Galatians 1:10 (KJV) “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

In “Part 3” of the blog, our discussion ended with…

Christ will reward “Faithfulness” when He returns.

Luke 12:37 (KJV) “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

Luke 12:37 (MSG) “Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them.”

Therefore, let us pray as Thomas Aquinas prayed…

“Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.”

Paul knew that the only way to overcome the obstacles of the enemy and environment is by “Living to Please God.” He sent Timothy to encourage the believers in Thessalonica to “Live to Please God” by their…

  1. Steadfastness

“Steadfastness” pleases God by …

b. Fellowship

Paul was encouraged to discover that the “Community of Faith” in Thessalonica was standing firm in its faith and love. Love is, above all, the determining quality of Christlikeness!

1 Thessalonians 3:6-7 (KJV) “But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:” (Emphasis Added). 

1 Thessalonians 3:6-7 (MSG) “But now that Timothy is back, bringing this terrific report on your faith and love, we feel a lot better. It’s especially gratifying to know that you continue to think well of us, and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you! In the middle of our trouble and hard times here, just knowing how you’re doing keeps us going” (Emphasis Added).

“Steadfastness” is encouraged and enriched by the community of believers. Real steadfastness is manifested by the continued interaction and interdependence of believers.

Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

God stated, Genesis 2:18 (KJV) “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. IF God recognized that it is NOT good for anyone to “be alone,” what makes us think we are wiser than He?!

The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.” — Henri Nouwen in The Wounded Healer

I disagree with the statement, “Doing church!” Many churches’ websites state, “Check us out – we do church differently.” Christ’s Church is not what we do, it is who we are!

Sometimes I think of life as a big wagon wheel with many spokes. In the middle is the hub. Often in ministry, it looks like we are running around the rim trying to reach everybody. But God says, ‘Start in the hub; live in the hub. Then you will be connected with all the spokes, and you won’t have to run so fast.’” — Henri J. Nouwen in “Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry”

I don’t see any evidence where individuals are willing to die for “something,” but there is much evidence that individuals to die for “someone.” While one might raise the argument that many have died to provide the freedom we enjoy to discount my premise, freedom is only manifested when “someone” exercises it. Jesus did NOT die for “something,” He died for His Church.

Acts 20:28 (KJV) “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Emphasis Added).

Romans 5:6-8 (KJV) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Emphasis Added).

A sharp distinction ought to be made between a church and an audience. An audience is a group of unrelated people drawn together by a short-lived attraction. An audience is a crowd. A church is a family. An audience is a gathering. A church is a fellowship. An audience is a heap of stones. A church is a temple. Preachers are ordained, not to attract an audience, but to build a church. Coarse and worldly men, if richly gifted, can draw audiences, but only a man who is given to the Lord Jesus Christ can build a church.” — Charles E. Jefferson

Let me state this again, “Church is NOT what we DO, it is who we ARE!”

Hebrews 10:25 (MSG) “not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” (Emphasis Added).

Since the Word of God establishes that marriage is a mirror of Christ’s relationship with His Church (Ephesians 5:32), and we understand that it is practically impossible to BE “married” alone, we must accept that it is practically impossible to BE the Church alone.

It was one of the Wesleys, I think, who said that the New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion. We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. Christianity is already institutional in the earliest of its documents.” — C. S. Lewis

We’ll talk more next week!!