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Usher Ministry's

101st Anniversary


~Ephesians 2:8-10~ 

Dr. Ernest Young, Associate Pastor

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Gracious God, it is to Thee we come again at this hour. Thank you for every blessing. And a special “thank you” for the Ushers at Second on their anniversary celebration.

May your blessings continue with them and everyone. Keep us in your care. Amen.


To God be all glory for another day. To Pastor Epps for the privilege to proclaim the gospel through the ministries of Second Baptist.


The scripture text is Ephesians, Chapter 2, verses 8-10.


8For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, least any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”


The subject from which to preach, “Selfless Servants.”



Ushers, we honor and salute you this special day. You have been blessed to reach a significant milestone, 101 years of organizational service. And today we celebrate with you this twofold event. First, 100 years, or a Century of service; and 2) The beginning of the next 100 years, or the new Century of service. We pray for continued blessings because you have just begun your second century of service. Thank God for your faithful, selfless service. I am humbled to share this day with you.


Consider what it means that the Usher Ministry has served a full century

and is beginning their second century of service at Second Baptist. 

Monday, April 17, 2023

After wrestling with the it, I admit this text bested me. Paul’s message, it seems, accurately describes humankind. But most especially, the faith God placed in us to save us (humanity), I proclaim, is simply amazing. I mean how God saves us through the faith in us when we were yet sinners not obedient to God.


The text is printed in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers at the church

in Ephesus, “and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” Unlike other Epistles or

letters Paul wrote, i.e. Philemon, Romans, Timothy, Titus, etc,

Ephesians does not mention individuals by name. Rather this letter is

universal to and for all believers and those who would become believers.

The Gentiles and the Jews are included. The church (the believers) are the focus.

From the scripture text and the subject, there are a few observations I shall pursue. 

1) Saved by Grace (through Faith) v 8.

2) Saved to Serve v 9.

3) Serving to Save. v. 10


1.Saved by Grace (through faith) (verse 8)


Paul begins verse 8 with a declarative statement: “For by grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.


What is Grace? Someone described grace as God’s unmerited favor shown to us in Christ. We received what we did not deserve through Christ.

What is Saved? Saved is to deliver (a person, soul, etc.) from sin and punishment, redeem from spiritual death.

What is Faith? The Hebrews writer has described faith as “the substance or the confidence of things hoped for will actually happen; and the evidence or the assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1). Again, someone labeled Faith as believing and trusting God completely. Taking the step when we cannot even see the stairs. Because on this journey, “we walk by Faith, not by sight.”


Then Paul writes, we were saved, not of ourselves. We cannot take credit for this; it is God’s gift to us. When we think of a gift, we often think of a “present” granted to another, the receiver, because the giver decided to do it. The giver believed the receiver should receive it. The receiver, most probably, had next to nothing to do with it. It was the giver’s decision to act by granting the gift to the receiver.

What I am proclaiming this day beloved, so it is with the gift of “salvation by grace through faith” bestowed upon us (now believers) who have received this gift. We did not decide if or when the giver would grant us this gift. But we say, “Thank you Lord!”

for such a wonderful gift. Moreover, the essence of the gift is manifested magnificently in what one chooses to do with the gift.


Consider what it means that you are save by grace through faith. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2023

2. Saved to Serve (verse 9)


Again, Paul writes it plainly and succinctly in verse 9: “Not of works least any man should boast.” In other words, we should not personalize or individualize the redeeming quality of grace through the faith we have received. Who can truthfully say,

“I decided to become saved. Or I decided to improve my life?” It is not our works, for Paul also calls to our attention, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8). Biblical scholars have written that, “salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. And our good works are the result of, not the cause of, faith.”


We were saved to serve others. The service you are called to render is likewise not unto yourself, but to others. And how admirable is that service - Sunday after Sunday, (including other days of the week if a funeral, memorial, or wedding should call upon the services of the Usher Ministry), week in and week out, as the months and the years pass by, you show up in this place of worship wearing not just your beautiful uniforms, but also your sincere smiles, extending a heartfelt handshake, a listening ear, an exciting embrace (a Holy hug), as you escort members and visitors alike down the

aisle to a seat of comfort in the sanctuary. Thus, I concur with your theme; yes, we were saved to serve others. The service we are called to render is likewise not unto ourselves, but to others.

