Opening video illustration: From the movie Amistad. In the scene two slave prisoners are in the jail cell and looking through the Bible and seeing the image of Jesus. The one slave is pointing out Jesus to the other one.
Summary of first two messages:
Sermon1: Reflect His Image! 1 Thess. Chp 1 (see pp slide)
Sermon 2: Be His Image! 1 Thess. Chp. 2 (see pp slide)
Sermon 3: Show His Image! (see pp slide)
Scripture Text: 1 Thessalonians 3
1So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens.
2We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,
3so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.
4In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.
5For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
6But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.
7Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.
8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.
9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?
10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.
12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Show His image by walking around holding up a picture of Jesus! How well are you at showing others the image of Jesus? Especially in the tough times, the times of persecution or opposition to the Gospel. This is what the Thessalonians were doing but here is the twist they received persecution and trouble for doing this!
The Thessalonians became role-models for the Mediterranean region of the world and their faith, hope and love imitated Jesus so much they became examples to many others of what it means to be a Christian. They impacted 1,000 of people with their godly lives and their church became known as a church that everyone admired and respected. They were great at reflecting the image of Jesus, being the image of Jesus and showing others the image of Jesus.
The question could be asked, “Why were they so effective?”
This poem tells why?
Poem “Sermons We See” – written by Edgar A. Guest was born in Birmingham, England, became a United States citizen in 1902. His poem drives home the urgency of being a good, Christ-like role model for others to follow like the Thessalonians were:
I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it
if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness,
I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles
and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him,
then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful
as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness
that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them,
but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many,
men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed
is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor
learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language
which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me
with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon
than to hear one, any day.
(The quote is from sermoncentral.com by David Reynolds)
T.S. - Our text teaches us three ways we are to show others the image of Jesus.
I. Show His image by not being unsettled which means unmoved, disheartened, or troubled – but stand firm through the trials of the Christian Faith.
a. Being balanced in your spiritual life by using the Word of God will help you keep from getting unsettled in life.
i. Balance is important and we all know it is important to maintain balance in life. For example we have to have balance in our finances, we cannot be spending more than we bring in because this leads to debt and financial collapse. Dave Ramsey hammers this home in his financial Peace class. Balance is also important in our diets. For me to lose weight requires a balanced diet. I just heard that a man made it into the Guinness Book of World records by eating $20,000 Big Macs. That does not sound like a well balanced diet. Does it? I wonder how much he weighs?
1. The above thought is gleamed from Brian Cook.
ii. Pastor Brian Cook states this about balance from his blog (http://www.clfchurch.com/balance/), “If you work hard, you’ve got to balance it out with rest. If you play sports you know that a winning team has a good balance between offense and defense. Balance is critical to every area of our lives because it affects every area of our lives. Did you know that out of the 10.5 million accidents that occur every year in the home the vast majority of them happen because someone lost their balance either on the stairs or a ladder?
1. Balance is essential in life and in our spiritual life. So we need a balanced approach to spiritual life which can only come from the Bible.
a. So read the Word – the Bible –it brings balance to life.
b. So listen to the Word of God it will help you train to keep your balance.
c. So study the Word for the ability to be a good juggler with life and the things that will come your way.
2. John Ortberg States, It’s a strange thing: the book has never been so accessible. According to Guinness Book of Records, L. Ron Hubbard’s writings of scientology have been translated into 65 languages; the Koran is supposed to be read in Arabic so it hasn’t been translated as much; the Book of Mormon is in about 100 languages. But 2,656 languages have all or some of the Bible. Some 65 million copies of the Bible are brought or distributed in the U.S. every year-nothing else is a close second. The average house has at least three. People cheer the Bible, buy the Bible, give the Bible, own the Bible-they just don’t actually read the Bible. According to George Gallup: One Third of those surveyed know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Fewer than half can name the first book of the Bible; 80 percent of born-again Christians believe the phrase Go helps those who help themselves is in the Bible (it’s Ben Franklin, if you’re curious). So I’m thinking a lot these days about how to help the people that God brings my way to know and love the book” (Article People of The Book, pages 37-40 from Leadership Edition Winter 2008).
b. Being courageous in sharing the Word of God will help you keep from getting unsettled, or troubled.
i. Be a witness everyday right where you are at.
