Scripture Lesson, James 2: 8-20.
We have come to the last lesson in our current series, and as you know, these last three lessons have concerned man’s response to God. Man’s response has been divided into three divisions for the purpose of these lessons, and we have already covered Christian Ethics, the Response of Worship and this lesson is on the Response of Service. It is in the response of service that man has his best opportunity to show his Christianity. For as James told us in the Scripture lesson, those of us who perform no works, or give no service, are dead.
Man’s response of service is something like the farmer’s response to spring. The farmer does not argue with spring. He does not try to hold it back if he is not ready for it. He does not try to disregard it, but rather spring strikes a responsive note in the farmer, and in fact, in all of us. The farmer begins to feel a need to respond and he does respond by preparing his land and planting his seed and cultivating his crops so as to reap a harvest come summer and fall. The response of service from man is similar. For God’s love strikes a harmonious chord in men, and they respond by doing God’s will because of their love of God. Christian ethics does not call upon us to be good, strange as it may seem. I do not recall any instance in the Scriptures where man is admonished to be a nice person. However, the Scriptures are full of exhortations to love. Therefore, our response of service is based on and is in answer to our love of God.
Our response of service seems naturally to come in two elements… the religious service and the social service. We find that the Ten Commandments are divided into two divisions, the first four dealing with man’s relation to God and the others dealing with man’s relation to man. And Jesus gave the same emphasis and division when He said that the greatest commandment was to Love God and the second was like it, to love your brother.
Let us look into some of the most important elements of service under both of these divisions of religion and social.
Man’s service in the religious division is concerned mostly with the great commission Jesus gave his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. It is pretty obvious that we cannot add anything to the Scriptures, nor are we able to perform miracles as Jesus did, nor can we do anything else to or for God, except to perform this great commission.