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THE MISSION OF GOD - 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

February 26, 2017

 

As believers, each of us are entrusted with the gospel.

 

So how do you speak and live the gospel to those around you?

 

What is your gospel influence among unbelievers and believers?

 

When we speak and live the gospel, God is glorified and lives are transformed.

 

 

As believers of Jesus Christ - we are all involved in mission. The mission of God.

To love and honour God in being disciples and helping make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This morning we are going to explore what Paul, Silas and Timothy has to say to the church in Thessalonica, to us, about how to engage in transparent gospel mission.  They provide us with an example.

 

When we speak and live the gospel, God is glorified and lives are transformed.

 

We are given three powerful metaphors to help us understand how we are to speak and live the gospel.

 

LIKE A CHILD - PURE MESSAGE [1 Thess. 2:1-6]

Paul clearly understood that his mission and message was from God. He spoke a pure message. The gospel of Jesus Christ.

…we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. (1 Thess. 2:4)

 

We have been entrusted with the gospel. The very good news that communicates God’s plan and purpose to restore people back into right relationship with Himself, through the person and work of Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

And the power behind the pure message of the Gospel that we are to share…

…with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel… (1 Thess. 2:2)

 

The power of God.

 

Paul presented a simple, clear and transparent message. Like a message coming from a young child. Innocent and true.

Instead, we were like young children among you. (1 Thess2:7)

 

Paul here is highlighting the innocence of the message. What you see is what you get. There is no deception within the message, no hidden agenda, and no ruse. It was the pure message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Do you know the pure message of the gospel?

 

The true, transparent and pure gospel of God, of Jesus Christ, as revealed by the Holy Spirit, Paul gives to us in Romans 5:8-11. This is the good news…

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Rom. 5:8-11)

 

What gospel have you been saved by?

What gospel do you share?

 

We are to share the true, transparent and pure gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news. We are not to alter it, use ploys, trickery or flattery to make it seem attractive to people. We are to share the pure gospel, with the simplicity and innocence of a child.

 

LIKE A MOTHER - PURE MOTIVES [1 Thess. 2:7-8]

So what is the reason we are involved in mission, the mission of God?

 

Paul, Silas and Timothy’s motives in ministry were twofold.

Firstly to please God.

We are not trying to please people but God… (1 Thess. 2:4)

 

The motivation in our mission, is to live in such a way that we bring pleasure to God. To bring glory to God.

 

Secondly they were motivated by deep love for the believers in Thessalonica.

Because we loved you so much... (1 Thess. 2:8)

 

In a culture of greed, self-centred focus and arrogance, we are to contrast this by highlighting the sacrificial heart and total commitment we are to have towards people both in word and deed. To the extent where we give everything we have for the cause of sharing the gospel and pleasing God. This is pure motives.

…we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. (1 Thess. 2:8)

 

They use the metaphor of a nursing mother caring for her child. Reflecting the gentleness, love and self-sacrifice of a mother.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you.  (1 Thess. 2:7-8)

 

Paul, Silas and Timothy were warm, generous and caring in their approach to those they were ministering to. Just as a mother, who loves her child with all her heart, doesn’t set herself up as the most important thing, but is willing to do anything she can for her precious son or daughter. She provides for and treasures her child. She speaks affectionately to it. She spends time with it. Her interactions are tender. She does all she can to meet her duty of care, because she loves that child.

 

This is their heart for the Thessalonians.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. (1 Thess. 2:7-8)

 

What is your heart and motives for those God has brought into your life, your mission?

 

We need to be motivated by a desire to please God. Our ultimate example is that of Christ. Our motives are to be the same as Christ Jesus.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (Phil. 2:1-5)

 

What motivation does your Christian walk or talk display? Do you have the mind-set of Christ?

 

LIKE A FATHER - PURE MEANS [1 Thess. 2:9-12]

Paul, Silas and Timothy use the metaphor of a father dealing with his own children. They trained and instructed the Thessalonians individually as a responsible father teaches his children.

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children…

(1 Thess2:11)

 

The deep affection and the burden of responsibility that he took on is reflected in the way he sought to build up, inspire, and motivate to action each person they were connected to.

 

This is their example of how to do mission.

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thess. 2:10-12)

 

How do you approach ministry? Are you programme orientated or people orientated?

 

There is a growing trend in our culture to cater for people. This can lead to us being very programme orientated. The programme will meet the need. Although programmes have their place, they should not and cannot be a replacement for discipleship. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone. Supporting and journeying with someone as they grow in their intimacy and walk with Christ. Being part of the process of equipping others to serve and lead others in Jesus’ name.

 

Are we able to say the same as Paul did to the church in Corinth?

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)

 

In what way are you seeking to serve God? Is it with a programme focus or a people focus?

 

We have been entrusted with the gospel. A gospel we are called to speak and live.

 

With powerful images Paul has encouraged us to…

  • Share a pure message, the gospel of God. With the metaphor of a young child, we are encouraged to present a simple, clear and transparent message without the trappings of flattery or deception. Like a message coming from a young child.

 

  • Have pure motives, the mind of Christ. With the metaphor of a nursing mother caring for her child, we are encouraged to have clear and pure motives that reflect the gentleness, love and self-sacrifice of a mother nursing her child.

 

  • Employing pure means, the discipleship of others towards maturity. With the metaphor of a father dealing with his own children, we are encouraged to train and instruct individual believers as a responsible father teaches his children.

 

So how are you speaking and living the gospel to those around you, those who you spend time with? How would you describe your words and deeds?

Your motives?

Your Christian walk?

Your gospel influence among unbelievers and believers?

 

When we speak and live the gospel, God is glorified and lives are transformed.

 

And as Paul said…

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)

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