1. Acts 1:8 tells us to be witnesses not go witness – the most effective way to show Jesus to others is for you to reflect Jesus’ character and be like Jesus in your everyday life.
a. Being means acting like Jesus – it’s not about trying to convince someone to be saved but showing them that Jesus changes lives – and they can just look at your life as an example of His power.
b. Being a witness is about living a life in such a way that people look at you and they see Jesus image revealed to them.
ii. Listen to the Holy Spirit in what you are to do daily as His witness
1. Cymbala says this about his Study on the Holy Spirit Rising – “It’s an experience in understanding how the Holy Spirit wants to move and work in our lives. None of us is an expert in detailing everything about the Holy Spirit-but we want to know more. We want to welcome his influence in our daily walk.”
2. In other words we want to hear his voice over all the other voices around us.
3. We want to tap His power to make a difference for the Kingdom of Heaven.
4. Acts 10:1-48
a. Cornelius receives a vision from the Lord to send for Peter.
b. Peter is where the Lord pointed Cornelius to go get him, Peter is praying and God gives him a vision of what he is suppose to do about sharing the Gospel with the Gentiles. Peter is instructed by the Holy Spirit and he obeys. The men show up at the house as Peter was informed. Peter goes with them the next day to Cornelius house and he shares the message of Jesus the Holy Spirit falls on the people and they get saved. They then baptize the whole household.
i. The key here was each man heard the voice of the Holy Spirit and obeyed His directions.
ii. Do you seek the voice of the Holy Spirit each day, if you do it will help you from being discouraged, troubled or unsettled in life.
iii. Don’t be a coward
1. Scripture Text Revelation 21:8: “8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
2. The term means someone who is to afraid to stand up for Jesus and the truth is even in the midst of persecution.
3. To live a life that is not filled with fear or is unsettled requires us to be brave and courageous for the Holy Spirit.
c. Being committed to the Word of God will help you from getting disheartened in life when you are persecuted for your faith.
i. Definition of committed: verb (used with object)
1. To give in trust or charge; consign.
2. To consign for preservation: to commit ideas to writing; to commit a poem to memory.
3. To pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question; express (one's intention, feeling, etc.): Asked if he was a candidate, he refused to commit himself.
4. To bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.
5. To entrust, especially for safekeeping; commend: to commit one's soul to God.
ii. We are to be committed to the Lord 3 ways
1. Commit to honoring God’s values with our lives and actions.
2. Commit to His Church
3. Commit to His will for your life.
a. Blackaby states “For Jesus, doing God’s will was more important than food. Doing God’s will is important for you, too. When people seek to know and do the will of God, many ask the question, “What is God’s will for my life?’ Perhaps unconsciously, they focus on themselves, their lives, and what they are to do. A seminary professor of mine, Gaines S. Dobbins, used to say, ‘If you ask the wrong question, you are going to get the wrong answer.’ …’What is God’s will for my life?’ is not the best question to ask. I think the right question is simply, ‘What is God’s will?” Once I know God’s will, then I can adjust my life to Him and His purposes” (Page 18, Experiencing God).
T.S. – To show the image of Jesus through our lives and be able to handle the opposition from others toward our faith will require us to be balanced by the Word, be courageous in our faith and committed to the Lord and His ways. But we also show his image through our lives by how we invest into other people.
II. Show His image by really living for the Lord and investing in others for the Kingdom.
a. Commit to helping others grow in Christ
i. Mentor others
1. Mentor defined
a. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher. An influential senior sponsor or supporter.
