Summary: Fourth in series looking at John Brown Covenant of 1858, New River Baptist Church Covenant, brief exposition of 1 Thess 2:10-12
Text: Eph 5:15, 1 Thess 2:1-12, Title: Walking Worthy of God, Date/Place: NRBC, 8/10/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: Mark Twain expressed similar thoughts about the meaningless of life in view of man’s inevitable death. Shortly before his death, he wrote, “A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle;...they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; ...those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. It (the release) comes at last—the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them—and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,...a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.” Or you could be like Joel Osteen’s wife Victoria, and everyone will remember you…
B. Background to passage: Paul is defending his ministry among the Thessalonians as he was only there a few weeks or months, and forced to leave. And so he is recalling his actions there and giving them a little explanation as a reminder to the Thessalonians of his life among them. After testifying of his exceptional life lived among them, he reminds them of his exhortation and discipleship of them with a big purpose statement at the end: so that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. This is the reason that we exist—to bring God glory, to reflect in some small measure by our lives, our values, our commitments, our desires the infinite worth of Jesus Christ.
C. Main thought: Therefore in our covenant we have agreed to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; in order to achieve that goal-four ways to do that.
A. Carefully chosen steps
1. The language from our covenant comes from Ephesians 5:15, imagine that! The word circumspectly means to walk with carefully chosen steps with respect to how others view you because you are a Christ-follower. It states that we will be thoughtful about our actions based upon how our lives reflect upon the testimony of NRBC and our Savior. The last word Paul uses is blameless, and it means that in the standards of men, one is not able to make an accusation stick.
2. 1 Thess 4:12, Eph 4:1, 5:15, Col 1:10, 4:5,
3. Illustration: This is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders that he became bitter toward the things of God, someone once joked that the difference between the Baptist and the Methodists in the liquor store was that the Methodists would speak to you, I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time I had to try to clean up someone else’s mess when they offended someone else, tell about the Law and Order the other night about the born-again Christian, and the black church staff member who testified that he would embrace a Christian brother who was on trial for a racially motivated murder, and Jack expecting an opposite answer,
4. How often do we really ask the question: How will this action affect my church? Or other church members? Or: what will people think of Jesus (whom they know I claim) if I do such and such. Usually our question goes something like, How will I justify it if I get caught? There is much truth in the statement that you may be the only bible people ever read. I beg of you to be thoughtful about how your actions affect the cities’ view of our church or our Savior. Do you frequent places that you ought, or not frequent places that you should? Does the language coming from your lips magnify His worth? Do your relationships bring honor to Him because of their love?
B. Justice in dealings
1. Paul says that they were holy (pious), righteous, and blameless. Paul calls the Thessalonians as a witness to the things they saw, and God to witness to everything else of their character. As two witnesses are needed to verify testimony. He is appealing to the highest authority in the land, or in the universe. The word “justly” is the word for righteousness. This is a word that means conforming unto the law of God and the law of man simultaneously.