Setting the Standard
Setting the Standard
· Last week we saw how Paul wants us to imitate him.
· It is as if we are his children, and he wishes for us to look at his example, and to do the things that he is doing.
· Examples are powerful things. If you have children, you can often see that they are seeking to imitate you. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not so good.
§ Example: Preston crunching up his chips to eat taco salad; mowing
§ We can also see many times that we follow the example of our parents in our own parenting.
§ Song: I’ll Be Watching You
§ Have you ever been correcting your children, and then realize that what you just said sounds a lot like what your mother/father used to say to you?
· We have many negative examples in society today. There are very few role models for our children to look up to today.
§ Politicians: corruption is overwhelming
§ Sports figures: They get paid a lot, but does what they do matter for eternity?
§ Preachers: Many are one person in the pulpit, and then we find they are entirely different when no one is watching
· God is always watching
· The best example for our children today, and for young believers, is someone who is a fully devoted follower of Jesus, and had dedicated their lives to fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
· God has given us just such an example that we should follow in his word, through the Apostle Paul.
· Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Body: Paul’s Model for the Christian Life
1. Perseverance in Hard Times (v. 1-2)
· We need to have a “sticktoitiveness”
· The reality of the Christian life is that we will often face trials; life is not always a bed of roses. The Bible is full of examples of this.
· Yet much of what we hear on the television and radio these days from certain ministries completely ignores this fact.
· Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation (or much trouble). But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
· Paul gives us the example: He his back was still stinging, and his heart jumping from what had just happened to them in Philippi. (Acts 16)
i. Paul had seen a vision of a man from Macedonia calling him to come preach the Gospel to them.
ii. They go to Philippi, and begin preaching the word. Many are saved, including a woman named Lydia. As they were living in this town, a woman who was a slave and a fortune teller began following them as they were going to church to pray, yelling “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” She kept this up, and the scripture says that Paul was so annoyed at her, that he turned around one day and cast the demon out of her. Now that her owners’ livelihood was gone, they were very angry and organized a mob who dragged them into the local court. There Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and put in jail.
iii. They were suffering for doing what was right. Have you ever been in this situation? You have done the right thing, and it cost you something. Perhaps it cost you a relationship, a promotion, a deal at work. Perhaps it cost you being made fun of. However we are to persevere in these situations.
iv. The Scripture says that as they were in prison, they didn’t whine and complain about their situation. But with their backs still stinging, they began to sing praise to God, and as they worshipped, God shook the prison they were in, and their chains which bound them we loosed. God set them free. The result was that a whole family was saved.
· Thus Paul says in 1 Thessalonians that they have tremendous boldness and courage, not because of who they are, but because of the God they serve!
i. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the sea…Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
ii. Think of David before Goliath
· They had boldness to declare the Gospel of God. The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus saves. The Philippian jailor asked “What must I do to be saved?” and Paul responded, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
· When you are going through hard times, the answer is the same:
i. What is going to get me through this trial?
ii. How will I have strength to persevere?
iii. How am I going to make it?
· The answer is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” It is not a one-time event. You keep believing, and He will save you.
What do we need to persevere in?
1. Seek to be a blessing to others
a. Give them the Gospel (Great Commission)—v. 2b
b. Discipleship (Great Commandment)
· v. 7 He is like a mother to them
§ NIV: Model for ministry at NS: 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
· v. 11 He is like a father to them
2. Live a Live of Integrity (v. 3)
· You are the same person in private that you are in public
· “The biggest argument against Christianity is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, but deny him by their lifestyle. This is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
· Integrity is the idea of moral soundness. That your motives in life, work, and ministry are pure.
· We are not motivated by money, by making a name for ourselves, or by somehow being recognized, or even that somehow we might earn favor with God.
· We are motivated by the fact that we have a God who is worthy of our obedience. He died on the cross in our place, and saved us, and has given us eternal life in him. Our response should be obedience to his word out of sheer thankfulness and joy over the great things that he has done for us.
3. Live life to an audience of One (v. 4-6)
· We should seek not to be men-pleasers, but to be God pleasers.
· Who are you trying to please? If you are trying to please people, you will never get there. People constantly change, their motives change, their desires change, their perceptions change. However, we serve a God who never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can trust Him, and should live our lives with the view that we are trying to please the only One who matters.
· We must strive to live our lives in such a way, that when we see Jesus face to face, we hear those words that we all long to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in the little things, you will be given much.”
Granddaddy’s poem: Weep not for me