Unfortunately, this weeks sermon recording is unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience. Sermon notes follow:
Acts 17 tells us that when the apostle’s visited Thessalonica there was no church, no Christ followers, no believers. And when they arrived and taught, they were accused of turning the world upside down by their teaching the Word, the love of God, and the Gospel of The Kingdom. We know from last weeks reading that their visit was not without result.
When the apostles left Thessalonica they left behind a strong, healthy congregation, that was alive, growing, standing up to persecution, and becoming an example to other believers. Now that’s an effective ministry! That’s the kind of ministry that we want to have in and to our communities, that is what we have started to do with CORE, R&P, the movie nights, and the Women’s outreach, but we can’t stop, slow down or give in to the enemy’s persecution. We must strive to be more effective in and with our ministries in the local communities, where we have been placed.
So how did they do it? How did the Church in Thessalonica become know as an example to believers? How did their ministry grow and prosper where God had placed them?
First and foremost, we have to receive the Word for what it truly is, not as some human message, not just the basis for a pastor’s sermon, but as the very Word of God, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
To receive means to take it in, to make it apart of you, to be subject to. It means they accepted it and that changed their outlook, it changed their direction, it changed their lives. God’s Word worked effectively in them because they believed! It is the same today! God’s Word works effectively in you who believe! And believing is putting into action the knowledge you have received by faith!
If we, you and I, do not receive The Word for what it is then we will not be effective in the ministry we do as a congregation of God’s church in the communities where God has placed us.
When we believe that the Bible is the very Word of God; we act on that belief. We pray to the God of the bible, and that is the 2nd thing need to be doing if we want our ministries to make a difference in our communities.
Pray: Prayer is foundational to what we are seeking to do in our communities. Come before the Lord with praise, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication as you seek to make a difference in, and through, the ministries of this congregation. Uplift and encourage those you know are on the front lines. Do so first in prayer and then by simple words and acts of encouragement.
Paul taught the Thessalonians by example that his power and boldness came from the Lord through prayer. Paul taught them that through prayer and faith they could directly access their God and Savior who could provide them with all that was needed. Ask the Lord to give you prayer partners who can intercede with and for our ministry to be effective. When given the opportunity, pray with people, for the needs in the community, and for their needs. But pray!
Paul’s ministries always began with prayers that remembered the felt, perceived, real and spiritual needs of people. Paul wrote, W”e always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3). Throughout his letters you will see his prayers for people and their ministry. We cannot cease to seek the Lord and His will in prayer, to pray for the people in our communities, and that he would use us to reach those people in, and with, the ministries He has called us to. Our Lord promised that He would build His church and that the gates of hell (evil forces) would not be able to prevail against it (Matthew 16).
Third: Keep this in mind: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Sow the gospel, spread the seed of God’s love mercy and grace that is found in Jesus Christ. God may not have called you to stand on a soap box and preach to the people outside of Walmart, he may not have called you to go to a distant country and teach the gospel, but He has certainly called you to be a witness of His love and to spread the gospel by making disciples where you are!
The congregation in Thessalonica spread the gospel, they didn’t have church buildings, TV, radio, or even a printing press, yet even in the midst of persecution they spread the Gospel until they were known as an example to all believers. They laid down their lives… They believed, they prayed, and they scattered the seed of the Gospel until they turned their community upside down! What did they have that we don’t? Nothing! They just believed the Word! God’s word is still effective in Believers!
The same God who empowered them can, will, and does empower His Church today! God blessed them, God built His Church through them, and He can, is, and will do the same with us as we fulfilling our calling in and through the ministries He has called us to! Don’t let the fire die down, strike while the iron is hot, the love of God surrounds you, the presence of God empowers You, the Spirit of God indwells you!
Seek the Lord, pray, spread the seed of the Gospel, love your neighbor, make a difference for the Kingdom. The Word of God is real! Tell the enemy, “Not today Satan”! God is with me! God is for me! Therefore I can do all things through Him who strengthens me! Go forth from this place in the Name above all names and in the authority of The King: Jesus Christ, and let Him build His Church through you.
- Do you truly believe the Bible to be the Word Of God?
- Does this show in your everyday words and actions? (See James 1:19-25)
- Do you aim to please our Lord Jesus (God) or yourself? (See 2 Corinthians 5:6-10)
Further reading: Acts 17:1-10, Matthew 4:4, John 17:17, Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 6:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12, Deuteronomy 5:29, 33, Deuteronomy 6:18, 24, Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Deuteronomy 32:46-47, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10