2. We can mentor couples, families, individuals, kids or teens?
a. Who are you mentoring, who are you showing Jesus too?
ii. Disciple others
1. Discipleship defined by http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-discipleship.html
a. Question: "What is Christian discipleship?"
Answer: By definition, a disciple is a follower, one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. A Christian disciple is a person who accepts and assists in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ. Christian discipleship is the process by which disciples grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christlike. This process requires believers to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine their thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God. This requires that we be in the Word daily—studying it, praying over it, and obeying it. In addition, we should always be ready to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) and to disciple others to walk in His way. According to Scripture, being a Christian disciple involves personal growth characterized by the following:
1. Putting Jesus first in all things (Mark 8:34-38). The disciple of Christ needs to be set apart from the world. Our focus should be on our Lord and pleasing Him in every area of our lives. We must put off self-centeredness and put on Christ-centeredness.
2. Following Jesus' teachings (John 8:31-32). We must be obedient children and doers of the Word. Obedience is the supreme test of faith in God (1 Samuel 28:18), and Jesus is the perfect example of obedience as He lived a life on earth of complete obedience to the Father even to the point of death (Philippians 3:6-8).
3. Fruitfulness (John 15:5-8). Our job is not producing fruit. Our job is to abide in Christ, and if we do, the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit, and this fruit is the result of our obedience. As we become more obedient to the Lord and learn to walk in His ways, our lives will change. The biggest change will take place in our hearts, and the overflow of this will be new conduct (thoughts, words and actions) representative of that change. The change we seek is done from the inside out, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It isn’t something we can conjure up on our own.
4. Love for other disciples (John 13:34-35). We are told that love of other believers is the evidence of our being a member of God's family (1 John 3:10). Love is defined and elaborated on in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. These verses show us that love is not an emotion; it is action. We must be doing something and involved in the process. Furthermore, we are told to think more highly of others than of ourselves and to look out for their interests (Philippians 2:3-4). The next verse in Philippians (verse 5) really sums up what we are to do when it comes to everything in life: "our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." What a perfect example He is to us for everything we are to do in our Christian walk.
5. Evangelism - Making disciples of others (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to share our faith and tell nonbelievers about the wonderful changes Jesus Christ has made in our lives. No matter what our maturity level in the Christian life, we have something to offer. Too often, we believe the lie from Satan that we don't really know enough or haven't been a Christian long enough to make a difference. Not true! Some of the most enthusiastic representatives of the Christian life are new believers who have just discovered the awesome love of God. They may not know a lot of Bible verses or the "accepted" way of saying things, but they have experienced the love of the living God, and that is exactly what we are to share.
Recommended Resource: Making Disciples - One Conversation at a Time by D. Mike Henderson.
iii. Invest in others because it will change you and reveal Jesus to others:
1. Story: From Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli
a. Every month, the youth group at River Road Church visited Holcomb Manor, a local nursing home, to hold church services for the residents. Daryl, a reluctant youth group volunteer, did not like nursing homes. For a long time, he had avoided the monthly services. But when a flu epidemic depleted the group sponsors, Daryl agreed to help with the next month’s service, as long as he did not have to be a part of the program. During the service, Daryl felt awkward and out of place. He leaned against the back wall, between two residents in wheelchairs. Just as the service finished and Daryl was thinking about a quick exit, someone grabbed his hand. Startled, he looked down and saw a very old, frail, and obviously lonely man in a wheelchair. What could Daryl do but hold the man’s hand? The man’s mouth hung open, and his face held no expression. Daryl doubted whether he could hear or see anything. As everyone began to leave, Daryl realized he didn’t want to leave the old man. Daryl had been left too many times in his own life. Caught somewhat off-guard by his feelings, Daryl leaned over and whispered, ‘I’m…uh…sorry, I have to leave, but I’ll be back. I promise.’ Without warning, the man squeezed Daryl’s hand and then let go. As Daryl’s eyes filled with tears, he grabbed his stuff and started to leave. Inexplicably, he heard himself say to old man, ‘I love you,’ and he thought, “Where did that come from? What’s the matter with me?” Daryl returned the next month and the month after that. Each time, it was the same. Daryl would stand in the back, Oliver would grab his hand, Daryl would say he had to leave, Oliver would squeeze his hand, and Daryl would say softly, ‘I love, Mr. Leak.’ (he had learned his name, of course.) As the months went on, about a week before the Holcomb Manor service, Daryl would find himself looking forward to visiting his aged friend. On Daryl’s sixth visit, the service started, but Oliver still hadn’t been wheeled out. Daryl didn’t feel too concerned at first, because it often took the nurses a long time to wheel everyone out. But halfway into the service, Daryl became alarmed. He went to the head nurse. ‘Um, I don’t see Mr. Leak here today. Is he okay?’ The nurse asked Daryl to follow her and led him to room 27. Oliver lay in his bed, his eyes closed, his breathing uneven. At forty years of age, Daryl had never seen someone dying, but he knew that Oliver was near death. Slowly, he walked to the side of the bed and grabbed Oliver’s hand. When Oliver didn’t respond, tears filled Daryl’s eyes. He knew he might never see Oliver alive again. He had so much he wanted to say, but the words wouldn’t come out. He stayed with Oliver for about an hour, then the youth director gently interrupted to say they were leaving. Daryl stood and squeezed Mr. Leak’s hand for the last time. ‘I’m sorry, Oliver, I have to go. I love you.’ As he clasped his hand, he felt a squeeze. Mr. Leak had responded! He had squeezed Daryl’s hand! The tears were unstoppable now, and Daryl stumbled toward the door, trying to regain his composure. A young woman was standing at the door, and Daryl almost bumped into her. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I didn’t see you.’ ‘It’s all right, I’ve been waiting to see you,’ she said. ‘I’m Oliver’s granddaughter. He’s dying, you know.’ ‘Yes, I know.’ ‘I wanted to meet you,’ she said. ‘When the doctors said he was dying, I came immediately. We have always been very close. They said he couldn’t talk, but he’s been talking to me. Not much, but I know what he is saying. Last night he woke up, His eyes were bright and alert. He looked straight into my eyes and said, ‘Please say goodbye to Jesus for me,’ and he laid back down and closed his eyes. ‘He caught me off guard, and as soon as I gathered my composure, I whispered to him, ’Grandpa, I don’t need to say goodbye to Jesus; you’re going to be with him soon, and you can tell him hello.’ ‘Grandpa struggled to open his eyes again. This time his face lit up with a mischievous smile, and said as clearly as I am talking to you, ‘I know, but Jesus comes to see me every month, and he might not know I’ve gone.’ He closed his eyes and hasn’t spoken since. ‘I told the nurse what he’d said, and she told me about you, coming every month, holding Grandpa’s hand. I wanted to thank you for him, for me…and, well, I never thought of Jesus as being chubby and bald as you, but I imagine that Jesus is very glad to have you be mistaken for him. I know Grandpa is. Thank you.’ She leaned over and kissed Daryl on the forehead. Oliver Leak died peacefully the next morning (pages 103-105).
i. Mikes message from this story is “If a reluctant follower like Daryl can be mistaken for Jesus, maybe you and I can too!
b. Commit to serving others in the Kingdom
i. With your time
ii. With your gifts
iii. With your resources
iv. With your money
c. Commit to making a difference for the Kingdom by being involved
i. In evangelism
1. Simply defined as sharing with others about what Jesus has done for you in your own personal life.
ii. In striving toward the 7 step cycle of Christian Hills vision
1. See the handout!
iii. In your personal divine mission – do you know what it is? Have you received insight from the Holy Spirit on it?
1. Quote: “It is not going to be easy to listen to God’s call. Your insecurity, your self-doubt, and your great need for affirmation make you lose trust in your inner voice and run away from yourself. But you know that God speaks to you through your inner voice and that you will find joy and peace only if you follow it.” Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love.
