As we begin this study we need to understand that the
words “serve” and “minister” are English translations of
the same Greek word, “diakoneo”.
The definition is “to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon
(menially or as a host or friend; technically to act as a
Christian deacon:
minister unto (15X),
serve (10X),
minister (7X),
administer, use the office of a deacon.
Jesus said,
“If anyone “serves” (diakoneo) Me let him follow Me.”
John 12:26
In Mark 10:43, 45 we read,
“. . .Whoever desires to become great among
you shall be your servant (diakoneo). . .For
even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve (diakoneo), and to give His life a
ransom for many.”
From the above verses we learn that the great
purpose of God and God’s pathway to greatness
is not lording our authority over others but
becoming a servant to meet the needs of others.
“. . .Yet I am among you as the One Who serves”
Luke 22:27.
On the night before His crucifixion Jesus “…Began to
wash His disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the
towel with which He was girded.”
Afterwards He asked them,
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me
Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If
then your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I
have given you an example, that you should do as I
have done to you.” John 13:5, 6, 12-15.
This is the reason the first and greatest
commandment is “You shall love the LORD your
God with all your heart, with all your soul, and
with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37, 38 (See also Deuteronomy 10:12; 30:6).
It is when we understand and embrace God’s love
for us that our minds and hearts are warmed to
return that love to Him.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He
loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation
for our sins”.
1st John 4:10.
Ten verses later we read. . .
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
1st John 4:19.
When all of God’s children are gathered
together in heaven we will learn of the great
accomplishments wrought through them
down through the centuries. In every case
they will testify that they were motivated by
their love for God and empowered by the
Holy Spirit.
Jesus taught that the second greatest
commandment is like the first.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:39.
Jesus added, “On these two commandments hang
all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:40. (See also Leviticus 19:18)
All this is affirmed by the apostle Paul
“Owe no one anything except to love one
another, for he who loves another has fulfilled
the law.”
Romans 13:8-10:
For the commandments, ‘You shall not
murder’, ‘You shall not steal’, ‘You shall
not bear false witness’, ‘You shall not
covet’, and if there is any other
commandment, are all summed up in this
saying, namely, ‘You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.’” Love dos no harm
to a neighbor; therefore love is the
fulfillment of the law.”
The Greek word used to describe God’s love
for us, our love for God and our love for
others is agape. On the basis of definitions
by highly respected Greek scholars (Barclay,
Vine, Kittel, Thayer, etc) we can define agape
love “an unconditional and unconquerable
commitment that our thoughts, words and
actions will be in the best interest and
welfare of others.”
We also note that agape love is primarily a
commitment of our mind and will instead of
our unstable emotions. It is on this basis
that Jesus could command His disciples
“. . .Love your enemies, bless those who
curse you, do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you
and persecute you.”
Matthew 5:44 , (Context verses 43-48).
This Is a Difficult Command To Practice
Jesus is commanding us not only to love our
brothers and sisters in Christ, but also those who
curse us, hate us, and persecute us.
It is probable that every Christian has felt that
this is beyond their ability to practice.
Some have responded ‘I am not going to be a
hypocrite and do something I really don’t feel
like doing.”
This sounds reasonable but it is not Biblical.
Again, Jesus Has Set The Example
If Jesus had refused to do something for us
that He did not feel like doing, we would all
be hopelessly condemned to an eternal
We are informed in the gospels that in the
garden of Gethsemane He prayed three
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup
pass from me.” Matthew 26; 39, 42, 44.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us
He “. . .endured the cross, despising the
Jesus yielded Himself to die as a sacrifice
for sinners…not because He felt like it but
because He made an unconditional and
unconquerable commitment to do what
was in the best interest of a world of lost
Most Christians who have been followers of Christ
for a lengthy time have no trouble remembering
occasions when they were needed to minister to
the needs of others, but they did not do so.
They can remember times when the attitudes
and responses of others caused them to feel like
responding unkindly instead of graciously.
It is only after we have made an unconditional,
unconquerable commitment to use our
knowledge, time, effort, money, spiritual gifts,
and abilities to minister to the needs of others
that we rise above our negative feelings.
Some Consequences of Not Having Agape
Family members drift into the habits of fault-finding
and sniping at one another.
We lose concern for those who are hurting
We neglect feeding our spiritual nature from the word
of God
Our prayer life becomes just a form instead of
heartfelt intercession.
Our compassionate burden to win lost souls begins to
Our worship of God loses its fervency
Teachers lose their passion for communicating God’s
Singers and musicians begin to think more in
terms of entertainment instead of worship and
 Preachers become more concerned about
how they come across in their delivery instead
of being the channel of truth needed from God
 Church members will become dividers instead
of those who unite.
When God’s people descend to these levels we
can be assured that God’s response will be the
same as it was to Ephesus. . .
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you
have left your first love.”
Revelation 2:4.
Hopefully, we will be motivated to cry out to God
from the depths of our hearts, “Dear heavenly
Father, please forgive me for leaving my first
love and give me grace to commit myself to
agape love for You, for my fellow Christians and
for lost souls.”
Our service for God can be defined as
“Motivated by love I will serve God
according to His will with my spiritual
gifts and talents. God’s will for us is to
passionately serve Him with our gifts and
talents wherever we are.
Every Believer Has One or More Spiritual Gifts
“Having then gifts according to the grace that is
given to us, let us use them. . .” Romans 12:6
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”
“But one and the same Spirit works all these
things, distributing to each one individually as
He wills.”
1st Corinthians 12:4, 11.
“But to each one of us grace was given according
to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7.
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one
another, as good stewards of the manifold grace
of God.”
1st Peter 4:10.
The Different Gifts
The Sign Gifts are thought by some sincere and
dedicated Christians to be temporary gifts to
accomplish the transition from the covenant of
Mosaic law to the New Testament covenant of
Other sincere and dedicated Christians believe
the sign gifts are permanent.
They are Apostles, Prophets, Wisdom,
Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Discerning of Spirits,
Tongues (Languages).
Gifts that Communicate God’s Word.
Evangelists, Pastors, Preaching, Missions, Teachers,
Exhortation (Encouragement).
Gifts that Demonstrate God’s Love.
Service, Mercy, Hospitality, Giving.
Gifts that Celebrate God’s Presence
Music, Singing, Arts and Crafts
A gift that Supports Other Gifts
Prayer Related Gifts
Intercession, The prayer of faith
Gifts That Unite and Empower All Other
Leadership, Administration
There are other gifts mentioned in the Bible.
There are probably many gifts not listed in
the Bible.
Most Christians find it very difficult to
identify their spiritual gift or gifts. I suggest
we become alert to activities to which we
enjoy attending and how we find joy and
fulfillment participating in them.
This can be a real clue as to what our gift is.
We can also participate in many different
ministries and at some point become
aware of our special gift. Divine
confirmation comes when we experience
results that go far beyond our human
My testimony is that when I truly
surrendered to serve in ministry I was
motivated to learn everything I could about
God’s truth. After many years of ministry it
became clear to me that my special gift
was being a Bible preacher.
There are Scriptural Gift Analysis Available