A Servant’s Place

How Does a Christian Find a Place of Service?

1 Corinthians 9:19-27
Audio mp3

Pastor Craig Ledbetter                                           

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

22 Feb, 2009  AM



I.        Introduction (1Timothy 1:12)


A.      This month has been set aside to get every believer in our church, busy, serving the Lord in some way, some ministry!

B.      Most of us are busy. Life has a way of keeping us occupied. You actually have to work very hard to be lazy. There’s normal job work, and house work and school work, and homework and …

C.      A Christian’s life is the life of a servant.

D.      The servant life is not one of a SLAVE, or a robot, but of a willing SERVANT who does things for others as a MINSTRY, not as a punishment!

E.       The Apostle Paul, when he looked back at his life, thanked God that not only had He saved him from a devil’s hell, but the He put him into a ministry! God gave him something of value to do. More than just paying bills, and working for a boss, and driving a car, and washing dishes. Paul had a ministry!

F.       So, How does a Christian find a place of Ministry? A place of Service?

G.      We have learned that the Christian is not really doing things just for people, but serving their Lord by serving those around them.

H.      Jesus said, when you do kind things to the least, you have done it unto Him!

I.        Let’s see if we can find some guidance this morning on how to find a place to serve our Lord.


II.      Message


A.      Summary of the Christian’s Life (1Cor 9:19,22)


1.       Free

2.       Flexible

3.       Focused

4.       Faithful


B.      To Find a Place of Service Begins with Being Free from All Men (1Cor 9:19)


1.       Paul was a Free Man


a.       The apostle Paul was a natural born citizen of Rome. He had a coveted freedom that meant that he had to be treated with respect, and value by everyone, even by Emperor Nero. He had rights, and guaranteed protections, and was free to move around anywhere in the Roman Empire.

b.       But that freedom was not the best kind of freedom. It wasn’t worth boasting about at all.

c.        Paul had been made free from all men, and from all sins, and from all powers but ONE on that wonderful day when he humbled himself and turned to trust Jesus Christ as His Lord and Saviour in Acts 9!!!

d.       To be free from all men would be the desire of everyone on this planet

e.        How priceless is this freedom!


2.       If you are saved this morning, if you are born again, then (according to 1Cor 6:9-11) you USED to be …


a.       A Slave to your sins

b.       A Slave to this world

c.        A Slave to the devil

d.       A Slave to debt, to self-image, to fears, to bad habits

e.        SLAVE is the right word – could not stop, of control it, or find any freedom from the consequences


f.        It is easy to act like no one owns you, when in reality, the bank owns you, and your wife owns you, and your children own you, and your boss owns you, and your friends own you, and your fears own you, and your bad habits own you (smoking is a slave driver, drinking is a cruel master, fear is a tormentor)

3.       But, if you ARE a born again Christian, you are not just free from those things, but according to Jesus Christ, you more than free (John 8:32-36)

4.       No man owns a Christian now (Rom 6:6, “that henceforth we should not be slaves to sin”) – only God owns you now!

5.       So, there is a freedom that Jesus Christ offers – real freedom!


a.       Not a religion; not a list of do’s and don’ts; not a bunch of ceremonies and rituals that are all external

b.       But a relationship that is liberating – that frees you to serve only God


1)       Like a marriage – like it should be – not bondage, but awesome freedom to love and be loved with no bondage

2)       Like a best-friend relationship – you WANT to hang around them


6.       Most people have lived all their life as “slaves” and they don’t think there is any other kind of life than to live addicted to sins, and in bondage to fears, and under the control of friends, and in trouble with the Garda

7.       God is not going to show you a place to serve unless you are a free man, or free woman, or free teenager!


C.      To Find a Place of Service Requires Me to Be Flexible as a Servant, Not Boss (1Cor 9:19-22)


1.       This is powerful! Paul says, “I made myself servant unto all”


a.       No one came along and put chains around my neck and ankles

b.       No one came along and whipped me into obedience

c.        No one bound my hands and forced me to work as a SLAVE

d.       “I” made myself a servant

e.        “I” chose to serve, and not just serve people who where easy to please, but just like my Master, I chose to serve everyone!


2.       The list of “adaptations” that he made in his life is endless


a.       To the Jew I became a good Jew (Rom 11:14)

b.       To the Pharisee, I kept the law

c.        To a Gentile, who is ignorant of God’s laws, I became an equal – a sinner, not perfect, not showing off!

d.       To the weak, I became weak


1)       I wept with them that wept

2)       To those who feared eating meats, I ate only salad

3)       To those who were discouraged, I was gentle and kind


e.        Paul says here that he met people where they were at


3.       Basically, Paul explains in these verses that he allowed God to mould him into any thing, so that he could do anything, to win anyone!

