Receiving the Word

January 21, 2006 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

 

Introduction:
1.  I want to begin our time with a question:
Input:  If you were going to pick a characteristic for which our church would be known, what would be that characteristic? [apply this to your family, or to you personally]
[various answers]
 1st commandment: FBC is a church that loves God and loves people!
 Servants – they are willing to help
 Evangelistic – concerned about people coming to know Christ (here and around the world)
* All of this hinges upon us ‘receiving the Word of God”
> that’s how we would even get to a place of the other characteristics!
2.   Our study today takes to 1 Thes. 2:13- 20 – we need to remember something about the church at Thessalonica:
*  It was not a perfect church, but they were doing a lot of right things!
- Paul thanked them for their (1) work of faith, (2) labor of love, (3) enduring hope
- he thanked them for their genuine repentance in turning TO God FROM idols to serve the LIVING and TRUE God (reminding them that their idols were DEAD and FALSE!)
- and like the church at Thessalonica:
. . . WHEN CONFRONTED WITH TRUTH, INDIVIDUALS WILL RECEIVE IT, OBEY IT, AND PASS ON TO OTHERS WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED
3. I want to thank Rob Green for leading you in the study of Integrity last week
- the Integrity of a Faithful Steward / a Gentle Mother / a Responsible Father
4.  Today, our focus is on the foundation of that integrity:  How we respond to the Word of God
- keep in mind, what Paul is describing in v. 13- 20 is the ‘norm’ for a church
>  this is not extraordinary, it’s just the way it ought to be – i.e. we should view as ‘normal’
- this is what the church a church SHOULD BE – or the way a believer SHOULD BE living
>  and to the degree these characteristics are not true, is the degree to which you and I ought to be . . .  changing/growing
5.  Much of the way Paul thought about this church is the way we as pastors think about you
- we are thankful for you - - your desire to learn and grow and serve
- but what is the normal for a church is not what we see around us, but the standard which the word of God sets
[READ: 1 Thes. 2:13- 20]
- this passage gives us a picture of what a Disciple Making Church should look like
- the only way this can be true of us as a church is that it is true of us as individual believers


  I.  Receiving the Word Requires a Proper View of the Word - v. 13


- Paul said that when the Word of God is preached, these believers "received" the word
- he used 2 different words in the original to describe this process
1: refers to listening with the ear, to accept something from another person
2: adds the idea of appropriation to the heart
Point: Paul is emphasizing the process of their response: They heard and applied it!
- they welcomed the Word and embraced it as their own
- Paul said they "received" it ...
A.  Not as the word of men 
- although Paul preached the word, and they respected him, they didn't receive as though it was his word, but as God's Word
> in other words, they didn't have the attitude:  That's just your opinion Paul
- they took it seriously and they changed as a result
Input:  What will be true of a person who when he hears the Word, he receives it as being the word of men?
 take it or leave it attitude (disinterested – not hungry/thirsty for righteousness)
 not seek to obey/apply it (fails to be a doer of the Word)
 view: how it benefits me (and if it doesn’t, then why bother)
 lack of concern for seeing that others hear it (selfish or lazy in proclaiming it)
- Paul said these believers didn't respond that way, rather ...
B.  But as the Word of God
- the Word of God reveals the will of God for our lives – that’s why we place so much emphasis around here in the Scriptures
Input:  What will be true of a person who when he hears the Word, he receives it as the Word of God?
 study it
 memorize it
 meditate on it
 OBEY it – even when it’s uncomfortable!
- maybe we need to remind ourselves of some of the verses in the Bible:
 Job 23:12 "I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
 Psalm 119:140 Your word is very pure, therefore Your servant loves it.
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
- we ought to believe the word of God because it IS the Word of God, not just if it works
>  we don't judge the Bible in light of our experience,
>  instead, we judge our experience in light of the Bible
Point:  A Disciple Making Church accepts the Word of God for what it is – the Word of God!
Q:  Do you love the Word of God?
Q:  Are you eager to hear it taught? 
Q:  Does the time you spend in the Word reflect your commitment to the Word?
* [Small Groups – break out, then come back together to discuss] 
*  What does the Word of God actually DO in our lives? [List as many as you can think of]
 saves (Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23)
 teaches and trains (2 Tim. 3:16,17)
 guides (Ps. 119:105)
 counsels (Ps. 119:24)
 revives (Ps. 119:154)
 restores (Ps. 19:7);
 warns and rewardsg (Ps. 19:11)
 nourishes (1 Pet. 2:2)
 judges (Heb. 4:12)  sanctifies (John 17:17)
 frees (John 8:31,32)
 enriches (Col. 3:16)
 protects (Ps. 119:11)
 strengthens (Ps. 119:28)
 makes wise (Ps. 119:17–100)
 rejoices the heart (Ps. 19:8)
 prospers (Josh. 1:8,9). 

