Summary: How to make ourselves useful to the Master. 1- We must be cleansed from sin 2- We must pursue righteousness 3- We must avoid stupidity

INTRO.- ILL.- A director was screen testing Sylvestor Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger for a new film about classic composers. Not having figured out who to give which part to, he asked Sly who he would like to be. Stallone said, "I like Mozart. I want to be Mozart"

So the Director said, "Very well, you can be Mozart." Then he turned to Arnie and said, "Arnie, who would you like to play ?" And Arnie said, "Ah’ll be Bach!" (I know it’s pretty lame!)

We all would like to make our mark in life and Arnold has certainly done that! And in some ways, you do have to admire Arnold Schwarzenegger for how far he’s come in life.

ILL.- Arnold Schwarzenegger was born July 30, 1947, and is an Austrian American bodybuilder, actor, model, businessman, and politician, who is currently serving as the 38th Governor of California. BUT HE DIDN’T START OUT THAT WAY!

Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria, a small village bordering the Styrian capital Graz, and was christened Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger. His parents were the local police chief Gustav Schwarzenegger, and his wife, Aurelia Jadrny. His father served in World War II with the German Army and was discharged in 1943 after contracting malaria.

According to Schwarzenegger, both of his parents were very strict: "Back then in Austria it was a very different world, if we did something bad or we disobeyed our parents, the rod was not spared." He grew up in a Roman Catholic family who attended church service every Sunday.

As a boy, Schwarzenegger played many sports—heavily influenced by his father. He picked up his first barbell in 1960, when his football coach took his team to a local gym. At the age of fourteen, Arnold chose bodybuilding over football (soccer) as a career.

He said, "I actually started weight training when I was fifteen, but I’d been participating in sports, like soccer, for years, so I felt that although I was slim, I was well-developed, at least enough so that I could start going to the gym and start Olympic lifting."

However, his official website biography claims: "At 14, he started an intensive training program with Dan Farmer, studied psychology at 15 (to learn more about the power of mind over body) and at 17, officially started his competitive career."

And, as we know, Arnold has as they say, “Come a long way” and is very wealthy to boot. His personal wealth is listed as somewhere around $800 million. That’s a nice round figure, wouldn’t you say?

While we all would like to do something significant in life or perhaps contribute to the betterment of the society, few of us will be as popular and as wealthy as Arnold is. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t contribute in a meaningful way to life and to people!

21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Becoming useful to the Masterful, to the Lord is the best way and the most important way to contribute to society. I’m convinced that the Christian does the most good in this world! How can we be used by God to do even more?

PROP.- How to make ourselves useful to the Master.

1- We must be cleansed from sin

2- We must pursue righteousness

3- We must avoid stupidity


20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

ILL.- Isabella of Spain bragged that she had had only two baths in her life--one when she was born, and the other when she married Ferdinand. They gave her a third when she died.

Mercy me. If this is true, a person wouldn’t have wanted to be around her! I’ve been around a few people in my time that didn’t bathe or bathe very often and you sure didn’t want to stay around them very long!

Most people don’t want to be around someone who stinks to high heaven! But there is a worse kind of stink than body odor. It’s the stink of sin! And it can get pretty smelly! Of course, it may be that only God can see it and smell it. And it’s apparently, very offensive to Him! So offensive, in fact, that He won’t trust that person with His wealth, His treasures, and His work!

ILL.- Ted Haggard to start new church in COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard said that he will launch a new church from his Colorado Springs home, 3 1/2 years after he resigned from his ministry amid an embarrassing and devastating sex scandal.

"This is my resurrection day," he declared. Haggard said his new venture would not be a megachurch like New Life Church, the congregation he founded in 1985 and then left in 2006 after a male prostitute said Haggard paid him for sex.

Haggard said he doesn’t know how many people will attend his new church, but he said the ordeal he and his wife, Gayle, went through has prepared them to help others.

"I have an incredible heart for broken people," he said. "I think we’re qualified to hold people’s hands" in times of trouble.

Haggard made his announcement outside his home, a two-story, brick-fronted structure with a large barn, a swimming pool and white-fenced corrals on Colorado Springs’ north side, not far from New Life Church. Wearing an open-neck shirt and jeans, Haggard sounded both optimistic and chastened, calling himself a repentant sinner and a broken man who believes he can still help others.

Whether Ted Haggard comes back in full swing remains to be seen. And whether he is effective or not depends on God!

Can God still use Ted Haggard to preach His gospel and His Word? That’s up to God and it’s also dependent on whether Ted Haggard is truly clean or not.

ILL.- I remember many years ago (nearly 40) that we had a revival in the church where I was serving. I remember that the preacher prayed, “Lord, cleanse me from all my sin so you can use me.” That thought and prayer made a good impression on me and I, too, have prayed that prayer many times.

