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Living it for everyone to see

By: Admin on July 14, 2013

We've started a new series for this summer that runs from July 14 to August 18. It is called "Living It".

As followers of Jesus, we are called to know what God wants from us. We're also called to act upon what God has revealed to us and has equipped us to do both as individuals as well as a church. But as important as knowing and doing are, we have to go "deeper". We are to LIVE what we believe. What we believe about Jesus, what we know about God and what we have studied in the Bible has to become an integral part of our very being.

This series is based on an entire book of the New Testament in the Bible, First Thessalonians. This is the first of two letters the Bible teacher Paul wrote to the Christians who lived in Thessalonica, Greece, now known as Thessaloniki.

Paul helped to found the congregations of Christians in Thessalonica. Those who believed in Jesus were experiencing a total change of life based on a change of heart and mind because of the power of God.

Inevitably, when one undergoes a radical change of life, it can be confusing. Remember, believing in Jesus means rejecting past beliefs and concepts and accepting fully the reality of God. There were a number of issues arising in these congregations of Thessalonica because of the changes they were experiencing and what they were trying to learn, so Paul decided to write a couple of letters to the Thessalonian Christians to help them not only understand their new life, but how to live that new life in the situation they were in.

On top of the cultural and philosophical shift these Thessalonian believers in Jesus had to undergo, they were also persecuted by the religious and civil authorities because of their faith.

Although written to these believers 1950 years ago, these principles of how to live our our faith in Jesus Christ apply to us today.

The idea of living our our faith is not new at all in the Bible:

Micah 6:8
“He has shown you, O people, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”

This is living out our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the true Christian life, not about going to church or doing religious things, not about just knowing what the Bible says. It is action according to the Bible. God showed us what is good and what he requires through the Bible, therefore we need to act.

Here is the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Thessalonian Christians:

1 Thessalonians 1:1 - 10
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.

2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Living it on the Outside means Living it on the Inside (1 Thessalonians 1:1 - 3)

Paul, Silas and Timothy were teammates in starting churches and teaching the Bible. They had the Thessalonian Christians front and centre in their minds, but not because of trouble, rather because they were thankful for them and they remembered this about these particular Christians in Greece:

1. Work produced by faith
They did good works because of their faith in God - THE reason

2. Labor prompted by love
Most important commandments? (Mark 12:28 - 34) LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS
They obeyed the most important commandments and carried that attitude with them in everything they did.

3. Endurance inspired by hope in Jesus
Persecution was part of daily life for Christians in that time and place - they kept on going because their hope was in Jesus:

Living it because of God’s Work (1 Thessalonians 1:4 - 6)

The Thessalonian believers in Jesus recognized some important facts about their life:
They were loved by God

They were chosen by God, not accidents. No one has earned their position with God, it is his work and his work alone. Ultimately, God has a purpose for each one.

Their lives and work were powered by God

Living it in Front of Everyone (1 Thessalonians 1:7 - 10)

Faith is NOT a private issue, no matter what our society tries to tell us. The way we live reflects our heart and our mind. If we have faith in Jesus, then we will follow Jesus’ way in our speech and actions. It will be very public.

What had Jesus said about how we are to live our faith?
John 13:34, 35 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Matthew 5:15, 16 “15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

What does that mean for us?

It means making Jesus’ priority our priority:
• Absolute, exclusive and total faith and trust in Jesus based on the message about him in the Bible.
• Being motivated by pure, unselfish love for Jesus and others
• Acting out this pure love and trust by doing good
• Hospitality, one for another
• Seeking ways to serve others in practical ways rather than asking the church to serve you
• Phone calls and email messages, visits
• Encouraging one another rather than criticizing
• When there is a physical need: going to that person to help, joining with others
• Make it personal: is there someone in your neighbourhood, even in your family, that you can help out of love and faith?

If you'd like to know more, don't hesitate to contact Waverley Church at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Topics: faith, message series

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