All this is summarized in Psalm 19:7–9
 Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
- the important thing to remember is that . . .


II.  Receiving the Word Leads to Effective Living - v. 13b-14a


-  this whole idea is what I tried to emphasize last Sunday with Uzziah
> “as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him” – but when Uzziah set himself up above the Word of God (i.e. the Law in his time), it lead to his destruction
- so if we’re going to ‘gear up’ – we’re going to do so in light of God’s Word!
*  Paul said the Word performs its work in those who believe
(1)  the work of conviction (salvation) – 1 Thes 1:5,9 – you turned to God from idols!
(2)  the work of change (progressive sanctification = the process of conforming us to the image of Christ)
- a believer who is seeking to please God will view the word of God as God’s Word and then seek to live it out on a day to day basis!
[Note: This spring, we’ll study: God Wrote a Book or Strengthening Your Grip on God’s Word!
- Paul was careful to say God's church, those who are in Christ Jesus, had become "followers"
A.  Imitators = followers, mimic
- in 1:6, Paul said they imitated the Lord and the missionaries (Paul’s team),
- now they had also become followers of the other churches [they were learning/growing]
- Paul was saying that what they had become at salvation, they were diligently seeking to continue, and even influence others in the same direction!
- the word of God produced in them a ...
B.  Loyalty to God's Plan: The Church
- the people they sought to be like were other believers who were serving Jesus Christ in the church
- Paul would later tell Timothy (one of his companions – 1:1):
 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Input:  Why is it so important for us [as individuals & as a church] to be a godly example of allowing the Word to impact our lives?
[various answers]
 God is watching – we’ll stand and give an account (stewardship)
 People are watching – within the church – that’s part of the ‘one another’ ministry
 Other churches are watching – we want to be ‘an example of those who believe’
- Paul knew people would imitate his example – this church had done it, others would as well 
Q:  How are doing at being an example of ‘receiving the Word’?
Q: What if everyone read/obeyed the Word like you do – how would they be doing?
[apply this to praying, serving, giving, reaching out, growing, etc.]
- remembers, others are watching (like it or not – everyone here HAS a testimony – the issue is, “What are you known for in this ABF, church, workplace, community?”
- thirdly, the Disciple Making Church will realize that . . .
III.  Receiving the Word Often Comes With a Price:  Suffering for Christ's sake - v. 14-16
- this is the primary way in which the Thess. had followed the other church - - they were suffering for Christ's sake
- it was not easy to be a Christian in Thessalonica where believers faced persecution/suffering
A.  Their situation explains Paul's choice of words 
1.  tribulation 1:6, 3:3 (pressure from circumstances) 
2.  sufferings 2:14 (same word used for the Lord's suffering) 
3.  killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets (while the Romans did it, it was the Jews pushing it)
4.  drove us out 2:15 (rejected) 
5.  hostile 2:15  (winds that blow and hinder progress) 
6.  hindered 2:18 (a road broken up that travel is blocked)
- yet in the middle of suffering...
B.  They responded with joy while reaching out to others – 1:6, 2:16
- they received Paul's ministry of the word "in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost’ (1:6)
>  this is the picture of the life of a believer - - experiencing suffering, but being joyful
- remember what Jesus said: 
 Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
- Paul said these beleivers faced it from their own countrymen
- Jesus had said that a man's enemies would be those of his own household
Input:  How might someone face "persecution" in their family, work, community?
[various answers]
– in times of ‘persecution’ remember this:
 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;  13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

