Growing Stronger

February 4, 2006 1 Thessalonians 3:10-13

Introduction:
1.  We’re in week #5 of our study: The Disciple Making Church – subtitled: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Churches!
[tie this into our theme for 2006:  Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness
- we’ve completed chps. 1 and 2 and most of chp. 3 – review the key points:
#1: Focused // The Right Goal –  1:1-10 – Open to Change
#2: Integrity – 2:1-12 – fulfilling the responsibilities that God has given to us – like a steward and a godly parent!!
# 3: Receptive – 2:13-20 – Receiving the Word – accepting it not as the word of man, but as the Word of God!
2.  Last week, our study centered around the idea of :
#4: Endurance –3:1-10 – Standing Firm 
  I.  The Foundation of Endurance: Compassion and Character [Paul & Timothy demonstrated]
II.  The Model of Endurance:  Consistency
- we called this section: * FAITH UNSUPERVISED
- this church gives a tremendous example of the way we ought to live when nobody’s watching
- they were able to model endurance because they . . . .
A.  Properly ‘received’ the Word - -cf. 2:13 [read it]
- the Word of God has to be a special focus on our Christian walk!
- no wonder some people aren’t growing or growing at a rate God wants them to – there is little or not connection to the Word!
B.  They also saw God’s purpose behind trials
C.  They were reminded of their eventual accountability
III.  The Impact of Endurance:  Long-term Influence on others
>  How others can be comforted and strengthened by our endurance, and given reasons to rejoice because we are staying faithful to the Lord
3. That kind of a church is a Disciple Making Church – not perfect, but headed in that direction!
4.  Today, we want to study the last few verses in 3:10-13
#5: Growing Stronger – 3:10-13 [READ: 3:1-13] – assign 3 people the following verses:
3:1-5 // 3:6-10 // 3:11-13
- this passage reminds us of Paul’s words in another passage:
 Col. 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ.
5.  The passage reveals to us what a church ought to be doing – GROWING and it also reveals the heart of a biblical pastor/teacher [complete = to adjust, equip, furnish]!
Q: What does a Disciple Making Church look like from this passage?


I.  Growing Stronger in the Maturity of Our Faith – 3:10-11


- 5 times in the chp, he uses the word faith – Paul is referring to both their:
 ‘faith’ = belief in the gospel (remember 1:9 – turning to God from idols!) AND
 ‘faith’ = their daily walk with the Lord, their convictions / doctrine / assurance or confidence in God for what He had done and wants to continue to do in their life!
A.  Starts with allowing yourself to be ‘completed’ (v. 10)
Complete = from katarti,zw [katartizo] = mend,  restore, set right, make complete prepare, supply, fully trained
- same root word that Paul used in Eph. 4:12:
 Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
- while they were a church with many strengths and a good beginning [turning to God from idols]– they had not arrived – he wanted to help them GROW STRONGER!
> that’s what v. 10 and 11 is all about – Paul wanted to be a part of that process, but God didn’t allow him that opportunity
Bottom line:  He expected them to change! // to be learners and mature in their faith
> that required that they allow that process to be applied to them!
- this has implications to allowing your pastors to ‘pastor’ you – to equip you / ‘complete’
Input: Complete this sentence: Some people think that pastor is only here to ______________?
[various answers – like preach a sermon, visit you in the hospital, pray for you, encourage you when you down, etc.]
-  but this passage reveals other ‘pastoral’ responsibilities:
 Preaching the word / talking about what is ‘lacking your faith’ [walk with God]
 Sometimes confronting you, giving you biblical advice on how to change, etc.
- one of the philosophy statements that Pastor Goode repeatedly taught us:
“We don’t use people to build the church; we use the church to build people.”
- We never arrive – we’ll never be a ‘super-saint’ – there is always a need for adjustment and growth
- we need to follow what Paul said in Romans 1:17:
 Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

B.  Continues as you face various life situations (usually hard ones!)
- refer back to our study of Abraham – he’s a good illustration of this principle
God called him to Canaan, and when he got there, there was a famine
Why? – God allowed the famine so that Abraham’s faith might be strengthened – instead, he failed and headed toward Egypt!
- but God was always trying to bring him back to a strong faith in Yahweh [covenant God]
“Faith is like a muscle: it gets stronger with use” – Wiersbe, Bible Expositor Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 173
“Faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.  God tries our faith, not to destroy it, but to develop it.” – Ibid
Point:  Paul prayed for this church in Thessalonica that their faith might grow even during times of suffering and persecution . . . and God answered his prayer!
Q:  How much more should our faith grow WITHOUT persecution! 
- he wrote in 2 Thes. 1:3
 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, . . ..
Q:  When is the last time you prayed for another's faith to mature?
Q:  When is the last time you prayed God would give YOU the opportunity to be involved in that maturing process?
- that’s what this Biblical Counseling Training Conference is all about . . .
> helping people get out of the COUNSELEE seat . . ., into the TRAINEE seat . . ., into the COUNSELOR seat!
> THAT is discipleship!
- A disciple making church is also . . .


