Summary: I shared this sermon a couple of Sundays before Thanksgiving, on the day of a church Thanksgiving dinner.
Are You Thankful Enough . . .
To Be A Servant
Romans 1:14 NKJV, NLT
Philippians 2:5-8 KJV, NIV
I always like to open up with something funny. So here it goes. Some of you have probably heard the original version of this joke but this is a new and improved version. A small town had five churches Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist and Pentecostal. All five had a serious problem with squirrels in the church. Each church in its own fashion had a meeting to deal with the problem. The Presbyterians decided that it was predestined that squirrels be in the church and that they would just have to live with them. The Methodists decided they should deal with the squirrels lovingly in the style of Charles Wesley. They humanely trapped them and released them in a park at the edge of town. Within 3 days, they were all back in the church. The Catholics also humanely trapped them and attempted to teach them the "rhythm" method which of course did not work. The Baptists had a church dinner and fed the squirrels casseroles. That usually runs people off but it didn’t work on the squirrels, they stayed. The wise Pastor of the Pentecostal church had the best solution. He took the squirrels in as members, now they only see them at Christmas and Easter. On that rather spiritual note, please take your Bible and turn to Romans chapter 1. We are going to read verse 14. (Romans 1:14) I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. Let’s pray. . . In Jesus Name Amen. Hold your Bible up high and let’s make this confession together. “This is my Bible, I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do, I am about to receive the indestructible Word of God, I boldly confess my mind is alert my heart is receptive and I will never be the same in Jesus name. Amen”. You may be seated. My message today relates to this wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving that we are celebrating early today. The title is . . .
I. Are you thankful enough . . . to be a servant?
Turn to the person next to them and ask them, are you thankful enough to be a servant?. As we enter the Thanksgiving time of year, here in the next couple of weeks, I think most of us are thankful. We are thankful for our families and friends. We are thankful for our health, even if we have some health problems – it could always be worse. Most importantly, I believe we are thankful for Jesus and for the price he paid for our salvation. What I want us to think about today is “how thankful are we”? Are we thankful enough to the Lord, that we are willing to serve Him to the point that we are willing to become servants to reach others? As we read in our opening verse the great Apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that he was a debtor to the Greeks and the Barbarians, to the wise and the unwise. This is Paul’s eloquent way of saying, “I am in debt to everybody”. Why would Paul say this?
A. Paul had the attitude of a servant.
Listen to the words Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 2 beginning with verse 5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross”!
1. Paul lived out this servant attitude
Why? Paul was thankful to God for sitting him free and for forgiving Him. He devoted his life to serving God. He did this by serving others. Once it was reported to Paul that some other ministers were criticizing him because he was in prison. They were saying that it must be because of some sin that he had committed. This is how a servant responds, Philippians 1:15 (NIV) “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains, 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice”. What an attitude! It didn’t matter to Paul what they said about him as long as Jesus was preached. How could Paul have this great servant’s attitude.