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A Church Worthy of Commendation - 1

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2021 7:00 pm

A Church Worthy of Commendation - 1

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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August 29, 2021 7:00 pm

What makes a church worthy of commendation- Pastor Greg Barkman begins a series with the answer to this question from 2 Thessalonians.

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Well, as already mentioned, today we begin our study of second Thessalonians. One of Paul's earliest epistles.

Some scholars think it was the second earliest of all 13 letter included in our New Testament. First Thessalonians, being number one in second Thessalonians, being number two. There are others, however, who think that perhaps the epistle to the Galatians was written first which would make first and second Thessalonians number two and three and I don't suppose will know the answer that question until we get to heaven if the Lord thinks that's worthwhile to disclose to us then, but it is certainly one of the earliest of Paul's epistles was written sometime around A.D. 51 short epistle three chapters 47 versus very very instructive written as was first Thessalonians from the city of Corinth. When Paul and his missionary teamwork they are establishing that church.

They were in the city of Corinth for a period of 18 months. During that time, Paul wrote back to the church at Thessalonica and Timothy no doubt carried that epistle to them delivered it gathered some some information and brought it back to Paul about how they were doing and Paul now wrote the second epistle, which basically is a follow-up on the first.

Many of the same themes are dealt with. But now in greater detail because Paul has more information, particularly as to how they responded to what he taught them in the first epistle, so there are three things primarily that are dealt with in this short epistle number one, Paul deals with them once again about the real problem of persecution. They better be ready for it.

They better be fortified against it, and that comes up very much in chapter 1 the verses I read you a moment ago. Secondly, they still had questions about the timing of the second coming of Christ.

They had problems with that that Paul addressed in the first epistle.

A lot of information in chapter 4 in chapter 5, but still they don't understand that as thoroughly as they should. And so Paul comes back in second Thessalonians chapter 2 and gives get additional information about the second coming of Christ in the number three there were evidently some members of the church of Thessalonica, who were not working who were able to work but they were idle, some speculated that these two things go together.

Namely, that because they thought the coming of Jesus Christ would be any moment that wasn't exactly a wrong idea, but because they were expecting him to come any moment some time surely in the next few weeks or months. There's no sense of my work and now I might as well just enjoy myself until the time comes, and Paul had had dealt with that lightly, and first Thessalonians, and that did the job and so he comes back and deals with that pretty heavy-handed second Thessalonians chapter 3 as we will see when we get to that point. But today, an introduction to this epistle, taking up trap versus 1 to 3 and four in each of these verses. I have assigned a one word label to we see number one identification is one, number two benediction verse two third obligation verse three and four commendation verse four identification verse one says Paul savanna's and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse one coupled with verse two constitute what we call the salutation and this was a customary form for epistles in that first century, namely to begin by first of all identifying the author of the letter. Secondly, identifying the recipients of the letter and then thirdly extending a greeting.

Apply greeting of some kind that you generally included some well-wishers of one kind or another. Paul followed that first century format.

He identifies the author of the epistle and the recipients of the epistle with any Christianize is the customary greeting to make it very specific to their situation in two hours and to understand that any well-being that any of us might enjoy comes from the grace and peace of God. That's the only way that we can enjoy such blessing. So first of all, Paul identifies the author and he says Paul Silver anise and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians. So the question is who is the author is. It Paul or is it Paul savanna's Timothy is the author one person or is the author. Three person when we seen this before, similar language were Paul includes others along with himself in the place where the authors identified in the format that epistles were written in in that day. Paul, in this particular case mentions silver, anise, and Timothy because they were his partners in missionary work.

They were with him when he wrote this in the city of Corinth labored alongside him. There who are they, and will take a moment because working through. This helps us to get our mind in the context of the epistle, which will better help us to understand it as we move along silver anise is better known to us assignments. Paul always calls him silver anise when he mentions him in his epistles, Dr. Luke always calls him Silas when he mentions him of the book of acts. Silas of course was a shortened form of silver anise Silas you may recall replaced.

