The Preacher God Wants Us to Be
1 Thessalonians 2:1-13
Charge to the Preacher - Luther Sanson Ordination
Twin Oaks Baptist Church - April 21, 2013
*Luther and Trudy, I can't tell you how blessed I am to be here with you today. The way the Lord has worked in and through you both is one of the greatest joys from our time at McClendon. Mary and I pray for God's richest blessings on you both as Luther follows the Lord's call into the ministry.
*Luther: How can we be the preachers God wants us to be? -- Nobody can show us better than the Apostle Paul. So this afternoon let's spend a few minutes looking at Paul's testimony to the church in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13.
*How can we be the preachers God wants us to be?
1. First: We must have great passion to share the gospel.
*We need the same kind of passion Paul shows us in vs. 1&2, where he said:
1. For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.
2. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully (or shamefully) treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
*Even though he had suffered, even though he had been shamefully treated at Philippi, Paul had an overwhelming passion to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 16 tells the story of how Paul and Silas were severely beaten with rods. Then they were thrown into the inner-prison with their feet fastened in stocks. But that didn't keep Paul from telling people about Jesus.
*Paul refused to quit, no matter how many hardships he endured. And that's the passion we need today, because we will be tempted to quit. Luther, you are going to be tempted to quit.
*Listen to this testimony from Pastor Larry Overstreet: "The first Pastors Conference my wife and I attended was in 1969, -- and the speaker was Dr. Howard Sugden, pastor of South Baptist Church in Lansing, MI for his entire ministry (1954 to 1991).
*During one of the question and answer times at the conference, he was asked, 'Pastor Sugden, have you ever been tempted to quit the ministry?' -- He paused just briefly, then said, 'Most every Monday.'" (1)
*Luther, I hope you won't be tempted to quit every Monday. But you will be tempted to quit. And you will probably never be beaten like Paul. But you will certainly be beaten down by disappointments, problems and set-backs.
-How can you keep going? -- How did Paul keep going?
 First: He never forgot the power of the gospel.
*Paul reminds us of the gospel's power down in vs. 13, where he said: "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe."
*And in Romans 1:16, Paul said: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek."
-Paul kept going because he never forgot the power of the Gospel.
 And he never forgot the privilege of his calling.
*Paul never forgot the incredible grace-filled privilege that God has given us to preach the gospel. As Paul said in Ephesians 3:8: "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."
*Luther, you are going to be tempted to quit. But don't you ever give up! Keep Paul's passion alive in your heart. Remember the power of the Gospel. And remember the privilege of your calling.
*To be the preachers God wants us to be, we must have Paul's passion to share the gospel.
2. We also must have pure hearts.
*Paul's pure heart and holy way of life shine through for us in the next verses. For example, in vs. 3, Paul told those believers: "Our exhortation did not come from deceit or uncleanness, nor was it in guile." In other words: "When we talked to you about Jesus Christ, we weren't deceived or deluded. We weren't motivated by evil, or trying to trick you."
 Paul had the right motivation when he took the gospel to the Thessalonians. He wasn't motivated by popularity.
*We see this truth in vs. 4, where Paul said: "But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."
-The Apostle Paul wasn't motivated by popularity.
 And he wasn't motivated by personal gain.
*As Paul said in vs. 5: "For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness God is witness." In other words, Paul wasn't wearing a mask to cover up his greed. Or as the New Living Translation says in vs. 5: "We were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money!"
-Paul wasn't motivated by personal gain.
 And he wasn't motivated by pride.
*We see this truth in vs. 6, where the Apostle said: "Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ."
-When Paul preached in Thessalonica, he wasn't motivated by pride.
 He was motivated by a pure heart.
*So in vs. 10, he could say: "You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe." At the end of the day, we need our earthly witnesses and God Himself to be able to see that we have served with pure hearts.
*To be the preachers God wants us to be, we must have pure hearts.
3. We also must have a parent's love.
*We need the kind of love we can see in the Apostle Paul and the other preachers who served with him. Look starting in vs. 7, where Paul said: "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children."
*That's sounds like an odd thing for a man to say. But those preachers loved their people almost beyond comprehension. And to help the church understand their love, Paul used that most tender image of a mother nursing her precious baby.
*Paul was saying, "Church: That's how much we love you." But that's not all. In vs. 8&9, Paul went on to say:
8. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
9. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
*In vs. 8, "We love you so much that we were willing to lay down our own lives."
-And in vs. 9, "We love you so much that we were willing to work day and night."
*Next in vs. 11, Paul turned from the love of a mother to the love of a father. And Paul said: "As you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children."
*And the goal is in vs. 12: "That you would have a walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."
*That's God's goal for all believers. And He wants to use us to help other people get there. How can we do that? How can we be the preachers God wants us to be?
*Paul shows us:
-We must have passion to share the gospel.
-We must have pure hearts.
-And we must have a parent's love for our people.
*Let's ask the Lord to help us as we go to God in prayer.
(1) Preaching.com - "Preaching Magazine" sermon "Don't Quit!" by Larry Overstreet - Exodus 6:1-9