Summary: Priorities, integrity, leadership
PLEASING GOD INSTEAD OF MEN
1 THESS 2: 1-12 Oct. 14, 2012
I honestly believe that we should not lower the expectations for following Christ because it’s costly…but we should expect…and encourage genuine followers of Christ to grow…reach new levels of maturity…
And those of us who are in leadership have the scary proposition of saying, “Follow me…Imitate Me as I follow Jesus” As I reach for those new levels.
The reason that’s so difficult for us in leadership is we feel like the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 many times…”I do not understand what I do…for what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate…I do” (v 15).
Maybe that’s why the two characteristics of humility and teach ability are so essential for those who would dare say.
“We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”
How can the Apostle Paul make both those claims…first, “I struggle myself in this body I live in” and second “I am a man approved by God and entrusted with the gospel?”
There is a test…and it’s a spiritual heart catheterization…and God is the Cardiologist…
I GOD REVEALS THE TRUE CONDITON OF OUR HEARTS
[Most of you know I had a heart attack when I was 34….they did angioplasty surgery….they used a balloon to open the blockage…then last year I blew out my knee…Again, when for surgery on my knee, but before they would do the surgery I had a stress test on my heart…they injected me with Nuclear stuff..I was on the treadmill, got my heart rate up to 170 and thought I did O.K….Nope, they scheduled me for a catheterization…another time where they put a camera through the veins in your groin and snake it up to your heart…during this the doctor found the 3 major arteries were almost severed they were so blocked, the result…no knee surgery but 3 stints…they could not have made this decision to save my life without this test]
The apostle Paul says God has a test...especially for those who would be your leader. Paul opponents had accused him of several things…
1) Having a criminal record…He’s been in jail…you can’t trust a crook!!! Paul says, you know that our visit with you was not a failure…we had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition (v12)
What happened in Philippi? Well Lydia, a business woman there accepted Christ and she and her entire household were baptized. And Paul stayed at her house with Silas and Timothy…
But real trouble erupted in Philippi when a slave girl, who was possessed by a spirit that enabled her to predict the future and made a ton of money for her master was released from this spirit and because her master knew that Paul had ended their money train they brought him up on charges…threw the crowd into a frenzy and had Paul and Silas severely beaten and thrown in jail...listen to what happens that night…
Acts 16: 23 – 34 (p 784)
Even Paul’s criminal record results in salvation for others…that is his motive…he answers the charges with this truth…
He’s accused of being greedy of having impure motives, and of trying to trick the Thessalonians to follow his message.
Read 1 Thess. 2: 3-6 (p 835)
How can we know the motives of a leader’s heart…God will test it…He’ll put that heart under the microscope of a spiritual catheterization…God will reveal what springs from that heart according to the Apostle Paul.
Is the purpose of that heart to share the gospel no matter what, to help those who accept the message to grow, even under opposition or…
Is it to promote yourself and your agenda?
1) Do you tell people what they want to hear…or what they need to hear…”Flattery is the first test, for a jolly leaders heart…when you lead people the temptations always exists…to let their opinion become the guide instead of God’s word…If you do that you’ll treat the people with money and power different than you do others..
And the second test…
2) Do you hide behind a mask…to cover up greed, to cover up your real life, your real motives…?
[The word hypocrite… (and the world loves to label the church as a place full of them) comes from the Greek word” (Hypokrisis) it means “play acting”….”wearing a mask” …In the Greek theater when someone would perform a tragedy they would wear a giant crying mask…and when laughter was called for…a great laughing mask…you still see them and symbols for the theater in places…the actor, the hypocrite) was the man behind the mask)]