Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in the 1 Thessalonians series, "Encouragement". What does the Model Christian Leader look like?
Series: Encouragement [#3]
ROLES OF A MODEL CHRISTIAN LEADER
Just as God uses people to bring the Gospel to the lost, He uses people to nurture the babies in Christ and help lead them to maturity. The Church at Thessalonica was born through the faithful preaching of the Gospel and the Church was nurtured through the faithful pastoring that Paul and other Ministers gave to the Church. This helped them stand strong in the midst of persecution. In these verses, Paul showed the different roles a Christian leader must fulfill.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-6 (NIV)
1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face 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 those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 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 people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.
A model Christian leader has the role of…
1. A faithful steward.
Paul had been “entrusted with the gospel”. It was not a message that he made up or that he received from men. Paul looked at himself as a steward of God’s message. A steward owns nothing; but possesses and uses everything that belongs to his master. Every steward 1 day must give an account of his stewardship. If he is found unfaithful, he will suffer. The message of the Gospel is a treasure God has entrusted to us. We must not bury it; we must invest it so it will multiply and produce “spiritual dividends” to God’s glory. Some Christians think that the Church’s only responsibility is to protect the Gospel from those who would change it; but we also must share the Gospel- Otherwise, we are protecting it in vain.
Faithfulness is the most important quality a steward possesses. He may not be popular in the eyes of men; but he dares not be unfaithful in the eyes of God. When we see the characteristics of Paul’s ministry as a steward, we understand what faithfulness means. If anyone had a reason to quit, it was Paul because of the beatings and humiliation he and Silas faced in Philippi; yet they went to Thessalonica and preached.
? The message of his ministry.
Paul is assuring them this is the one and only true Gospel. This Gospel is the only one that will save you.
? The motive of his ministry.
It is possible to preach the right message with the wrong motive and this was the accusation of some against Paul. Paul wanted them to know there was no “hidden agenda”.
? The method of his ministry.
Paul did not try to lure or trick anyone into Christianity. Some Christians try to win friends and influence people by appealing to their egos. A true ministry of the Gospel deals honestly (but lovingly) with sin and judgment and leaves the unbeliever with nothing to boast of in himself. Paul’s method was as pure as his motive- He presented the Word of God in the power of the Spirit, and trusted God to work.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (NIV)
7 Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
A model Christian leader has the role of…
2. A loving mother.
The emphasis of the steward is faithfulness; the emphasis of the mother is gentleness. As an Apostle, Paul was a man of authority; but he always used his authority in love. The babies in Christ sensed his tender loving care as he nurtured them. He was indeed like a loving mother who cared for her children.
? Paul had patience with the new Christians.
? Paul also nourished them.
? Paul protected these new Christians.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NIV)
9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 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.