Standing Firm

January 28, 2006 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10

 

Introduction:
1.  We’re in week #4 of our study: The Disciple Making Church
- we completed chps. 1 and 2 – review the key points:
#1: Focused // The Right Goal –  1:1-10 – Open to Change
#2: Integrity – 2:1-12 – being a faithful steward, a nursing mother, and a gentle father – 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.  One of the points we made last week in our study of 1 Thessalonians 2 was this:
 Receiving the Word Often Comes With a Price:  Suffering for Christ's sake - v. 14-16
> we’ll find out in chp. 3 how they handled this trial’
- but we also pointed out that . . .
 Receiving the Word Determines Who You Want to Be With – 2:17-20
- and that thought continues in chp. 3
3.  Our focus this morning in on the 4th characteristic of a highly effective church:
#4: Endurance –3:1-10 – Standing Firm
[READ 1 Thes 3:1-10 – 1 Thes.3:1 Therefore [as a result of everything he just wrote] . . .
- this passage gives brings our focus to the key word: Endurance or Standing Firm in Your Faith
- THAT is one of the characteristics of a Disciple Making Church
- the only way this can be true of us as a church is that it is true of us as individual believers
- Let’s look first of all at . . .


I.  The Foundation of Endurance: Compassion and Character


- what did that look like on a practical level? [certainly include ‘receiving the Word’ and . . .]
A.  Compassion [Modeled by Paul - 3:1-5]
1.  He was concerned about their spiritual growth. [that’s what v. 1-5 is all about!]
- Remember, he had worked hard to preach the gospel // and he had endured persecution and personal criticism about his motives
- he had been forced to flee Thessalonica and stay in Athens – among pagans who hated God and wouldn’t tolerate Paul for very long
- now, he wanted to know how these new converts were doing spiritually [remember, he was only there for 3 weeks!]
Input:  Why was growth so important to him? [Why should it be so important to us?]
 the truth of the Word had changed his life . . . and their life
 he knew that if people were going to stop hurting, they had to grow  (under persecution -- it was costing them something to be a  Christian)
Q: What is the easiest thing to do during a time of trial/testing?
 get a "victim mentality" [have a pity party]
 bitterness – we thinking about a series AFTER Pastor Viars finishes: Is God Mad at Us? – we considering following up with a series entitled:  Are You Mad at God?
 a person with the gift of mercy might be tempted to run over and turn the burner off
- Paul was not just a "missionary" -- he was a pastor - he knew that evangelism was only one part of the great commission
> these believers had to be taught and established in the faith // they had to grow!
> they couldn’t just quit serving the Lord – not after God chose them and changed them!
Q:  What is going to have to be true of a person's life if he or she is to be thinking of others?
- Paul was concerned about their spiritual growth because . . .
2.  He was not thinking selfishly
- why do we need to talk about compassion and being concerned about the spiritual growth of others
   * because we can comfortable and "cliquish"
- we live in a day like Paul described in ...
 Phil. 2:21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.
- we need to memorize and practice verses like
 Phil. 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Point:  * One of the key ingredients for a disciple making church that stands firm in the faith is their love for God, their love for each other, and their love for others!
- Paul's concern for this church is a lesson about compassion -- a lesson about selflessness - thinking of others - about willing to sacrifice to meet needs
Input:  Why does FBC need this lesson on compassion and thinking unselfishly? [tie this to our theme of gearing up for greater effectiveness . . . in WHAT?  Compassion to others!!!!]
 Jesus was compassionate "O, Jerusalem, ...
 we can get "fat" on truth, but be starving in compassion
 if we reach people, it will be because we love them
Q: Are you concerned about the spiritual growth of others?
“As we review this chapter, 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. If he is not established, he will fall when the winds of persecution start to blow. If he cannot stand, he will never learn to walk. What shall we do? We can be an encouragement and stand at his side as he matures. We can share the Word of God. We can pray. This is what Paul did—and it worked.” 
