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October 27, 2020 8:00 am
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit. That is a loaded phenomenal statement. The pressure on you and Thessalonica was to believe the pressure is on you to not follow Christ. You follow the Thessalonians were welcoming the word and effectively inviting the word into the situation where standing for because the people there were ambivalent or maybe even hostile to the Christian faith. The early church at Thessalonica faced that kind of pressure. So when Paul wrote to them. Part of what he wanted that church to know was how they were to behave in the midst of their culture. We need to hear the same lesson from Paul and today were going to do just that. This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davey is in a series called upon this rock where he's looking at some key principles that the church is supposed to live by. Today's lesson is called how we behave ask a question people know you think of when they think of you when I think of when they think of this collection of people called colonial might not be a funny laughing matter how I found this recently and showed it to me. A group of fish is called the school a group of clams is called bed. A group of bats is called colony a group of deer is called a herd group of sheep is referred to as a flock.
A group of bees is a swarm. A group of hyenas is a clan, a group of lions is a pride, a group of wolves is a pack a group of baboons is a Congress of actually getting to the next point get this group of alligators is called a congregation terrible teeth. We people whatever alligators called terrible use of this word well what is I will think of us that has a lot to do with how we behave.
Doesn't in our series on the church we discussed so far who we are, why we belong. Why we exist. Let's begin talking about this particular subject.
How we behave how we behave turning your New Testament letter from Paul to the Thessalonians is first letter. This is the only New Testament church. By the way what Paul actually says their behavior is commendable to every other church find it intriguing that whenever I think of the way the church ought to behave in Christian certainly cannot help but think of this church in Thessalonica, so let's go back here and and take a look as we take another step toward this understanding as a church family of how we behave as we work through and expound on just a couple of phrases. Let me outline our study by giving you three characteristics of how church ought to behave by just the first century, but in the 21st century.
In the first characteristic is simply this, and I'll show you this, we mimic faithful role models. We mimic faithful role models and was just wanted to drop into the second time at verse six. Notice he says of this church. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, that word to imitate comes from the Greek word may taste which transliterated gives us our word mimic or imitate or my almost here that came to eliminate the word originally referred to somebody following someone else's lifestyle were following someone else's teaching they were mimicking so here the Thessalonians are known for following mimicking the lifestyle of the apostle Paul and of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ know a little later on in this paragraph Paul is actually going to tell these believers easier to commend them for becoming examples themselves for others. So there imitating faithful role models and they are being imitated by the way, that's a principal that's more true then we probably know you are perhaps unconsciously or maybe consciously following someone else start stalking them.
I'm talking about just watching them.
You notice that either the assembly may be there believer you work with it and you find yourself watching their behavior and its commendable to you and it's encouraging to use your challenge to imitate their demeanor or perhaps there spiritual discipline, their testimony, and in front of others in the workplace or in the neighborhood. The truth is, that's a wonderful thing by the way, and in that he's commending them for doing that. There are people watching you to your people following you children certainly follow their parents. They learn by imitation.
The more I learn from reading it. It's an amazing learning curve for little babies and as they study her face there actually learning to imitate you sound like you and that's why they not only learn how to talk but they talk with your accent. They sound like you, someone calls your house and your daughter answers and they think it's your wife or your son answers and they think it's you father's remarkable. They learn it in such a way that they mimic. Here's a question worthy of asking from time to time if if someone is potentially I think it's more than we recognize following you, where you leading them. Where are you taking as one author said you are either a steppingstone or an obstacle in their path of spiritual growth and by the way, don't ever use the excuse of well you… A good example is that I wasn't raised by good example I did to promote it. Had good examples you not… Surrounded by by people who are good examples of these Thessalonians lived in the middle of a pagan culture that no legacy, no heritage.
The first generation Christians in here.
They are surrounded yet committed to following the example of Paul and by the way many of them have never seen him. It says here that there also imitating or mimicking Jesus Christ, and none of them saw him yet are known for their passionate diligent mimicking of these faithful role models is your role model.
Who are you following be a bad thing. Of course, can be a good thing.
It all depends on who they are. It's true not only by the way of individual Christians.
It's true of churches, you know, I've lived in this community long enough that if I see something with a bumper sticker with the name of the church. I merely have an impression the church is either you are working hard for Christ and and and growing and developing and maturing all have those positive thoughts to mind are all seen the bumper sticker of another church and I don't know. They actually are pastored by an unbeliever is true of churches.
Churches tend to watch churches. Churches tend to follow churches those in the pastorate. The inside story. The joke is that we use other people's stuff that we just change the logo on the front cover.
I get magazines every day here church in my box whether I subscribe to them or not, and I actually don't. But I get these magazines and I'll stand there in the work room before I file them in this big gray round filing cabinet with a plastic liner and I just can't look at some of the pictures and it's intriguing. Churches are interested in what other churches are doing kind of audio and lighting use all kind of buildings they build ministries their temp methods are are they attempting a lot of the ideas are shallow, some are misguided some are worthy and the baby pause and think that this very interesting. No more about that fact. Because of that very fact that this church is commended by the apostle Paul for effectively serving as an example to other churches.
