Thank God For Godly People!
1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
June 12, 2022
Introduction to 1 Thessalonians
-Paul, with others, wrote this letter to the Thessalonians
-Thessalonica- 100k people, affluent, peaceful, idol worshippers
-They did not enjoy religious freedom, as we discover today
-Acts 17:1-4 Paul shared the Gospel, several people believed
-Acts 17:5-10 Paul left after three weeks due to a riot against
Him, which he refers to in today’s focus passage
-This church was growing spiritually, highly encouraged Paul!
Who are your spiritual encouragers?
-Christian leaders, friends, family members
Who is thankful for your spiritual walk with Christ?
Paul thanked God for the Thessalonian Christians!
-1 Thes 1:2
-1 Thes 2:13 That is why we constantly thank God…
-refers back to 1:7-10
-and now he continues his complimentary words to them
1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
1. Godly People Trust the Bible Vs 13
-they “received the word” as “the Word of God”
-God’s Word was changing them! “works effectively”
What is the Word of God/the Bible?
-John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God.
-Jesus is the living Word, our perfect human example!
-2 Peter 1:21 …no prophecy ever came by the will of man;
instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by
the Holy Spirit.
-God caused people to write exactly what He wanted us to
read, know and obey
-2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is God-breathed (inspired by God)
-Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and effective and
sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as
the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able
to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
-The Bible powerfully changes the core of our being!
-Godly people want to know and obey the Bible
-they compare all other claims of truth against the Bible
-they reject all other claims that contradict the Bible
2. Godly People Set the Example Vs 14
-They “became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus”
-they set an example as a whole community, not individuals
-You and I aren’t examples for churches by ourselves
-United obedience to God’s Word shows the world that Jesus
is building His church!
-The miracle of the local church is that, in spite of our humanity,
she still exists all over the world!
3. Godly People Endure Opposition Vs 15-18
-The Thessalonian Christians were persecuted by their own neighbors and
-John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in me you may
have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be
courageous! I have conquered the world.”
-Jesus suffered, we will suffer! Jesus forgave, we must forgive!
-Real Christians endure opposition and persecution
-Opposition is Satan’s effort to keep people from finding God!
-Vs 16b “wrath has overtaken them at last” God will be their
ultimate judge for stopping people from finding Jesus
-vs 18 this opposition kept Paul from being with them
4. Godly People Desire Eternal Rewards Vs 19-20
-Paul described the Thessalonians as his “crown of boasting”
-Who is following Jesus because of you? New believers will
forever testify that you and I were “witnesses” for Jesus!
Thank God for Godly People!
-who do you thank God for?
-who is thanking God for you?
The apostle Paul wrote this letter, we know now as they may or may not have understood that God's spirit was giving them a special unction and understanding to write what was inspired by God for us to have for all eternity, until Jesus comes. It is our guiding light, our guiding textbook for how to be a local church. There are many, but this is one of the letters that God preserved over time for us. But he wrote this letter specifically when he wrote it, he wrote it to Thessalonians; those who were living in the City of Thessalonica. Thessalonica had about a hundred thousand people, they were affluent, they were peaceful, but they were idle worshipers. They were pantheistic. They were multi-religious.
And in fact, we're going to see here in this passage, it's highlighted the fact that they really didn't enjoy, at least the Christians didn't enjoy religious freedom, like we would understand today. So, maybe many things that we know to be true about - maybe two to three times bigger than this city, but very similar in this metropolitan feel, at least in our way of being that kind of a city. And politically free, there wasn't some - even though Rome was very much in charge of that region and that land and that time, they were the Roman empire; they had relative freedom to govern themselves just like we in Fort Wayne would have that freedom. We will see and we do know that, and they were intolerant of anyone who said, this is the one true way. And of course, that's kind of similar to us today that someone would say, this is absolutely right, this is true, the Bible is true, which means all other faiths are false. You can't logically or mentally say, this is true, and this is true.
And so, the anyone who would say, when you say I am the way, the truth in the life, no one comes to the father except through me, Jesus Christ. There are some in our city and some in our region, some in our country that would say you have no right to believe that, and you have no right to impose that understanding upon our society. And so, we have vestiges of that, but this particular city, there were mobs of people that would riot and actually threaten to physically harm people who said such things. And they did.
We know that the backdrop of this, if you want to do a little history or study or comparison in Acts 17, this is the description of when Paul first went to Thessalonica and shared the gospel, and when several people believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then we see in Acts 17:5-10 where he left due to the riot against him. And it's, of course, we're referring to that in today's focus passage. But in spite of the opposition, in spite of the persecution, in spite of many people probably losing their positions of prominence and popularity, the gospel flourished and the church was birthed, and not only was born in that city, but it was thriving. It was so thriving that Paul wrote this letter as an encouragement to say, you guys are getting it right and I am so thankful for you. And that's why I have chosen this because I say, I am thankful for my church family, and I'm thankful for what God has and is doing in and through us.
Now, we're always one decision away from chaos. Don't get me wrong, but at the same time, we need to acknowledge and celebrate. And as I had one friend of mine, he's actually in Ecuador right now with one of our local pastors, Bobby Pells in Evansville as a pastor. And Steve Johnson is a pastor at Waynedale Baptist Church, and they're now on a teaching tour through Ecuador from the west coast all the way into the mountains. And I think they're heading over to Coca in the jungle for their final stint of two days of preaching to indigenous and rural preachers. And as they talk about - Bobby will say to me, "I don't celebrate well. I'm always looking to the next; I'm always looking to the next." It's almost like athletes do that. They're all excited about the trophy they received, but they're already thinking about next season how they're at the bottom of the pack one more time. Or they're at target to be knocked off because they're at the top of the pack right now.
And so, sometimes even in Christian circles, we just don't celebrate well the successes that God has given us because for some reason, we think that's prideful to say, I'm so thankful for all the things that have happened well. And if you're becoming prideful, that's a bad thing and you shouldn't do that, but it shouldn't preclude us in fear of being prideful. We need to at least acknowledge, I'm grateful that things are going well. I'm grateful that things have happened in a good way. I acknowledge that everything didn't happen the way we wanted it to, but a few things turned out okay, and God is good. And so, that's why I felt like it was important for us to read through this letter and extrapolate from us some things we can learn and grow from and be encouraged by today.
Now, I have a question asked as we move forward because my title was, "Thank God for Godly People." Who are your spiritual encouragers? You might want to write down a note of someone in your life that's a spiritual encourager. Maybe they're hopefully alive so that you can actually thank them and say something to them. And maybe they've gone home to be with the Lord and you need to thank God for them, and just pause and say, thank you God for that person in my life. I have a picture of someone on my desk that has gone home to be with the Lord that in his own small way was an encouragement to me. Not only was he an encouragement to me personally, but one thing he was encouraging to me about was he finished well.
