Example for All, Part 2 8-18

church, body of christ, holy spirit, pentecost, jesus, bride of christ, empower, be the church

Unfortunately, this weeks sermon failed to record.  We apologize for the inconvenience. Sermon notes follow.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

How do we measure success in the Church? By the 3 B’s — bucks, bodies, and buildings? Or is it by our obedience to be the church where God has placed us, our quality of believers, our faithfulness to serve God, and our love for God, one another, and the neighbor who does not know salvation?

Vs. 1 Paul and Silas had seen the conversion of many people to Christ in Thessalonica, their visit was now without result…

Vs. 2 Before coming to Thessalonica, Paul had been in Philippi, in Acts 16 we read that Paul and Silas had been unjustly arrested, stripped of their clothes, beaten and flogged and imprisoned; more than likely cruelly mistreated like dangerous criminals, their feet in stocks (16-24). All because they had rescued a slave girl in the name of Jesus Christ. In all of this their Roman citizenship had been violated, and in Acts 16:37 Paul demanded restitution. While recovering from their treatment they had headed to Thessalonica.

He reminds them of how God had emboldened them to speak the Gospel, the Good News of God’s Love and the salvation that is found in Christ. We too have been empowered to speak the Gospel, to spread the good news of God’s Love, and that same salvation.

We must imitate Paul and the congregations of the Church in Thessalonica who all were imitators of Christ (Vs. 1:6). Our courage, empowerment and authority come from God. We are empowered by the very Spirit of God to speak with boldness the Word of God. But, we cannot do so with an intent to deceive, for the growth of our own ways, or the growth of our own congregation, that would be deceitful. It is about the Kingdom of God and the salvation of our neighbor!

Paul says that they shared the gospel and even their own lives because they cared, (vs. 8) they had become dear to them as they worked day and night with them so as not to be a burden. The people knew how blameless they were in the accusations that had came against them, how they had encouraged, comforted, and implored each one to live worthy of God who calls them into His kingdom.

Remember that they were waiting for the return of Christ from Heaven who would rescue them from the wrath of God that is coming. They were not twiddling their thumbs or sitting on their bottoms warming a pew! They were putting into action the knowledge they had received by faith. They were turning their communities upside down as they fulfilled their mission. They were examples to all believers (1:7), having turned away from idols to serve the living and true God  (1:9-10).

Christ’s return is mentioned no less than 318 times in the New Testament!

If Christ came back today, would you be ready to go with Him? If Christ came back at that moment, would a place where you’re about to go or a thing you’re about to do cause you to be ashamed or embarrassed in any way? If so, then you need to change what you’re doing. If you are not living in a way that is pleasing to Him right now; then when will you? No one knows the day or hour of His return!

When the disciples witnessed the ascension of Jesus, when they stood in awe of the person and body of Christ going up to heaven, they were chastised for their lack of action even as He was going. Two angels came and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11). In other words, mine, get your butts into Jerusalem and do what Jesus said! Move! Go! Do! Be! There is not a person sitting here that has not been called to action, called to battle, called to reach up while reaching out. While you wait, you are to be fulfilling your calling. There is not a person alive that does not have a divine purpose in and with the Church.

We use every excuse in the book to avoid witnessing, telling others the Gospel, and being committed to serving God in and with His Church; yet we are commanded to do so in the authority of Jesus Christ, in the Love of the Father, and with the empowerment of the Spirit of God.

In chapter one, after reminding them and us of the examples we are to be, to both believers and unbelievers, he goes on in chapter two about how they had come to believe. Think of the uproar, the persecution, and the opposition that Paul and Silas had experienced and that same opposition is what the believers they left experienced. Under such conditions, most people would have thought twice about talking about or teaching the Gospel, of being witnesses to what God had done or even associating with Believers.

Yet the church grew in Thessalonica through Jason and the other believers that were there when Paul and Silas were accused of turning the world upside down through their witness and teaching.  Within 1 to 2 years, 3 at the most, Paul and Silas’s visit to Thessalonica had produced great results, the seeds they planted had grown and the church in Thessalonica, at the writing of this letter, already had reputation as an example to other believers.

Why? They were cared about, loved, and taught of the love of God and the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom. They were encouraged, comforted and implored to live a life worthy of God and His Kingdom and they answered that call to the best of their ability, and beyond, through the empowerment of the Spirit. They took action, set aside their wants and needs, their fear of persecution, and rather than please people, they sought to please God, who examines or tests our hearts. They served God, seeking to bring Him honor and glory, not themselves.

In Conclusion: The truth of the gospel is firmly tied to the character and integrity of its messenger. The example you set for all. Repentance

Digging Deeper

  • How are you taking action to spread the Gospel?
  • Who are you encouraging and imploring to live worthy of God?
  • How are you serving the living and true God?

Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, Titus 2:11-15 with Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 2:9-12, 1 Peter 4:7-1

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