Barnabas is Paul's main missionary part in Paul's first missionary journey was Paul and Barnabas. In fact, actually work technically was Barnabas and Paul, Barnabas and Saul and some well or early in that journey, two things happen number one. Saul's name got changed to Paul that already was his name but he was more commonly called Saul, and now he's being called Paula more Christianized name Christianized form of his name. That happened early in the first journey, but even more significantly, early that first turning the leadership of the team chain started out with Barnabas taking the lead and Saul going along the support and help him but it became very clear early on that the hand of God was on Saul. Now Paul in an unusual way and Paul not by pushing himself to the forefront, but nevertheless when the need arose was more or less pushed to the forefront by the spirit of the living God, and Paul began to preach with power and Paul began to take leadership in this team and so it became Paul and Barnabas and they had a very fruitful ministry, but there's also 1/3 member of that team.

Remember when they started out it was Barnabas and Saul and Mark John Mark remember him go. We learned later, was a nephew to Barnabas, which no doubt figured in to all of the difficulties that happened later. Sometimes those human ties those blood ties can be awful thick and John Martin didn't last. He started out and he bailed out stick to it. He didn't persevere. He wasn't willing to take the hardships he headed back home to mama in the city of Jerusalem where he had grown up in a place of comfort and wealth.

He was from a well-to-do family and so he left Barnabas and Paul do continue on by themselves without his aid. He was needed.

So when the time for the second journey.

Paul and Barnabas, and finished first. Judy went back home reported on their work to the church in Jerusalem into the church in Antioch state a few months and then Paul said it's time to go again and Barnabas said that's a good idea. All all round Upjohn market will go again appalled at all.

Not know not John Mark. We can't count on him he can't trust him.

He didn't stick. By the stuff he's not reliable can't take him again.

Barnabas said he's a good boy. He's learned his lesson and he'll stick to it this time. We need to take him again and Paul said no. Barnabas said yes. Paul said no and Barnabas said yes. Barnabas took John Mark and went to Cyprus in Paul's took Silas surveillance and he headed out toward Galatia and on his second missionary journey and Silas turned out to be very worthy partner as Barnabas had been. And so that's who Paul is included in this salutation, Paul and silver anise something that silver anise was serving as Paul's amanuensis heard me say that word often enough by now that I think you understand what that is, that he was serving as Paul's secretaries Paul was dictating this letter is no certainty about that because the Bible doesn't tell us, but that certainly is a possibility.

So Paul and Silas, and then who else Timothy Timothy were pretty familiar with Timothy but Timothy was was collected.

You might say enlisted by Paul on that second missionary journey when he announced Silas return to the site of their first labors in Galatia with were four churches established and in the area of the Twin Cities of Leicester in Derby. We don't know which of these two cities. Timothy was actually from an mentions both of them together but they are one of those churches. There was a young man named Timothy that was highly commended by the church and Paul got to know him and he said he would make a really good helper. It make a really good partner.

He would make it. This is not exactly mentioned that you can almost hear it underneath the surface here. He would make a good replacement. John Mark somebody to replace him and Timothy would be a good replacement so Timothy, how about you going along and Timothy said I would be delighted that would be my greatest joy in life would be to serve the Lord in that way. So Timothy came along and in time became Paul's most trusted ministry partner and probably I think I mentioned this earlier delivered the first Thessalonian epistle to the city of Thessalonica and stayed there long enough to get some report of how things were going and then joined Paul and Silas back in Corinth, so back to the question who's the author it's Paul. Paul is being is being kind and courteous. He's been is honoring his partners there with him. He's he's including them. He wants the church.

It Thessalonica to know that they are valued in the part of this no doubt they read the epistle that Paul wrote to date, gave their stamp of Hardy agreement to what was said and Paul kindly includes them along with himself as the author, but just between you and me. We know it was Paul and not really Silas and Timothy who were the author of this epistle, it was Paul led by the Holy Spirit of God. So who is the author Paul who were the recipients will the church of Thessalonica now just quickly to remind you, because this important for our understanding to get everything in context context the church of Thessalonica was founded by Paul on that second missionary journey.