3.  He was aware of the enemy – 3:5
 1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.
[apply ‘the tempter’ to your family – trying to destroy your marriage, your children]
[apply ‘the tempter’ to our church – Satan wants to ‘devour’ us – ruin us – what’s the answer:
Input: What are some ways to which we need to be alert regarding Satan’s temptation?
[financial – misuse of money; morally – sexual temptation; unity – strife/divisiveness]
 1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
B.  Character [Modeled by Timothy – 3:2]
- by character I mean lives marked by integrity, trust, hard work, sacrifice, and commitment to a cause greater than themselves
- Paul sent Timothy him back to Thes. to help this young church that was going through trials
> Paul wanted him to "strengthen and encourage” them tin their faith!
 strengthen = make firm, establish; fix, set up – that may take being honest with one’s position of strengths/weakness and willing to make the necessary corrections to get STRONGER!
 encourage = [from 2 Greek words, para = along side of, and kalew (ka-leh-o) = to call] = beg, urge; encourage, speak words of encouragement; request, ask, appeal to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon
Note: This word has the same root word of the term used to describe the Holy Spirit – one called along side of us – cf. John 14:26
“Timothy’s task was to establish these believers and encourage (comfort) them in their faith. It is faith in God that keeps our feet on the ground when the enemy attacks. Without faith in God, we are defeated. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).” 
Point:  Paul wanted to make sure that they stood strong under the pressure
> think about the "trust" Paul placed in Timothy
Q: Are you in a position where your pastors can trust you with ministry opportunities?
*  Gearing up for greater effectiveness means ________________?
- that leads us to a question: 
Input:  What kind of person can help younger believers grow in the Lord? [various answers]
- Paul gives us 3 characteristics of a person he thought was best qualified for discipling others
1.  You must know Christ yourself.
- Timothy "our brother" – was a reference to him being a brother in the faith
- for a person to help others spiritually, they first have to know Christ as Savior
- remember, to be discipler you first have to be a disciple!
2.  You must be a servant like Christ
fellow worker = this one of the Greek words for servant
- Timothy was not afraid to work; he had faithfully served with Paul and knew how to minister in the churches
Input:  Why is being a servant so important in being a Disciple Making Church?
[various answers]
cf.  Luke 22:24-27  (turn and read -- a way of life for all believers)
>  the best example of a servant is our Lord Jesus Christ
> He said, “Come, follow me” – because He set the pace/example!
Point:  Timothy was willing to do what was necessary to serve so others could grow
“The test of your servitude is how you respond when you are treated like one.”
- there is another element to this idea:
3.  You must be a "team player."
- Paul chose a word that communicated the idea of a "fellow worker" of the gospel
- Timothy didn't try to run the show himself and get people to follow him // as we work for the Lord, we have to remember:
 Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
4.  You must be ready to teach the Word to others and pray for others! – 3:10 [read]
“The two-fold ministry of the Word of God and prayer is what establishes a church. If there is all teaching and preaching and no prayer, then the people will have light but no power. If there is all prayer but no teaching of the Word, you may have a group of enthusiasts who have more heat than light! The pastor, Sunday School teacher, missionary, or Christian worker who talks to God about his people, and then talks to his people about God, will have a balanced and established ministry. Christ’s ministry consisted of both the Word and prayer (Luke 22:31–32). Samuel ministered in this way (1 Sam. 12:23, and do not forget the last clause); so did Peter and the apostles (Acts 6:4) and Paul himself (Acts 20:32).”
- part of a Disciple making church is a church that prays for each other! [mention some of recent requests for our ABF members]


