Change: God’s World
Our mission at Liberty is Changing Lives, Communities, and the World for Jesus Christ. In 1 Thessalonians we read about a model church that did that from ancient Macedonia. The church at Thessalonica was accused of “turning the world upside down.” How did they do it? How can we change the world? 1 Thessalonians 1:3 gives us three ways: “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father…”
Work of Faith
Look at 1 Thessalonians 1:5. We are here because the Gospel came to us in much power. We are saved by faith. Salvation is from God. You did not find God. He was not lost! He found you! You cannot walk an aisle, pray a prayer, get some “fire insurance” and continue to live the same old way. That is not salvation. You have to turn from your idols (1 Thess. 1:9). Repentance is when you are going in one direction and you turn and go in another. Some of you need to make a U-turn in your life!
An idol is what you sacrifice to or sacrifice for.
2.8 billion people in the world have little to no access to the Gospel. They are headed for wrath to come. That is why we must pray, give, and go. The reason we don’t is because we are too busy bowing to our own idols. An idol is what you sacrifice to or sacrifice for. It could be a house, car, promotion, position, relationship, food, drugs, money, success, etc. God is a Jealous God. He will not be second in your life. The only relationship God is interested in is one that is exclusive and committed. To say “Jesus is Lord,” is to say Jesus is number one. Where is God on your list of priorities in life? What do you value most?
Labor of Love
Everyone is serving something. Do you love serving Jesus? You were saved to serve. We are his workmanship in Christ Jesus to do good works. I get tired in it, but I never get tired of it! Last week, I preached on the will of God. God’s perfect will is the same: to be saved, baptized, read the Bible, win others, tithe, give, pray. God’s particular will is different for all of us: where we live, if and who we marry, where we work, etc. Why do you do what you do? It must be out of love for God. That is why we give and serve. Not out of guilt, but because of grace and out of gratitude to God.
Patience of Hope
Do you believe Jesus is coming again? He is going to come again as sure as He came the first time. There are five chapters in 1 Thessalonians, each ending with a reminder that Jesus is coming again! Waiting is not idle. It has the idea of expectation, watching and waiting with hope while we work in love.
In verses 6-8 we read that the church was an example to the surrounding area and that the Word “sounded forth” from there into all the world. God used this passage to shape my ministry. In Arkansas, I prayed, “God give me your vision for this church.” God brought this very passage to my mind and heart. Our first slogan was Sounding the Gospel to the Surrounding Area. God called us to be a regional church. We had less than 200 in attendance in a town of 1000. In the next 19 years, we would see God grow that church to over 2500 members. He answered that prayer. Then, God picked us up and dropped us in the middle of 1.7 million people. Over time, the wording changed, but the message and mission remained the same. Now, in Virginia, reaching Hampton Roads and beyond…Changing Lives, Communities, and the World for Jesus Christ.
The church at Thessalonica was one church reaching their community and beyond. How did they do it? How must we do it? Our Work of Faith (faith always produces works), our Labor of Love (love always produces labor), and our Patience of Hope (hope always produces patience). Together, they turned the world upside down. Together, we can change the world!