6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Adapted from a message by Pastor Jerry Shirley.

Will you be missed when you are gone? I’m not talking about missing a Sunday or two. If you left here today and never came back would anyone notice? World EBC notice?

The Apostle Paul spent 3 years with the believers’ in Ephesus, and he and the members there grew very close. Paul’s leaving was a sad time for the church of Ephesus. Paul sensed in his spirit that this would be the last time he’d see these Christians here on earth.

I remember the last day in Kenya and how we shared the joy of Christian brotherhood yet the pain of knowing we’d never see each other again, this side of heaven. Several ladies were speaking to me in Swahili and Gerioma, their tribal language. As they were speaking and pointing up there was a plane going overhead. I thought they were asking if I would be flying home on one of those. My interpreter told me they were saying; “We will see our brother again in heaven.” Oh how I miss those people, the bond we had and the true love of Christ we shared.

Paul invested three years of his life discipling these new Christians so, they probably talked about all the exciting times they had together, how God had blessed them. They spoke of the victories they had won, the souls saved, and the all night prayer meetings. They talked about the skirmishes they had with Satan and his forces of evil. Yes Paul would be deeply missed.

Think about something for a moment. If you were no longer here would it affect EBC? Would your absence have much of an impact on the offering, a Sunday School class, a ministry?

The Ephesian’s are at that kind of crossroad and they know even though their pastor was leaving the work of God must continue. Now the burden rest on their shoulders to carry on where Paul left off.

Sometimes a member will say, preacher, I missed several weeks and no one called but you. The truth is that’s not always about the church being unloving or uncaring as it is about the person and I would hate to know that my presence and my service has not made enough of a difference for me to be missed, when I’m gone!

The truth is some people simply don’t leave any holes to fill. But Paul left a big hole in the hearts of these dear friends, and he would be missed.

How big a hole would you leave? Would you be missed if you’re gone? One day you will be leaving us…and when you do, what difference will it make? Will it make any difference at all or will it just be another empty seat to fill?

I’m going to ask you a very sharp question. Are you serving God or simply occupying a spot? If you left us today would we be scrambling to fill your place of service or just invite someone to sit where you sit?

I’m amazed at what some people will do to try to feel important.

Just check out the Guinness Book of World Records and you will read about people eating metal, glass, entire bicycles, shopping carts, chandeliers, etc.

Can you imagine standing before the throne and hearing God say, “what did you accomplish, son?” “Well Lord, I ate an entire junkyard!”

Does any of that really matter? Are you doing anything that really matters? Are you making a Kingdom difference and will you be missed?

I want to show you 4 reasons Paul was missed…

1. Paul was missed because of how he lived his life. Look at verses 17-19

Paul was a servant who was faithful, humble, and compassionate. If you are a servant with these qualities you will certainly be missed.

BUT if all you do at church is sit, soak, sour and complain, without serving, you won’t be missed!

Show me a person who sympathizes, empathizes and cares for others, instead of themselves & what they want and I’ll show you a person who will be greatly missed when they are gone, because there’s something attractive about an unselfish and caring person.

2. Paul was missed because of the message of his life.

Whether we’re missed or not, we’ll all be remembered for something. You will be remembered for the things you did or the things you said.

According to verses 20-21, Paul was known for telling people the truth, even if it stung and for proclaiming the gospel.

At the funeral of Dr. Adrian Rogers, one of my favorite preachers, the preacher asked the congregation what Dr. Rogers was famous for saying, and in unity they all said, “Come to Jesus”! See that is what matters most.

Look at verses 22-24. It all hinges on his convictions…his core belief.

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