Summary: A sermon examining the attributes of those who truly love the local church.
DO YOU LOVE THE CHURCH?
When Dwight L. Moody was in London during one of his famous evangelistic tours, several British clergymen visited him. They wanted to know how and why this poorly educated American was so effective in winning throngs of people to Christ. Moody took the three men to the window of his hotel room and asked each in turn what he saw. One by one, the men described the people in the park below.
Then Moody looked out the window with tears rolling down his cheeks. “What do you see, Mr. Moody?” asked one of the men. “I see countless thousands of souls that will one day spend eternity in hell if they do not find the Savior.” Obviously, D. L. Moody saw people differently than the average observer does. And because he saw eternal souls where others saw only people strolling in a park, Moody approached life with a different agenda.
Today in the Word, February 1, 1997, p. 6
D.L Moody may not have had the education that others possessed, but he had a heart for souls. Sometimes those who have the greatest impact for Christ are not the ones with the most talent. Often it is the people with the heart, passion and drive to serve the Lord who are the most fruitful for the Kingdom.
Over the years I have seen God use people with no notable talents, zero education and little to no experience to do great things for His glory. Though they lack natural talent, they possess a love for God. And those who love God will love His Church.
Our selected text presents us with a great example of someone who greatly loved the Lord and His Church. I am referring of course to the Apostle Paul. He is writing to encourage the members of the church at Thessalonica. In this portion of his letter we see how much he cared for this church. We get a glimpse into his heart!
- I would like to walk through this passage and ask the question "Do You Love The Church?"
These verses show us several characteristics that will be present in the lives of people who love the Church. First of all we see that:
I. THOSE WHO LOVE THE CHURCH WILL SUFFER WILLINGLY
v1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
Paul and his associates had seen much success in Thessalonica. The people turned from idols and trusted in Christ as Savior. (I Thessalonians 1:9) Word was spreading throughout the region about what God was doing in their midst. However, the success in the Thessalonian Church came at a great personal price for Paul. He and his associates faced great opposition and physical harm. Just before their arrival at Thessalonica, Paul and Silas were seized, beaten and imprisoned. They endured great persecution because of their work for Christ. Paul faced opposition and persecution throughout his entire ministry. But he had a heart for the church and he willingly suffered for the sake of the gospel.
We have the freedom to worship whenever and however we choose. We do not have to fear being arrested, beaten or killed. But people all over the world are suffering and dying for the cause of Christ. Why are they willing to suffer? Why do they put their families in danger? Why do they risk death? They do so because they love the Lord and because they love His people. Countless souls have paid the ultimate price in their service of the Lord.
Consider Dr. Martha Myers from right here in Alabama.
After graduating from Samford and attending medical school at UAB, she had every opportunity to live a comfortable and successful life right here at home. But she chose to become a medical missionary and help people physically in order to minister to them spiritually. Dr. Myers had a heart for the people of Yemen. For 25 years she traveled from village to village taking the Gospel to those people. On December 30, 2002, a member of Al-Qaida burst into the hospital where she was working and killed Martha Myers and 2 other American Missionaries. She may still be alive today if she had taken the easy road and remained here in the U.S.A. But God placed a special calling on her life and she had a heart for service.
As followers of Christ we should love our Savior. If we truly love our Savior we will love His Church. And if necessary, we should be willing to suffer for Christ and for His church. Paul could have lived a life free from all the pain and suffering that he faced. But he had a calling on his life and he was faithful to that calling.