You serve continuously because you are grateful for the gift of salvation you have received by grace through faith. Also, you are selfless Christian servants who like Christ, came “not to be served, but to serve others,” to show them the way; the path to an abundant life in Christ.


Consider what it means that you were saved to serve.

Wednesday, April 25, 2023

3. Serving to Save (verse 10)

Ushers, as you have demonstrated these 101 years, one’s service in this life should be to emulate Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. As Jesus served, we are called and challenged to also serve.


We are His workmanship or masterpieces created anew in Christ to do the good things that were ordained (planned) for us to do. Because service is the method Jesus uses to demonstrate His love, and to save those who are lost.


So, what is service? It has been explained as work done or duty performed for another or others.


Moreover, as we serve others, we are not alone, we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” (Hebrews 12:1b). Beginning with the biblical record of Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Noah, and other selfless servants who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off… (Hebrews 12)


Then, there are those from your ranks who have moved on to another shore. They are now with our Lord dwelling eternally in a heavenly place not made with hands. These are a few of the representatives of many: Katie Daniels, William Glover, Jr.,

Charles Hawkins, Jesse Johnson, Grace Lewis, and Ernest Terrell. It seems as if I hear them cheering you on: Go Ushers, Keep Serving. Go Ushers, I See You!

Go Ushers, You’re Looking Good! Go Ushers! Go Ushers! Keep Serving!


But as you serve, please remember, your service will not gain you riches and rewards in this life. Remember, it was not until after his death that Paul Robeson, the actor, freedom activist, and singer, entered the Hall of Fame.


You may recall Patricia Roberts Harris, the pioneering African-American ambassador, attorney and Howard Law School Dean, Presidential cabinet Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and later Health and Welfare. It was not until after her death that her work was recognized and became the model for excellence in academic and government service.


It was not until after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated that his birthday became a legal holiday for the cause of universal freedom and justice.


Finally, it was not until after Christ was crucified on a cross on Calvary, that a Roman soldier declared, “Surely this man was the son of God.”


So let us be clear about our service. While it will not afford us riches in this life, the retirement plan is out of this world.


Consider what it means that you serve to save. 

Thursday, April 26, 2023

Jesus, our role model, was also a selfless servant.

  • He was serving when he healed the sick, raised the dead,

and some 5,000+ souls He fed.

  • He was serving when He opened blind eyes and unstopped deaf ears.
  • He was serving when He commanded the lame to walk and demons to loose sinners and let them go.
  • He was serving when He expounded the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven while teaching in the temple and on the Mount of Olives.


Therefore, we must continue serving until the Lord says “well done…”

You see, your service, our service, is not over until love and peace shall rule and reign in this world.


So let us continue to follow Jesus, our role model, as we serve. Because our service

is not over until suffering humanity -- the disappointed and discouraged, the depressed and despised, the dislocated, dismayed and dismissed, indeed all of suffering humanity, shall choose hope in Christ Jesus. Not over until we can fully realize

Jesus’ way, will, and work in our lives. Thus we are always called and challenged to serve, yes serve and serve, even and especially the least of these.


Consider what it means to be a selfless servant.

Friday, April 27, 2023



Finally, on this journey of selfless service, many of you, no doubt, have encountered difficult days, hardships, ups and downs, storms, trouble, and yes crisis. Let’s think for a moment through the word crisis. If you don’t mind, write it on your thoughts, your tablets, (hard copies or electronic), C__ R I S__   I S.

You should have written C__R I S__   I S. If you will, in the first blank after C, place the letter H, and in the second blank after the first S place the letter T. The H represents Him, and the T represents Him, too. In essence, the Crisis we began with has been transformed into CHRIST IS. Because in any crisis of service, Christ Is.






Consider what it means to let Christ transform your crisis into Christ Is. 

Saturday, April 28, 2023

Therefore, it is:

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and…

To Him who gave his life as ransom for many…

To Him who was dead but is now alive forever more...

To Him who is coming again to claim us unto himself…

To Him be glory, and honor, and majesty, and power …

To Him the hope of glory, the son of David, the seed of Abraham, a stone hewed out of the mountain, the meek and humble lamb…

To Him, Mary’s baby, the Lily in all our valley’s, the bright and morning star.

To Him the Selfless Servant…


Consider what it means to imitate Jesus the Christ as our

model of a selfless servant because you were saved to serve.

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