I think it's important for any church that ages and matures to do the same God is giving opportunities to us and in that arena and a number of different venues. You probably drove anybody noticed a blue sign that talked about a conference were going to have in nine days. Pastors from 26 different states in five continents, converging here, hundreds of them for a conference for the workshops are scheduled were bringing in speakers from around the country and the registrations pastors are paying or paying for just a casual you're wondering so many crucial issues are facing the church today.
Frankly, it's a different world and the New Testament communicates this pattern, pastors, mentor pastors, just as Paul does with Timothy and Titus. Older women mentor younger women justice Titus is encouraged in chapter 2 of that letter from Paul and Ann, churches, mentor churches, just like this church in Thessalonica. This is only our second year for hosting this pastors conference and it's encouraging to see what's happening. Listen is really nothing more than the responsibility of not only the believer to be an example, but the church church truly nothing more than accepting the leading of the Lord in your own life. The apostle Paul doesn't say here. I hear that you are imitating Jesus and me. Not that all I just imitate Jesus that his name is right next to the words I would be intimidating that the rights to the church in Corinth, not out of pride or arrogance, and he literally says the imitators of me as I follow Christ for screen is 11 one evidently following a faithful role model is commendable and becomes responsibility for the believer. However, not only to follow a faithful role model, but to become one. Here's how we behave individually and as a church family. We mimic faithful role models finally move on. Secondly, we model joyful responses. Verse six again. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit is a loaded phenomenal statement for tribulation here can be translated intense pressure. In other words, even though the pressure on you in Thessalonica was to disbelieve the gospel you believed it.
Even though the pressure is on you to not follow Paul and Christ, you follow you, you received the word with that spirit. By the way, the word received. That could be rendered with a little more of a warm or it means literally to welcome to welcome you welcomed the word, you effectively invited the word into your life.
Sort like you open the front door when a good friend knocked on that door or a family member came to visit you and and and you opened it and you smiled and you said, the Thessalonians were welcoming the word and effectively inviting the word into the home of their heart and life is how we behave then we we put out the welcome mat for the word, we welcome it. We long for it. We we learned we memorize it we want to live it were convicted by were challenged by we were hosted together for singing the songs were rehearsing. Much of what we get a deal within this text and they didn't know my text just love it when the Lord puts it all together.
This this is what we do we we have given the word and the truth of the word, and the Holy Spirit who uses the word effectively and open invitation into our hearts and lives come on come on until Mrs. a response though is in the midst of intense pressure to have joy in the midst of intense pressure and that joy the way it's constructed is by means of or as a result of the Holy Spirit. It is something they decided to be joyful today to be joined to get my coffee cup with a smiley face on it. :-) Everybody today is the Holy Spirit producing fruit that he can produce in your life which is settled peace and joy. So, did you notice the reception of the word produces joy so they welcome the word, and evidently they welcome the pressure. They welcome the pressure. When my commentaries mention the first century letter from Dionysus, as he's describing the first century Christians. He is in one of them, but he's describing that I did a little digging and found a copy of the full letter. It's rather lengthy down a couple of paragraphs and in light of this study we read it to you. And as I read a couple of paragraphs asked the question, is this describing is this describing us. He writes and I quote Christians are not distinguished from other men by country, language, or custom, they don't inhabit cities of their own or use a particular way of speaking or lead a life marked out by any curiosity yet they display to us their wonderful and admittedly striking way of life they live, but they do so as those who are passing through. As citizens they participate with others. Yet they endure everything as if they are foreigners they marry. Like everyone else and they have children that are self-destructing but they do not destroy their offspring is in a day when abortion was legal and rampant in infanticide after they been born in one they do not destroy their offspring. They share a common table, but not a common bed.
They love all men are condemned by all men, they lack everything but overflow and everything there reviled their insulted and repay it with respect. They do good butter punishes evildoers and when punished they rejoice as if they were raised from the dead." How's the pressure out there. As the pressure. It's intense let's it never gives us a break. We can't catch a break, but we have the word in the Holy Spirit using the word in our lives, and through us. It produces settled peace and security and joy marketable to look at what happens for seven so that it overturns the practical application of the word in the work of the Holy Spirit so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia in northern Greece north and in KL all the way down to the southern province where they drink sweet tea like we do right.
He said to them, you are becoming an example effectively, then to the entire nation from the north to the south urine example the word he uses two paths we transliterate that and we get our word type that word originally referred to a mark left by the blogger hammer or perhaps a dye into which precious metals were poured in, and it would come out with an impression on the face of that coin is what Paul is saying to the Thessalonians. Here is an remember he doesn't say this to any other New Testament church.
