Ephesians 2_ 8-10      Shaped For Serving

Rev. David Holwick   E                               Purpose-Driven Life #5

First Baptist Church                    

Ledgewood, New Jersey                              

February 1, 2004

Ephesians 2:8-10


SHAPED FOR SERVING



  I. You are here for a reason.


      A. Not everyone discovers this.


         Elvis Presley sells more records 25 years after his death than

            most artists sell when they are alive.

         Yet in spite of enormous success, Elvis was, according to

            friends, an unfulfilled and unhappy man.

         He died of obesity and drug dependency at age 42.


         In an interview his wife, Priscilla, said this about her

            husband:

         "Elvis never came to terms with who he was meant to be or what

            his purpose in life was.

         He thought he was here for a reason, maybe to preach, maybe to

            serve, maybe to save, maybe to care for people.

         That agonizing desire was always with him and he knew he wasn't

            fulfilling it.

         So he'd go on stage and he wouldn't have to think about it."


         Elvis didn't have a clue where to begin to look.

            In a sense, he was lost.


         And today we're continuing our series on the Purpose-Driven

             Live.

         God's fourth purpose for your life, is that he shaped you to

            serve God.


         Elvis felt like he was here to do something, to serve,

            to preach, to save - to do something with his life.

         But he just couldn't quite figure it out, said his wife.

            I don't want you to make that mistake.


      B. We are meant to make a contribution.

          1) Serve God by serving others.

          2) Every Christian is called to ministry.

              a) Not THE ministry - you don't have to be a preacher.

              b) But every Christian is a minister.

                  1> Principle of "priesthood of all believers."

                  2> Direct access up, and direct conduit down.

                  3> We are "saved" to "serve."          Ephesians 2:8-10



II. Your SHAPE is important.


      A. SHAPE is your personal attributes and attitude.

          1) Spiritual Gifts - abilities God gives you.

          2) Heart - your attitude and drive.

          3) Abilities - natural abilities you are born with.

          4) Personality - everyone is a little different.

          5) Experiences - these mold us as much as our genes.


      B. Everyone is different, and everyone has a contribution to make.

          1) Don't compare yourself with others.

          2) God judges what you do with what you have.

          3) Those who do small things can matter just as much as those

                who do big things.


      Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter

         pilot in the Vietnam War.

      After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a

         surface-to-air missile.

      Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy territory.

        He was captured and spent six years in a Communist prison.

      He survived that ordeal and now lectures about lessons learned

         from that experience.


      One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a

         man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb!

      You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty

         Hawk.

      You were shot down!"


      "How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

         "I packed your parachute," the man replied.


      Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

         The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"


      Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man.

      He wondered how many times he might have passed him on the Kitty

         Hawk.

      He wondered how many times he might have seen him and not even

         said 'Good morning, how are you,' because Plumb was a fighter

            pilot and the parachute-packer was just a sailor.


      Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long

         wooden table in the depths of the ship carefully weaving the

            shrouds and folding the silks of each chute.

      He held in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.


      Now, whenever he speaks, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing

         your parachute?

      Everyone has someone, and many times more than one, who provides

         what they need to make it through the day.

      Recognize and be gracious to people who pack your parachute!"

                                                                    #5981


      C. Self-esteem comes from service.

          1) Not from status (fighter pilot) or money or success.

          2) The greatest thrill is being used by God.



III. Our model is Jesus.                                    Mark 10:42-45


      A. This is how you do it.

          1) Jesus was always doing things for others.

          2) Dramatic image - dressing as a slave and washing their feet.


      B. Following Jesus' example is not easy.


           A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office.

           After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his

              office alone.

           He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe

              disease, combined with some horrible stress.

           If you don't do the following, your husband will surely

              die."


           "Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast.

              Be pleasant, and make sure he is in a good mood.

           For lunch, make him a nutritious meal.

              For dinner, prepare an especially nice meal for him.


           DON'T burden him with chores, as he probably had a hard day.

              DON'T discuss your problems with him.

           It will only make his stress worse.

           And MOST importantly, be romantic and satisfy HIS every

              whim.

           If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year,

              I think your husband will regain his health completely."


           On the way home, the husband asked his wife: "What did the

              doctor say?"

           She responded, "He said you're going to die."


           It's not easy learning to serve others.

                                                                   #26140


IV. Serving like Jesus means being available.


      A. He was willing to be interrupted.

          1) Jesus did most of his miracles while being interrupted.

          2) Old Testament principle:

               "Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later; I'll

                  give it tomorrow' -- when you now have it with you."

                Proverbs 3:28


      B. Barriers to availability.


          1) Self-centeredness.


               "Each of you should look not only to your own interests,

                  but also to the interests of others.

               Philippians 2:4


          2) Perfectionism.


               "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks

                   at the clouds will not reap."  Ecclesiastes 11:4


               Or as the New Living Translation puts it -

               "If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get

                   anything done."


              a) Saddleback's "Good Enough Principle."

                  1> Ministry is not done by perfect people - they don't

                        exist.

                  2> No program is perfect, either.

                  3> But do what you can do and it will pan out.

              b) It doesn't have to be perfect for God to bless it.


          3) Materialism.


              "No servant can serve two masters... You cannot serve

                  both God and money."         Luke 16:13 (NIV)



  V. Serving like Jesus means being grateful.


      A. Attitude matters.

          1) Don't be a martyr about it.

          2) You are doing it for God's glory, not your own.

             "[God] who has saved us and called us to a holy life --

               not because of anything we have done but because of his

                  own purpose and grace."  2 Timothy 1:9


      B. Barriers to gratitude:

          1) Comparing and criticizing.

               "Who are you to criticize someone else's servant?

                The Lord will determine whether His servant has been

                   successful."    Rom. 14:4 (GW)

          2) Wrong motivations.

               "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before

                   men, to be seen by them.

               If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in

                   heaven."        Matthew 6:1



VI. Serving like Jesus means being faithful.


      A. A curious fact about Elvis.


         The only Grammy award he won for an album, out of 250 million

            albums sold, was for a religious album that he recorded

               called "He Touched Me."

         A song on that album expresses today's theme.

            It says:


            After the lightning and thunder,

            After the last bell has rung,

            I want to bow down before Jesus

            And hear Him say, "Well done, my son."


            He is my reason for living,

            He is my King of Kings.

            I long to be in His possession.

            He is my everything.


      B. What will God say to you?



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SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS SERMON:


This sermon closely follows one by Rev. Rick Warren titled "Shaped For

Serving God."  Illustrations without a number are from his sermon.


# 5981  "Who Packed Your Parachute?" by Charles Plumb.  Roddy Chestnut

           Collection.


#26140  "Your Husband Is Going To Die Unless. . ." from Rev. Brett Blair's

           Illustrations by Email, www.sermonillustrations.com,

           October 14, 2003.


These and 25,000 others are part of a database that can be downloaded,

absolutely free, at http://www.holwick.com/database.html.html

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Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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