Summary: When a believer worships, serves, and prays, his heart needs to be directed two ways.
Vertical and Horizontal
1. Last weekend, Marylu and I had car trouble.
2. The brake light was on; fluid was leaking in one of the little pipes…Thrifty.
3. Sunday morning, had a flat….
4. When we went past gas stations to pick up car on Monday, one was 3.01 a gallon, other 3.46. So I gassed up while I could.
5. Had Marylu been looking straight ahead, she would not have noticed that. But she looked up.
6. Looking up and looking around are both important: we need to do both.
7. The same is true in the spiritual realm. If we fail to look both vertically and horizontally, we will have a disconnected spiritual life. We will love others to the neglect of God or focus on God while neglecting others.
Main Idea: When a believer worships, serves, and prays, his heart needs to be directed two ways.
I. Thankful to God for Those BELIEVERS Who Are MATURING (3-5)
Our text is one long sentence in the Greek
A. Their past: they came into a SAVING relationship with Jesus Christ (3)
Paul was thankful to God for how he has worked in the lives of other people!
When you read “always” “continually”, “without ceasing” this is hyperbole meaning “regularly” or “repeatedly.” Peter O’Brien comments:
“When Paul states he gave thanks ‘always’ or ‘continually’ he means that he regularly remembered them in his times of prayer: morning, noon and evening…”
1. Believers are the capital of the Kingdom
2. Would Paul thank God for us? Do we know Jesus Christ?
B. Their present: maturing in FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE (4-5)
These three virtues are called the “triad” and are the summary of the Christian life.
Found together in the New Testament: Now abide faith, hope, and love, but the …
Faith refers to personal trust in Jesus, love focuses upon loving people, and they are both dependent upon hope (‘because”), what awaits us in glory. There are treasures of blessing safely locked up for us in heaven…[neither moth nor rust]
Think “anticipation” when you hear hope.
Like a bride waiting for her wedding day; she expends herself to get things done…
1. Many know the Lord, but fewer are strong in the three virtues
2. Their love extended to believers outside their congregation
3. Would Paul thank God for our faith? Hope? Love?
C. Their future: a stash of rewards based upon the GOSPEL (5)
Col. 3:2, “ Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Are we heavenly minded enough?
II. Thankful for Those Who SHARE the Gospel (6-8)
Some folks are hesitant in expressing appreciation to others, thinking we are somehow robbing God of the glory or making others arrogant.
• God keeps people humble, not us
• Our greater concern should be encouraging others!
A. Epaphras brought the TRUE Gospel, in contrast to false teachers
We need to appreciate today’s Epaphras-like folks… not all have gift of evangelism
What comes to us easy we assume comes to others easy… (same thing with sins)
What are your spiritual gifts? What are the talents you have that God can use?
B. This Gospel brings a NEW Creation
Do you ever feel like you are the same old same old? A year ago when my sister died, I was awakened as to how different I really was.
If we know Jesus, we are alive spiritually; we get used to it, and fail to realize that others do not have the “alivedness” that we take for granted…
C. Two important MIDRASHIM (teachings from Old Testament adapted)
Jewish interpretation connected passages with similar unique wording
1. Just as Adam and Eve were told to multiply, so we are to multiply DISCIPLES
Fruit refers to good works, and increase refers to new converts
Genesis 1:28a, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…”
So we are till the earth with our spiritual offspring (Great Commission)
2. God INCARNATE is YESHUA and this salvation is for the WORLD
Psalm 98:1-3, “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation* for him.
The Lord has made known his salvation*; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation* of our God.”
*The root word for salvation is “yeshuah.” Jesus’ Hebrew name is “Yeshua.” It is pronounced the same Paul and others could have understood some OT text with the word “salvation” as referring to Jesus.
D. This Gospel message — not another — is what the world NEEDS
E. You and I have been ENTRUSTED with this message