Living as the Church: Living Worthy of God

Living Worthy of God full sermon notes

Living Worthy of God

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13

April 8, 2018

Brian Allen (Holland); Tom Wright (Hamilton)

Sermon notes from Holland

 

We have been in 1 Thessalonians for several weeks now, and we’ve learned a few things about the church of Thessalonica. 

If we were to contrast the reputation of the church in Thessalonica to that of us, at Calvary Baptist Church, how would we stack up? We are likely the only representation that many people have of Calvary. In fact, churches don’t have reputations, people do. If we want to change the way people think about Calvary, each of us will need to change our individual reputations (consider Galatians 5:16-25).

The reality is, Calvary, that we are in a constant battle of removing those things that are holding us back and putting on those things that Paul refers to as the fruit of the Spirit. But, this reality doesn’t mean we should be satisfied or comfortable with our current status.

Remember back to 1 Thessalonians 1:3 when Paul mentions before God their “work of faith?” Believing that God will supply all the things in life we need falls into this category. It requires a great deal of faith to let God take care of our earthly needs as we spend time and resources on others.  It is a statement of faith when we put money in the Compassionate Care Fund, or in the Global Outreach fund, or the Haggai Project, or give to the overall church ministry via our general fund. So, where is your focus?

When there is community life energized by the passion of pursuing God, resulting in the passionate pursuit of others for Christ, one of the “side effects” is a deep bond of love for others with the same passions. The Thessalonian church’s passion was evident:

For you received the word in much affliction with the joy of the Holy Spirit so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere so that we need not say anything. - 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. - Matthew 6:21

When we invest in the kingdom, our heart will naturally be drawn toward those that have a similar passion. With whom do you spend time? Are you living with a focus that reflects a passion for God’s word?

Here are some indicators we can use to gauge the leaning of our hearts:

  1. What are you drawn to in your free time?
  2. What does it take to get you to miss church?
  3. Are you active in Equipping U?
  4. Compare your church giving to what you spend on your hobbies.
  5. Are your close friends ministry minded?

Besides that natural tendency to invest our time and resources into the things we love, there is a supernatural component to loving the people of God.

So, Calvary, are we like the Thessalonians, just needing to increase our love for one another? Are we like the church in Laodicea, lukewarm, not hot and not cold? Are we self-assured and needing nothing? Are we like the Corinthians who were acting like infants in Christ with obvious jealousy and strife within the ministry.

In a congregation of this size, it’s likely we are a mixture of all of these. Those of us who are leading ministries should set the tone. Let’s strive to be like Paul’s team as outlined in chapter 2; let’s be bold to declare the gospel of God regardless of circumstances. 

The point is this, if we are leaders in the body of Christ, we should be in love with Jesus and pointing everyone in our circles to love Him, too. Note that last sentence said “if we are leaders.” Everyone is leading somebody.

If you are 8, there are 6 year olds looking up to you. If you are 16, you have 12 year olds wishing they were you. If God has called you into His kingdom, then He has gifted you for ministry; therefore, you should endeavor to walk worthy of Him who has called you.

If we are serious about passionately pursuing Christ, then something dramatic will happen. We will love the study of God’s word, right? I am calling you out. This is called an exhortation.

Every one of you should be here at 9:00 am next Sunday for one of these opportunities:

  1. Discovering the God of Second Chances – taught by Shannon Overbeek
  2. Fatal Distractions: Overcoming Destructive Temptations – taught next week by Jon Whitmer
  3. Toward Redeeming Adverse Childhood Experiences: TRACE for men – taught by Joyce DeRidder
  4. FREEDOM: A Study in Galatians – taught by Jim Visser
  5. II Corinthians (JOY class) – taught next week by Brad Arnold

Be here to exhort and encourage others grow in their walk with Jesus. Let us be known for passionately pursuing Christ by falling in love with His Word!