Something to think about while we’re sitting at home 2.

Serve or Save

Colossians 3:23-24

2 Timothy 4:1-5

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (English Standard Version)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

So the last few weeks we’ve been discussing things to think about while we are sitting at home.  First we talked about overcoming hypocritical judgement by examining ourselves, exposing ourselves, and extricating others.  Then we discussed protecting the witness by our attitudes, actions, and affection.  And this week while we’re sitting at home I want us to think about the differences between serving and saving, and which you should focus on more.  Or better yet, how should you prioritize serving and saving?  Let’s go to work.

I think that many of you know that I am a huge superhero fan.  Someone asked me one day if I am a Marvel or DC superhero fan and I responded, I like all superheroes!  And in February of 2018 one of the greatest superhero movies ever was released.  The name of the movie was Black Panther, and if you have not seen it yet, you do not know what you are missing.  I’ve seen it too many times to count myself!  The movie has grossed billions of dollars world wide.  If you don’t know, Black Panther is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character, the Black Panther.  T’Challa who is the prince and soon to be king, returns home to claim the throne of Wakanda, which he does successfully, but he soon finds his crown challenged by a new adversary and unknown cousin, named Killmonger.  Killmonger defeats T’challa, taking the thrown and initiates his plan for world dominance.  Now as T’Challa’s loyal followers attempt to escape and devise a plan to get Killmonger off of the throne there is a great scene between Nakia, T’Challa’s love interest and Ayo, the general of the Wakandan army.  When Nakia tries to get Ayo to leave with her, Ayo refuses to go, and says “I am loyal to the throne, no matter who sits on it.  I must serve my country!”  Nakia responds, “you stay and serve your country.  I’ll go and save my country.”  And soon after the movie came out a friend of mine, Pastor Leon Harrison, posted on FB how we so often get so caught up in serving that we forget about saving.  And the more I thought about that, the reality of this statement sunk in.  Most people would rather serve the church than save the lost.  Now don’t get it twisted.  I am not saying that serving is not important or that we save anyone.  But we all have a part to play.  One plants, another waters, and God gives the increase.  But we can’t get so caught up in serving that we are not concerned about saving.  Look at you neighbor and say are you just serving or are you saving?  

Let’s look at the text….

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (English Standard Version)

Simply put, Paul is telling the church in Colosse to work for God and not for man.  

You see many of us don’t mind manning our post.  

Many of us don’t mind being in position.  

Many of us don’t mind going the extra mile.  

Many of us don’t mind doing what we’re told

Many of us don’t mind being on the job

Many of us don’t mind going to work, especially now…

But are you doing it for man or are you doing it for God.  

Do you want the approval of man or do you want the approval of God.  

Because when you do it for God there is a reward.  He does have an inheritance for you, and it is better than anything that man could possibly give you.  

Its better than fame.  

Its better than fortune.  

Its better than success.  

Its better than fancy cars.  

Its better than big houses.  

It’s better than cold hard cash

And as a matter of fact, my father is rich in houses and lands and he hold the power of the world in his hands.  The scripture says in my father’s house are many mansions.  I think you missed that.  In my fathers house are many mansions!  In his house there are mansions.  (Illustrate with dry erase board)

So what can man do for me, when my God has many mansions in his house.  

What can man do for me when the cattle on a thousand hills belong to my father.  

What can man do for me when the creator of heaven and earth is my father.  

When we work for the Lord, when we serve the Lord our reward is great.  And this type of service is wonderful.  

But when our service becomes more important than saving souls we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than showing the love of Jesus we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than reaching the lost we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than feeding the hungry we have a problem.  

When our service is more important than sharing Jesus we have a problem.  

When our service dims the light of Jesus we have a problem.  

This was the problem with the Levite and priest… you know the story of the Good Samaritan…  A man was on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem when he was robbed and beaten…  

I believe the Levite and the priest could not be bothered with the traveler who was robbed and beaten on the side of the road because they were on their way to the synagogue or the temple.  They were too busy with their service and were not willing to reach out and save, but God sent the Good Samaritan… who did not even associate with Jews, who decided to save rather than serve.  And I was just wondering, who in here wants to be like the Good Samaritan?

We want to serve the Lord, but we cannot let our service get in the way of our call to save.

That’s why Paul tells his son in the Ministry Timothy, I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (An evangelist is a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching)

Paul was telling Timothy to get ready for what God has called you to do.  

Get ready for the task that God has given you.  

Get ready for everything the Lord has in store for you.  

Get ready for everything God has planned for you.

Get ready get ready get ready 

Paul was not just telling Timothy to serve the world, he was telling Timothy to do his part to save the world.  Remember we all have a part to play, one plants, another waters and God provides the increase.  So how do we do our part in saving the world?  I am so glad that you asked…

The first thing that we must do is Preach the word.  It is right there in the text.  Paul tells Timothy to preach the word.  I know what your are thinking, so stop looking your screen in that tone of voice.  You may not have been called to preach, but we all have a little preacher in us.  What are you saying Pastor Brian?

I am saying that if you are saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost you should have a story to tell.  

If you’ve past the test you have a testimony.  

If your made it through a mess you have a message.  

If you’ve gone through a storm you have a weather report… the son is still shinning.  

If you’ve been healed you have a positive diagnosis, prognosis, and the cure… by his stripes we are healed.  

So don’t tell me your are not a preacher, and that you don’t have nothing to say because most of us talk about everything else under sun!  We talk about our children 

Our spouse

Our grandchildren 

Out family

Our neighbors 

Our jobs

Our hobbies

Our sports team

We have no problem talking so we should have no problem speaking about Jesus.

Because if you are save, you are a walking, living, breathing sermon!  

So share your story.  

Share your victory.  