C.  Evidence of those who did NOT receive the Word – 2:15-16
- I’m referring to those who actually did the persecution – they are:
(1) not pleasing to God
(2) hostile to all men
(3)  continually trying to hinder the gospel message
- the fourth characteristic of a "normal" believer is ...
IV.  Receiving the Word Determines Who You Want to Be With – 2:17-20
A.  A Desire to be with God’s people
- believers who are growing/pleasing God love to be around other believers
- the phrase "having been taken away from you for a short while" is actually one word in the original
> it means to make one an orphan by separation
- could be used of a parent w/o a child/childless parent // in Paul's case, he was like a "parent who had lost his child"
- he was their spiritual father and had been forced to be away from them for a time
- Paul wanted these folks to know he cared for them and wanted to be with them AND, they wanted to be with him (3:6)
 1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you.
Input:  What are some of the benefits of "fellowship" that we as believers can enjoy?
[various answers]
Q: When others spend time with you, are they strengthened?  Are they more like the Lord? Are others encouraged and "built up" because of you?
[notice who the enemy of fellowship is: “Satan hindered us”
B.  A Desire to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus – 2:19-20
Coming = to be present.
- It can be understood as :
1) actual presence (Phil. 2:2); (2) moment of arrival (1 Cor. 16:17); or (3) expected coming (2 Cor. 7:6).
- In regard to Christ and the future, it can refer to:
1) Christ’s coming at the Rapture (4:15), or
2) Christ’s second coming prior to His 1,000 year millennial reign (Matt. 24:37; Rev. 19:11–20:6).
[Interesting Note:  Paul referred directly to Christ’s coming 4 times in 1 Thess. (see also 3:13; 4:15; 5:23) and once indirectly (1:10)]
*  Context indicates Paul most likely refers here to Christ’s coming for the rapture of the church.
Conclusion:
Q: What do you want people to say you accomplished in life? At the end of your life, how many people will be influenced by you and give a better account at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church
#3:  Receptive to the Word – 1 Thes 2:13- 20

Introduction:
Input:  If you were going to pick a characteristic for which our church would be known, what would be that characteristic?

*  Our focus is on the ________________ of that integrity:  How we respond to the Word of God

  I.  Receiving the Word Requires a Proper View of the Word - v. 13
A.  Not as the ____________________ 
Input:  What will be true of a person who when he hears the Word, he receives it as being the word of men?

B.  But as the ____________________
Input:  What will be true of a person who when he hears the Word, he receives it as the Word of God?

*  What does the Word of God actually DO in our lives?

 

 

II.  Receiving the Word Leads to ___________ _____________ - v. 13b-14a
*  Paul said the Word performs its work in those who believe
(1)  the work of _________ (salvation)
(2)  the work of __________ (progressive sanctification = the process of conforming us to the image of Christ)
A.  Imitators = followers, mimic


B.  Loyalty to God's Plan: The _____________
Input:  Why is it so important for us [as individuals & as a church] to be a godly example of allowing the Word to impact our lives?


III.  Receiving the Word Often Comes With a ________:  Suffering for Christ's sake - v. 14-16
A.  Their situation explains Paul's choice of words 
1.  tribulation 1:6, 3:3 (pressure from circumstances) 
2.  sufferings 2:14 (same word used for the Lord's suffering) 
3.  killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets (while the Romans did it, it was the Jews pushing it)
4.  drove us out 2:15 (rejected) 
5.  hostile 2:15  (winds that blow and hinder progress) 
6.  hindered 2:18 (a road broken up that travel is blocked)
B.  They responded with _____ while reaching out to others – 1:6, 2:16

Input:  How might someone face "persecution" in their family, work, community?

