanding of what life is really all about. Only one of these two singer/songwriters found out the truth, and that is ... IT'S NOT ABOUT US!

We have been placed on this earth not to fulfill our own self-centered destinies, but to bring glory to the One that created us in His image. Psalm 119:91 places the center of the universe and all of creation back on the Creator. Additionally, it deemphasizes the creation as existing to be subservient to its Maker. It is a glorious revelation of who God is -- and who He is not. If you're not the Creator (which none of us are, of course!) than we are the created and we have a role in that creation, which is to serve the One who created us. This twists and turns and upsets the minds and hearts of those who cannot wrap their minds around the idea that God is who He said He is. These are folks that are unregenerate, lost and without hope of salvation unless they turn and repent of their lawless lives. Of all His creation, we are the only created things with free will that can lay our dark, depraved hearts before Calvary's Cross and accept His free gift of redemption. Likewise, we can spit in God's eye and continue on in our rebellious state to the gates of hell. All things in creation know their place -- except humankind. The irony of finding our place of servitude before Him on this earth equates to ultimately reigning with Him forever in the age to come. Even if others (such as Lennon) do not seemingly find that place of servitude toward God on this earth, they will still serve God's purposes in other tragic ways.

God's Holy Word tells us that certain scriptures were written as an admonition, or as a warning to us that we might not sin (Hebrews 3:12-19). The Word is full of examples of disobedience that God uses to instruct others in the fear of the Lord, not to do similarly and likewise perish. Just as the prophets and the holy men and women of the Old and New Testament are examples of servants of righteousness, in like manner those who have disobeyed and served themselves and their own sinful passions have become servants of destruction. These continue to instruct and serve us through their past wickedness, how not to behave. They may be servants of Satan and the flesh, but in the grand scheme of things they are serving God's ultimate purposes of showing His longsuffering and patience toward these vessels of wrath (Romans 9:22). We can never truly know His grace unless we know the power of sin. There are multitudes of the servants of darkness filling up the bowl of God's wrath. In reality, they are actually the catalysts for Him to release to us more of His grace. The fifth and sixth chapters of Romans tell us that "... where sin abounds, graces does abound all the more". God is not willing for any to perish but that all would come to repentance. Unfortunately, we know that many will not make that decision for God. (However, those who know His saving grace should continue to pray and seek the Lord for His mercy for others.)

As Dylan so simply stated, we WILL serve the devil or we WILL serve the Lord. It's all about OUR choice, at least in the beginning. In the end -- when all has been said and done -- we will see how God was just and loving to call all to repentance yet not all heeded the call. Those "without ears to hear" the loving invitation of the Father will continue to think they are serving themselves, living so-called lives of self-sufficiency. They are horribly deceived. The devil believes that these who live for themselves are truly his and he has robbed God of His precious possession. To some degree this is true, but only for the time being. On that last day, we shall all witness how even the self-serving really served no other purpose but to justify the righteous actions of the Lord Most High as He condemns them to their lifelong desire of isolation with "self". There will be no defiance on that day when He passes judgment, for all will know that His judgment is true. For we know from the scripture (Philippians 2:10-11) "... that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." To bend not the knee to Him in this life will only mean bent knees and a lost soul in the life to come. Oh, to be a gloriously redeemed servant in this life rather than a tragic, hopeless slave in the life to come! Should we not be living lives as His Servants now and serving Him and others in righteousness? For all will serve Him, one way or the other throughout eternity.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

"Gotta Serve Somebody"
by Bob Dylan
(Courtesy of YouTube)

His Servants - December 11, 2008

 

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