After he and Silas left the city of Philippi where they had a good ministry until they were jailed were beaten and jailed and were invited to leave, which they did. They complied with that desire for the magistrates to have them leave town to avoid any further disruption and embarrassment to the magistrates so they headed down the road from Philippi and they traveled 100 miles before they stopped again in Thessalonica know they went through a couple of other cities and a lot of small towns along that road, but they didn't stop at any of those they didn't stop till they came to Thessalonica because and we can only learn this by observing the pattern of the apostle Paul because were not told this specifically but it's clear that Paul centered his ministry in cities that had potential to spread the message of the gospel far and wide wasn't that he wasn't concerned about the souls of the smaller towns but it was that he was strategizing how do I get the gospel out the most effectively Philippi was such a city, it had a lot of commerce a lot of people traveling there from other places and so Paul spent time there and established a church Thessalonica was another such city, one of the largest of the Roman Empire in that day had a population of 200,000 people, which was large that day and time became the capital of Macedonia, northern Greece. It was a port city one of the three major port cities around the Aegean Sea. Thessalonica, Corinth and Ephesus were the three port cities. All cities were Paul established churches seek this pattern.

Ephesus large, bustling port Corinth large, bustling port Thessalonica large, bustling port as well as situated on the nation way. One of the major roads that Rome built across their empire.

So you had people traveling through on foot and horseback in carriage and otherwise traveling through that town regularly you had ships coming in and unloading and reloading and sailing off again bustling bustling town with a lot of people coming and going. It had a synagogue which means there was a sizable Jewish population. Paul preached there in the synagogue by the blessing of God church was established in Thessalonica, which Paul was forced to leave there before he would have chosen to but God has ways of making his will known in persecution drove him out there. From there he went to Berea established another church driven out there. There he went to Athens and preached in the church was not established there. From there he went to Corinth and spent a year and 1/2 in the church was established. There from Corinth. He's writing back to Thessalonica to this church established in that town so the recipients are and it depends on whether you want to think in terms of singular or plural in the question of the author is a singular or plural as a singular Paul was a plural.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy in a similar vein, who are the recipients is a singular church or is it plural Christians the course of both, but to the church singular of the Thessalonians plural and so sometimes we have to think of Paul focusing upon a church local church in its in its entirety, and other times we have to think of the individual members who make up the church because all churches are made up of individual people, but the church at Thessalonica who are in. This is a little bit unusual who are in the father in God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Now for those who want to take the time to do it. You will see that this benediction. This note benediction comes next. This identification of the recipients is identical to the one in first Thessalonians, except for the addition of that little word hour in front of father and first Thessalonians.

It is to God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ in here it is to God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ commentary. Some of the commentaries make quite a bit of that distinction is a wonderful reminder that for Christians, God is not some distant God, but he has by grace become our father. What a wonderful relationship. However, the most interesting to me. Interesting thing to me is that Christians are described as being in God the father and the Lord Jesus Christ and I'm accustomed to thinking of Christians as being in Christ. I don't know too many places in the New Testament where they are described as being in God the father.

When we talk about Christians being in Christ.

I have a pretty clear understanding of what that mean we are placed in a mysterious way in to Christ inside of Christ. We are in union with Christ and we are viewed by God as being part of Christ in what he did, so that when Jesus died on the cross we died in him. And when Jesus rose from the grave.

We rose in him. And when Jesus is presented perfect and righteous before the throne of God, as he has the similar spotless Lamb of God. We who are in Jesus are just as righteous as he is wonderful truths to be in Christ. In this vital union with Christ. What does it mean to be in God the father, I would have to think it means something similar. We are in union with God the father. We somehow share the divine life that is in the father and of course when you are in Christ.

You are in the father because of the mystery of the Trinity is not three gods it's one God, but to be in God means to be in his favor to be in God means to be in his family. Our father to be in God needs to be means to be in his protecting shelter.

