Summary: How can we make a difference as Christians? Is warming a church pew the best I can do?
OPEN: Several years back the Merv Griffin Show had a guest that was a body builder. During the interview, Merv asked, “Why do you develop those particular muscles?”
The body builder simply stepped forward and flexed a series of muscles from chest to calf. The audience applauded.
“What do you use all those muscles for?” Merv asked. Again, the muscular specimen flexed, and biceps and triceps sprouted to impressive proportions.
“But what do you use those muscles for?” Merv persisted. There was a moment of confused embarrassment as the body builder sat down in bewilderment. He didn’t have an answer (to the question of what are they for?) other than display well-developed frame
APPLY: Over the past two weeks, we’ve addressing the question of the value of our Christianity. In other words: what are we good for?
The 1st sermon in the series was from Ephesians 2:10 where we noted: You’ve been created Christ to make difference.
In the 2nd sermon we found that God has given you the talents to make a difference.
Today’s sermon is asking: HOW do I make a difference? How do I use the muscles (read: talents) God has given me? THAT’S THE QUESTION Jesus addresses for His disciples. They wanted to be important, how to be valuable… but they misunderstood what that meant.
I. They felt that making a difference/ being valuable to Christ was all about WHO they were
If only they could be important.
If only they could have a position of power.
If only they could be specially talented… THEN THEY COULD BE USEFUL TO GOD
Jesus taught them: it isn’t who you are, or how powerful you are… it’s how open you are to servanthood. IN FACT, God deliberately doesn’t choose the powerful to do His will.
ILLUS: One person compiled an unflattering list of the people God used:
David’s armor didn’t fit.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Timothy had ulcers.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Jesus was too poor.
Naomi was a widow.
John Mark - rejected by Paul
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip & bigot
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
Martha was a worrywart.
Samson had long hair.
Noah got drunk.
And did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul… and, well, & lots of folks."
I Corinthians 1:27-29 tells us "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before him."
II. As far God is concerned, being His servant is more important than being superstar
And so, when Jesus chose His disciples - they were not pick of the litter, the cream of crop. They were simply men He knew could be used to establish His kingdom.
BUT THE PROBLEM FOR THEM was they didn’t think Jesus would want them as simple fishermen and laborers. They thought He would want men in positions of power and prominence.
III. What type of people does Jesus want?
People He can count on to “be there”
ILLUS: John Brodie, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and was being used by his football team to hold the ball for the kicker. A sports reporter asked him why a million-dollar player like him should have to hold the ball for field goals and extra points after the touchdown. "Well," said Brodie, "if I didn’t, it would fall over."
Brodie understood that his value to the team was BEING THERE for the team. It was in “holding the ball so it didn’t fall over.” It was in “doing what needed to be done, so team could succeed..” That’s the type of person Jesus is looking for.
IV. So, how do we “hold the ball” for Jesus
Mark 10:42-44 tells us it is by learning to become a servant for others. THAT’S THE IDEA BEHIND THE MINISTRY SHEET (review).
Best way to make ministries work for you is if you look at them as meaning something valuable to God’s Kingdom. For example:
1. Cleaning the building is a form of outreach. People who come through the door notice how well you take care of God’s things. It says your faith is dynamic enough that you care even for the simplest of issues.
2. Work in the Nursery - Changing diapers on new couple’s kids isn’t just about changing diapers. It’s potentially changing eternity for his entire family.