Share your failures, because failure is the best teacher, the father of success.

Share your battle.  

Share your struggles.  

Share your set backs. 

Share your come backs.  

Share your wounds.  

Share your scars.  

Share your game winning strategies. 

We must preach the word… and we do so in three ways…

We must preach with authenticity 

We must preach with authority 

We must preach with the author in mind

We must preach the word!

Not only must we preach the word, we must be prepared.  You can not preach the word if you do not know the word.  And you guys know how I feel about reading the Bible and studying the word of God.  I shared with our deacon and ministers yesterday that effective ministers are good stewards of God’s word.  Me singing they study the word and share the word.  It has to be a part of who you are and a part of what you do on a continual and consistent basis.  When you get a new job you try, well at least you should try to learn everything you can about the job so that you can do it to the best of your ability.  You read the manuals, you go to on the job training.  You might even find a mentor to help you get better.  Why should it be any different in your preparation to share the word of God.  That is why Paul told Timothy to be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching.  

If you do not prepare you will not be ready in season and out of season.  

If you don’t prepare you will not be able to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching.  

How many times have you not been prepared to share a word with someone that really needed it. 

How many times have you not been prepared to rebuke that demon?  

How many times have you not been prepared to patiently teach with the love of God.  

Look at your neighbor and say, not on my watch!  If we are going to do our part in saving the world we must be prepared.  And we do so in three ways.

We prepare by paying attention, we pay attention to what’s going on around us and in us while we study the word.  But most importantly we pay attention to what God is telling us while we prepare.

We prepare by acknowledging the source, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

We prepare by anticipating the challenges, we anticipate and prepare for challenges along the way.  There will be challenges.  It will not always be smooth sailing. 

We must be prepare!

Not only must we preach the word, not only must we be prepared, we must press on.  We must understand that…

We are too blessed to be depressed.  

We are too blessed to be stressed.  

We are to blessed to be impressed.  

We are too blessed to deal with mess.  

We are to blessed not to press.  

Paul tells Timothy For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,(in other words, People don’t want a word that corrects them and builds their character, people want a word that makes them feel good so they can continue to do what they’ve always done!) and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  Paul was telling Timothy that you have to press on.

That is why we sing that song that we are on the battlefield for my Lord.  

Because the battlefield is deadly, but we must press on

The battlefield is dangerous, but we must press on

The battlefield is bloody, but we must press on

The battlefield is messy, but we must press on

The battlefield is scary, but we must press on

The battlefield is unknown territory, but we must press on

The battlefield is ugly, but we must press on

Why must we press on?  Because the state of the world is at stake and we must do our part to save a dying world.  

And there is victory on the other side of the battlefield

There is glory on the other side of the battlefield 

There is salvation on the other side of the battlefield 

There is hope on the other side of the battlefield 

There is peace on the other side of the battlefield 

There is a crown on the other side of the battlefield 

And we press on for three reasons…

We must press on because we’ve been assigned, your assignment is where you go.

We must press on because we’ve been appointed, your appointment is what you do when you get there.

We must press on because we’ve been anointed, the anointing gives you the power to do what you’re assigned and appointed to do.

And it is the anointing…    

And its the anointing that will give you the power to press on!

I started this sermon talking about a movie, so I will end this sermon talking about a movie…

The Titanic’s Last Hero by Elesha Coffman

The most famous ship of all time is possibly the Titanic, the supposedly unsinkable ship that went down on its maiden voyage. Many movies have been made and many books written about the fateful journey. Few will include the story of Scottish evangelist John Harper. Harper was a passenger on the Titanic.

In 1912 Harper was traveling to Chicago to take up his appointment as Pastor of Moody Church. He had his daughter Nana on board with him. His wife had died a few years earlier. When the Titanic struck the iceberg and began to sink he put Nana into a lifeboat and then ran throughout the ship yelling “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!” When the ship finally went down he had already given his lifejacket to another passenger. Survivors report that to the very end Harper was witnessing to anyone who would listen. One survivor recalls clinging to one of the ships spars when Harper floated near him.

“Man, are you saved?” cried Harper.

“No I’m not” replied the man.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” pleaded Harper.

The waves carried Harper away and brought him back a little later. “Are you saved now?” asks Harper.

“No, I cannot honestly say that I am” says the man.

Again Harper pleads with him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”.

Shortly afterward Harper went down. The man who survived was one of only six people rescued, but in a public meeting four years later, recounting this episode he said “There, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper’s last convert.”

So my final question to you today church is are you willing to preach, prepare, and press on until your dying breath to do your part in saving the world, because that is exactly what Jesus did for us, and that is what he is calling us to do today.  Or are you so caught up in serving the church that you don’t have time for the lost.  Are you so heavenly bound that you are no earthly good.  Are you so satisfied with your own personal salvation.  Your get out of hell free pass.  That you are not willing to share what you have with someone else.  I hope that is not the case. Because God did not save you just for you.  He saved you so that you could help somebody else get saved.

David went from serving as a shepherd to saving as king

Ruth went from serving as daughter-in-law to saving as Boaz’s wife

Ester went from serving as her uncles niece to saving her people as Queen Hadassah

Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew went from serving as fishermen to saving as fishers of men

James and John went from serving in the family business to saving with Jesus

Levi went from serving Rome as a tax collector to saving as Matthew a follower of Christ

The woman at the well went from serving men to saving men by telling her story

Saul went from serving as a Pharisee to saving as Paul

Jesus went from serving as a man to saving as the son of God 

I just want to know is there anybody out there that is willing to save rather than just serve.  If so, get up on your feet and give God praise… open up your mouth and put your ten stringed instruments together!

It is good to serve, but we must be willing to do our part to save!

We must be willing to preach

We must be willing to prepare

We must be willing to press on!


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