Summary: This sermon explores the work of faith, the labour of love, and the endurance of hope. Marks of effective Christianity.
Michael A. Murdock
*There are bits and pieces of this sermon borrowed from various sources, so I claim credit only for my own experiances and God leading me to the right sources to put this sermon together. If it helps you grow God’s people then awesome!
“What are You Working For?”
1 Thess. 1:2,3
*Don was having trouble with his printer. Even with a new cartridge the print was barely readable and very smudged. So he called a local computer repair shop where a very friendly man informed him that the printer probably only needed to be cleaned. Don winced as the man at the store told him the cost of cleaning his printer would be about $50. “I could almost buy a new printer for that price!” Don said. “Well you could try reading the printer’s manual and try doing the job yourself,” the man at the store said. Don was pleasantly surprised by his candor, and asked, "Does your boss know that you discourage business like this?" "Well, actually it’s my boss’s idea," the employee replied. "We usually make more money on repairs if we let people try to fix things themselves first."
-Many of us are fixers, we like to find ways to fix things, to make things work better, but when it comes to our Christian walk and our church we end up doing a lot more screwing up then fixing.
-Christianity is more about relationships that produce works and less about works that produce relationships.
*Frances Bacon said; “It is not what men eat, but what they digest that makes them strong; not what we gain, but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read, but what we remember that makes us learned; not what we preach or pray, but what we practice and believe that makes us Christians.”
Today I want to share with you the three marks of effective Christianity.
Our text is 1 Thessalonians 1:2,3
“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1:2,3)
-Paul continually prayed for the church of Thessalonica and not only that but, he thanked God for their faith, love, and hope; which produced a very dynamic church.
I. Faith would Work
-The first mark of a Christian is having the kind of faith that produces good works.
-Faith is focused upon the work that God did in the past through Jesus Christ, the fact that Jesus went to the cross for our sins.
-The Greek word used for “work” in the phrase “work produced by faith” is the word (ergon).
-Ergon focuses on the product of our efforts, the fruit that is produced, not how we arrived at the fruit or the effort that went into producing the fruit.
*Let me give you an example. I’m going to pick on Dean Cleveland this morning, remember last year Dean did a wonderful job of working on the lights in the basement of the church. He made it so much brighter. And although it took much time and effort on Dean’s part, if you ask him he would just shrug it off and say that it was nothing at all, and that he was happy to do it.
-Therefore faith is more focused on the product, then the effort it took to get there.
A. Works do not produce Faith.
-Unfortunately there are many in the churches who think that by getting involved in a church project or doing something kind for someone, that they will either grow their faith or show that they have faith in God.
*Because I know the kind of person Dean Cleveland is, I know that it is his faith in God that motivates him to help others. He does not do things so that people think him a Godly person, but he is motivated by his trust or faith in God.
-Those who work to produce faith, or to show off their faith are like candles with very short wicks, they burn out quickly, and they are too focused on doing, or earning their way to heaven.
-When they fail to get praised or recognized for their efforts, when adversity befalls them, or church becomes a burden they simply fall away.
Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”
-Nothing we can do, no product that we can make can earn our salvation, which comes through our faith, or our trust in Jesus Christ and in what He has done.