Summary: Christianity in America has become like the Game Show "To Tell the Truth". It’s getting harder to tell believers apart from unbelievers. We need to be real in demonstrating our faith.
The Real McCoy
1 Thes. 2:13-20
Years ago there was a TV game show called To Tell the Truth.
Contestants would try to pick the real person from the fakes.
Would the real John Doe please stand up?
Christianity in America has become like that game show.
It’s becoming harder to tell the Christians from the non-Christians.
Most every person in America would say they’re is a Christian, but when you ask them what that means, they don’t really know.
That’s what makes 1 Thes. such an exciting Book.
Here’s a church that’s the real deal.
These believers are in love with Jesus and it shows.
With all the fake and pseudo-Christians out there, Paul writes to encourage the Thessalonians because their faith was real, they were the real McCoys.
One of the primary reasons Paul writes to them is to encourage them in their real, visible faith.
Last week, in 2:1-12 Paul wrote to prove that the message and messenger were real.
Today, in vv. 13-16, we see that the Thessalonians’ visible faith also proves the message is real.
Turn there. 1 Thes. 2:13-16.
Paul continues where he left off in 1:2ff.
2WE GIVE THANKS TO GOD ALWAYS FOR ALL OF YOU, MAKING MENTION OF YOU IN OUR PRAYERS… 5FOR OUR GOSPEL DID NOT COME TO YOU IN WORD ONLY, BUT ALSO IN POWER AND IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WITH FULL CONVICTION; JUST AS YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF MEN WE PROVED TO BE AMONG YOU FOR YOUR SAKE. 6YOU ALSO BECAME IMITATORS OF US AND OF THE LORD, HAVING RECEIVED THE WORD IN MUCH TRIBULATION WITH THE JOY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,
13AND WE ALSO THANK GOD CONTINUALLY BECAUSE, WHEN YOU RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH YOU HEARD FROM US, YOU ACCEPTED IT NOT AS THE WORD OF MEN, BUT AS IT ACTUALLY IS, THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS AT WORK IN YOU WHO BELIEVE. 14FOR YOU, BROTHERS, BECAME IMITATORS OF GOD’S CHURCHES IN JUDEA, WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS: YOU SUFFERED FROM YOUR OWN COUNTRYMEN THE SAME THINGS THOSE CHURCHES SUFFERED FROM THE JEWS, 15WHO KILLED THE LORD JESUS AND THE PROPHETS AND ALSO DROVE US OUT. THEY DISPLEASE GOD AND ARE HOSTILE TO ALL MEN 16IN THEIR EFFORT TO KEEP US FROM SPEAKING TO THE GENTILES SO THAT THEY MAY BE SAVED. IN THIS WAY THEY ALWAYS HEAP UP THEIR SINS TO THE LIMIT. THE WRATH OF GOD HAS COME UPON THEM AT LAST.
In Ch. 1, Paul praised them for their testimony of faith.
He continues that thought in this passage.
Today, we’re going to see four aspects of the believers’ faith that proved that they were the real deal, the real McCoy, that they were real believers.
I. THEY ACCEPTED THE WORD.
13AND WE ALSO (in addition to you) THANK GOD CONTINUALLY (unceasingly) BECAUSE, WHEN YOU RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH YOU HEARD FROM US, YOU ACCEPTED (welcomed) IT NOT AS THE WORD OF MEN, BUT AS IT ACTUALLY (truly) IS, THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS AT WORK IN YOU WHO BELIEVE.
Paul rejoiced with them because they welcomed the Word of God, not the word of men.
Paul rejoiced because of their real faith.
Where does faith come from?
Rom. 10:17 SO FAITH COMES FROM HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF CHRIST.
They received the Gospel because they recognized it was God’s Word.
The Word of God is the Gospel.
The whole Word of God is the Good News of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
They didn’t just hear a message and give a verbal assent.
They welcomed it, they accepted it as God’s Holy, True Word.
A real believer, the real McCoy, accepts the Word of God as the Word of God.
A real believer understands that this is not just a Book, it’s alive and active.
Heb. 4:12 FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND ACTIVE. SHARPER THAN ANY DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD, IT PENETRATES EVEN TO DIVIDING SOUL AND SPIRIT, JOINTS AND MARROW; IT JUDGES THE THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES OF THE HEART.
2 Tim. 3:16 ALL SCRIPTURE IS GOD-BREATHED AND IS USEFUL FOR TEACHING, REBUKING, CORRECTING AND TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, 17SO THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.
If we don’t take God’s Word seriously, if we don’t spend quality, daily time with Him in His Word, if we don’t treat this Book as it is – the Word of God - then we have to seriously ask ourselves whether we truly know Christ or not, whether we’re the real McCoy or not.
Have you truly accepted the Word of God as the Word of God?
The Thessalonians were the real McCoy because they accepted the Word.