He continued to fight the good fight, he continued to run the race with endurance, and he made it to the end without any kind of scandal or specific thing that was revealed later about him. Even after his death, there is nothing that has been said or could be said that has been found out that would absolutely cancel his ministry life as a pastor. Not only in our city, but in Portland, Indiana and in Muncie, Indiana and multiple other areas where he served the Lord, mentored young men in the Lord and finished well, the race. There are people like that in my life. I think of Brother Miles Seaborne; his wife just went home to be with the Lord this week. Did you know that? Talking my wife there, but Jeanie and her husband, Miles, were very encouraging to us when I was in seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. And I will be forever grateful for brother miles and what he did in my life.
Brother Horton was a good person in my life. And I remember Mickey, Mickey was just, and I say was just, he was a Sunday School teacher, blue collar worker that just opened up the word of God in my ninth, 10th grade class, Sunday School, each Sunday morning, faithfully teaching us the word of God. And there are things that he shared with me that I even use for illustrations today when I'm teaching the word of God. Just faithfully teaching the word of God to me, and I probably fell asleep occasionally. I probably didn't pay attention all the time. I probably wasn't the best student for him, but God is my witness, I can look back and know that in spite of what I wasn't, he continued to be a faithful witness of the word of God to me. He was a spiritual encourager. Who is that in your life that you can point to? Write that name down, find a moment sometime today or this week to thank God for them and to reach out if they're still alive, and thank them personally?
Who is thankful for your spiritual walk in Christ? Did somebody, if I were to say this to enough people, to a crowd of people that knew you, would they write your name down as a spiritual encourager? Is there someone in your life that you have influenced towards Jesus Christ that they would say I'm grateful for that person and that they would name you as that person? And I say that to say that Paul is talking to this church because he's saying you guys were those kinds of people. I'm thankful for you. You are something that I celebrate an eternity with and for, and that's the kind of people that I want to be. That's the kind of people that I want us to be, and that when people think of people from St Joe Community Church, they think of refreshment - cups of cold water in Jesus name, speaking the truth in love, not just speaking the truth and not just living in love, but speaking the truth in love, the combination, encouraging people in their spiritual walk.
Paul thanked God for Thessalonian Christians. In 1 Thessalonians 1:2, it says, "We always thank God for all of you making mention of you constantly in our prayers." And in the very beginning of our passage this morning, he said, this is why we constantly thank God because when you receive the word of God that you heard from us, you welcome it, not as human a message, but as it truly is the word of God, we thank God for you." And now he continues his complimentary words to them. And so, let me read for us 1 Thessalonian 2:13-20, "This is why Paul is saying, we, his team, constantly thank God, because when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you welcomed it, not as a human message, but as it truly is the word of God, which also works effectively in you, who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God's churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. They displeased God and are hostile to everyone by keeping us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are constantly filling up their sins to the limit, and wrath has overtaken them at last. But as for us brothers and sisters, after we were forced to leave you for a short time, in person, not in heart, we greatly desired and made every effort to return to see you face to face, so we wanted to come to you. Even I, Paul, time and again, but Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus that is coming? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."
Thank God for godly people. Thank God for godly people. They're the kind of people that we want in our lives. They're the kind of people that you want as a pastor to lead. They're the kind of people that as a people of God you want leading you. They're the kind of people you just need around you. You need around a few godly people so that you can endure a bunch of ungodly people, a bunch of ungodliness that works around you. Whenever I was at Ball State, I was in the marching band, and that was quite a Motley crew. And you just kind of knew which bus to not get on if you really wanted to stay away from what you shouldn't be doing.
And I remember my junior and senior year thinking to myself, well, first of all, I was thinking to myself, my girlfriend's in the band, I'm going to go in the band. Of course I am, because free trips to all places and be with my girlfriend. But having said that, I also thought to myself, is there a Christian group of people? Are there some godly students who are in the band that I can actually hang out with so I don't have to continue to endure a bunch of ungodly people and be pretty much a loner when you go on trips? And we went to places like Niagara Falls; we went to see the Buffalo Bills play and we played. At halftime we went down to the Cincinnati Bingos. We went to different road trips as a band, and that was part of the fun is you get free trips to go places and you get to play awesome music with a bunch of people that are really talented, much more talented than I was. But in spite of that, it was just good to be around people who were godly.
And it just invariably worked that each year I would find our group of people, and it was a varying degrees, but for the most part, we all remembered the trip. And we all wanted to enjoy the trip without doing things that were not only a little illegal, but we're definitely self-abasing and things that just would not have put us in a spot where we would've been honoring to God. Now, I'm not going to tell you that I was perfect; don't get me wrong. And I'm not here to tell you that I had it all figured out. I'm just saying that I needed those people around me so that I wouldn't keep doing the things that I in the flesh wanted to do. So, don't sit here and look at this halo guy. Let's look at a guy that was desperate to be around people so that he wouldn't do the bad things, okay. Let's just get that straight.
But here's the kind of people that we thank God for. Godly people in verse 13, it shows trust the Bible. Paul says they receive the word of God - receive the word that they gave them as the word of God, not as a human message. God's word was changing them. It was working effectively, he says in his letter to them. It works effectively in you. You're changing. You're becoming something different because of God's word in your life. Now, what was the word of God for them? It was the Old Testament for the most part, but there was no inspired... this letter was coming to them, but this letter had not yet come to them so they didn't have the inspired word of God. They didn't have, I mean, the inspired New Testament. They didn't have the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that we have in our Bible. They had the Old Testament; the Old Testament was changing their lives.
How many pastors and leaders ignore the Old Testament in thinking that we aren't Old Testament people, were New Testament people? And yet the church was birthed on the Old Testament, cutting their teeth on the word of God that had already existed and always will exist just as much as the New Testament, but the New Testament was not yet in their hands. As they were studying this word, it changed them. It made them into the person that God wanted them to become. Now, what is the word of God? Well, let's just look at John 1:1 says in the beginning was the word and the word was with Jesus and the word was God. So, the epitome or the actually fullness of the word of God is Jesus Christ, himself. He's the living word. He's the word that he demonstrated the word of God as He walked among us as a human being. He always existed - He always will. He was God. He is God.
1 Peter 1:21 continues to give us some ideas of what the word of God is, "No prophecy ever came by the will of man. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." God has caused people to write exactly what He wanted us to read, know and obey. And when you read Paul's letters, it certainly has his personality, his vernacular, his skill at writing. But behind what he's doing is the Holy Spirit that is helping him to perfectly say in his own way of saying it what God wants us to know for all eternity. That would be true for Paul, that would be true for James, and that is true for Peter, and that is true for Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and all those who are part of writing the inspired scriptures or bringing it even at first in an oral tradition in the old Testament.
