Slaves not Servants
Jesus calls his followers to be his “slaves,” the Slaves-of God, not his hired servants.
Slaves-of-God are more than Disciples
Being a Slave-of-God is more than being a “disciple”, a learner. Outside of the Gospels and the Book of Acts, the word disciple is not used. The reference to godly people in the rest of the New Testament is always as the Slaves-of-God. Interesting that in Acts, when Timothy is first introduced as young man just leaving home, he is referred to as a disciple. But years later, as a seasoned veteran of the faith, he is referred to as a Slave-of-God. A disciple is one in the process of “learning.” The Slave-of-God is one in the process of “serving.”
Every Person is a Slave to Something
Scripture makes it clear that “every” person is a slave, either a slave-to-sin or a slave-to-righteousness (God). Paul stated that saved people not actively serving God, although saved, are still slaves-to-sin. So you are a slave; the only question is whose slave are you?
Slaves-of-God have Duties
Slaves-of-God have real duties that they are required to perform. A good and faithful slave actively uses the assets and the gifts given to him by God, while a lazy and wicked slave does not use the assets and the gifts given to him by God.
The Only Way to Show our Love for Jesus is by Obeying his Commands
Jesus clearly states that the only way to show that we “love” Jesus is to obey his commands.
If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching: These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24
According to Jesus, and he quotes God the Father on this, the person who loves Jesus is the one who obeys the commands/teachings of Jesus. And if you love Jesus, by obeying his commands, then God the Father and Jesus will love you and make their home in you. Any person who is not obeying the commands of Jesus does not love Jesus.
God the Father, speaking through the Prophet Jeremiah, stated that He searches the heart and mind of a man, and yet the Father rewards the man according to his conduct, what the man’s deeds deserve. Apparently God the Father does not judge a man by the “feelings” of his heart. Stated differently, obedience to the teaching of God is important, whereas the heart is deceitful above all things. Is it any wonder that Jesus commands that we follow (obey) his teachings and that John and James go on to say that if we follow (obey) the teachings of Jesus, our hearts will follow our actions?
Biblical Worship includes Obedience
Even a cursory review of Scripture will show that Biblical worship is centered on honoring God, and such honoring of God includes serving him, in other words, obedience.
Worship in Scripture is presented as: acknowledging or honoring God as the source of our salvation and as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings supreme over all creation; humbly submitting to God; acknowledging our helplessness and unworthiness before him; and finally, worship includes putting our faith in God, trusting His Word, and serving him.
Worship that does not include these elements is not Biblical Worship.
The Commands of Jesus are Not Optional, We Really ought to Know What they are and Obey them.
Perhaps we should start by identifying the commands of Jesus. Surely, the major commands of Jesus are familiar to us: The Greatest Commandments, The Great Commission, The Golden Rule, and Take up your Cross and Follow Me. But Jesus gave many more commands than just these.
Biblical Examples of the Slaves-of-God
The Biblical examples of the Slaves-of-God are those people who acted not because they “felt” like it or had the “heart” for it, but simply because God commanded it. In deed in most cases, if they had followed their hearts, they would not have acted at all.
Being a Slave-of-Christ surely means being called to serve outside of our comfort zone, like Philip and Peter. Sometimes the call to service puts us in vulnerable positions, even physical danger, like Ananias and Paul. Sometimes our service can be rewarding as Peter experienced the Lord bringing Gentiles into salvation. Other times, service can be extremely difficult and frustrating as Moses leading the rebellious Hebrews though the desert for forty years. And in still other situations, we are called to act like Philip but not given a lot of information why. Our Lord Jesus gives us the ultimate example of obedient service when he set aside the prerequisites of the God-head and took on the form of a human becoming obedient even to death in order to ransom us from the penalty of sin. See Philippians 2:5-11. And yes, some like Peter and Paul are called to follow the example of Jesus, being martyred for their obedience to the faith.
Not Your Slave
Know whose slave you are and whose slave you are not. Submit to those in authority, but do not be their slaves.