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Description: Giving Heart Service to God
Giving Heart Service to God
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We are on Ephesians 6:6 and there is just a little bit that I felt God wanted us to remember. It’s
about our service and the way we serve people.
Ephesians 6:6 – “Not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing
the will of God from the heart.”
There’s just an interesting little piece that I’ll read. It’s like reading something from way back
in the history of Biblical exposition. It’s Albert Barnes who is a very good commentator and
normally is very helpful. But he has an interesting little piece here on Ephesians 6:6.
He must be writing while there is considerable slavery in America. He says, “Not with eye-service,
that is not serving as only under the eye of the master, or when his eye is fixed on you.” I would
have said that the emphasis was on not pretending. But he says it is on who is watching you. The
apostle has here averted (pointed out or referred to) one of the evils of involuntary servitude as
it exists everywhere.” I am presuming that it is slavery days.
Barnes goes on, “It is that the slave will usually obey only when the eye of the master is upon him.
The free man however who agrees to labor for stipulated wages may be trusted when the master is out
of sight.” I think there is a little prejudice there. He’s making the point when the master is out
of sight but not the slave. “Hence the necessity, where there are slaves of having drivers who shall
This is remarkable as it gives you a feel for the way Biblical exposition was done back then.
Normally Barnes is very balanced and good. “ Hence the necessity, where there are slaves of having
drivers who shall attend them and compel them to work. This evil is impossible to avoid except where
true religion prevails. The extensive prevalence of true religion would set the slave at liberty.”
So he does see that. Obviously slavery is not God’s will but yet he gives the little bit of benefit
to the free man against the slave.
“Yes as long as the relation exists, the apostle would enjoin on the servants the duty of performing
his work conscientiously as rending service to the Lord. This direction moreover is one of great
importance of all who are employed in the service of others. They are bound to perform their duty
with as much fidelity as though the eye of the employer was always upon them. Remembering that
though the eye may be turned away, that of God never is.”
Of course it does bring up that whole issue that I’m sure has come to you at times and certainly
comes to me more and more. For example with screws. Nobody else can see that I’m trying to screw
something and not doing a good job. But probably nobody else will ever discover that I didn’t do
such a good job and the thing might hold anyway. And then it occurs to me that God can see.
My father would always say, “Do it right Ernest, do it right. If it’s worth doing it’s worth doing
right. But the other fact that I realized is that Jesus sees this. Our father sees this. Nobody else
may see or know it but God sees and knows it. We need to remind ourselves of that. In the things
that you and I do day by day, God sees us even when noone else can see.
I don’t think you’d lie in filling the form in on WebEx but you might think that nobody will know
whether this is done or not. But our father sees. And what it brings home to you is that service is
not just doing things. It’s the whole heart with which you do a thing. And that’s what is being
wounded and struck with leprosy. It’s the conscience that you have soiled and seared by what you
haven’t done quite the way you know it should be done.
So you can see that there is a whole level of service to each other that touches the heart and that
that verse in Ephesians is speaking of. It’s that we would do it from our heart, from the will that
the heart governs and that we would serve right the whole way through.
It came home to me in regard to the clean heart — I thought this, “You mean I can’t think even one
hard thought about this person?” No, not if you are letting the heart of Christ rule your heart. You
can’t do it without crucifying Christ within you. Obviously when you do that God doesn’t allow you
to crucify his own son within you without letting you know that you’ve done that. And that brings a
heaviness into our life.
That was new for me when the whole truth of the clean heart was brought home. It was the momentary
thoughts that you entertain for a second. We all agree that you can’t prevent the birds from flying
over your head but you can stop them nesting in your hair. So you can’t prevent a thought of evil
but the moment that we engage in that thought, accept it, or do anything but say to the unclean
thing, “get far from me”, that moment we have engaged in eye-service – something that pleases men on
the outside. It looks OK to everybody else but we know it isn’t OK inside. And the One who sees all
can see that.
So it seems that that’s pretty plain. It would seem to come into our behavior not only in the store
but also on the road, service stations and the restaurants that we eat in. You are there either
serving people, doing good to them, doing harm, or doing nothing.
There’s where this verse is speaking to us — that we would serve God and serve man from our hearts.
I think our sales trainer meant it as much as he could mean it, but I thought often it sounded like
a strategy that you used as sales people. “I want your business to be successful. I do this because
I want you to be successful.”
I think many sales people do want that for their customers, but often that comes across in the sales
world as a pretty politic thing to say. You really want to sell them more but you put in terms of
wanting to help them succeed in their business.
That gets to the heart of what real service is. The service that God talks about here in Ephesians
6:6 is that we really want the best for them. Selling a gold piece of jewelry would not be the big
issue. Our commission would not be the big issue. But it’s that we would truly and honestly want the
best for them.
That gets to the heart of the service given by a servant of Christ. “In the beginning was the word.
All things were made by him. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made
that was made.” This includes that fellow who owns the store and has just sworn at you. That fellow
was made by Christ, was made through him. “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus.”
And when you do it to that swearing man you do it to Christ. That’s it.
Walking in the truth of Ephesians 6:6 — serving from the heart, not eye-service or pleasing man but
to please God — means that when we deal with that person in that store we are dealing with holy
things. Inside him Christ’s spirit is trying to get out. Inside of him Christ is either being
crucified or being raised up.
The fellow in the service station, the waitress that serves you in the restaurant – are you
entertaining an angel unaware? It seems to me what we have here in humanity is, “And did those feet
in ancient times, walk upon England’s pastures green.” We’re dealing with Christ. Christ is here on
this earth in every human being whether they know it or not. They were made by him and it’s his life
that enables them to continue to live even though they have deserved death. And in that sense, even
though they don’t know they are part of Christ, when you touch him you touch them. And when you
touch them you touch him.
And what we have here is Christ alive in all of us. With some of us he is able to express himself
through us. But others of us he is utterly buried and kept dead. Here is Christ able to speak to
Christ inside the other person. And that’s whom we serve. When we do good to them we do good to
Christ. And that’s why it says we are serving and doing as unto God and not as unto men.
So of course it transforms the whole business of service. It transforms the whole operation of work.
It lifts it out of the realm of this little human world and it brings it into the place where it
really is – inside our dear Father. We are either building him up in others as we allow him to speak
and act through us or, we are burying him by not seeing him at all — but seeing instead this
swearing, impatient, unpleasant, dirty minded, greedy, and arrogant person. And inside that person
is Christ’s spirit trying to make himself known and trying to get his attention.
So our whole work of service is involved in our Savior and in his life. It’s his life in us and his
life in other people. I really do think that from a human point of view it changes your whole
attitude when you go into a store with a confidence inside of you that here is one dear person in
whom my Savior is hidden. Sometimes he’s hidden very well. You wouldn’t dream that he’s there at
all. That presumably is the whole desire of the evil one that we will not see him. We will not
perceive that as we do it unto this one, we do it as unto Christ.
Christ himself said, “When you do it as to one of these little ones, you do it unto me.” But when
you go into a store, a restaurant or service station with that attitude then something happens in
your own heart and it automatically governs everything that you do, say or think. It’s not only with
ourselves that we have the privilege of serving from the heart, but doing it as unto God. It touches
and changes our whole spirit and attitude.
The most important thing is not the results –what you sell or don’t sell. The important thing is
that something of Jesus that comes into your spirit and attitude gets out to the other person. This
is something that breaks through all the hardness. There’s a tenderness, a gentleness and a
perception that there is something more here than meets the eye.
Let us pray.