In 2 Timothy 2:16, it says all scripture is God breathed, which means inspired by God. In Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any double edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." The Bible powerfully changes the core of our being. It's why it's a frightening book to people that don't want to obey God. It's why this book has tried to be banned by so many people and why we have to smuggle it into communist countries, countries that are intolerant of anything other than their own religion of communism and socialism. A country that is fully fueled by humanism; cannot stand the authority of the word of God because it jars them out of their complacency, into a conviction that makes them uncomfortable and in a way in which they would not want to live.
God's word is powerful, that's why we give a Bible to our graduates. That's why we give Bibles to people when they are baptized in our baptismal. That's why we give Bibles to people just because we give Bibles away. We just give them away, left and right. They're on the piano back there. If you want one, take one if you don't have one. If you need an extra one, take one. We'll continue to buy more because the word of God is a powerful and effective tool. It is God's tool for changing our lives for guiding us. Godly people want to know and want to obey the Bible. They compare all other claims of truth against the Bible, and they reject all claims that contradict the Bible. Godly people submit their personal feelings and opinions to the Bible.
So many times today, and I've heard it in speeches, I've heard it in commentaries, what you feel is right. Well, my opinion is what matters, even if it's against what God's opinion is. Well, we've evolved in our understanding of what the Bible says. Nothing will be further from the truth. God's word was, is, and will be. My word will never pass away, Jesus said. We don't change the Bible to fit our feelings and thoughts; we change our feelings and thoughts to fit the Bible. And these Christians, even in the midst of intense persecution, what do you mean you don't believe in all these other gods? What do you mean we're all lost in judgment of a holy God that says that what we're doing is wrong? What do you mean? Can't you just get along everybody else in our city? Can't you just stop preaching Jesus to people around you? That's just wrong for you to impose your belief on somebody. The same way that it might be wrong to impose somebody's beliefs that they can drive down a road to a river where it bridge is out, and they put a warning sign that says, "do not go, road closed, bridge out, danger." Oh, but I don't want to impose my feelings and beliefs on somebody driving their car. I ought to let them just - they need to experience for themselves whether or not the bridge is out.
If you believe something to be true and you staked your eternity on it, you don't have to be dogmatic and rude and cruel and mean, but for the sake of God, could we at least tell people that they're in trouble if they are, if we really believe that in love? But that was intolerant to people in Thessalonica. And these Christians were being persecuted for believing that. But in spite of the intense opposition to their faith, they were thriving. And Paul accredited to the fact that the word of God was actively changing their lives. It wasn't just a personal opinion that flew into town and talked to them. It's not a win some pastor or a preacher coming up here and talking that changes your life. It's the word of God that changes your life. Not only do godly people trust the Bible, godly people set the example. Verse 14; "They became imitators of God's churches in Christ Jesus." They became imitators of God's churches.
Now notice here, it doesn't say you individually became imitators of Jesus Christ by yourselves. It says that they were imitators as a community of the Lord, Jesus Christ. They were an example of what it meant to live a Christian life as a community of people, not just as individual people. Now, individuals I'm sure were powerful in themselves, but it was a community effort, not an individual effort that they said, "Oh, look what you're doing here, look what you're doing here!" It was the collective of their godliness that came together that was a powerful witness that God was at work in their lives.
You and I aren't examples for churches by ourselves. There is a movement it seems for people to have their own little theological libraries and their own little theological ways of doing things. And they're sort of like this own little enclave. Now, I am all for, and I am not against all forms of congregating together. There's large church, there's small church, there's house church, there's all kinds of ways to share the gospel and for people to thrive as a community of faith together, but the key is, a community is more than just yourself. It's a group of people coming together in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We believe in membership and covenant relationships with one another that this isn't just something we just sort of show up and we're kind of together. No, we're in this together. We walk together in the spirit of Christ.
United obedience to God's word shows the world that Jesus is building His church. And I want to say this, the miracle of the local churches, that in spite of our humanity, she still exists all around the world. In spite of our stupidity, in spite of the fact that we are all hypocrites in recovery – "Hi, I'm Greg, I'm a hypocrite." "Hi Greg." "Yeah, thank you." I think Beth gets it. This is group therapy for me. I need others to know that I am not right. Boy, I said that out loud. My daughter's like, "Yes, he admitted it." I am not perfect. Yes, of course I'm not. You know I'm not; for me to say otherwise, you would laugh. I'm becoming what God wants me to become, and it's through the local church. It's through our collective obedience to the word of God together that we become something to behold for the world to see, to be examples for other believers around the world.
We set the example when we're a godly person that people thank God for. And we thank God for godly people who endure opposition. I've been referring to this throughout the message, but the Thessalonian Christians were persecuted by their own neighbors, their own citizens, their own regional people; their own countrymen. This translation says, people in your own country, your own countrymen; your own country people. It wasn't some outside force that was coming in. It was people that already knew them that they already knew. They may have lost their jobs because they were Christians. They may have been ostracized by family members that were either refusing to agree with them and didn't want anything to do with them or afraid to agree with them because they didn't want to suffer the same intense persecution that was being thrust upon them. They endured the opposition.
Jesus warned of this in John 16:33. He said, "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace." You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous. I have conquered the world. I mean, when Jesus came, the perfect example - we aren't, He was, He is; the perfect son of God, who was the perfect word of God was crucified. They couldn't stand perfection when they saw it. They didn't want anything to do with it. So, don't kid yourself to think that when you begin to stand up for what is right that you will not be suffering. You will suffer the same consequences.
It is illegal for a Christian who is a counselor licensed by the State of California to obey the word of God in helping someone get out of their sinful lifestyle. They right now cannot be certified by the State of California. This is happening throughout the States and other places. If someone wants to move out of an ungodly relationship or out of an ungodly tendency, they will lose their license in the State of California. And this is continuing to happen because they don't want the Bible to be the final authority; they want humanity to be the final authority. And the question will be, as this continues to ripple through America, if it doesn't change, if it continues to run unabated; will godly people continue to endure? Will godly people endure? And it will, I think, in many ways, reveal those who are not relationally connected to Jesus Christ, but simply culturally connected to a community of Christ, but not really relationally connected to Jesus as their true Lord and savior, because real Christians endure opposition and persecution.
Now, opposition is Satan's effort to keep people from finding God. It says here, "That by keeping them from speaking to the Gentiles," in other words, there was a persecution that rose out, "so that they may be saved." In other words, Satan is trying his best to hide the truth from people who don't know it, and trying to shroud anything that the Christian community is doing and helping everybody point out all the ways in which we aren't, which we can easily do. There are many ways we aren't because we're not perfect.
