SERVING CHRIST IS HONORED WITH A REWARD, #666
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (JOH 12:26)
The Lord bestows honor on those who serve Him from their hearts. PSA 112 begins, "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion."
JOH 12:26 is a most pertinent part of the blessed answer our Lord gave for those Greeks who had said, "Sir, we would see Jesus" in verse 21. If any man, Greeks, Gentiles, heathens, Jews, proselytes, "serve me, him will my Father honour."
Isaiah 33:14-17 says, "Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil. He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off."
What does it mean to see Jesus? What is it to see the king in his beauty? JOH 12:24-26 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me." What do we see in Jesus? Do we only see a fire escape from hell, or do we see a Man of sorrows acquainted with grief? Do we see Him in Gethsemane struggling and sweating in His own blood, coming under the wrath of the Father to appease His wrath upon your sins?
What do you see when you see the king in his beauty? Do you see some fantasy picture of Christ sitting on a throne and ruling as some great king? Do you see Him wearing a crown of thorns? Do you see your sins placed on His head and the soldiers taking a reed and driving them in, and the blood running down His face? Is that what we see in Jesus? Do we see Him as a corn of wheat dying so that through death we might find life? When you put a kernel of wheat in the ground, there is life in that kernel and as that kernel grows it brings forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundredfold.
Are we looking for a temporal kingdom? Are we looking for temporal benefits, or are we looking at a heavenly benefactor who came to appease the wrath of our Father upon our sins and to redeem us from all iniquity? Do we know what it is to be redeemed from iniquity, or do we just want to be redeemed from hell?
He came to redeem us from all iniquity that we might serve Him acceptably, that we might be able to be brought back into that state of conciliation that there was between God and man before the Fall. The greatest joy that should ever be set before us is that you and I could again enter the kingdom, that we could enter again into His service acceptably in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, how do we get there? JOH 12:25-26 says, "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me."
To serve Christ acceptably means an unconditional surrender and a holy, reverent fear for His commands of love. Love God with your heart, your soul and your mind, which is brought forth in the first four commandments, and love your neighbor as yourself, which is taught in the last six commandments. That law of love, which originally came from Mount Sinai, came with lightning and thunder and the mount shook, but in HEB 12 we find that we are not come to that mount. We now come to Mount Sion, the same law, but with mercy. The law has been perfectly satisfied in Jesus.
Jesus showed that by dying to the things of this world, by dying to self, by dying to everything of the flesh and dying unto sin, we have eternal life. JOH 12:25 says, "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." If anything in this life has preeminence over the love that we have for Christ, we are not worthy of Him. If the things of this life have preeminence in our hearts and we are not able to die unto them, we will lose that spiritual life, that spiritual communion and union with Christ. We will not be able to be raised above the things of this world. We have to get our priorities straight. Everything of this life pales in the light of the glory there is in walking in the service of Christ.
When we are serving Christ we get a little taste of the glory we shall have in serving Him eternally. If the Lord shows you your sin and He shows you the grievousness of this sin, that has such a humbling effect, but there is nothing in this world that has humbled me like the Lord showing me that He was pleased with something I had done, that He had shown me that what I had done was for His glory and that He would reward me.
Daniel 7:14 says, "And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." We see the beauty of the fulfilling of that prophecy in the response that Jesus gave. If any man serve me, whether they be Greeks or Gentiles, him my Father will honor.
The Gospel of John has a striking chronology. In chapter 10 Jesus reveals Himself as the Shepherd, leading Israel out of Judaism into Christian liberty with His other sheep through His death. He also speaks of other sheep. They are these Greeks, these Gentiles. That is you and me. You and I are not Jews. We have had the gate of salvation opened to us. JOH 10:16-17 says, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." There will be one fold. There will be no separation between Jews and Gentiles.
In chapter 11 Jesus is revealed as the Conqueror of death. JOH 11:25 says, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."
However, in chapter 12 the way to victory over death, hell and the grave is revealed, and that is through His death and resurrection. We are justified by His resurrection. If Christ had died and remained in the grave, how would Peter have known that the penalty of his sin was paid? How would you or I ever know that He had satisfied God's wrath upon our sins, if it had not been that He came again out of the grave? That is where we have the revelation and assurance.
