Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 12, Qtr 3-05

Special Insights No. 12

Third Quarter 2005 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Spiritual Life”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Lord of Our Service”



Service cannot be separated from Christ’s righteousness. The Lord of Our Service is “The Lord Our Righteousness.” This is the name by which we shall be called (Jer. 33:15). Jesus became “The Lord Our Righteousness” by becoming Servant of all. It was spoken of Him by the Father: “My righteous Servant shall justify many” (Isa. 53:11). It was Christ’s glory to become God’s justifying Servant. In this work of justification He glorified the Father. Christ’s act of service was His righteousness in justifying us by His death (Rom. 5:18, 9; 4:25). The Servant’s work of justification is the glory that will illuminate the world under the “Loud Cry” of Rev. 18:1 as “the Lord Our Righteousness” becomes the Lord of our service.


There is another glory contending for supremacy in these last days. This is brought to our attention in Rev. 18:2 describing Babylon’s complete fall from God’s grace. But we must not be misled here. Babylon, possessed by devils taking up full habitation within her, presenting a counterfeit social gospel, will appear to be all glorious within and without. This devil possession will not appear as some hideous monstrosity for the devil is dressed up as an angel of glorious light (see 2 Cor. 11:14).


Originally, Lucifer, as God’s servant, was the number one created light bearer of God’s reflected glory. He became Satan because he sought the glory that belongs to God alone. He wanted it all. He deliberately turned away from the true glory of service and coveted lordship apart from servanthood.


Jesus came to earth as Servant of all and thus glorified His Father and the government of heaven. He did this by investing the glory given Him back into the One who gave it. As a result He has been exalted far above Satan on the basis of humility in service. God’s glory is His service to fallen man. And it follows that a believer’s glory is heaven’s reflected light revealed in service to God and to mankind. In summation, righteousness by faith is about sharing in the glory of God, and reflecting it back to Him in service.


By the Lord Jesus all Christian service consists. Christian service is simply Christ, the indwelling and outliving Christ. “To me to live [serve] is Christ” (Phil. 2:21). Service is simply Jesus, more of Jesus and less of self. He is Lord of our service, not just a teacher, not just an example, of how to serve.


By Jesus, “the Lord Our Righteousness,” our service consists. “He who abides in Me and I in him,” said Jesus, “the same bears much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). It is not what is done for Him, in service, but by Him that counts. How much of our activity really proceeds from Him? Sometimes we think our service depends on us, our effort, our organization, our enthusiasm. We need to get our eyes onto His sufficiency and off our efficiency.


By Him all service consists. We are His witnessing servants, not His lawyers. “We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Cor. 4:5); not our service. I read of a church with a “JESUS ONLY” sign on its front. A storm blew out the first three letters, one night, and left “US ONLY.” That has happened in more ways than one these days. We are Christ’s servants, not His Lord. The basis of service is Jesus, our only Lord. Our service is a witness to and for Him. Some saintly professors have no witness, no service, no testimony, only an argument of “us only.” But, the mark of true service is “love to all the saints,” [and also to the ungodly of whom, at times, it easier to love than the saints]. This service springs only from “faith in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:4).


It is possible to serve, and to not serve God without knowing it. In the parable of the great judgment day (Matt. 25:31-46) when persons, represented either by sheep or by goats, are asked what they did in the person of the needy of earth, neither group knew what they were doing or not doing. Those who were asked about the things they did not do to Christ in the person of the destitute of earth didn’t know they were serviceless. Likewise, those who did serve the Lord didn’t know it. To their surprised delight they learned they were serving Him!


In the time of the pre-Advent judgment and upon those who serve the Lord of service, in faith and faithfulness, will shine the glory of Rev. 18:1. From that reflected light of Christ’s righteousness will come heaven’s last invitation of mercy to believers still residing in Babylon, but not possessed by the glittering sophistries of spiritualism, “Come out or her My people” (Rev. 18:4). Truly, this will be “the Lord’s doing and it will be marvelous in our eyes.”


Jesus, the Lord Our Righteousness, is the Lord of Our Service, and our service is simply Christ and His glorious righteousness indwelling and outliving.

Gerald L. Finneman


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