One of my officer friends said it will never be perfect because you're all run by humans, and by God's grace, hopefully, under the authority of Jesus who is the Lord of our church and the chief shepherd of our church, but until we are in heaven, the church will not be perfect. And so many people are being hidden or are trying to hide the truth of God through the humanity of the church, instead of the spirit of the church. And Paul says very simply, almost like he just says, "Oh, and by the way, wrath is overtaken them at last." They're going to suffer a great awakening to their error of their ways. And at some point, God will be their ultimate judge for stopping people from finding Jesus. I referred to the idea that the county highway department decides, they say, "I need for you to go and I need for you to put the bridges closed danger signed." And that guy decides, "You know, I don't like my boss. I don't care for the county. I think they're wrong in their attitude about that bridge, and I'm just not going to put the sign up because I don't care. I don't want people to know the bridge is out."
Now, that person would be prosecuted and put in jail for a long time if somebody lost their life because he refused to put the sign up. And I think our society would rightly say he faces or she faces a higher penalty for what they did because they had the authority to do something, and they abused the authority in such a way that it took the lives of people. And I believe this is what Paul is saying, that there are people that are openly opposing the true. They're not just saying live and let live. They're not being tolerant. Its one thing to say I don't believe that, I'm an atheist, but I certainly... you know, you're welcome to believe it if you want to. I'm not going to do anything to stop you because hey, maybe it's true. And you have the right in the freedom of our country to believe what you want to believe so go for it. And here's a Bible, I don't want it anymore because I've rejected it, but you can have my Bible.
I had an atheist give me a Bible one time. She said, "My mom had this and I know you're a religious person and I thought that you might want this." And I wanted to so give it back to her, but I took it and thanks. I still have it, and I still pray for her to come to know Jesus. But these people are openly opposing the gospel so much so that they're trying their best to keep people from finding Jesus. And Paul says, there's a day when the limit of their sin will be so complete that the ultimate judge - they're in trouble. I wouldn't wish that on anybody, but he's just stating a fact.
In the midst of all that godly people, endure opposition. And finally this morning, godly people desire eternal rewards. Now, Paul explained here as a caveat here, he explains that it couldn't be with you, that I was hindered from coming because of this persecution. Some think that maybe Paul knew it was better for them to thrive in their faith as a Christian community without him being there, than for his notoriety or is Christian celebrity or whatever you might say that he was so popular for Christ that it would've been more of a hindrance than a help to the Christian Church for him to show up. But indeed he wanted to come; he sent Timothy instead with this letter.
But then he says, yeah, even though he wanted to come, don't forget who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus that is coming. Is it not you? And indeed you are our glory and joy. He described Thessalonians as his crown of boasting. And there's a whole Bible study that talks about the crowns. I mean, there's six or seven or five at least. And we talk about that - there's some ways of kind of collecting all of those Bible verses together. And if that is truly the case, I think in Revelation, it says that they cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus in worshiping Him in eternity. Then anything that we receive as a reward is thrown right back at Jesus to say, the only way I was able to do this in the first place was because of what you did through me and gave me the power to do it. Our worship of Jesus is everything that we accomplish. I said that we don't celebrate success very well, but any success that we do celebrate goes right back to the feet of Jesus to say there's no way we could have been successful if it hadn't been for you in the first place. And we put it right back at him. It was all because of Jesus that we were able to do what we did.
And Paul says, "You are shining examples of what I'm going to celebrate for eternity. I'm going to celebrate you. And I wonder if Paul was thinking, we're going to celebrate together, that I can't be with you here temporarily in this earth, but forever we're going to be together at the throne of Jesus worshiping together. And wow, I'm going to say, God, you let me be part of an opportunity and a movement in a city that I just visited for three weeks, and look what happened. People came to know Jesus, and you used me to do that. Wow, God, I'm celebrating forever that these people were rescued from hell to heaven, from death to life, from just living a regular common existence on earth to an existence of purpose and meaning while they lived out their life on this earth, and I'm celebrating."
Who are you going to celebrate when you get to heaven because God used you to help them find and follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior? Who is following Jesus because of you? These new believers will testify forever that you and I were witnesses for Jesus Christ. It's only two things that last forever; God's word and people. What are you investing in? How are you leveraging everything you have on this earth in order to leverage and invest in the word of God, which changes your life and people who last forever, either away from God forever or with God forever? What are you doing about it? Godly people desire eternal rewards.
Oh, I'd love to see young people get degrees, get certifications, get a welding certification, get a degree. My best friend growing up, he's got a mechanics. He's a machinist, and then now his daughter is going to go to a college on a full ride. And I can't wait to talk to him in person to say, "Wow, who would've thought a guy that couldn't stand a book." He liked standing on books to get to something else, but not read them, has got a daughter who's a Brainiac that wants to study biology and be a teacher. And he's going to go, "Yeah, I never guessed." And yet he's as smart as anybody else, he's just smart in a different way. But all these accomplishments - but you know what? All those accomplishments are great, but nothing compared the accomplishments of what you do to follow God and to help people find and follow God through whatever gifts, talents, and abilities you've done, and those talents and gifts, and those rewards that you've had that this earth gives us.
I pray that we will live for eternity, not for the finite; that we will think about how we're being an influence and an encouragement to people around us. Not so much thinking about all the people that need to bless me. Thank God for godly people. Who are you thanking God for? Will you let them know that you're grateful for them and who's thanking God for you? You said, well, I don't know who that would be right now. Well, God has given you a moment of time to change. He's given you a moment because the end of your life doesn't have to be where you're headed right now if only you will start making the change that God wants you to make to live for what matters.
Use that connection card and help us know how to pray for you. Maybe it's time to tell the world you're a Christian through baptism. Maybe it's time to take the class and learn what it means to belong to a church family. And we're not here to talk you into anything. We're just here to open up God's word and open up our lives to help you move forward spiritually one step at a time. Let's stand. Let's sing one more time. Let's strike while the iron's hot. Right now is the moment when you know what you must do. Will you make that decision? Will you move forward? Will you take a step of faith? Will you trust us even just a little bit to help you move forward to become the godly person that God wants you to become for His namesake? God help us to each take the step you want us to take to honor you to bless others and to have an eternal destiny that is hopeful, good, pure, perfect, and glorifying to you, in Jesus name I pray, amen.
A Trustworthy Leader Part 2
1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
June 5, 2022
An Enduring Letter to a Local Church
We must examine who we follow and how we lead!
-local spiritual leadership
-podcasts, online teachings
-other Christian friends
-Ray Stedman: [We must also remember that] every believer is in the ministry. We all have pastoral responsibilities. If you are a parent, you have a little flock at home to whom you should minister. This passage will help you minister effectively. Some of you have friends with whom you meet at breakfast or lunch, some of you have a Bible class in your home. This passage teaches how to be effective in any ministry, how to touch and change people.