Nothing can harm. Thus us who are in God. If we are in God we know who God is. We know his power, his invincibility nothing can harm him. If we are in God can harm us nothing.

Nothing.

So we are in or they were in you. You are in.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ. So that is the identification of the author and the recipients of another benediction verse two Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ in secular letters of that first century there would be something like a benediction.

It would be quite like this but there would be a general statement of wishes of goodwill and prosperity will be after identifying the author and the recipient would be some statement may the gods be with you may hear life prosper that you be in good health. Something like that going on.

It would just customary to include something like that. Paul was always the strategize or he would use what was useful but sentiments like that.

If that's as far as they go particularly useful.

But if you can take those and Christianize them if I can use that term and turn them into real solid meet real stolid understanding of what's going on here and turn it into a benediction grace and peace from God the father from the Lord Jesus Christ. A benediction and in this benediction. We notice the blessings bestowed of the source of these blessings. The blessings bestowed her grace and peace. You know what they are. Grace is unmerited favor grace is divine enablement. Grace is coming God coming in doing within us and for us that which we could never do for ourselves without grace we would be forever lost. Without grace we would never make it safely home to heaven, but it's God's grace, amazing grace, how sweet the sound that same direction like me and through many toils and snares I have already come to his grace has brought me safe thus far to his grace will lead me. Peace means will be increased as the idea prosperity. This has a little bit of the the secular emphasis to it. Paul is telling them and us reminding them that to have real peace, you must first of all, have peace with God and then secondly, you can enjoy the peace of God, you understand that distinction. Peace with God was that what are we apart from Christ, what are we apart from the new birth.

What are we apart from salvation. The Bible tells us we are enemies of God. We are at enmity with God, which makes us enemies of God.

That's not peace that's war. It helps us understand why in this world though.

There's so much talk about these so much strategizing for peace so much emphasis upon peace.

So many efforts made to achieve peace so much money expended to bring those efforts about so many organizations that are found in so many treaties that are made so many conferences that are conducted in order to bring about peace. It never happens and never can happen until the people who are making these efforts are at peace with God, we can enjoy the peace of God, the peace that flows from God until first of all we ourselves are rightly related to God.

If we are at war with God. How can we be at peace with but upon those who are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul says grace and peace. You have peace peace with God, which then enables you to enjoy the peace of God that means the practical peace which God gives to the soles of his people to enable them to sense peace and joy, peace to experience peace even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. Now sometimes our peace of God lags behind our peace with God when we are justified. We are at peace with God that settled now for the rest of our lives were working out the. The details of enjoying and in cultivating and and implementing the peace of God in our life and in our relationships and we don't ever get that completely perfect, but we can work on it, we can enjoy it.

To a degree in it to a growing degree. Everyone desires peace that only God's children can truly enjoy peace, but when we know God. When we have the peace of God, how wonderful it is to then be able to develop peace with others around us member that song, peace, perfect peace in this dark world of sin. The blood of Jesus whisper peace within will have to sing that again sometime.

So the blessings bestowed her grace and peace. The source of these blessings is from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. These blessings come from God our father for God alone can bestow divine grace that must precede peace. God alone can impart true peace. But when we are trusting Jesus, then God is our father. We are his children and still he continues to bestow grace and peace upon us, comes from God our father and and equally as much from the Lord Jesus Christ is from God the father, God the father bestows grace and peace from God the son does to God the son, the only one who could satisfy the father's justice to make peace possible. The one who bestows divine blessing and this is may be more to the point equally with God the father, which then leads us to the inevitable conclusion that he must be God to people who have who don't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, the tri-unity of God can't find evidence for that truth anywhere in the Bible but like so many things.

Once you do understand that you just keep bumping into it all over the place.

It just leaps out and grabs it, even though you never find the word Trinity anywhere in the Bible, you still will find the truth about the tri-unity of God or least in this case, the plurality of the Godhead spirit is mentioned here, but God the father and God the son are in here is very plain.

