Summary: This message looks at our effectiveness as believers. It is most enriching when we are Christians not by knowledge, or by activity, but by our very nature!
Things To Be In Order To Be A Highly Effective Christian
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
INTRODUCTION: Knowing what we are is a good thing. Doing what we know we are is a better thing. Being what we know we are is better yet. Here in these first few verses of First Thessalonians we have been exposed and challenged in these first two areas, doing and knowing. This morning, I want to draw our attention to being. Our effectiveness as believers is at its most enriching when we are Christians not by knowledge, or by activity, but by our very nature!
I BE A PERSON OF CHARACTER – 1:8-9
Kind of interesting that when Paul speaks of the believers here, he says that they rang out. The word means to reverberate like a bell. Each ring serves to both amplify and relay the sound from one to another. In essence the Thessalonians were sending out “waves” of testimony in every direction!
A Character is PERSONAL
1 Paul did not need to talk about the Thessalonian believers because they were already being talked about
2 The church had already made itself know to those around them.
3 Sorry to say, but many of our churches today are inconspicuous. No one knows where they are or what they are about.
a Go around and ask at the gas stations where CBC is. See if they know.
b The church in Thess. MADE themselves visible
WHAT ARE WE DOING THAT SENDS WAVES OF INFLUENCE AND IDENTITY INTO OUR COMMUNITY?
B Character is INDIVIDUAL
1 Living for Christ is not a corporate event
a Not gauged as a group
b Looked at individually
c BUT – our individual actions have an effect on the group dynamic
1 People will go or not go to a group on the individual experience!
2 Treated badly at a diner, communicate that to others, some of them will not go there
3 Treated badly by a believer, communicated to others, the church assumes that behavior
2 What we do reveals our character as a believer
a How we do things reveals our character as a believer
b Worst piece of Christian literature EVER written was the bumper sticker, “Honk if you know Jesus” – All it did was allow the world to see how bad believers are on the road
c I thought about getting some “bumper stickers” for the church, but in reality, I am not sure I would want some of you putting them on your car – I see how you drive!
3 What we do reveals our devotion as a believer
a You cannot be a believer and not do “believer” things
b You can’t call your self a burger and look like a hot dog
WHAT ARE WE DOING AS INDIVIDUALS THAT EITHER ENHANCES ANOTHER’S VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY, OR TAINTS ANOTHER’S VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY?
II BE A PERSON OF CONVERSION – 1:9b
A highly effective believer is a visual believer. He or she is out in the open for the entire world to see!
A Conversion is VISUAL
1 The activity of the Thessalonian believers was reported to Paul
2 Being a person of conversion is a visible things
a We should act different
b We should work different
B Conversion is DIRECTIONAL
1 Conversion is a turning to God
2 Conversion is a turning away from idols
3 Significance of direction
a We cannot clean up our lives by ourselves and then turn to God – ie: turning from idols on our own
b We must turn to God first – this is repentance
c Repentance gives us the strength to turn away from idols
BUT PASTOR GLASS, “I DON’T HAVE ANY IDOLS.”
Yes you do!
4 The definition of an idol
a A man made image of God other than the image of God revealed in Scripture
b Greeks made gods (small g) in their own image
c We make gods (small g again) in our own image
1 Revealed in our thinking
2 Revealed in our action
Some ways we make God in our own image:
• I don’t have to come to church – image of God is that he does not mean what he says
• God doesn’t really care if I do this or that – image of God is that He is just a good old boy