He says if you became a type II paths. An example is effectively saying you are making an impression on the believers who hear about you they were given.
Then, as Paul gives them here is a pattern were following an impression was being marked by simple people, yet profoundly influential be on what they would've known Palmer and author and former pastor who lives in California wrote about his nearby high school Milpitas high school.
He talked about their orchestra.
He said for these kids. The orchestra you know it doesn't sound all that great.
Unlike what we were able to hear today right, he said, but they they work hard but every year they perform Beethoven's ninth Symphony now for you musicians.
That's is not the easiest birthday party learned when he started learning piano or chopsticks. The ninth Symphony. He said I'm convinced their performance were probably make whole blood would roll over in his grave, and you might ask why bother. Why inflict on the audience these kids the burden of trying to render what Beethoven had in mind. Even he writes great symphonies cannot attain that perfection. I've come to understand the answers. This Milpitas high school orchestra will give some people in the audience there only encounter with Beethoven's ninth Symphony far from perfection.
It is nevertheless the only way this audience will ever hear Beethoven's message text rate is II think the Thessalonians would probably be surprised. 20 centuries later to find that we've been discussing them. Here's an example that would probably said here. An example of a man, not us study's yet we are far from perfect. No Christian church ever gets it right perfectly. But God effectively reminds us he is chosen to use us to allow those in our audience out there to perhaps the only opportunity they will ever have to hear his message is how we behave we mimic faithful role models.
We model joyful responses to the word into the pressure. Thirdly, Paul writes that we motivate spiritual reformation act. I think he plays office music musical idea here.
Look at verse eight he writes for the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you that only in Macedonia and Acadia but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone forth so that we don't even have any need to say anything about me and is just spreading. He uses this word to sounded forth, it could be a reference to sounding the trumpet playing music on a trumpet. It's the sound. The idea here is the sound of a trumpeter who plays, and it just kind of echoes and I get to hear this magnificent organs require three times on a Sunday morning, I sit over here by the woodwinds hide over back in their time and I can hear this morning.
Richard on the on the piccolo trumpet hitting those high notes and it sounds like regular chlorinate some came to sound so majestic as he plays in the disconnect's around.
That's the idea. Here, the message of the Thessalonians is coping out like a trumpeter. Obviously, word-of-mouth writing of letters, testimonies, business contracts and deals, salesman tradesmen, whatever you did spreading. It's especially inspiring and encouraging to the believers so much so that Paul says you need to know about them and say much but you need to know about their an example I want their testimony to impress you more to stamp your thinking in your life. The messages going out and as Doug need to supply these early believers was no doubt no doubt motivating the believers to press on and it was mystifying the unbelievers want to know what this was all about. Well, we are going to pause right here for now because words just about out of time you're listening to wisdom for the heart and the lesson you just heard was part one of Stephen Davies message entitled how we behave. This is wisdom for the hearts I want to make you aware of a resource that we have available called heart-to-heart magazine. It's a monthly magazine filled with resources articles that Stephen has written on various topics and this month during October.
Stephen has written a series of articles related to the Christian's relationship to governments and politics. Stephen is here in the studio with me today Stephen I'm holding a copy of the October issue heart-to-heart magazine and you've written this fascinating article entitled God abandoned America well. I get asked that awful lot, and especially around this election season. It certainly come up and with restrictions placed on churches that's that's it is a good question. I think though that it's important we understand the right perspective regarding God's relationship with our country does God do you know just where to run out of patience and say well I'm done with that country moral decline. By the way, for those of you listening, working to give you an opportunity to call and get this magazine for free but for now please let me respond that moral decline is not in evidence of God's abandonment, but it certainly is evidence that mankind is abandon God. Those are two different things.
Moral decline to me is proof that our world needs God.
Our culture needs God, and the invitation remains the same. Is it fresh today as it was 2000 years of absolutely is is the invitation to America just as meaningful today as it was 200 years ago. Absolutely. I've often said that a lighthouse never gets rid of the storm.
It shines the light for wayward travelers to find their way home. Well in our country's got this is the greatest time ever to shine the light of the gospel is God in his grace and mercy waits for those who will respond in faith and turn to his son Jesus Christ, amen. Thank you, Stephen friends, we do have a few issues of the October issue heart-to-heart magazine, still in our office, and as Stephen mentioned a moment ago we would like to get this resource into your hands as our gift to you today. Give us a call today at 86 648 Bible and ask for heart-to-heart magazine.
Stephen also has another resource.
It's a beautifully bound hardback book entitled, I pledge allegiance politics for the citizens of heaven.
This book is based on a sermon series that Stephen preached on this topic and we put that together into a book that makes a wonderful resource to help you as a Christian navigate the world of politics wisely. This resource is available at a discounted rate. This month, and we'd love to give you more information about that as well. Also find it on our website which is wisdom online.work. Stephen will have the conclusion to today's lesson on tomorrow's broadcast.
Please make plans right now to be with us that right here is