You got God the father, the only one who can dispense divine grace and true peace. And he doesn't bestow that upon his children, but that same divine grace and peace is equally bestowed by God the son, the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore what other conclusion can you draw except Jesus. Christ is God's.

Jesus Christ is God our Savior, who died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead is Almighty God, we move from benediction to obligation verse three we are bound rights Paul to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting because your faith grows exceedingly and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other. Paul talks here about the obligation of giving thanks we are bound to give thanks for you, not common for Paul to talk about giving thanks to God for believers and for the churches, but it's unusual for Paul to describe that giving of thanks is an obligation in fact, I think this may be the only place where he says that in that way many times he describes giving thanks to God the father for this church without church with these people those people for this blessing for that blessing, but here he places it in terms of an obligation is not just that I do it and it's wonderful to do it. It's that I must do it. I'm obligated to do. I am bound. It's a word that means 200 as a debt I am indebted to this.

To do this all aims is a continuous obligation. I'll never be free from the rest of my life I will always be under obligation to give thanks to God. We understand this concept of being under obligation to God. Surely we understand that we owe our service are devotion are our life are good works in the cause of Jesus Christ because he redeemed sweet work prisoners.

We were slaves we work bound and Jesus Christ came in and paid the redemption price. He freed us he bought us that in buying us. He freed us, but in another sense in buying us. He made us now is serve servants to send service to Satan. We were bound. We were drowned. Christ came along and said I will redeem you. I will purchase you out of that condition and so like buying slaves out of the slave market. Jesus Christ bought us unto himself. Now he's not a cruel taskmaster and he doesn't around the end of lupus and he just tells us what we ought to do as a as an act of gratitude for what he has done, but he doesn't drive us to do it. Surely we understand our obligation to do it. It is a debt it's a debt. Paul speaks of similar language here Thanksgiving is a debt just like serving Christ as a debt fact giving of thanks may be one area of service to discharge our debt, which can never be fully discharged. Thanksgiving is a debt for those who have received such marvelous grace. Thanksgiving is a debt for those who have enjoyed answered prayer and Paul the things that he mentions here in a moment, as will see that were the reasons for his Thanksgiving at least one of them is a direct answer to a prayer that he mentioned in the first epistle of the Thessalonians.

So God is answered that prayer and Paul now feels an obligation and obligation to give thanks to God for answered prayer for being so gracious unto him, do you feel that didn't do you feel a debt of expressing Thanksgiving to the God who has saved you. Do you feel a debt and obligation to give thanks when God answers prayer.

Oh how tongue-tied we can become sometime shame on us. We don't recognize this as an obligation and gladly render to him the thanks which he deserves, particularly one of the reasons for Thanksgiving. In this case. He tells us in verse three we are bound to give thanks always for your brethren as it is fitting because here's the reason because number one. Your faith grows exceedingly and number two the love of every one of you also abounds toward each other. Two reasons it's for you to give thanks because your faith grows exceedingly and your love abounds exceedingly.

Your faith grows exceedingly. This indicates that our faith is something that is not set in concrete.

It's not static it's it's alive. It is always either growing or shrinking can't just stand still and if it's not growing and shrinking their faith was growing it was growing amazingly it was growing exceedingly, or the means or grows beyond measure, beyond expectations super growth in their case super growth as a pastor I have course enjoy watching people who come to faith in Christ and seeing the growth and development. Some people grow so fast it makes your head spin.

Other people grow so slow. You wonder sometimes are they really saved it all and yet even in that case so many times slowly slowly slowly over a period of years.

The people in this auditorium today that in the early years of your Christian faith.

I wondered they really been born again. I don't see much growth. I don't see much development and now I see an abundance it's so evident it so clear. Oh yes oh yes you been growing slowly wasn't exactly this kind of of growth. It wasn't beyond measure, beyond expectation wasn't super growth but was growth was growth. The God who saved you sanctified you and decide to find you the God who saved you as enable you'd enabled you to understand Scripture little bit more little bit more little bit more faith is been growing growing growing that's wonderful. Sometimes people's faith grows so fast you say is it possible that they've only been saved six months there, walking, talking, serving like Christian is been saved for 15 or 20 years, their understanding of Scripture mirrors that of someone who's gone to seminary where they get all that they learn all that so quickly explode.

