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5-8-22 “Servants of God”

“Servants of God” Acts 20:17-35

David Peterson / General

Acts 20:17–35

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: As believers we come to understand the true blessing of fulfilling our calling, whether as a mother, a child, a worker, or a pastor. The blessing comes in participating in the reality that is love-itself, God.

Introduction

1. The gift of a call, the Christian leaders called likened to Ezekiel

2. Calling is a Christian conviction, the belief in vocation

a. Luther

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vocation)

Luther perceived the need to end this distinction, and thus he introduced his magnificent emphasis that all useful spheres of activity, not just the ordained ministry and the monastic life, are a vocation for the Christian. The teacher has a vocation, the physician, the plumber, the farmer, the housewife, the maid who sweeps the rooms or washes the dishes. With this insight Luther severed the root of sacerdotal and monastic separation. He replaced it by the genuinely biblical doctrine that all things are to be done in the name of, for the sake of, and to the glory of Christ, and the true witness is borne by work well done as well as by words of testimony or acts of love and mercy. This idea has the further advantage of giving a new dignity and meaning to work, of putting it in a new dimension and under new criteria, so that even those in the lowliest positions in the Church or the world can have a true sense of calling and worth.

b. Calvin

Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith Vocation

“we know that men were created for the express purpose of being employed in labor of various kinds, and that no sacrifice is more pleasing to God than when every man applies diligently to his own calling, and endeavors to live in such a manner as to contribute to the general advantage” (Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists 2: 143).

I. Appointed for a Purpose (Acts 20:28)

1. Appointed from God

2. Appointed to Watch Over (Influence)

One of Mr Holland’s former students delivers a speech:

“Mr Holland had a profound influence in my own life, yet I get the feeling that he considers the greater part of his own life misspent. Rumour had it that he was always working on that symphony of his, and this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr Holland isn’t rich, and he isn’t famous, at least not outside of our own little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. And he would be wrong. Because I think he has achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched. And each one of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. And we are the music of your life.” (https://storiesforpreaching.com.au/sermonillustrations/influence/mr-hollands-opus/)

3. 1 Cor. 7:20: Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. (NIV)

II. Our Purpose is Proclamation (Acts 20:27)

1. We are to Proclaim, bear witness to God’s will

a. Humans creatures of the word, idea, concept

b. The gift we give to the other person is the truth, which is love.

1000 Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching A Loving Mother

A Loving Mother

Charles W. Eliot, Harvard’s esteemed president of yesteryear, was born with a disfiguring birthmark. At first it was most difficult for his mother to accept. All the while, however, she was schooling herself in the art of loving her unattractive child, saying as she met his needs, “He is my son, he is my son.”

With the passing years, Mrs. Eliot had every right to say, and with pride, “He is my son.” One honor after another marked Eliot’s achievements until at last, in 1869, the son of Boston’s mayor was elected president of Harvard University.

What if he had not been loved in his home?

2. We Can’t Control the Results, but commit to God and to word of his grace (Acts 20:32)—ours is to make an impact.

Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 3616 Mother as Greatest Preacher

Mother As Greatest Preacher

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had four sons. They all became ministers. At a family reunion, a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” While the son looked at the father, he replied, “Mother!”

III. Fulfilling our Purpose is our Payment (Acts 20:35b)

1. The true blessing is being able to give, being in the position to Give.

Dave Ramsey on money. Same applies to love.

2. Giving means being used by God and growing in being grasped by him

Conclusion

To Mother

You painted no Madonnas

On chapel walls in Rome,

But with a touch diviner

You lived one in your home.

You wrote no lofty poems

That critics counted art,

But with a nobler vision

You lived them in your heart.

You carved no shapeless marble

To some high-souled design,

But with a finer sculpture

You shaped this soul of mine.

You built no great cathedrals

That centuries applaud,

But with a grace exquisite

Your life cathedraled God.

Had I the gift of Raphael,

Or Michelangelo,

Oh, what a rare Madonna

My mother’s life would show!

—Thomas W. Fessenden

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