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Strengthening Our Grip…on Priorities

12 Dec

mothers loveKnowledge apart from application falls short of God’s desire for His children. He wants us to apply what we learn so that we will change and grow spiritually. As we progress through some lessons in coming weeks, it is our desire to discover (or rediscover) biblical truth and understanding and encourage the needed application.

As time passes, Christian organizations, like wineskins, tend to lose their vitality. They often lose their energy and enthusiasm. Paul gives four priorities in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13.

  1. The ministry must be Biblical. “You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. {2} We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. {3} For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. {4} On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

Whenever a church concentrates on trying to please people instead of pleasing God, breaks form in its foundation. God’s Word alone gives a church an authorative blueprint. A plumb line of practice must square with founding principles.

{13} And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

  1. The ministry must be authentic. {5} You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness. {6} We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you… Paul’s ministry did not include egoism or exploitation. It was genuine and sincere. We must also be free of deception and the desire to impress.
  2. The ministry must be gracious. {7} but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. {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.

What picture can be more tender, gentle, and compassionate? He knew the Thessalonians needed the Word, but he didn’t push it down their throats.

And we also need the love of a father who will take us by the hand and teach us how to walk: {10} You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. {11} For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, {12} encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

  1. The ministry must be relevant. {13} And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

When we have these priorities in ministry, our Christianity becomes incarnated in our lives rather than something we put on and take off, like a coat from the closet. It is something we assimilate, something that soaks into our lives so deeply and completely that it changes the very chemistry of our being.

When we strengthen our grip on changing from the inside out will we significantly impact the world around us.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Small groups

 

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