4.       Paul, at the moment of his salvation already was a brilliant linguist (spoke maybe 7 languages fluently), an able speaker, a powerful motivator, a precise theologian – but that was not what God needed him to be to win the world!


a.       So, God moulded him into a fearful speaker (1Cor 2:1-5)

b.       God fashioned him into a powerful prayer warrior – motivating people by prayer

c.        God completely retrained his theology on the backside of the Arabian desert. Had to start all over!

d.       God remoulded Paul, and taught him how to bend – to be flexible with the people he was around


1)       When he was around Jews, he went head to head with them, and reasoned with them, and debated with them

2)       When he was around barbarians, he spake at their level, and loved them, and served them as if HE was one of them

3)       When he was around wise people, he confounded their own wisdom and introduced them to the awesome wisdom of God

4)       And, when he was around unwise people, he was careful to not show off, and humiliate them for being “stupid”


5.       Paul’s life was now, a life of compassion (Jude 1:22,23), meeting people’s needs, instead of showing off!

6.       But it was never a life of compromise (2Cor 4:1,2). Not talking about:


a.       Talking like a DJ, or a Rapper to win a rapper

b.       Dressing like a whore to win a whore

c.        Acting like a homosexual to win a homosexual

d.       Flirting like an adulterer to win an adulterer

e.        Stealing along side a thief to win a thief

f.        Jesus ate with sinners, and sat with sinners, and talked with harlots, but He never was one of them (Mark 2:15,16)


7.       God is not going to show you a place to serve unless you are willing to do whatever God asks you to do


a.       Like Jonah

b.       Like Elijah when he was told to go live by a tiny brook during a great famine, and wait for God to feed him by the mouth of crows!

c.        Like the little boy, who gave up his lunch

d.       Like Peter, when Jesus told him that one day, men would take him by the hand and lead him where he did not want to go, and die for Christ


D.      To Find a Place of Service Requires Me to Stay Focused in Purpose (1Cor 9:22b)


1.       Notice the goals that Paul had in sight (1Cor 9:19-22)


a.       …that I might gain the more

b.       …that I might gain the Jews

c.        …that I might gain them that are under the law

d.       …that I might gain them that are without law

e.        …that I might gain the weak

f.        …that I might by all means save some

g.        And this I do for the gospel's sake!


2.       Why such a specific purpose/focus? Why so passionate about winning people to Jesus Christ? Why not just get people more involved in religion, and social clubs, and community activities?


a.       Because of the value of souls (Mark 8:36,37) - nothing can compare to the value of just one soul

b.       Because of the Price of Sin (Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23; Ezekiel 18:20  “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”)

c.        Because of the Righteous Wrath of God (Ephesians 5:3-6)


3.       No Christian wants anyone to go to hell! A Christian KNOWS that God is righteous and holy and will judge this world for its sin, AND that there is only ONE WAY TO BE SAVED from the wrath to come! And wants desperately for EVERYONE to be saved


a.       Flee to Jesus Christ – not to some church, or some pilgrimage

b.       Repent of your sins

c.        Believe only on His power to save you

d.       Then, just simply ask to be saved from the penalty of all your sins! ASK, believe that he will give you the gift of eternal life – the gift of complete forgiveness (Rom 6:23)


4.       God is not going to show you a place to serve unless you are hungering to win souls through that ministry. If you only want to show off, or make a great name for yourself, then forget it!


E.       To Find a Place of Service Requires Me to Be Faithful to the End (1Cor 9:24-27)


1.       1Ti 1:12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry

2.       Paul compares the Christian’s life to that of an athlete


a.       No one enters a race as a quitter

b.       If you start a race, you are supposed to FINISH it

c.        Only FINISHERS have a chance to win the prize



3.       God is not going to show you a place to serve unless you are willing to get in, and stay in that place, and serve!


III.   Application – How More People Can Get Saved Here in Cork


A.      Get Free Yourself


1.       Free from sin’s power by getting born again

2.       Free from debt by paying off your debts, not always increasing them

3.       Free bad habits so that you can serve the Lord


B.      Make Yourself a Servant


1.       Lower than other people

2.       Other people can leave early right after church – you stay and help clean up

3.       Other people can just walk in late – you come in early and start praying for every seat to be filled with hungry hearts

4.       Other people can stay in bed on Saturdays, and be lazy all weekend – you get up early ,and get things done so that at 1pm on Saturdays you can go out and go soul-winning so that people get saved

5.       Other people can sit and enjoy the preaching week after week – you instead, start helping in Creche, or in Sunday School

6.       Do you see how it works?

7.       Other people can complain about the Church Activities – while you put your whole heart and soul into preparing Activities that are the best

8.       Other people can just come and go on a Sunday – you open your eyes and ears, and look for needs, and see how to meet people’s needs

9.       What Ministry in our Church could you get involved in?


a.       The Welcome Ministry?

b.       The Reformer’s Unanimous Addictions Ministry?

c.        The Music and Choir Ministry?

d.       The Sunday School Ministry?

e.        Discipleship?

f.        Creche?

g.        Soul-Winning Ministry?

h.       Church Activity Planning?

i.         Ladies’ Fellowship?

j.         Transportation Ministry

k.       Church Office?


C.      Become the Greatest Servant Ever


1.       It is one thing to be a servant – which is hard enough

2.       It is another thing to strive to be the GREATEST servant

3.       What does that mean?


a.       Being the best Greeter at the door

b.       Being the best Sunday School teacher, loving those kids as your own

c.        Being the best Church Typist

d.       Being the best Soul-Winner

e.        Being the best Addictions Counsellor

f.        Being the best Planner


D.      Keep Your Focus on Souls


1.       This is not an opportunity to show off your abilities or talents

2.       It is a chance to win souls

3.       To win more souls that we could if only a few are involved

4.       How many will get saved if we ALL got busy?

5.       How many will hear the clear, simple Gospel if absolutely everyone in our church was busy being a Servant?


IV.    Conclusion


A.      Summary of the Christian’s Life: Free, Flexible, Focused, Faithful

B.      Are you FREE yourself?

C.      If you ARE born again, you were saved for a purpose…

D.      So, are you fulfilling that purpose, even in the smallest of areas?

E.       Will you start serving in ONE ministry today?