II.  Growing Stronger in Our Love – 3:12


-  we can be teaching church [and we want to be], we can be a training church [seeking to help others], but if we’re not a LOVING church
> then we’re not pleasing God because we’re not glorifying God (or giving the right opinion of God – He is loving and caring – enough to ___________ (send His Son to die, etc.)
- A disciple making church is growing in their love 1st and foremost:
*  Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness for our ABFs means ________________? [growing in love]
- we ought to be growing in love in 2 directions: 
A.  For one another
Apply: Strengthening our ABFs – why? To show love to each other / building strong relationships
> 128 people participated in our ABF Home Fellowship last week!
> Idea: Starting an ABF Tips Newsletter [for ABF Teachers/Co]– one ABF has “Families of the Week” for prayer – they list 3-5 families in rotation till all families are prayed for and then start over!
* maybe our ABFs ought to ‘adopt’ a Single Mom or Single Dad family – Ann Riley, Connie Mooreshouse
* Consider some other passages about this subject of loving one another:
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

KEY VERSE: John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:17 "These things I command you, that you love one another.

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

1 John 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
- Paul would later state in this letter:
 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.
Q: Then why don’t we do it? Why don’t we work harder at it?
[love is fruit of the Spirit – comes from walking in the Spirit – obeying His word]
- not do we need to be growing in our love for each other, but . . .
B.  For all people
Input: Who could Paul have been referring to here?  [the persecutors?]
- this church’s badge of discipleship was their love for each other // but Paul never separated family love from love for lost
> he never separated his discipleship from evangelism – love is toward ‘all people’
Apply: To the community center – why?  To show people we really care
Q:  Is your evangelism a feeling (something you have to “whomp up” to do) or a conviction that motivates you, compels you, or drives you to share your faith?
- Paul prayed "most earnestly" = overflowing all bounds, beyond measure more than ever; very highly indeed;
Q:  What was he saying by using this word? (serious) - (priority)
> it may be that they didn't love their persecutors (hard, but possible – Jesus did it!!]
Song: In Christ Alone – ‘. . .scorned by the ones He came to save, till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied, for every sin on Him was laid, here in the blood of Christ I stand!’


Ill: The End of the Spear – Jim Elliot’s wife – lead the guy to Christ who killed her husband:


[Could apply Rom 12:17-21 – returning good for evil – takes GRACE and LOVE!
- Paul wasn’t admonishing them to grow in an area that he had not modeled to them – v. 12b “just as we also do for you”
Q: Did the ‘get it’? Well, you tell me:  cf. Paul wrote in his 2nd letter to this church:
 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, . . .and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.
- last of all, he prayed that they would be . . .


III.  Growing Stronger in Holiness – 3:13


- there is some carry over to the thought of endurance when Paul wrote:
 1 Thessalonians 3:13 so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
Q:  What was he saying?

-- Paul was praying [and we need to be praying] that they would  be growing in their consistency
1.  that their consistent FAITH unsupervised would remain consistent
2.  that no one would be able to accuse them of not being LOVING (agapa love = God’s kind)
4.  that they would live HOLY LIVES (separate from sin) [the specifics of which we’ll deal with next week 4:1-12 – the temper was all around them, just like today!]
Q:  What was Paul's motive or purpose behind praying for them the way he did?  
* Paul wanted them to be ready to give a good account when Jesus returns!
- he knew that every one of these believers, just like us, will have to give an account
> cf. 2 Cor. 5:9-10 – Judgment Seat of Christ!
- he knew it was just as important to be consistent in the ministry as in our personal life
* Paul's prayer teaches us how to pray:
1.  For our faith to mature
2.  For our love to grow
3.  For our character and conduct to be holy and blameless before God
Q: What was the motivating truth he presented?
 “at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints” – He’s referring to *The rapture – he will be very specific about that in 4:13-18
- John, the Beloved Apostle also connected the coming of Christ w/personal holiness:
 I John 3:3 Every man that has this hope in Him (Christ), purifies himself, even as He is pure.
Conclusion:
1.  As we review this chp. we see how important it is to care for new Christians
- leading someone to Christ is not enough
- we must also lead him on in the Christian life and help him get established
- what can we do?
 we can encourage and stand at his side as he/she matures
 we can share the word of God, challenge him to live it
  we can PRAY
PRAYER TIME: TAKE TIME TO PRAY FOR OUR CHURCH’S FAITH, LOVE, HOLINESS – get 3 people to pray for one issue each!]

