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God of This City and Nation: The Kind of Church that Brings Radical Change

Core Values of Christian Community  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This sermon examines the kind of church that can facilitate transformed lives, communities and nations.

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

A- Vision/Mission Statement of Church

B- The need for the city and nation as illustrated by crime and drug overdose statistics.

C- This city and our nation needs to turn to “The God of this City” and nation.

D- One church can make a difference. The Thessalonican church did.

TS: What are some key characteristics of a church that can help to bring transformation to this city and nation?

1. It is a church that is unified in Honest, purposeful Prayer (vs. 2).

“ We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.”

A- Prayer for one another.

1- Paul’s prayer for the Colossians ().

“9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you.We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”
spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”
honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”
fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”
better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”
power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”
be filled with joy,* 12 always thanking the Father.”

B- Prayer for the lost.

1- Paul set the example:

() “Dear brothers and sisters,* the longing of my heart andmy prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.”

my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.”

C- Prayer for leaders.

1- The Early Church was unified in prayer ().

“23 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. 24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God:…”

other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders
had said. 24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted
their voices together in prayer to God:…”

2. It is a church that is are a fully functioning body of believers in Jesus Christ (vs. 1, 3).

A- They understand who they belong to (vs. 1).

This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and theLord Jesus Christ. May God give you grace and peace”.

church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ. May God give you grace and peace”.

1- Jesus has bought us with his own blood—a tremendous cost. The believer no longer belongs to himself.

no longer belongs to himself.

() “19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by
God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high
price. So you must honor God with your body.”
Their reception of the word of the gospel was not an easy experience. It was accompanied by “suffering” (thlipsei). The church suffered “persecution” (another translation of thlipsei) at the hands of “their own countrymen,” who were opposed to the spread of the gospel (see 2:14 and 3:3–4). The intensity of the opposition is reflected in Acts by the persecutors’ persistence.[1]

B- They work together as a unified organism (a church) in carrying out the work of Christ (vs. 3).

of Christ (vs. 3).

As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our
Lord Jesus Christ.”

3. It is a church that seeks to be obedient to God’s Word and the leadership of the Holy Spirit (vs. 5-6).

Holy Spirit (vs. 5-6).

5 For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.

with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was
true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were
with you.

6 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.”

suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.

A- We are to be a people who actively listens to and follows the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit.

1- He is the believer’s guide to truth and the source of the believer’s power.

() “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

into all truth.”

() “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit,
who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t
looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

B- We are to be a people who are obedient to the Word of God—reflecting the life of Christ to the world.

life of Christ to the world.

1- The Thessalonican believers imitated Christ and their discipler, Paul.

a. The Greek word means to mimic

2- Note Jesus’ question:

() “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?”

you don’t do what I say?”

4. It is a church that endeavors to promote the transformation of lives, communities, and the world by telling and living out the Gospel (vs.7-10).

, and the world by telling and living out the Gospel (vs.7-10).

7 As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece— throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. 8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.”

throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.
8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere,
even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling
us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it,
9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you
turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.
10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son
from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has
rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.”
So that ye became (ὡστε γενεσθαι ὑμας [hōste genesthai humas]). Definite result expressed by ὡστε [hōste] and the infinitive γενεσθαι [genesthai] (second aorist middle of γινομαι [ginomai]) as is common in the Koiné. An ensample (τυπον [tupon]). So B D, but Aleph A C have τυπους [tupous] (plural). The singular looks at the church as a whole, the plural as individuals like ὑμας [humās]. Τυπος [Tupos] is an old word from τυπτω [tuptō], to strike, and so the mark of a blow, print as in John . Then the figure formed by the blow, image as in . Then the mould or form (; ). Then an example or pattern as in , to be imitated as here, , etc. It was a great compliment for the church in Thessalonica to be already a model for believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Our word type for printers is this same word with one of its meanings. Note separate article with both Macedonia (τῃ Μακεδονιᾳ [tēi Makedoniāi]) and Achaia (τῃ Ἀχαιᾳ [tēi Achaiāi]) treated as separate provinces as they were.[2]

A. It begins with personal transformation.

1.) Have you experienced the change that comes from knowing and walking with Christ?

walking with Christ?
1. Note the transformation that took place in the Thessalonians.

9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.

and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true
God.

B. It continues as we tell others about what Christ has done for us.

From you hath sounded forth (ἀφʼ ὑμων ἐξηχηται [aph’ humōn exēchētai]). Perfect passive indicative of ἐξηχεω [exēcheō], late compound verb (ἐξ, ἠχος, ἠχω, ἠχη [ex, ēchos, ēchō, ēchē], our echo) to sound out of a trumpet or of thunder, to reverberate like our echo. Nowhere else in the N. T. So “from you” as a sounding board or radio transmitting station (to use a modern figure). It marks forcibly “both the clear and the persuasive nature of the λογος του Κυριου [logos tou Kuriou]” (Ellicott). This phrase, the word of the Lord, may be subjective with the Lord as its author or objective with the Lord as the object. It is both. It is a graphic picture with a pardonable touch of hyperbole (Moffatt) for Thessalonica was a great commercial and political centre for disseminating the news of salvation (on the Egnation Way). But in every place (ἀλλʼ ἐν παντι τοπῳ [all’ en panti topōi]).[3]

1. It is impossible for the lives of others to be transformed without someone telling them about Jesus!

someone telling them about Jesus!

(, ) “ But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?....So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if
they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about
him unless someone tells them?....So faith comes from hearing,
that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

2. We who have believed are commanded to tell those who have not believed.

believed.

() “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people
about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

3. We are to be the source of Christ’s message ringing out throughout the earth.

earth.

(Vs. 8) “And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia…”

people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia…”
Conclusion:
Illustration: Individuals and cities were changed by God during the great awakening.
*Illustration:
Music video of song “God of this City”
* 10:1 Greek Brothers.
[1] D. Michael Martin, 1, 2 Thessalonians, vol. 33, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 61–62.
[2] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), .
[3] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), .
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