A Trustworthy Leader part 2
1. Nurturing vs 7
-trustworthy leaders are “life-giving”
-nurturing: strengthening, feeding, supporting, increasing safety
2. Personal vs 8
-Paul and his team were completely transparent with the church
-they shared the gospel AND their living examples of obedience
-leadership reputation is built through personal relationships
-trustworthy leaders build relationships with their followers
-any leader can stray apart from real Christian fellowship
-pastors need the sanctifying work of the body of Christ as
much as any other Christian!
-My personal accountability team includes: my wife and children, our church elders, ministry team leaders, other Christian brothers in the church, certain church pastors locally and around the USA.
3. Sacrificial vs 9
-Paul’s team had to work secular jobs to support themselves
-trustworthy leaders are hard workers, selfless,
-they do whatever it takes to serve the people God entrusts
-Co-vocational ministry workers is a growing trend today
-I thank God for how He supports me and my family through
this church family.
-The Lord also used supplemental income from other ministry
work, including employment at Indiana Tech for 10 yrs
-trustworthy leaders are not lazy or freeloaders!
4. Proven integrity vs 10
-Paul appealed to what they knew about Him, what God knew
-devout/singlemindedness- holy and set apart for God’s purpose
-righteous- leaders behave well and resist lifestyles that may
distract followers from trusting and following the Lord
-blameless- not sinless, but an open and uncovered life that
continually confesses and forsakes sin
-trustworthy leaders have a track record of living openly and
honestly for God and leading with high integrity
5. Parental vs 11-12
-encouraging and comforting
-challenging/imploring people to grow spiritually and follow the
Lord more carefully
-trustworthy leaders want God’s best for their followers
-the goal = living a life worthy of God!
-leaders lead people towards God, not their own agendas!
Are we following trustworthy leaders?
-How well do we know the people we trust to lead us?
-High trust = well known people!
Are WE trustworthy leaders?
-Are we following Jesus Christ personally?
-Are we leading people towards Christ and His Word?
Today is Sunday, June 5th, 2022, and welcome to St. Joe Community Church. Today's message is entitled a Trustworthy Leader Part 2, and was delivered by Pastor Greg Byman. For more information, visit www.stjoecommunitychurch.org, click on the sermons tab and find today's broadcast. So now, let's open the Bible, get a notepad and pen and prepare to hear from God's word. Here's Pastor Greg Byman.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, unpacks what it means to be a trustworthy leader. And I shared the first six verses with us a few weeks ago, and we're going to dig into 7-12 today. This comes in the middle of what we might call an enduring letter to the local church. It's an enduring letter. It was an important letter for the Thessalonicans, for Thessalonians in Thessalonica in this town that, if all of you had to say that 10 times really fast I'd be, we would let us spit in the air, so don't do it. But it was a church that we know no longer exists. Every church that was written to in the Bible no longer exists as a local congregation. But the local church continues to exist because Jesus is building His church. And it seemed in prayerful consideration and great concert of opinion and spiritual opinion, and it has been, I think, verified over time that this letter was not just to one church, but to all churches. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
And that's another whole message in itself. And how did we get our Bible? But it's in our Bible because it's a cut above in so many unique and miraculous ways above anything else that was written around that time period. And so, it's not just a letter for that church, but it's an enduring letter for our church. It's a personal letter from God that He gave to us for eternity to come, until Jesus comes again. These are healthy, biblical, good, godly instructions for every local church, ours included. And I've considered using 1 Thessalonians as a way to say God has in so many ways blessed St. Joe Community Church through a difficult time period in history.
If you're a student of the Bible, you would discover that the thons letter is actually one of the most positive letters that Paul ever wrote. One of the most negative letters that Paul ever wrote and negative as in he was really upset with them, because they were not doing some good things, was the letter he wrote to the Galatian church, to the Galatians in Galatia. And so, the letter that you never want to get is the letter, the Galatians book in the Bible, and then the letter that you really want to get that's really encouraging and wow, you guys are hitting it out of the park would be the Thessalonians letter. And I wanted to use that one to say that the pandemic had an effect on the local church all over the world. But I only know our part of the world and I'm going to say even in our particular region, and even as I narrow it down to even within walking distance of this church, churches died. They didn't make it.
Some, it was time. Some they thought they were fine, but they were what you might call in the spiritual sense, underlying spiritual health issues that were detrimental to their ongoing sustainability. Just like the virus, attacked people who more likely were affected had other underlying health problems that would cause them to go into worst case scenario. Whereas some of us that got COVID 19, we kind of like, well it was miserable, but it wasn't life threatening at that moment in our lives. And I don't understand the science of all that, but in the same way that we saw that in a biological sense in the medical sense, that was true in the spiritual sense that churches didn't fare well when they had to close and couldn't open back up.
And when the normal streams of the way you did church, they couldn't adapt as quickly. And we struggled to adapt, but somehow some way, even with the division of opinion, and even with the division of a tremendous political upheaval that took place. And while there was not a unanimity of opinion, there was a unity of the Holy Spirit that I would say was only a miracle of God that we were able to sustain and actually grow and be stronger financially, and to actually emerge as a church that's moving forward. And I say, praise God for that. I say thank God for what He did and how He has worked. And I don't understand it, and there's nothing I could have done to manufacture, Bill Wallace would say occasionally. More than once he said to me, "Pastor, just make a decision. You will be absolutely wrong when you make it, but go ahead and make it." And it's just so encouraging, but it was true.
You just don't know what you don't know when you're in the dark. We'd never gone through this in our lifetime before. Dorothy had, a hundred and six year old, she'd been through some pandemics, and she didn't even die from the pandemic. She died from old age. God bless her, she's in heaven. You know, Spanish flu, you know, all that. She saw it all. Crazy, but we didn't know what to do about it, but God was good and God is good, all the time. All the time God is good. And I'm thankful for what He did. And I humbly say that. I don't take for granted that we have tomorrow. We're one crazy situation into chaos in any church situation, even in a good circumstance. So, there's nothing like we're just like gloating, we're in no way holding it over and saying, look at us; we're saying, look at God, because only God could have done what He did.
I wanted to preach through a letter that God gave to a church that was highly encouraging, because I just wanted to highly encourage us. And I wanted to be highly encouraged. You know, I don't like reading tough stuff all the time, so that's why we're in Thessalonians for the next season here. As long as I'm preaching, I'll be going through this throughout the summer.
This second section really is a section that continues on the first one, two weeks ago. You can look at it online. You can look at the notes online about trustworthy leadership, because we must examine who we follow and how we lead. We've got to examine that. Who are you following? Who is dumping into your life? How well do you know the people that you're listening to on the podcasts? I tend to, for the most part, I believe and trust - Bot Radio Network, that was a big shout out. Tammy works there and she was here in the early service, Tucker's mom. And I've just always found good resource, you know, I'm like, if they kick him off of Bot Radio, he probably should have been kicked off. And if they're on Bot Radio, they're probably decent. Not that you believe everything everybody says about everything. No, of course not. But generally speaking, probably pretty trustworthy. But even so, we've got to examine who we follow.