 


ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church
Growing Stronger – 1 Thes 3:10-13

Introduction:
#1: Focused – 1:1-10
#2: Integrity – 2:1-12
#3: Receptive to the Word – 2:13-20
#4: Endurance –3:1-10

Q: What does a Disciple Making Church look like from this passage?

I.  Growing Stronger in the Maturity of Our ___________ – 3:10-11
  ‘faith’ = belief in the gospel
  ‘faith’ = their _________ _________ with the Lord
A.  Starts with allowing yourself to be ‘______________’ (v. 10)
Complete = mend, restore, set right, make complete prepare, supply, fully trained

Input: Some people think that pastor is only here to ______________?

 


“We don’t use people to build the church; we use the church to build people.”

B.  Continues as you face various ______ _____________ (usually hard ones!)

“Faith is like a muscle: it gets stronger with use” – Wiersbe, Bible Expositor Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 173

“Faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.  God tries our faith, not to destroy it, but to develop it.” – Ibid


II.  Growing Stronger in Our __________ – 3:12

*  Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness for our ABFs means ________________?

A.  For _____ ____________

* Consider some other passages about this subject of loving one another:
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:17 "These things I command you, that you love one another.

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

1 John 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

B.  For _____ _____________
Input: Who could Paul have been referring to here?


Q:  Is your evangelism a ______________ or a ________________ that motivates you, compels you, or drives you to share your faith?

III.  Growing Stronger in Holiness – 3:13
Q:  What was Paul's motive or purpose behind praying for them the way he did?  
* Paul wanted them to be ready to give a ______ _________ when Jesus returns!

* Paul's prayer teaches us to pray for :
1.  Our faith to mature and endure
2.  Our love to grow for each other and those outside the church
3.  Our character and conduct to be holy and blameless before God

Q: What was the motivating truth he presented?
*_________________

Conclusion:
PRAYER TIME for FBC, Encouragers ABF to grow in faith, love, and holiness!

Next Week:  Feb. 12: – Moldova Sunday

ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church
Growing Stronger – 1 Thes 3:10-13

Introduction:
#1: Focused // The Right Goal – 1:1-10
#2: Integrity – 2:1-12
#3: Receptive to the Word – 2:13-20
#4: Endurance –3:1-10

Q: What does a Disciple Making Church look like from this passage?

I.  Growing Stronger in the Maturity of Our Faith – 3:10-11
  ‘faith’ = belief in the gospel
  ‘faith’ = their daily walk with the Lord
A.  Starts with allowing yourself to be ‘completed’ (v. 10)
Complete = mend, restore, set right, make complete prepare, supply, fully trained
 Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Input: Some people  think that pastor is only here to ______________?
“We don’t use people to build the church; we use the church to build people.”
 Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
B.  Continues as you face various life situations (usually hard ones!)
“Faith is like a muscle: it gets stronger with use” – Wiersbe
“Faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.  God tries our faith, not to destroy it, but to develop it.”
 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, . . ..
II.  Growing Stronger in Our Love – 3:12
*  Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness for our ABFs means ________________?


A.  For one another
* Consider some other passages about this subject of loving one another:
 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.
B.  For all people
Input: Who could Paul have been referring to here?
Q: Is your evangelism a feeling or a conviction that motivates you, compels you, or drives you to share your faith?
 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, . . .and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.

III.  Growing Stronger in Holiness – 3:13
Q: What was Paul's motive or purpose behind praying for them the way he did?  
* Paul wanted them to be ready to give a good account when Jesus returns!
* Paul's prayer teaches us to pray for:
1.  Our faith to mature and endure
2.  Our love to grow . . .
3.  Our character and conduct to be holy and blameless before God
Q: What was the motivating truth he presented?
*The rapture
 I John 3:3 Every man that has this hope in Him, purifies himself, even as He is pure.
Conclusion:
PRAYER TIME
Next Week:  Feb. 12: – Moldova Sunday