That's with Paul. So here among the Thessalonians. And he's amazed it is giving thanks for your faith has exploded beyond expectations way beyond the usual in the ordinary and I give God thanks for that, and number two. Every one of you all in your love, the love of everyone of you all abounds toward each other. That's with all the prayed for future back to chapter 3 verse 16 which is pretty hard since it's only 13 verses in chapter 3 idle work. What I should've written down in my notes and wrote the wrong wrong reference. You can some of you can be looking for will I keep preaching, but in first Thessalonians. Paul prayed that their love would grow. Now he gives thanks that their love has grown amazingly again like their faith is just super abounds. There must be a relationship between growing faith and growing love. It abounds each member. Each member of the church expressing overflowing love to all the other members of the church. No member, no member excluded from both giving and receiving love. What a church. What a fellowship of believers. What a wonderful place to be. And no wonder Paul is giving thanks to God for these evidences of God's working in their lives. Would Paul have reason to give similar thanks for us for our church super abounding growing faith, super abounding manifestations of love. Would Paul have reason to give similar thanks for you is that kind of faith growing within you is that kind of love being expressed by you. Finally, commendation verse four, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure commendation.

What is Paul doing his boasting. We speak proudly of you is another way this could be rendered who's doing the boasting. Paul and his team are we ourselves are doing this, not the Thessalonians of this is important.

Boasting about who they are, what they've done.

There are boasting about their church, their accomplishments, but Paul is posting to others about them.

Remember Proverbs 27 to let another man praise you and not your own mail. A stranger not your lips. World says if you don't to Sharon Warner own horn. It will be tooted.

The Bible says if you don't to chew her own horn and nobody else to sit then let it go on tooted because yeah and the you're doing well. No doubt God will have someone else to do church point, which is a godly form of boasting right to Paul and the other team members were boasting about the Thessalonian church among the churches other churches to encourage them and to stimulate them to do likewise.

Chapter 1 of first Thessalonians. Paul said that other people were reporting on the work and the great spread of the gospel that was going out from the Thessalonian church. Other people were doing that now Paul says is so are we. Other people were doing this you can check it out. Chapter 1 verses eight through 10, but we are to were boasting about you to the other churches were proud of you and we want others to know what God is doing in your midst, and why was he boasting, particularly, there are three things because of their patients, their faith and their endurance see it for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure all of these things go together were patients actually could be translated. Perseverance their steadfast endurance under trial is why Paul was boasting about them and their faith which we've already mentioned the growing faith was why Paul was boasting about them. And of course it was their faith that enabled them to patiently endure in the face of persecutions and tribulations.

Persecutions are the hostile actions of the enemies of the gospel and they were experiencing that we haven't had much of that in America somebody speaks unkindly to us. We feel like we've been persecuted.

Oh poor me I been persecuted. We haven't had much of that yet, but it very well may be coming. Looks like it on the horizon, but they were experiencing that hostile actions by enemies of the gospel, but also tribulations. That's just the trials of life. That's the sicknesses that we all endure. That's the loss of jobs and income that we all endure from time to time.

That's the death of a loved one that we all endure. That's the difficulties of life and whether it was hostile actions of enemies of the gospel coming at them or whether it was a normal trials of life, what was their response faithful patient endurance. They didn't flinch. They didn't falter. They didn't complain they just kept steadily onward, trusting God, and Paul said that's what I am boasting about to others. That's what I want to see in all the churches. Most of you know that there were different philosophies abroad in the Roman world primarily inherited from the Greek Greek world before it and one of those philosophies was called Stoicism the Stoics were the people who tried to steal themselves against emotions basic just going to be unmoved by the difficulties of life. If you show too much joy, then you'll also end up experiencing a lot of sorrow so just write it in be stoical about everything the Stoics had a statement about trials. Just a very short phrase that was indoor and abstain when it comes to trial. Just endure them and abstain from getting worked up. Abstain from complaining because there philosophy was what good does it do to complain about things that are outside your control. Yeah that's right isn't what good does it do to complain about things that are outside your control. But Christians are not Stoics what Christians say Christians endure because we belong to God, and we know that he is in perfect control and he is a wise and gracious purpose for every trial so we endure, but not still weekly. We endure not what we can sorrow as others not like others who have no hope we can sorrow at the difficulties of life and we can rejoice in the joys of life.