2. Jim Cymbala reminds us this in Breakthrough Prayer:
a. Let’s face it: Life is fraught with choices, some of which are not all that clear-cut. Though the Bible is crystal clear about certain moral principles and doctrines, there are other subtle, yet important issues it does not discuss in detail…Today prayer for personal guidance is almost a lost art. Our tendency is to run around doing what we think best and then ask God to bless our activity. We can learn a lesson from the leaders of Israel who approached the prophet Jeremiah in the midst of a political and military crisis. Their request was simple: ‘Prayer that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do’ (Jeremiah 42:3). God’s plan for our lives includes the ‘where’ we should go and the ‘what’ we should do. Waiting before him for direction is never a waste of time” (pages 56-57).
b. He adds, “God has an answer to every challenge we face, and he will reveal it to us as we pray in a child like fashion” (page 57).
iv. So were should you commit?
1. Is it teaching?
2. Is it leading a life group?
3. Is it giving? Share story of Pat.
4. Is it serving?
5. Is it helping out with the kids in Awana? We need your help or we have to turn kids away!
a. Experiencing God quote by Blackaby: The Bible reveals that God always has been involved in the world to reconcile it to Himself. He has never been absent from it or from what is taking place in history. When we read the Bible, we are reading the redemptive activity of God in our world. We see that He chooses to take the initiative and involve His people with Him. He chooses to work through them to accomplish His purposes. When God was ready to judge the world, he came to Noah. He was about to do something, and He was going to do it through Noah. When God was ready to build a nation for Himself, he came to Abraham. God was going to accomplish His will through Abraham. When God heard the cry of the children of Israel and decided to deliver them, He appeared to Moses. God came to Moses because of His purpose. He planned to deliver Israel through Moses. This is true all through the Old Testament and New Testament. When God’s fullness of time had come to redeem a lost world through His son, He gave twelve men to his Son to prepare them to accomplish His purposes. When he is about to do something, he takes the initiative and comes to one or more of His servants. He lets them know what He is about to do. He invites them to adjust their lives to Him, so he can accomplish His work through them” (Page 73, 74).
b. Blackaby in his book reminds us that to do God’s will requires us to see where God is at work and then jump aboard. Jesus did this and we are to do the same! Find out where God is moving and get plugged in and you will discover the will of God for your life. It will not come down from heaven hit you over the head and say here it is.
i. Share your story at Outreach and your initial involvement!
T.S. – We show the image of Jesus to others by investing in their lives and we show the image of Jesus to others by praying for them.
III. Show His image by praying night and day for others.
a. Pray for their love to increase in their life and toward others.
i. We need to pray for other to receive the Love of the Lord and to show others the love of the Lord.
ii. Pay it forward as the phrase encourages
b. Pray for their faith to go deeper and to grow
i. Pray for people to grow in their faith
ii. Pray for them to gain spiritual insight and revelation
c. Pray for their hearts to be strengthened in holiness
i. Holiness is a strength not legalism
ii. Holiness is a gift never earned
iii. Holiness is to be strived for in our lives
d. Jim Cymbala is sold out to prayer at Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. We are going through his book Spirit Rising on Wednesday night and seeing testimonies of people delivered and brought to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and his association with a praying church. It’s been incredible
Today we have been talking about the importance of showing Jesus image to others. Why? Because it will change their lives, it will transform their destinies.
We have gleamed wisdom and insight from 1 Thess. 3 today and discovered that for us to show the image of Jesus we need to do three things:
1. We show His image when we have the ability to go through trials and tribulations and not quit, not become disheartened, not be troubles but instead reveal a divine peace of mind through the whole ordeal.
2. We show the image of Jesus by investing into the lives of others.
3. We show the image of Jesus by praying for others.
In closing: reference all the pictures of Jesus showing His image on the altar that the kids have brought out during the message. This is what we are to be doing with our lives each and every day – showing the image of Jesus to others.