It's much easier at the local level, and that's why we believe in the local church as the primary place where we go and grow together. And that's why we believe in membership in a church. And by the way, on the 17th of July, it's in the bulletin we've put a class on there, Hope It Makes. We've got a few people that can go. But on the 17th of July, right after church, we have a free meal, and then we'll dig into what it means, why we believe membership's important, what it means to belong to a local church from the biblical versus, and having a relationship with God. I says, "Well, I don't know about joining a church. I just need to get closer to God." We talk about that too.
So, that's all inclusive and it's an afternoon class. We take breaks, but we just do it all at once, so you don't come back four or five times throughout several weeks, we just do it in one afternoon. And so, I welcome you to sign up for that if you've never taken that class and explored belonging to our local church or maybe any local church. Because you'll know in that class that we take accountability seriously with our leaders. Some crazy stuff that have been happening locally, and I mean locally, like regionally; I'm not going to mention it because I didn't want to mention it, but some really bad things happen on the news. I actually got to meet with coffee with a guy that had to report it on Wayne and it's just awful. And one of the deacons - one of the elders said to me, how would we handle that? I said, "Well, first of all, we'll never handle that. That that should never happen that way."
But there's accountability. There's a structure of, yes, we are independent, we're autonomous, we don't have a Pope that controls us here at St. Joe Community Church, although St. Joe sounds like Catholic. Anyway, Jesus is in charge of our church. We also have leadership and we've made a pact, the elders and I that like, if I start saying something that's ungodly, they have the right to come tackle me. Somebody might shoot me before they tackle me. I don't know. I mean, there's just some good accountability in this room, and that should always be the case. You should never just carp blank trust Pastor Greg or any other pastor that's up here.
There's standards by which we entrust people with leadership. And it's not because we've always known them forever. Obviously, some people they've known forever, but they didn't know all of them. And so it's important that we entrust one another to thinking carefully. And I'm going to show you some ideas about that. So, you need to examine who you follow. And then you also examine how you lead because all of us are leaders. And I want to quote what I quoted two weeks ago from Ray Steadman, a pastor who's gone home to be with the Lord. As he was preaching through 1 Thessalonians 2, in his commentary he said, "We must also remember that every believer is in the ministry; not just pastors, not just elders, not just ministry, team leaders. We're all leaders." We all have pastoral responsibilities. If you're a parent, you have a little flock at home to whom you should minister. This passage will help you minister effectively.
Some of you have friends with whom you meet at breakfast or lunch. Some of you have a Bible class in your home. This passage teaches how to be effective in any ministry, how to touch and how to change people. So everybody's a leader; you always lead somebody, somebody's following you. Somebody is your shadow and you need to be very careful how you're leading them. And so these principles, while you very much have every right to hold me accountable to them and to any leader in our church, you must also hold yourselves accountable to be a better person, to be a better influencer, to be a better leader.
So, let's look at what they are, and verse seven, let me just read for us the passage and then we'll break it down as we move forward from chapter two, verse seven. "Although we could have been a burden," this is Paul talking again, we the team that came there and started the 1 Thessalonians church, "although we could have been a burden as Christ apostles, instead we were gentle among you as a nurse nurtures her own children. We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you, not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives because you have become dear to us. For you remember our labor and hardship brothers and sisters, working night and day so that we would not burden any of you. We preached God's gospel to you. You are witnesses and so is God of how devoutly, righteously and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers. As you know, like a father with its own children, we encouraged, comforted and implored each one of you to live worthy of God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory."
A trustworthy leader, a trustworthy leader, first of all, in verse seven is nurturing, nurturing like a mother nursing, her children - life giving; that's what a leader is, strengthening, feeding, supporting, increasing the safety of the people that they're leading. Now, in other letters, as I said, Paul in his nurturing capacity was kind of harsh. He disciplined the church. He said, I am so amazed that you have so quickly abandoned what I taught you. And that's not a very nice thing to say, but it needs to be said when it needs to be said. And sometimes the hardest thing a parent ever does is discipline their child. And yet that's the best thing they can do when a child needs discipline.
It's nurturing though, in this passage, he's like, we came here nurturing, you helping to build you up. Verse eight, it's personal. A leader is not just do as I say, but you don't need to know who I am. A leader is personal, that's why I say local leadership is so much more important than national leadership or regional leadership. There are a lot of good pastors out there that preach circles around me; that's why they're popular in the soundbites out there. But I'll tell you what; how well do you know? Are they personal? I've been in the homes of people or I've talked to people at the coffee shops and they say, "Well, I listen to so and so," and they'll bring up a famous pastor and I'll say, "You know, I listen to that guy too. I like him." And they said, "Well, that's my pastor." I said, "Oh, have you talked to him about your funeral? I don't think David Jeremiah is coming back to do your funeral. The last time you were in the hospital, did an elder from his church come by to say hi to you?" "No, that didn't happen." Okay, so he's your pastor. I would think you'd want somebody a little closer to home that could minister and care for you and be with you and walk with you through the trials of life."
Paul says I was personal. They were completely transparent to the church. They shared the gospel and their lives. They didn't just come with a word, they came with their lives. They were trustworthy leaders who were building relationships with the followers. And by the way, I want you to know something; any trustworthy leader can stray into immorality, whether a little bit or a lot. And the difference is, when that leader is in a relationship, accountability to the body of Christ that he or she's leading in and working in; we're working together. Like, I need the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit through the fellowship of the body of Christ, as much as any other man in this church does. And the moment somebody stops asking, how's it going really? And not everybody has the permission to do that, because they don't know me that well, but there ought to be a man that have enough knowledge of who I am to say, how you doing really pastor? How's your thought life? What's going on? Are you going home to your wife regularly and just hanging out with family and not just doing ministry like crazy?
Now, a lot of people are saying, I want you to do more. I want you to do more. I want you to do more. Some are saying you need to do less. You need to do less. You need to do less to get home and take care of the home fire. And if there aren't people in a pastor's life doing that, that pastor's on a dangerous path. In fact, there's a book I read recently called Dangerous Calling and that whole idea that you've put pastoral leadership in some kind of a pedestal. And sometimes we do that as soon as they get out of seminary, and they have no accountability and they're expected to be this super hired holy guy that has it all together.
Trust me, I certainly didn't have it all together and I still don't have it all together, and I need real friendship. And so, my friendships would be people like, well, first of all, my wife; you wouldn't have to kill me, she would. And you'd all acquit her of that. My children, our church elders, ministry, team leaders, other Christian brothers in the church that you aren't leaders necessarily, but you can come to me and say, "Hey, I see some smoke. Is there any fire?" And then there's pastors that I talk to regularly. And during some of the crazy stuff that's been going on the national scene, I've been making buddy checks with pastors, "Hey, how you doing? Hey, how you doing?"