II.  The Model of Endurance:  Consistency


- if we gave a title to this section of 1 Thes, it would be this:  * FAITH UNSUPERVISED
- this church gives a tremendous example of the way we ought to live when nobody’s watching
- when there's no authority around or when those who love us and would "watch for our souls" are nowhere to be found
- we need to ask some question like: 
 How do you live when nobody is watching?
 What is your relationship with Christ like when you are by yourself?
 If you could rate your Christian walk in public on a scale of 1-10 and then rate your walk in private on the same scale, would they be the same or would there be a difference
Note:  The areas in which they are different are they areas you and I need to change.
- it was in this area (FAITH UNSUPERVISED) that this church was a good example
> they were standing firm -- they were making right choices when Paul, Timothy, Silas, (their spiritual leaders) were long gone
- we need to ask this question:
* WHAT HELPED THEM TO MAKE THOSE RIGHT CHOICES WHEN THEIR FAITH WAS UNSUPERVISED
- Consider the following 3 principles we need to follow if we are going to have a consistent faith
A.  Properly ‘receiving’ the Word - -cf. 2:13 [read it]
- some Christians are not standing firm in their  relationship with Christ in public because they haven't  let the Word be their standard in private
- if we expect to be consistent in our walk with the Lord, it will be because the Word is our standard at the time!
- that’s why we can be more like God (progressive sanctification is the process) because we know Who He is and what He is able to do in our lives through His POWERFUL WORD
- If stability and spiritual growth is going to be a characteristic of our Church and our lives, a working knowledge of the Bible is essential
- One reason God has established local churches is that believers might grow in the Word and, in turn, help others to grow (2 Tim. 2:2; Eph. 4:11–16). 
* God’s Word is
 food to nourish us (Matt. 4:4)
 light to guide us (Ps. 119:105)
 a weapon to defend us (Eph. 6:17)
 a mirror to reveal our hearts (Heb. 4:12)
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
B. Seeing God’s purpose behind trials
Input: What is God’s purpose behind every trial/testing we face?
1) His glory
2) Our conformity to Jesus Christ!
 Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
C.  Remembering our eventual accountability
- Paul referred to the ‘coming of Christ’ twice already; he’s about to mention it for the 3rd time
- he even sent Timothy to check on them to help keep them accountable
Input: Why do we need accountability? Why don’t people like accountability? 
[various answers – because God is holy and He expects us to be like Him // because of our pride (we sow the fig leaves, hide in bushes, make excuses, blame shift]


III.  The Impact of Endurance:  Long-term Influence on others


A. Others are comforted by our endurance – v. 7
- you (we) can actually give others HOPE that there really is a God who can change our lives and help us life for a PURPOSE – His glory!
B. Others are strengthened by our endurance – v. 8
Live = be alive; remain alive; come back to life
C.  Others have reason to rejoice in the presence of God – v. 9
- this is part of the testimony of our church that we discussed last week!
Conclusion:
Next Week:  Feb. 12: – Moldova speaker – GREAT OPPORTUNITY
Pick up our study on #5: Growth 3:11-13 – Continuing to Grow on the Feb. 19th: Summary:  ‘may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love one for another’

ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church
Standing Firm – 1 Thes 3:1-10

Introduction & Review:
#1: Focused – 1:1-10
#2: Integrity – 2:1-12
# 3: Receptive – 2:13-20
I.  The Foundation of Endurance: Compassion and Character
A.  Compassion [Modeled by Paul - 3:1-5]
1.  He was concerned about their ______________ ______________
Input:  Why was growth so important to him? [Why should it be so important to us?]


2.  He was not thinking _______________

* One of the key ingredients for a disciple making church that stands firm in the faith is their love for God, their love for each other, and their love for others!
Input:  Why does FBC need this lesson on compassion and thinking unselfishly?


“As we review this chapter, 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. If he is not established, he will fall when the winds of persecution start to blow. If he cannot stand, he will never learn to walk. What shall we do? We can be an encouragement and stand at his side as he matures. We can share the Word of God. We can pray. This is what Paul did—and it worked.” Wiersbe
3.  He was ___________ of the _____________ – 3:5
Input: What are some ways to which we need to be alert regarding Satan’s temptation?


B.  Character [Modeled by Timothy – 3:2]
 strengthen = make firm, establish; fix, set up
 encourage = beg, urge; encourage, speak words of encouragement; request, ask, appeal to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon
“Timothy’s task was to establish these believers and encourage (comfort) them in their faith. It is faith in God that keeps our feet on the ground when the enemy attacks. Without faith in God, we are defeated. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).” Wiersbe
*  Gearing up for greater effectiveness means ________________?

Input:  What kind of person can help younger believers grow in the Lord?
1.  You must __________ Christ yourself.
2.  You must be a ______________ like Christ
fellow worker = this one of the Greek words for servant

Input:  Why is being a servant so important in being a Disciple Making Church?


“The test of your servitude is how you respond when you are treated like one.”
3.  You must be a "_________ __________."

