Summary: A sermon on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 as a challenge to the church for the new year
Sermon for 12/28/2003
William Wilberforce was born in 1759. In 1780 he was elected to the House of Commons in the English Parliament. James Boswell called him a shrimp because he was so short. But in 1807 the little representative of Yorkshire sat stunned as the entire House of Commons rose to honor him for his relentless battle in Parliament for over two decades against the English slave trade. Mr. Wilberforce endured 20 years of defeat after defeat in Parliament
Where did Wilberforce get the strength to press on in a seemingly hopeless dream of abolition for over twenty years of setbacks? At least part of the answer is that in 1792 Henry Thornton founded a new community of evangelical politicians and churchmen who lived and worshipped together in the community of Clapham near Parliament. They became known as the Clapham sect and were derisively called the "saints" by their opponents.
William Wilberforce was one of these “saints”. They were devout Christians. They were political conservatives, and for the most part wealthy. But they spent their wealth solving human problems and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They created institutions for Christian missions and humanitarian services. And they were passionately committed to the abolition of the slave trade. And they stirred each other up to love and good works!
How did Wilberforce hang tough for twenty years of setbacks? He banded together with some brothers. And he shared the passion of his own soul. And in that Clapham community, soul to soul, they kept each other hot until the victory came.
Where the gospel flourishes people share their own soul. And where souls are knit together in the cause of Christ there is power for the long hard ventures of ministry
A. Discussion of 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8:
1. Mother imagery
a. It takes time and energy to care for children. Paul did not turn his converts over to baby-sitters; he made sacrifices and cared for them himself. He did not win them to the Lord and then leave them high and dry.
b. Paul had patience with the new Christians. Children do not grow up instantly. Paul’s love for them made him patient.
c. Paul nourished them. A nursing mother imparts her own life to her child. You cannot be a nursing mother and turn your baby over to someone else.
d. The nursing mother eats the food and transforms it into mild for the baby. The mature Christian feeds on the Word of God and then shares its nourishment with the younger believers so they can grow. A nursing child can become ill through reaction to something the mother had eaten.
f. A mother also protects her child.
2. Paul was willing to give not only the Gospel but his own life as well. His love for the Thessalonians was so great he would die for them if necessary. He shared his life with them. Find out more about this in upcoming weeks.
B. This is our purpose statement.
1. Give history. (On Sunday night, put in a few words the essence of our mission)
2. Scripture. Went over many Scriptures, this one most popular
a. Sharing our lives:
1) With the Lord- Love the Lord Your God with all of your…
2) With other people- Love your neighbor as yourself
b. And the gospel:
** The Great Commission
c. With sinners and saints.
d. Wording needs some help, but the idea expressed is powerful.
C. This is how I got into ministry. Bible Bowl, Bell Arthur. Time, energy, patience, give nourishment, protect them. Involves giving my very life.
D. This fits into the ministry here. Mayberry- They shared the stories of lives, we share our lives with the most important story there is.
E. This is what got me interested in the ministry here. What is your greatest strength? Family atmosphere.
G. Two reasons to go back to one service; work on our strength and strive for excellence in our children’s and youth departments.
Thesis: With whom should we share our lives with? How should we share our lives? We will begin backwards in the order of importance on whom and throughout we will discuss the how.
A. George Gallop Jr. (I am sure you have heard of Gallop polls, he oversees them) says that there are three important felt needs of the population at this point in history:
1. A need for spiritual moorings (foundations)
a. ¾ of Americans believe it’s very important that life is meaningful and has a purpose.
b. 2/3 of Americans believe “that most churches today aren’t effective in helping people find meaning in life.”
2. A need for deeper, more meaningful relationships with other people.
a. Mobility, divorce, breakup of families are high.