21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Apparently we are only useful to the Master if we are truly clean. How do we get there? We do what God says to get clean. We confess our sinfulness and ask for cleansing. We repent. We turn from sin. We continue to walk with Him as best we can. We stay in His presence as much as possible in order to stay clean and used by Him. And this goes for thee as well as me!


22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Flee, run as fast as you can. What’s the fastest you’ve ever run? What a question? I know, because many have never run in their life. Whether you have run or not, you do run. You run from evil, have you not? Have you been in a bar lately? I seriously doubt it and it may be that you never wasted your time entering one. You didn’t even have to run. You just walked by, drove by.

Now if you had a past history of drinking but you made a complete turn-around in life it might be that you would have to run from bars or never drive by them in order to avoid falling into that trap again.

ILL.- I know of two young single mothers who went to jail and then to rehab for using Meth. It looked as though they were heading in the right direction. But recently, the father and step-father of the other mother said they were both back in jail. WHAT HAPPENED? More than likely they did not flee when the temptation came their way once again. And it may be that instead of fleeing temptation they may have run right to it!

ILL.- A little boy came running into the house after playing outside. His mother stopped him and asked what was on his right hand. He replied, “Oh, just a little mud.” His mother then asked if he was planning on getting it off his hand. He thought for a moment and said, “Sure, Mom. I’ll just wipe it off with my other hand.” There was only one problem with the plan, one dirty hand plus one clean hand equals two dirty hands. That little boy needed to run from mud holes.

ILL.- Billy Sunday, the baseball evangelist and reformer, said, “I’m against sin,” he said. “I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. When I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition.”

What he did is what we must do. Run from sin. Flee it. Fight it.

We must flee sin but at the same we must run toward righteousness. We must pursue it at all cost. We must run from the bad stuff in life and run to the good stuff, especially, the Lord and the righteousness that can only be found in Him.

We must pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. These come from the Lord alone. And how do we do this? We know. We pursue them by pursuing Him who produces these in us.

We study His Word. We think about it. We absorb it, memorize it, and live by it as best we can. We spend much time in prayer, talking to the Lord. We serve as He served. We live in God’s presence more than ever. That’s the path to right living and being used by God.


23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

I don’t like foolish and stupid arguments.

ILL.- A man was driving down a local street one day and approached a stop sign. He barely slowed down and ran right through the stop sign after glancing for traffic. What the driver didn’t know was that a policeman was watching the intersection. The policeman pulled out after him and stopped the car two blocks away.

Policeman: "License, registration and proof of insurance please."

Driver: "Before I give it to you, tell me what the heck you stopped me for, man."

Policeman: "Watch your tone sir; you ran the stop sign back there!!"

Driver: "Man, I slowed down, what the heck is the difference!?!"

The police officer pulled out his night stick and began smashing it over the man’s head and shoulders. Policeman: "Now, do you want me to just slow down or stop!!!?”

One thing is sure, you don’t want to argue with a police officer. Generally, that just makes the situation worse instead of better.

But isn’t this true for most arguments? No one ever really wins in an argument and especially, when it comes to stupid arguments. They only make things worse for both parties.

ILL.- When I worked for Safeway stores many years ago I tried to witness for Christ to everyone who worked in that store. One young stock clerk was a Mormon and we often talked about doctrinal differences and the Bible. One day our discussion turned into a heated argument. I was angry and he was angry.

Some time later he came up behind me while I was working in the stock room and dumped a bucket of water over my head.

ILL.- Maxwell Perkins, the famous book editor, once wrote, "One of my deepest convictions is that the terrible harms that are done in this world are not done by deliberately evil people, who are not numerous and are soon found out. They are done by the good--by those who are so sure that God is with them. Nothing can stop them, for they are certain that they are right.”

God’s people need to avoid arguing if at all possible. It does little good in this world and God can’t use us if we’re continually argumentative.

A horse can’t pull while kicking.

This fact we merely mention.

And he can’t kick while pulling,

Which is our chief contention.

Let’s imitate the good old horse

And lead a life that’s fitting;

Just pull an honest load, and then

There’ll be no time for kicking.

24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

It should be obvious that quarreling or arguing will do no good. It won’t help us personally or the cause of Christ. In fact, it may only drive people away from Christ and the church.

If we want to convert someone to Christ we must be thoughtful, courteous, gentle, kind, etc. Being obnoxious, prideful, and argumentative will do no good.

James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

I Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

If we want to be used by God we must be filled with God’s Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, etc. Rather than being filled with anger and hostility.


I want to be used by God. What about you? I want to be the tool in His hand to lead people to Christ and bless those in Christ. Life is short. Let’s use it for the Lord. Let’s let Him use us!

Steve Shepherd, Jonesboro Christian Church, AR