Sermon: If You Are a Loser, God Wants You


Listen to the Sermon:


Download the Notes: 12202015IfYouAreALoserGodWantsYouDonRuhl


Purpose: To show the kind of people God uses

If You Are a Loser, God Wants You 

That may sound unAmerican, but it is biblical

First Corinthians 1.26–31

From a sermon by Ray Pritchard, “Why God Prefers Losers”

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 20, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – “Faith Is the Victory,” and other winsome songs


  1. Think about the people God has used, 
    1. you have to come away thinking,
    2. that He prefers to use people whom most would classify as “losers.”
      1. As Americans, we are all about winning.
      2. The thinking of sports now dominates our culture and
        1. we find it difficult to think any other way.
        2. Therefore, we have no use for losers.
  2. But God does. 
    1. Such people are ready to let Him fill them with Him, because
    2. they have emptied themselves of themselves.
      1. Truly, we want to be on the winning side, but
      2. as Jesus once said,

        15b “…what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16.15).
      3. That means the following would also be true,

        What is highly esteemed with God is an abomination in the sight of men.

  3. It’s also true that we like to hear rags to riches stories, 
    1. whether of wealth, or of
    2. badly crippled bodies to performers of great physical feats, or of
    3. society’s rejected who make it big.
  4. Yet, we do not want to be the loser. 
    1. We do not want to be the one who comes back from insurmountable odds.
    2. We want to win always.
    3. We want success always in everything.
      1. Yet, America’s richest man once said,

        “Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose” (Bill Gates).

      2. If we think we cannot lose,
        1. we already have, and
        2. we show that we have not learned what we need to learn.
  5. When you look at those who think they can never be beat, 
    1. they lose and suffer great humiliation.
    2. Obadiah shows the arrogance of Edom, and
      1. what the Lord promised to do, and
      2. Edom has disappeared off the face of the Earth,

        3 “The pride of your heart has deceived you,
        You who dwell in the clefts of the rock,
        Whose habitation is high;
        You who say in your heart,
        ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’
        4 Though you ascend as high as the eagle,
        And though you set your nest among the stars,
        From there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.
        (Oba 1.3–4)
    3. The Lord said something similar in Isaiah 47 about Babylon, and
      1. we see that those who thought they could never lose,
      2. suffered such a humiliating defeat that they no longer exist on Earth,

        8 “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
        Who dwell securely,
        Who say in your heart,
        ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
        I shall not sit as a widow,
        Nor shall I know the loss of children’;
        9 But these two things shall come to you
        In a moment, in one day:
        The loss of children, and widowhood.
        They shall come upon you in their fullness
        Because of the multitude of your sorceries,
        For the great abundance of your enchantments.
        (Isa 47.8–9)
    4. Edom, Babylon, and many other nations and people,
      1. think of themselves as invincible, because
      2. when they win too much, too soon, too easily.
  6. On the other hand, if you think you are a loser you know 
    1. your weaknesses,
    2. your inadequacy,
    3. your mistakes,
      1. then God can use you, because
      2. you are ready to be used by Him.
    4. If you think you are of no use to
      1. the Lord,
      2. His church,
      3. your family,
      4. your nation,
      5. your business,
        1. then consider some people that you probably think of as winners, but
        2. they were not always the best examples.
          1. Noah got drunk.
          2. Abraham lied about his wife.
          3. Sarah laughed at God!
          4. Jacob deceived his brother.
          5. Moses killed an Egypt and argued with God!
          6. Rahab was a harlot!
          7. Gideon feared the Midianites.
          8. Jephthah made a bad vow.
          9. Eli failed as a father.
          10. David committed adultery and murder.
          11. Elijah became depressed.
          12. Jonah ran from God and became angry at Him.
          13. Peter denied knowing Jesus.
          14. Need I say more?
  7. If God only used people who always succeeded, 
    1. that would exclude everyone, and
    2. people would credit the victory to the person and not to God.
      1. Judges 7 shows that the glory goes to God,

        2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’” (Jdg 7.2).
      2. Second Corinthians 4 shows why God uses losers,

        7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2Co 4.7).


  1. God Hides that Treasure in Earthen Vessels 
    1. You have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
      1. A shepherd discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in clay jars, earthen vessels.
      2. He and a friend sold three scrolls
        1. to an antiquities dealer
        2. for the equivalent in 2014 of $37.
          1. Do you have any idea how much those scrolls are worth?
          2. In 2009, Asuza Pacific University, close to where I grew up,
            1. bought five fragments, for $2,478,500.
            2. Remember they were found in earthen vessels!
    2. Second Corinthians 4 teaches
      1. that we are more like cheap jars you can purchase anywhere, and
      2. not like the world’s most expensive ceramic jars.
        1. Yet, the Lord chooses to use us for a most valuable work.
  2. We Are All Made of the Dust of the Earth 
    1. You have read Genesis 2, have you not
      1. wherein Moses shows us the creation of man?
      2. What did God use to make us?

        7a And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground… (Gen 2.7a).
    2. Therefore, when we die, our bodies return to the dust,

      7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
      And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
      (Ecc 12.7)
    3. Even so, amazingly, God still manages to use us in spiritual, heavenly ways.
      1. It is amazing that He would put His treasure
      2. of the message of His Son in us, these jars of clay!
    4. When Jesus gathered up His twelve disciples,
      1. who were the first preachers in the church,
      2. from where did He get them?
        1. Did He go to the famous universities of Rome and Greece?
        2. Did He search for the philosophical advisers to the kings of China?
          1. He recruited fishermen, and others like them, and
          2. changed all the world for all time.
    5. The Lord still operates that way.
      1. He does not look for people who are sold on themselves.
      2. He uses people who have hit bottom.
  3. The Power Is of God 
    1. Listen again to Second Corinthians 4.7,

      7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2Co 4.7).
    2. Someone stated it well,

      “God is looking for nobodies who will become somebodies in his hands” (Jack Wyrtzen).


  1. How many times have you asked the Lord to take away a problem? 
    1. Second Corinthians 12 explains that Paul had a major physical problem,
    2. a thorn in the flesh, which was a messenger of Satan.
      1. Why did the Lord allow that in Paul’s life?
      2. He said in verse 7 it was to keep Paul from being exalted above measure.
        1. Paul had the privilege of going to the third heaven, and
        2. hearing things that he could not repeat.
          1. He might then start to think of himself as somebody.
          2. Then he would not be of anymore use to the Lord as he had been.
            1. The thorn in the flesh afflicted Paul so much,
            2. that he asked the Lord three times to remove it.
    3. Here is the the answer he received, and
      1. how he understood the answer from the Lord,

        9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2Co 12.9–10).
      2. Self did not matter to Paul.
      3. Christ matter to the apostle.
  2. Now listen to this final exhortation, 
    1. taken from Paul’s writing to the Corinthians.
    2. You might find that First Corinthians 1 speaks of you.
      1. Do you see yourself
      2. as one of the kind of people whom the Lord has called?

        26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1Co 1.26–31).