One guy that I know that kind of well, the leader of his ministry stepped down because of infidelity and that whole ministry, national ministry evaporated within 30 days. They will cease to exist June 30th. And I just reached out to him and said, "Hey, how can we...?" Little Indiana, I'm sure there's a whole bunch of other beautiful places in the world, but how can we minister to you? Is there a way we can just hold you tight and encourage you? He wrote me back and we'll see what happens, because there's just chaos going on. And there's people that just need to know, hey, how's it going really? And I don't know how many of my buddies, most of them have great accountability, but we all have each other. And there's some of my seminary buddies that I'll always be friends with until Jesus comes or we go home. And we just call each other and say, how's it really going?
And we get honest and real, but I need, and it doesn't replace the local accountability that you all give to me and to my life. A trustworthy leader is personal. A trustworthy leader is also sacrificial. Verse nine, what did he say there; "You remember our labor and hardship brothers and sisters working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we'll preach the gospel to you." That wording and the way it's worded in the original language, we tend to sense that... Paul, we think he was a tent maker by trade. He had a skillset that was employable outside of the congregation. And he in that situation, not every situation, but in this particular one, he determined and the team determined that they would be self-supporting and that he wouldn't ask the church for anything. And there's a brand new church. He says, "And you recall that we worked really hard. We worked during the day, we worked at night, we were busy doing the things that we needed to do to take care of ourselves even as we preached the gospel to you. Even as we planted this church, we were busy working with our hands."
Trustworthy leaders aren't lazy. Trustworthy leaders are not freeloaders. They're working hard. So many people are co-vocational, we call them. Ezekiel Easton might even be in the house right now, getting his stuff up here to get ready for worship when they meet at noon. He works a full day, 9-5, nine to a million. He has a pretty good job right now, but it's a full day's job, every day of the week, and then he pastors his church. Fernando Martinez, pastors Lion of Judah. They meet here at three o'clock Sunday mornings; they use our sanctuary - full-time job. His wife has a full-time job supporting their family, and he's a full-time pastor. There's no such thing as a part-time pastor; working the midnight, oil burning candle at both ends working and laboring for the gospel.
I've had the privilege because of the resources and the way God's blessed. I've not had to have a secular job to support our family while we minister the gospel. But because you support me or didn't support me wouldn't change the fact that I'm a pastor and I'm called to preach the gospel. And I told the church when we first started, if we need me to get a job, I'll get one. If I don't have to, I won't, but I'll follow the leadership of the church here, not me on that basis. And I did have a job for a little while at Indiana Tech and had some supplemental income, but it was more really to be on that campus in the minister and serve as a chaplain there than it was to get the income. But by God's grace, you have blessed our family that I've been able to take care of our family without doing that. And yet the same thing applies; pastors aren't lazy. Good trustworthy leadership works hard. Just as you're expected to work hard in your jobs to do a good job and get a paycheck; we work for the Lord and the Lord requires no less than our very best.
A trustworthy leader is sacrificial. A trustworthy leader also has proven integrity. And I say proven integrity because it's integrity over time. It's a track record of doing the right thing. And in verse 10, Paul's appealing to what they knew about them. You know us and God knows that we are, and he use three words; devout, righteous and blameless. Devout, single-minded. The translations would also say holy and set apart for God's purpose. They had a single-minded purpose to lead well in the name of Jesus Christ. They weren't distracted by the other things. A good soldier, the Bible says also; it's like a good soldier that isn't distracted by the things that keep them from pursuing what they ought to pursue for the kingdom that they're defending.
Devout, righteous - leaders behave well and resist lifestyles that may distract followers from trusting and following the Lord. You know this trustworthy pyramid; the more responsibility you're giving, the less rights you have as an individual. The more you have the right and the privilege and the responsibility to speak; the less you're allowed to say about what you feel. Boy, there's a lot of things I wanted to say during the pandemic online in response to some of you.
That's a joke. I have opinions. Take me to coffee, I'll tell you a few of them. I have to, some of you. I'll buy your coffee because you ought to get paid to hear what I think sometimes. But as a leader, I'm not allowed to say certain things. I'm not allowed to shoot my mouth off. A trustworthy leader doesn't shoot their mouth off. A trustworthy leader doesn't just do what they want to do with - well, I'm allowed to doesn't mean you should. There's certain lifestyle habits. I'm not a prude or a legalist about certain things. They just don't benefit me and my influence as a leader to do some of those things, so I don't. It doesn't make me better than anybody else. It's just that a righteous leader is just trying to help people be less distracted by humanity and more distracted by God.
And then the word blameless does not mean sinless. If that's the case, I need to step down right now because I'm not sinless. We're all sinners saved by grace; all of us. Nobody that stands here and speaks the word of God is sinless, but they ought to be blameless. And what does blameless mean? An open and uncovered life that continually confesses in forsake sin. Just somebody that's continually moving forward in their walk and people know it. You ask me what I get wrong. You all know what I get wrong. You know me; I've been personal with you sometimes.
And some of you don't like to know how wrong I am sometimes because you don't want to think that a pastor would do that. But the reality is that if a pastor does that and doesn't continually try to get better at not doing that; well, that's not a blameless life. A blameless life says, you know what; we trust this guy because he's pretty much walking the same direction he's been walking. And when he doesn't walk that direction, he turns right around and gets going again for God. Proven integrity! Trustworthy leaders have a track record of living openly and honestly for God and leading with high integrity. And then Paul wraps up his conversation about spiritual trustworthiness by talking about being like a father - parental. A trustworthy leader is parental. Verse 11 and 12, I'll read it again. "As you know like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted and employed each one of you to live worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."
Encouraging and comforting, challenging, imploring people to grow spiritually and follow the Lord more carefully. In other words, to be worthy of the Lord; a trustworthy leader wants God's best for their followers. The goal is that all of you will live a life worthy of God. In other words, a trustworthy leader leads people towards God's goals, not their own. Now, I've had some bright ideas a few times; most of them come from the body of Christ and I'll champion bright ideas. But for the most part, the good stuff that God tells us all to do is something He tells all of us to do, not just what I get it from high, I tell you and you guys do it. No, that's not how that works. And that's a good thing.
It's sort of like the parental side of this is for instance, a dad has a vocation. He does this. He's always done this. He got it from his dad. His dad taught him how to do that, so Junior's going to do it too. I mean, that's what our family does. Movies have been written about this, books have been written about this, movies have been made where the son is rebelling against the father's plan for his life, or the father who was a pretty good athlete, and he's living vicariously through his son's extraordinary athletic abilities. And he's squashing his son's potential to be who he's supposed to be because the dad has this expectation and dream imposed upon his son or daughter. And it squelches their creativity, it squelches the dream that God has put in their hearts and rebellion begins to well up, and then you have a wonderful story that everybody goes watches at the movies.
