2 Legs On Which To Stand
1 Thessalonians 3
The Thessalonian church was obviously a young church in age and also in maturity.
Paul had founded the church as is recorded in Acts 17.
They had ROCKED that town. They had "turned the world and Thessalonica upside down"
When God begins to move, Satan takes notice and he moves as well
Thessalonica was a city overrun with paganism and idolatry
Paul knew that once God began to move in the city among this new body of believers that Satan was going to pull out all of the stops to try to destroy, short circuit, detour, the work of God.
That is what he does
He comes to "steal kill and destroy"
He is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour
He is a counterfeiting masquerading as an angel of light
Satan would like to short circuit the move of God in this body of believers
He would like to detour YOU in your new walk with God
Many of you have recently come to Christ, or have recently returned to walk with God again and it may seem that all of a sudden, everything is rocky, all of a sudden someone has pulled out all of the stops, all of a sudden trouble is on every side, all of a sudden difficulty has come out of nowhere.
Well, what did the church at Thessalonica need?
What are the two legs on which they could stand and what are the two legs which you can stand?
Have you ever heard the phrase, "you don't have a leg to stand on?"
Everyone Stand For Me
Let's read our Scripture passage today
While I read, if you are able, stand on one leg for me
Stand on one leg while I Read this passage
1 Thessalonians 3
Two legs on which to stand so that you won't be "unsettled", "upended" knocked off your feet
The two legs are
Faith and Love
Belief and Action
Let's talk about the first leg on which to stand against the attacks of the evil one
v 10 says "night and day we pray that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith"
How do you build up your faith?
Faith must be grounded in truth, it must be attached to something solid
Our faith is grounded in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 5:17 says that if Christ is NOT risen then our faith is FUTILE
Heb 11:1 - "faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what we do not see."
And verse 6 says "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
Faith is the first leg we deal with because without faith you don't have a leg to stand on.
Faith is the place to start in regards to understanding. If you don't believe, you will never understand.
Augustine said, "I believed that I might understand"
Isaiah 7:9 - "stand firm in your faith or you will not stand at all"
1 Cor. 16:13 says "be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong"
what is lacking that diminishes our faith?
Courage or Knowledge
and how do we build our faith?
A. What builds Courage?
You are not in this alone, and others have made it, so can you
1 Peter 5:9 - "resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings"
Colossians 4:12 - "Epaphrus, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured"
3. He sent somebody - Timothy - Timothy was sent v2 to strengthen and encourage them in their faith.
Paul was praying for them night and day - But until then, he sent Somebody
a. When you need it the most, God will send somebody to build your faith
b. Can I tell you that God sent me by here 18 months ago to tell you that we can make it?
I'm here today to tell you that you can make it
God is sending some of you to another believer a young believer or perhaps a discouraged believer, to tell them that they can make it. Encourage them to grow into their faith
Another thief of faith is lack of knowledge
B. What Builds Knowledge?
1. sowing the Word
Romans 10:17 "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God"
Hebrews 13:7 "remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
2. listening to the Spirit
a. God's Spirit within the heart of the believer testifies to Truth thus building our faith
Hebrews 10:11 - "…Spirit also testifies to us …"
Romans 8:16 - "Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are his children"
John 15:26 - "the Spirit … will testify about me"
3. accepting the truth
Colossians 1:23 - "if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven…"
4. He sent his Word -
2 Thes 2:15-16 - stand firm, holding on to his teaching, eternal encouragement
Stand on the Truth that you Know, believe the Truth you have heard from us and has been sown into your hearts.
Faith in Christ FOR Salvation
Faith in Christ FOR Deliverance
Faith in Christ FOR Continuance
The first Leg on which we stand is Faith
The Second Leg that compliments Faith is Love, or Action
Love is evidenced by Action
A. For God
We can't separate Love from Action
We can't separate Love from Obedience
To Stand on the Leg of Love Action - Deeds are the foot on the Leg of Love
1. John 14:15 - if you love me, you will obey what I command - 21 - whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who love me. - 23 - if anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 he who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
2. you can't separate obedience and love
3. God will dwell in a church that stands on the leg of obedience as an expression of Love
4. Jesus said in Luke 14:26 - if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple
5. in comparison to our love for God all other desires even for our own desires, they are all hatred.
6. If we settle the Love issue, we will settle the obedience issue
7. when our love is out of order we are in danger of being knocked off our feet
8. 1 John 5:3 - "This is LOVE for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are NOT burdensome."
B. Love for Others
1. the 2nd great command is to "love our neighbor as ourselves"
2. 1 John 2:5 - "if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him"
1 Peter 1:22 - "now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart"
3. Love for God displayed in obedience completes love and purifies us and naturally leads us to a lifestyle of love for others
4. v12 - "may the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and everyone else"
a. when love increases, it has to overflow
obedience is just love overflowing
service is just love overflowing
gratitude is just love overflowing
5. If someone tells you that you can have love, spiritual maturity and it not overflow into action and obedience, then I will tell you that they are reading another book and preaching another gospel than this.
You need both legs to stand firm
James 2:14 - "what good is it … if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?" 17 "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead"
You can't stand long on one Leg
Faith without deeds/love is dead
Deeds/Love without Faith is just social gospel.
You can love you can do, you can go, go, go, but eventually you will tire out and without Faith to support your deeds, you will look down at the waves of a tumultuous life and will sink as fast as Peter faded on the Sea of Galilee
You can have faith to move mountains, but without love, your faith is just religious knowledge that doesn't change who you are
But you can have faith and Love both strong and able to support you, but if you have nothing to stand on, you are still going to Fall
Strong legs will do nothing for you in shifting sands,
We need a Rock on which to stand.
There is a ROCK on Which To Plant Your Legs
Jesus Christ, Crucified, Risen, Ascended and Coming Again
Mohammed, is NOT coming again, for me
I will not stand in the presence of Buddha,
the false "Jesus" that Joseph Smith dreamed up will NOT return in the clouds with Victory in his Wings.
Secular Humanism will shift as fast as the ethics of the day.
Those are the shifting sands on which many will try to stand,
But I'm taking THIS Leg of FAITH, and THIS Leg of LOVE and I'm placing them down Firmly on the ROCK that will not Roll, Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, Creator of Heaven and Earth, who
was born of a Virgin,
Lived a sinless Earthly Life, Lived a Life of Love, so that we know what Love is as Jesus Laid Down his life for us.
I'm Building my Faith, Overflowing with Love, but even if my legs get knocked out from under me, I'm standing on, so I'm landing on the Rock of Ages Cleft for me
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Blood and Righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.
When Darkness seems to hide its face I rest on his unchanging grace, in every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil
His oath, his covenant his blood, support me in the whelming flood, when all around my soul gives way he then is all my hope and stay
When he shall come with trumpet sound oh will I then in him be found, dressed in his righteousness alone faultless to stand before his throne
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand