Called to Serve

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The Calling of the Deacon is to Service (Joshua 1:1a)

Explanation: At this point in the Biblical story, Joshua is taking his place as the new leader of the nation of Israel. Moses, the great leader of the Exodus and the Wilderness wanderings of 40 years, has just died. Because Joshua was replacing a great leader, he must have been uneasy about taking this position. God reminds Joshua that if he is going to be successful, he must see himself as Moses did: as a servant.
Argument: There is no higher calling in this life than to be called as a servant of the Lord. Moses, one of the greatest leaders in the OT was known as the servant of the LORD (over 40 times). David, the greatest of the Israelite Kings was also called a servant of God. Other leaders such as Abraham, Jacob, and Daniel were also called servants of God.
And it is striking that Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Creator of all that is, the Eternal God, took upon Himself the form of a servant (). And in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus declared of Himself, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many ()
Application: The word for deacon has the literal meaning of one who waits on tables, a servant. This is not a put down or a low position. It is a privilege to serve and meet the needs of others

God takes an Active Role in the Making of a Servant (Joshua 1:2-5)

God has called you to this ministry of service ()

Explanation: Joshua was not taking over as the leader of the Israelites on his own initiative. Joshua was being called by God Himself to assume this position. Joshua was God’s sovereign choice, and God was the One who had previously called Moses (). And God was the One who was giving the land to the nation, and God in His Sovereign control was promising Joshua that every single step he took in the Land would become the possession of the Nation.
Argument: These promises of God were specific to the Nation and to Joshua, and are not repeatable. But the principle is true and timeless. God is in Control of His Church and He is the One who calls out leaders. He is the One who brings these events to pass, and it is not to be a random choice to fill a slot on a piece of paper.
Application: When facing discouragement in your service as a deacon, remember that God is the One who called you into this. The reaction of people may very well cause you to doubt whether you were meant to do this, but God knows more than any of us. Trust His calling and remain faithful.

God will be with you in your life of service ()

Explanation: God made a promise to Joshua as he assumed the leadership of the Nation. Joshua was going to be the man who led the warriors into a foreign country filled with hostiles. Joshua was facing not just one battle, but many. Joshua may have been worried about failing (I know I would be!). Regardless, God promised Joshua two things: 1) No group would be able to withstand him, and 2) God promised Joshua that His Spirit would remain with him at all times.
Argument: What an encouragement this must have been for Joshua! While the promise of being unbeatable was specific to Joshua, the promise of His presence is for all believers (). What an encouragement to us as well! God is not going to send us off to do something on our own. His Spirit is right here with us every step of the way, leading, guiding, and protecting!

God expects His Servants to do their part in ministry ()

God expects you to be a Strong and Courageous Servant ()

Explanation: The task of subduing an entire country was a big mission. The land was filled with strong foes who were able to fight back. As a matter of fact, when the 12 spies saw these enemies for the first time (), 10 of them developed the “Grasshopper Syndrome” out of fear, and voted to stay in the wilderness.
Argument: The task of leading God’s people in the 21st century is not an easy task either. We are faced with much worldliness in the church, along with little desire to become spiritually mature. Motivating and encouraging people to grow in their faith is not a task for the faint of heart. It requires courage to stand firm when others around you are bailing out and calling it quits.

God expects you to Know and Follow the Instructions ()

Joshua was not placed in this position without being equipped. God had sovereignly placed Joshua in the role of Moses’ assistant over the years, a role in which he observed and learned much. And when it came time for him to assume leadership, God gave Joshua the command to read and know His Word. The Word of God had the necessary principles and rules that led to success. God told Joshua to know and follow them: without deviation.
Argument: Joshua only had the the first five books of the Bible (Genesis through Deuteronomy). We have the entire Bible, both OT and NT. We have been given the treasure of the entirety of Scripture! What a privilege to have the whole book. But with that privilege comes responsibility - we will be held to a higher standard because we have been given so much more.
The Word of God is more accessible to us in the 21st century than in any other previous time in history. All believers are to be in the Word, and there is no excuse for any of us not to be in the Word on a regular basis. God’s leaders are called to even higher standards, and each should be a careful student of the Word. God would have His leaders operate by His principles, but if we aren’t familiar with them, we will not be able to do what He expects..
Application: Make the spiritual discipline of Bible study part of your life. Set aside time for meaningful study so you will be equipped to live out your calling. Know the Word and Obey the Word ()
God expects you to spend time in prayer and meditation ()

God expects you to spend time in prayer and meditation ()

Explanation: After God tells Joshua to know and follow the Word without deviation, He then gives additional instruction concerning the Word. God tells Joshua to meditate on the Word night and day, to have the Word stay in his mouth. This is a way of saying that the Word of God is to become precious to Joshua, it is to become an extension of who he is as a servant-leader.
Illustrate: A student can know and follow instructions in a lot of areas such as multiplication tables, filling out geographical locations on a map, or writing a ten page term paper with the proper footnotes. The student can be totally correct, without having the knowledge make a personal impact. (water off a duck’s back)
Argument: This expectation is in the area of devotional understanding. This is about spending time in the Word for the sake of just being in the Word. This is about getting to personally know the Author, to more deeply understand His ways and His purposes, to get to know His intentions and desires. This is about marinating in the Word and allowing it the transform your life (Romans 12:1-2)

God expects you to walk by faith, not fear ()

God expects you to walk by faith, not fear ()

Explanation: God finishes His charge to Joshua with another reminder to be strong and courageous. God understands the limits of human ability (), and He knew that Joshua was worried about being able to handle the new responsibility. God tells Joshua “do not be frightened” and then reassures Joshua by reminding him that He will always be with him. What a promise of comfort for Joshua, to know that the LORD God was going with him every step of the way!
Argument: That promise is just as real for us as it was for Joshua. God has blessed us in so many ways it is sometimes difficult to remember all of them. God has given us a Savior to redeem us from our sins, He has given us His Word that we might know about this Saviour, and He has given us His Spirit to indwell us and seal us for eternity.
God generally does not reveal to us the specific issues of our tomorrows, but He does prepare us to be able to encounter them without fear. Faith is the opposite of fear, and God would have His servants trust Him, even when we don’t have a clear sense of the future. Abraham trusted God and “went out not knowing where he was going” () and God rewarded him for his trust.
Application: As you enter this time of service as a deacon, remember that God is with you. You cannot and will not know the challenges of the future, but you can know that “you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of Adoption by who we cry Abba! Father!” (Rom 8:15)
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