We do have emotions, God-given emotions, we can we can utilize them.

We can express that we can we can enjoy them, as it were in and let them operate in our lives freely. We don't have to steel ourselves against an emotional response to things, but we don't let our emotions. Emotions control us. Then out of the driver's seat. Our faith is our knowledge of God's word is in the driver's seat.

Truth is what directs us truth is what guides our emotions. Truth is what tells our emotions to get in line with the word of God. That's what it means to endure patiently. So what we have here is an exemplary church. In fact I didn't give you my title but the title my sermon is a church worthy of commendation and that's what Paul is doing. He's commending an exemplary church. So in closing, let me ask the question what made them exemplary and of course I've already given it to you but let's review what made this church exemplary so that Paul commended them. Was it their large numbers.

Their large size know that's not mentioned anywhere, wasn't there beautiful building know they didn't even have a building.

None of the churches had buildings in the first century wasn't that wasn't there. Great music always got great music at our church know that's not mentioned either, nor wasn't there perfection because as the epistle unfolds, we find out that yes like every church they had problems like every church they had areas that needed to be improved.

Like every church.

They had some members who needed to be reined in and brought back into line so wasn't perfection.

The Paul was commending but what was it growing faith, growing love and perseverance in the face of trials. That's what Paul commended. So I ask what will make our church exemplary same thing growing faith, growing love and God honoring perseverance in the face of trial.

What will make churches all across America.

Exemplary and effective in this world. Same thing growing faith, growing love in Christ honoring perseverance in trials was growing faith come from comes from a growing understanding and application of God's work.

We can't expect to grow in faith, and less were growing in knowledge the knowledge of God's word about love will love is an outflow of the application of God's word. It is more Christ likeness toward others less pride, less selfishness, less carnal ambition and perseverance. Well it is determining by God's help and grace. I'm not going to get indignant in the face of trials.

It's easy to do that are sinful hearts tend to want to express feeling express indignation (into that again the other day. I don't want to go into the details been talking to a man on Friday who came by my house and was looking at all the trees they're cutting around around me have any of you would buy there lately. Things are really changing around the apartment house we used to live in 100 acres of woods another cutting down 77 acres of woods around us and it is a mess. He wanted to talk about that and he wanted to express his indignation how indignant he was and I said hey for 29 years we've enjoyed somebody else's trees. They did blog us. That was a blessing and I kept coming back to him. That way they wanted to be indignant about everything.

No reason to be indignant. Come on now, not indignation the face of trials not listen to me now battling viciously for our freedoms not confusing American patriotism or Christianity.

This is tough and I struggle with it like you do. I'm an American citizen, I have citizenship rights. I have a constitution that I want to uphold and I want to defend and I want to fight for.

That's what I have, that's what I have a right to as a American citizen but you know what my identity as a Christian is more important even than my American identity and my citizenship in heaven is more important than my American citizenship and plan these two things.

Conflict is sometimes they do. If one my American in Americanism would lead me to respond in an un-Christlike way. I've got to say wait a minute. I'm not an American first.

I'm an American. Second, I'm a Christian. First, I can't respond that way. Now I know I have responded wrongly many times over but I got to keep reminding myself I can't respond that way. I'm a Christian.

I got a show Christ like endurance and patience in the face of trials with love and humility that will make me an exemplary and commendable Christian, shall we pray. Father, help us to learn from your work.

It is light, may we receive the light and walk in the light, we pray in Jesus name, amen


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