The new birth is a new life beginning, a resurrected life. ROM 6:3-4 says, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." What death did Christ die? ROM 6:10 says, "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." This is the death and resurrection you and I must have in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must become dead to sin and alive unto God.
Some find it difficult to apply this principle of the Old Testament believers. ROM 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." How could the Old Testament believers have had salvation if it is in a risen Lord? They died in hope. They died in faith having a faith view and the resurrection of Christ. HEB 11:33-35 says, "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection."
Their eyes were fixed on a resurrection that they had not yet obtained, but they died in faith with the eye of faith fixed on a better resurrection. This better resurrection is what the apostle spoke of in 2TI 1:9-10: "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Now the life that is in Christ is being publicly proclaimed in the gospel. Previously it was only those who had received the faith to look to that resurrection who understood the resurrection power.
As Christ was publicly rejected by the self-righteous leaders of the church, the Gentiles came to worship Him. The rejection of Christ and the gospel by God's chosen nation ushered in the salvation of the Gentiles. See this in ACT 13:44-48, "And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth."
This is synonymous with what we see in JOH 12:19, "The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him." They saw that people were no longer going to come and bow at their feet. They were being brought into the liberty of the gospel, Christian liberty. And their jealousy prompted them to crucify the Lord of life and glory.
Those Gentiles who were so ready to receive the very Saviour who was rejected by His own were seeking that personal, intimate relationship that is symbolized by a marriage union, which His own people had rejected. Look at JOH 1:11-12, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
These Gentiles were willing and able to accept Christ in an intimate relationship. They were intimately interested in that salvation of Christ. The Jews, with hearts filled with hatred and bitterness and envy, cried, Crucify Him. Crucify Him. Teir rejection of Christ opened the door that you and I might be saved. That is when the gospel was turned to the Gentiles.
To receive Christ as our personal Saviour is to come into His service through an intimate relationship, which is symbolic of the union between Christ and His bride. EPH 5:25-26 says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."
This desire of these Gentiles to see Jesus was urgent. The Greek word for desired means they besought, they begged, they asked, they prayed for the privilege of seeing Jesus. When you and I learn to understand that posture of heart, we will learn to see Jesus. They revealed a true heart's desire to see Jesus, and this desire was prophesied of in HAG 2:7. "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come." The prophecy was that all nations would desire to see Jesus.
We must come to repentance through a change in attitude and a change of heart. We must come to where we delight to do His will. That comes ahead of justification. The Lord Jesus began preaching the gospel with the word repent, and that word repent means to be renewed in the spirit of your mind. In other words, get a different attitude toward God. We must come to a holy reverence for God and His precious will. We must come to a holy, obnoxious hatred for sin, because we see how grievously God is displeased with sin, that He would set it upon His own Son to take away the filth and penalty of sin before He would let one sin remain. Now, sin becomes so hateful, and that is what brings us to where we delight to do His commandments, that we delight to serve our God.
For His perfect obedience, the Father promised Jesus a throne, where He should sit in absolute authority upon the heart of the humble and contrite ones. Our Saviour is so glorified is when our hearts come in unconditional surrender to His perfect will, that it becomes our chiefest delight to serve Him.
The only way we can ever serve Christ acceptably is by following Him in the way of the cross. MAT 18:1-3 says, "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Now that word converted means that you are converted from a desire to be great and you come as a little child who has such trust in their Father knowing that He will provide. When you and I become as little children, we are not so primarily concerned about being great, but we have a childlike love for our heavenly Father, with such gratitude and such thanksgiving, that He has provided us with not only the necessities of life, but He has made a way whereby we can again have access to His throne through the death of His own Son.
That can make us feel so small when we see that we have fallen so far short of His glory. We serve Him, but with so many shortcomings. Our hearts now flow with gratitude that He has given us a place at His table as a little child.
Death lay in the pathway of our Saviour, and so it will be for you and me. There must pruning before there will be true fruit, and the cross comes before the crown. JOH 15:2-3 says: "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
If you and I going to sit with Him on His throne, we are going to be planted in death in the same manner He was. We are also going to spring up in newness of life, which is a symbol of His resurrection, so we can be able to sit together with Him on His throne. The reward of service is obtained through the obedience of faith. JAM 2:14-16 says, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 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?" Unless we die unto ourselves, the world and sin; unless we come into serving Christ as our first love, we abide alone.
These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion and sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.