Title: THE FLIP SIDE OF LEADERSHIP
Text: 1 Thess. 2:13-20
Your leadership skills can be tested by taking a quick look over your shoulder: is anyone following? The flip side of leading is following. What good is the possession of leadership skills if the response of the followers is indifference or even resistance?
As we enter this next portion of Paul’s letter to the Thessolonicans, its so obvious why Paul was so fond of these believers: they were such great followers. Read Text!
1. What was the whole point of Jesus’ parable of the wise man building on the rock and the foolish man building on the sand? (Matt. 7:24-27) Comment on this statement: “It is one thing to hear God’s Word, but it is quite another to welcome it into your life.” What motivates you to follow God’s Word and not just hear it?
2. In your opinion, what are some essential attitudes in being a follower? Why is it so important to welcome biblical teaching into the inner core of your life? 2:13b Do you suppose there are some changes needed if we are to grow beyond our current walk with Christ? What changes are you thinking of? Why do we resist change? What do you think God thinks of those who believe their way is the best way? Do we resist change the older we get? How can we keep flexibile as we grow older?
3. In verse 14a Paul states a positive quality of the Thessalonicans as they followed spiritual leadership. What is it? What are the chances the Thessalonican believers had ever met the believers in Judea? How is it that they then imitated the Judean believers? When we become Christians, are we to give up our cultural distinctives? Should the church be careful not to mix cultural distinctives with New Testament commands? Explain your answer.
4. Endurance is built through suffering. Evidently the Thessalonicans had their share of it just like many other Christians of that day. Should a new convert be told that the Christian life is going to be a bed of roses? Explain your answer. What did Jesus tell us we could expect? Matt. 5:10-12; 10:34-39 Even though we will experience suffering in the name of Christ, what can we rely upon God to do for us? Rom. 8:28
5. What does verse 16 say about hindering Christians from speaking to the lost concerning their salvation? What does Paul mean when he says they “fill up the measure of their sins.” 2 Thess. 1:5-7
6. What does it mean when we say that God is a sovereign Lord? How does it make you feel to know there is a sovereign Lord in control even when we have a difficult time seeing it?
7. Paul now changes the subject to reveal how he feel about the Thessalonicans. What do you think Paul means when he said, “We have been bereft of you for a short while”? Why did Paul feel kidnapped from them? Acts 17:1,5-10 What positive attitudes did Paul keep in the midst of all this, according to the rest of our text?
8. Paul expressed an eager expectation to see them again even though they were separated. Describe the atmosphere in your house when you have made plans to go home for the holidays, or have relatives in your home. What does that longing to see them do for your heart during the time you are separated?
Comment: Even though we may never get so see family or friends again, there is a reunion coming where no one will be missing...and you will have all the time you can soak up in fellowship with one another.
9. In verse 18 Paul gives us something important to remember: make a constant effort to keep up communication, especially during Satan’s opposition. What does “thwarted” mean?
Greek for “thwarted” = ___________________________________________________________________
What did Satan actually do here in verse 18? Why does Satan want to keep Christians apart? What happens to us if we don’t fellowship, worship, and study together? What can we be sure of when someone is missing from the fellowship? What does the Bible have to say about this subject? Heb. 10:23-25
10. Do we dare ignore the spiritual warfare that goes on around us? Eph. 6:10-13 How can we fight against Satanic opposition? 1 John 4:4 offers something we need to keep in mind during this opposition. What is it? On the other hand, is it right to attribute all our problems and struggles to the work of Satan? Ja. 1:13-14
11. Verse 19 of our text shows Paul’s joyful hope even though there were problems. How important is it to keep a spirit of joy in the midst of problems? How does this affect others around us? Why is hope so important in the mist of struggles?
12. Some people give up feeding on the Word of God in the midst of their troubles. Why is that so dangerous during a time like that?
1. We need to develop an attitude of gratitude by welcoming God’s Word in our heart when it is taught or preached. We should welcome the truth when we hear it.
2. We need to learn to be content when God is strengthening us by doing His will in our lives. Sometimes His will brings discipline, but we need to accept the path we have to walk.
3. We need to learn to develop the attitude of happiness amidst heaviness. We can do this by affirming one another daily.
Choose someone out of the group to discuss and pray over this question: Which of the three items above is speaking to the need of your heart right now?