Summary: How do you announce your loyalty to someone?
As we gather here together in a new place and a new time, I want to ask you a question? How do you announce your loyalty to someone?
Paul talks to a church that has proclaimed Jesus to other people. To proclaim simply means to announce. You see announcements in a variety of forms. You see an announcement on paper, when you read the newspaper. You can hear an announcement over a speaker, or on the radio. You can see an announcement on television or on the web.
As a Christian, God’s grace comes into your life and peace is the result. You can’t have the peace of God without the grace of God. Although our lives on the outside are a struggle sometimes, we can go on because by the grace of God, we have the peace of God. This peace comes from Jesus Christ. Someone announced Jesus Christ to me and I am therefore obligated to announce that same message to others. How can I do that? How do you announce Jesus Christ to others?
Do you announce Jesus like a World Cup game?
Do you announce Jesus like a secret that you just learned?
Do you announce Jesus like a prophet?
Do you announce Jesus at all?
One of our responsibilities as a church is to announce to others the message of Jesus Christ. In this passage, you see the example of the church in Thessalonica. They announced the message of Jesus to others. Announcing Jesus is called evangelism or missions. The direction of their mission was three-fold:
There was a direction of missions that was personal-focused. They personally shared Jesus with other people in Thessalonica.
As a church, IBC Bremen needs to direct our announcements to people we know personally. We have challenged ourselves to do this through the seven people that we have decided to say that we will personally share Jesus.
There was a direction of missions that was community-focused. As a church, they shared Jesus with other people in the communities of Achai and Macedonia.
As a church, IBC Bremen needs to direct our announcements to the communities that we associate in Bremen. Whether that is participating in Kajunmarkt, or talking to others in the groups with which we associate, students to students, housewives to housewives, or colleagues to colleagues. This direction of missions means that we meet with people in the parts of Bremen that we can reach. There are college students, international schools, companies that have a strong English-speaking presence, or even Germans that speak English.
There was a direction of missions that was world-wide-focused. As a church, the church at Thessalonica shared Jesus with other people in the entire world.
We do this in a variety of ways. First, we have helped members of our own church on short-term and long-term missions. Chrissie is one example. She is reaching out to young people in Australia. People that you and I will probably never be able to reach, Chrissie is going out to reach.
We have other members, Volker and Julia Scholow, who are working with a missions organization that reaches to a half-billion unreached people in India. They are working on ways to help Christians here do short-term missions to India. They are also working on ways for you and I to support indigenous missionaries - native Indians who can reach these people better than you and I could ever do.
I want to encourage you to keep announcing the message of Jesus. The church at Thessalonica went through some challenges. IBC Bremen has also gone through some challenges. Yet these challenges have strengthened your faith, increased your love, and delivered more hope to you.
So how can we personally announce Jesus to our world?
We can share in our work of faith. This talks about our past experience.
Paul tells the Thessalonian church that he remembers their “work of faith” in 1:3. Their “work of faith” were their past deeds. Their past deed was their faith toward God in 1:8, but it was shown in their act of turning from idols and serving the living God in 1:9. The same is true of IBC Bremen. Just like this church, if you know Jesus, you have been trusting God in faith. You have turned from trusting men and serving others to trusting and serving God.
We can announce our labor of love. This refers to our present experience.
They also had a “labor of love”. Their labor was a present difficulty. In 1:9, we are called to serve a living God – which for many of us can be a difficult thing to do. Because you love God so much, you are willing to labor (work under difficult circumstances) for God. You meet a building owned by another church. You meet at a different time. You worship in a different language. You work in a foreign field that can be very difficult at times to see fruit. We labor in our faith because we love Jesus so much. We want others to see our love by our actions. 1 John says that other people will know our faith by the way I live. James says that I show my faith (or announce my faith) by the works that I do. God will honor your labor of love.