Summary: God wants you to understand and believe that being a servant of the gospel is his gift to you. He invites you to receive that gift as a part of his life-changing grace.
Receive Grace: To Proclaim Christ
Ephesians 3:1-13 Pastor Jim Luthy
Paul said he became a servant of "this gospel." "This gospel," according to Ephesians 1-2, is the good news that we are blessed in the heavenly realms. It is finished. The papers have been signed the authorities have been notified. We will be adopted as sons of the Father through Jesus Christ. "This gospel" is the good news that we can know Jesus better through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and that as we get to know him he will become for us the only prize. "This gospel" is the good news that we are God’s workmanship, the finished product of regeneration, already created in Christ Jesus to do the good works he prepared in advance for us to do. "This gospel" is the good news that we all count—we all belong and have a significant part in what God is building. It doesn’t matter if you are a second-class believer without all the credentials and all the history, like the Gentiles, the mystery is that you belong. This is such good news, this gospel, that Paul became its servant. So I want to ask you, would you consider yourself a servant of the gospel? Let me help you answer the question…
You turn on the TV set to see a large family sitting at a long dining room table. A man and a woman sit at opposite ends of the table, with three boys on one side and three girls on the other. Then another woman appears from the kitchen wearing a blue blouse and a white apron. She’s also wearing a huge smile and carrying a large casserole dish. Who’s the servant? It’s Alice from The Brady Bunch.
You switch channels and see a family in the living room of their Bel Air mansion. A teenage girl has just brought in the haul from her shopping day at the Beverly Hills boutiques. A younger sister clamors to see what she bought. A large middle-aged man seems to be rebuking a tall, slender, younger man, while a woman stands behind nodding her approval. In walks a short man with a black tuxedo with tails, a white shirt with a black bow tie and white gloves. He makes a smart remark before being sent to another room by the increasingly grousy middle-aged man. Who’s the servant? It’s Jeffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
A few more channels away you see a creepy lot of characters. The living area has the finest antique furniture but is strewn with cobwebs. Candles flicker throughout the room. A hyperactive black-haired man kisses up and down his rather gothic looking wife’s arm on the sofa while the kids play with a tarantula on the floor by the fireplace. Even stranger sights are yet to appear. In comes a bald man so pale he looks almost blue. He’s dressed like a monk and has a light bulb in his mouth. Next in comes a 4 foot ball of hair on legs waving its arms and wearing a hat and glasses, followed by a single hand scurrying across the floor. Then the amorous man takes a break from the arm of his wife long enough to pull a large rope dangling from space and in walks a monstrous living corpse of a man, who bellows in a deep monotone, "You rang?" Who’s the servant? It’s Lurch from the Addams Family.
TV has had its share of servants. Alice, Jeffrey, and Lurch are distinguishable from the families they serve because they are always serving. You might recall, even the occasional glimpses into Alice’s love life were centered around her dutiful runs to the meat market, where she was wooed by Sam the Butcher. You see, a servant is always identified by their activity.
Change the channel. Now you see a 1st century Roman apartment, like something you would see on Ben Hur. An aging man in the apartment wears light chains and is constantly accompanied by a Roman guard. The chains seem as though they were meant to serve more as a reminder than a restraint. The old man has occasional visitors, but you get the impression that there aren’t as many as there once were. The visitors bring news of churches in far off places, and sit with the old man to hear him teach. He often sends them away with a letter or two to be delivered to some people he once knew. When the visitors aren’t there, the old man often preaches to the guard on duty, and each of them have come to believe. Who’s the servant? It’s Paul, the author of Ephesians and the first Christian missionary.
If you claimed to be a servant of the gospel like Paul, then I could tune into the channel that airs your life story at any time and see activity that reflects your claim. A servant of the gospel has a missionary mindset. He or she is intentionally building relationships with unchurched and underchurched people. A servant of the gospel is unashamed of the gospel, injecting Christ into those relationships at every open door. A servant of the gospel is eager to reap what he sows, harvesting souls that embrace the message of his or her life. If your life were like The Truman Show and I could tune in any time, would I tune in to find you in the activity that identifies you as a servant of the gospel?