Summary: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” --John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address Washingt
SERMONIC / WORSHIP THEME
Opening Statement: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” --John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address Washington, D.C. January 20, 1961.
Introduction: Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day and throughout this nation those words will be echoed in the memory of United States veterans around the world. Wherever our nation’s flag flies, people will pause to remember the price that was paid and is being paid for the freedoms that we enjoy. Today, we pause to remember as well. We want to honor and esteem all veterans and especially those veterans who are with us in the worship service today. [Have them to stand and the congregation to applaud]
Illustration: We have a visual representation of the sacrifice that these and others like these have made on our behalf. These visual representations are on our platform every week when you come to worship. They have probably become so common to you that you hardly notice them. You see before you, this morning, are two flags. The American Flag and the Christian Flag. One represents our country and the other represents our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. These flags complement one another.
Explanation: Without the American Flag, we might not be able to wave the Christian Flag as freely as we do. Men and women have died in order that we might have the liberty to boldly wave the “Christian” Flag in our churches throughout America. No one stands in our way and we have our veterans to thank for this. On the other hand, without the Christian Flag, men and women who have laid their lives on the line for America could not have done so in confidence and hope without the realization that if they should perish, there is One who has faced death and overcome it and through faith in Him, life and liberty reigns eternal.
Notation: I want to go on record today to say, “I love America.” Even though there are individuals and groups of Americans who seem bent on severing any connection or responsibility to God, I love what we represent to the world. In addition to this and on a far greater level, “I love the Savior and His Kingdom and what that represents to the world.” I can’t imagine a world without churches or Bibles or seminaries and those who bring the Savior’s values and teachings into our communities and families. And when this country, as good and wonderful as it is, fails to meet your needs, there’s a Savior who has promised to supply every need.
Transition: To serve either of these flags and the kingdoms that they represent, one must become a servant. I want us to look at a true servant, a biblical veteran today. I’m going to expand the idea of a veteran to include more than just a military veteran. I have it on good authority to do so.
Definition: Webster’s Dictionary says that a veteran is: n. 1. a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like: (i.e., a veteran of the police force or fire department; veteran school teacher; a veteran NFL player; a veteran homemaker) 2. a person who has served in a military force. 3. one who is experienced through long service or practice… So, while we may be veterans in different areas, there’s one mark that characterizes all true veterans – faithful service. One final time, we will look at the life of Epaphroditus, a man who models service - Christianity in Action!
Title: Servanthood – The Mark of a True Veteran
Text: Philippians 2:25-30
Opening Statement: A few months ago, we began looking at something that I entitled Christianity in Action as it was embodied in a man by the name of Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus went to Rome to be Paul’s assistant (4:14-19). Unfortunately, Epaphroditus had become physically ill after arriving in Rome. Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter. To help ease this fear of embarrassment due to an early return and to help answer any second-guessing on the part of the church in even sending Epaphroditus in the first place, Paul wrote a very glowing testimony for him, commending him for such incredible service.
Transition: From this testimony, we know that the active Christian life can be described by four METAPHORS for ministry. Paul called Ep a brother, a fellow-worker, and a soldier. The final METAPHOR that we look at today is a servant. This entire passage breathes of servanthood and describes what servants must endure at times.
Recitation: Philippians 2:25 But for now I have considered it necessary to send Epaphroditus to you. For he is my brother, coworker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to me in my need. 2:26 Indeed, he greatly missed all of you and was distressed because you heard that he had been ill. 2:27 In fact he became so ill that he nearly died. But God showed mercy to him—and not to him only, but also to me—so that I would not have grief on top of grief. 2:28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you can rejoice and I can be free from anxiety. 2:29 So welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 2:30 since it was because of the work of Christ that he almost died. [Give him a heroes welcome. He did his job, even though he is returning home a little earlier than planned.] He risked his life so that he could make up for your inability to serve me.