 

C.  Evidence of those who did NOT receive the Word – 2:15-16
(1) not pleasing to God
(2) ___________ to all men
(3)  continually trying to _____________ the gospel message

IV.  Receiving the Word Determines Who You Want to Be With – 2:17-20
A.  A Desire to be with __________ _____________

Input:  What are some of the benefits of "fellowship" that we as believers can enjoy?

 


B.  A Desire to be in the ________________________ – 2:19-20
*  Context indicates Paul most likely refers here to Christ’s coming for _______________
__________________.

Conclusion:
Questions:


ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church
#3:  Receptive to the Word – 1 Thes 2:13- 20

Introduction:
Input:  If you were going to pick a characteristic for which our church would be known, what would be that characteristic?
 1st commandment
 Servants
 Evangelistic
*  Our focus is on the foundation of that integrity:  How we respond to the Word of God
  I.  Receiving the Word Requires a Proper View of the Word - v. 13
A.  Not as the word of men 
Input:  What will be true of a person who when he hears the Word, he receives it as being the word of men?
 take it or leave it attitude
 not seek to obey/apply it
 view: how it benefits me
 lack of concern for seeing that others hear it
B.  But as the Word of God
Input:  What will be true of a person who when he hears the Word, he receives it as the Word of God?
 study it
 memorize it
 meditate on it
 OBEY it!
 Job 23:12 "I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
 Psalm 119:140 Your word is very pure, therefore Your servant loves it.
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.


*  What does the Word of God actually DO in our lives?
 saves (Rom. 10:17;
1 Pet. 1:23)
 teaches and trains
(2 Tim. 3:16,17)
 guides (Ps. 119:105)
 counsels (Ps. 119:24)
 revives (Ps. 119:154)
 restores (Ps. 19:7);
 warns and rewards (Ps. 19:11)
 nourishes (1 Pet. 2:2)
 judges (Heb. 4:12)  sanctifies (John 17:17)
 frees (John 8:31,32)
 enriches (Col. 3:16)
 protects (Ps. 119:11)
 strengthens (Ps. 119:28)
 makes wise (Ps. 119:17–100)
 rejoices the heart (Ps. 19:8)
 prospers (Josh. 1:8,9).

 Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
II.  Receiving the Word Leads to Effective Living - v. 13b-14a
*  Paul said the Word performs its work in those who believe
(1)  the work of conviction (salvation)
(2)  the work of change (progressive sanctification = the process of conforming us to the image of Christ)
A.  Imitators = followers, mimic
B.  Loyalty to God's Plan: The Church
 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
Input:  Why is it so important for us [as individuals & as a church] to be a godly example of allowing the Word to impact our lives?
III.  Receiving the Word Often Comes With a Price:  Suffering for Christ's sake - v. 14-16
A.  Their situation explains Paul's choice of words 
1.  tribulation 1:6, 3:3 (pressure from circumstances) 
2.  sufferings 2:14 (same word used for the Lord's suffering) 
3.  killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets (while the Romans did it, it was the Jews pushing it)
4.  drove us out 2:15 (rejected) 
5.  hostile 2:15  (winds that blow and hinder progress) 
6.  hindered 2:18 (a road broken up that travel is blocked)
B.  They responded with joy while reaching out to others – 1:6, 2:16
 Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”
Input:  How might someone face "persecution" in their family, work, community?
 1 Peter 4:12-13

C.  Evidence of those who did NOT receive the Word – 2:15-16
(1) not pleasing to God
(2) hostile to all men
(3)  continually trying to hinder the gospel message
IV.  Receiving the Word Determines Who You Want to Be With – 2:17-20
A.  A Desire to be with God’s people
 1 Thessalonians 3:6
Input:  What are some of the benefits of "fellowship" that we as believers can enjoy?
B.  A Desire to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus – 2:19-20
*  Context indicates Paul most likely refers here to Christ’s coming for the rapture of the church.
Conclusion:
Q: What do you want people to say you accomplished in life?
Q:  At the end of your life, how many people will be influenced by you and give a better account at the Judgment Seat of Christ?