It's a terrible story if you live in it, and some of you may have had some stuff imposed on you. Well, because I did this, this is what you'll do. I went to college so you go to college. We never assumed any of our kids would go to college. We encouraged them. We said, "Hey, we see that you have what it takes to do that, and maybe that'd be a great way," but it was never an assumption that when we first started having kids that they'd all go to college, just because my wife and I did. We gave them an opportunity, but we wanted them to have an opportunity to do whatever the Lord wanted them to do and however they were designed to live out their lives, to give a life worthy of Greg. No, live a life worthy of the Lord.
And that's what a trustworthy leader does. They lead people, friends - followers, if they're really in spiritual leadership, officially, to live a life worthy of God, not a life worthy of supporting what they think is right and wrong about how to do life. How many ever had a word from the Lord from somebody? I got something that I think God wants you to do. Boy, I get that occasionally. And there's some people in town that don't know me that well. And they always have a word for me like, "Oh, I'll pray about that. I'll pray about that. I want to hear from the Lord." And I'd prefer to not say, "Bob, this is what I think you ought to do, but here's some options. Here's some thoughts. And let Bob hear from God what he ought to do, and Judy will tell him what to do.
Pick on the couples on the front row that have been married the longest and the most successful, by the way, parental. So, I have a question as we close this morning, are we following trustworthy leaders? Are you following trustworthy leaders who are speaking into your life? Are they grounded on the Bible and in a relationship with God or are the people that you're listening to, to live your life far from God? And if they say they represent God, how well do you know them that they actually do in their personal lives? I think a lot of the problems that we're facing on the national scene could be cleared up if a few more people got more careful about their accountability to people who would help them be a better leader.
I shake my head sometimes when I see political leaders make really bad decisions. And I think to myself, does anybody have the courage to tell them that's a bad decision? Or if they just gather around a bunch of people that just say yes all the time? And it's just painful to watch how people just don't put good advisors in their lives. But you know, on the local level, it's hard to get away with that because we know people. We see them, we see them in the grocery store and we say, "Hey, that wasn't a great idea there. You know, because we have a local connection, even more so in the body of Christ, how much better can we be if we just stay close to one another, help one another, follow the Lord? And I pray that anybody who is leading spiritually can say, even as Paul did in another letter, follow me as I am following Jesus. That's not arrogance. That's just saying I'm just a conduit, and I hope I'm a clear window for you to see Jesus through me. That won't be the case every day, that won't be the case every hour, but on a consistent basis, trustworthy leaders, that will be the case over time.
I wonder if we could just stand right now, and I don't know where you're at spiritually. Some of you, you're not following God at all, and maybe I don't know that for sure, but I just wonder in a crowd what God might be saying to you. Have you put your faith in Christ, the one true leader, the one true God, the one who leads us to the father, who died for your sins, that if you'll put your trust in Him, He'll give you the power to live a life you could never live without Him, or live a life that's worthy of God? Will you put your hope in Him and trust in Him today? Use a connection card or get online electronically and tell us, hey, I'm ready to put my faith in Christ.
Or maybe this morning you're a follower of God and it's time for you to up your game and move forward in a fresh way; to be more accountable, to be more in the body of Christ in a fresh way, just reach out. Our prayer team would love to pray for you and encourage you in whatever way that God is speaking to your heart about what you need to do next to grow in your life and your faith. And I just pray that you will pray for me. And even as I continually pray for you all that, I will not just start well, but finish well. Some of you have stories that you said, well, I didn't start very well. I don't care how you started; I care more how you finish because your past is not a determination of the future; the Holy Spirit is. Amen. He is our future. And so, as much as I pick on Bob and Judy down here, they need to finish well. We need to pray for them to continue to be an example of Christ until they go home to the Lord years from now. I pray that, because no one is out of the woods until we're in heaven. So pray for one another, encourage one another, build up your trustworthiness even as you follow people who are trustworthy so that we all live lives to the glory of God worthy of God.
Thank you for joining us today. For more information about the St Joe Ministry, visit www.stjoecommunitychurch.org or call area code (260) 471-4704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking for a church home, St. Joe means for worship and fellowship each Sunday morning at 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM. St. Joe is committed to your wellbeing and safety. For the latest policies regarding the COVID 19 pandemic, please visit the COVID section of the St. Joe website. Thanks again for joining us and we'll see you next week.
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A Trustworthy Leader Part 1
1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
May 22, 2022
An Enduring Letter to a Local Church
We must examine who we follow
-local spiritual leadership
-podcasts, online teachings
-other Christian friends
-Ray Stedman: [We must also remember that] every believer is in the ministry. We all have pastoral responsibilities. If you are a parent you have a little flock at home to whom you should minister. This passage will help you minister effectively. Some of you have friends with whom you meet at breakfast or lunch, some of you have a Bible class in your home. This passage teaches how to be effective in any ministry, how to touch and change people.
A Trustworthy Leader
1. Bold vs 1-2
-treated outrageously- great opposition, athlete in competition
-God emboldened them to preach the gospel
-Paul had nothing personal to gain by serving this church
-Opposition tests a leader’s resolve
-early quitters may not be real leaders
-long term faithfulness demonstrates real commitment
-He continues to define the character of his boldness…
2. Honest vs 3
-not from error- faulty reasoning
-not from impurity- not “dirty or filthy” no rotten intentions
-could also mean, no idolatrous or immoral talk
-we don’t have to use curse words or invoke worldliness when
Talking with people about Jesus
-not with an intent to deceive- no trickery
-Paul wasn’t trying to deceive them with a false message
3. Accountable to God vs 4
-approved by God- as if after a long examination
-The effectiveness of their message (people were saved, a
church was established) seems to prove God had blessed
-God’s messengers ultimately answer to God, not people
-All of us will answer to God for our words! Matthew 12:36
-are you influencing people towards/away from Jesus?
-do your words and ways match God’s Word and way?
4. Not self-seeking vs 5-6
-no flattery- tailoring the truth to fit popular opinion
-no greedy motives- effort to exploit for financial gain
-not seeking glory from people- opposite of vs 2 emboldened
The cost had been too high and the material rewards too meager to justify the thought that Paul was a crook manipulating people for his personal benefit. D. Michael Martin
-Beware of anyone who is using Jesus’ name to benefit
-Prosperity preachers aren’t trustworthy leaders
Are we following trustworthy leaders?
Are WE trustworthy leaders?
By Pastor Greg Byman
St Joe Community Church
February 10, 2019
As the calendar turns to 2019, millions of Americans will resolve to be better, and probably for millions of motivations. Too many Christians, however, are unwittingly making New Year's resolutions to earn God's love.
Today, Pastor Greg Byman concludes his study of Ephesians 4:15 on how Live a Godly Life, and this week we're finishing on your SHAPE:
B: Bible book