4.  You must be ready to _______ the Word to others and _____ for others! – 3:10
“The two-fold ministry of the Word of God and prayer is what establishes a church. If there is all teaching and preaching and no prayer, then the people will have light but no power. If there is all prayer but no teaching of the Word, you may have a group of enthusiasts who have more heat than light! The pastor, Sunday School teacher, missionary, or Christian worker who talks to God about his people, and then talks to his people about God, will have a balanced and established ministry. Christ’s ministry consisted of both the Word and prayer (Luke 22:31–32). Samuel ministered in this way (1 Sam. 12:23, and do not forget the last clause); so did Peter and the apostles (Acts 6:4) and Paul himself (Acts 20:32).” Wiersbe
II.  The Model of Endurance:  ______________
* ____________ _________________
* What helped them to make those right choices when their faith was unsupervised?
A.  Properly ‘_____________ the Word - -cf. 2:13 [read it]
* God’s Word is
 food to nourish us (Matt. 4:4)
 light to guide us (Ps. 119:105)
 a weapon to defend us (Eph. 6:17)
 a mirror to reveal our hearts (Heb. 4:12)
B. Seeing ________ __________ behind trials
Input: What is God’s purpose behind every trial/testing we face?
1) ______________
2) ________________________________-!
C.  Remembering our eventual _____________________
Input: Why do we need accountability? Why don’t people like accountability? 

 

III.  The Impact of Endurance:  Long-term _________________ on others
A. Others are ________________ by our endurance – v. 7

B. Others are ________________ by our endurance – v. 8

C.  Others have reason to ______________ in the presence of God – v. 9

Conclusion: Next Week:  _______________________

ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church
Standing Firm – 1 Thes 3:1-10

Introduction & Review:
#1: Focused – 1:1-10
#2: Integrity – 2:1-12
# 3: Receptive – 2:13-20
I.  The Foundation of Endurance: Compassion and Character
A.  Compassion [Modeled by Paul - 3:1-5]
1.  He was concerned about their spiritual growth. ]
Input:  Why was growth so important to him? [Why should it be so important to us?]
2.  He was not thinking selfishly
 Phil. 2:21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.
 Phil. 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
* One of the key ingredients for a disciple making church that stands firm in the faith is their love for God, their love for each other, and their love for others!
Input:  Why does FBC need this lesson on compassion and thinking unselfishly?
Quote: Wiersbe
3.  He was aware of the enemy – 3:5
Input: What are some ways to which we need to be alert regarding Satan’s temptation?
 1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
B.  Character [Modeled by Timothy – 3:2]
 strengthen = make firm, establish; fix, set up
 encourage = beg, urge; encourage, speak words of encouragement; request, ask, appeal to; console, comfort, cheer up; invite, summon
Quote: Wiersbe
*   Gearing up for greater effectiveness means ________________?
Input:  What kind of person can help younger believers grow in the Lord?
1.  You must know Christ yourself.
2.  You must be a servant like Christ
fellow worker = this one of the Greek words for servant
Input:  Why is being a servant so important in being a Disciple Making Church?
“The test of your servitude is how you respond when you are treated like one.”
3.  You must be a "team player."
 Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
4.  You must be ready to teach the Word to others and pray for others! – 3:10 [read]
Quote: Wiersbe

 

II.  The Model of Endurance:  Consistency
* FAITH UNSUPERVISED
* What helped them to make those right choices when their faith was unsupervised?
A.  Properly ‘receiving’ the Word - -cf. 2:13
* God’s Word is
 food to nourish us (Matt. 4:4)
 light to guide us (Ps. 119:105)
 a weapon to defend us (Eph. 6:17)
 a mirror to reveal our hearts (Heb. 4:12)
B. Seeing God’s purpose behind trials
Input: What is God’s purpose behind every trial/testing we face?
1) His glory
2) Our conformity to Jesus Christ!
 Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
C.  Remembering our eventual accountability
Input: Why do we need accountability? Why don’t people like accountability? 
III.  The Impact of Endurance:  Long-term Influence on others
A. Others are comforted by our endurance – v. 7
B. Others are strengthened by our endurance – v. 8
C.  Others have reason to rejoice in the presence of God – v. 9
Conclusion:
Next Week:  Feb. 12: – Moldova speaker!