Page 4 - 2017 JFBNews - August
P. 4

from Pastor Tom
                    Delivering The Whole Package

         “For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a  the  answer  can  be  found  in  who  Paul  was  attempting  to  imitate;
           pretext for greed—God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from   who he longed to reflect. It is revealed in the qualities  that made
          people, whether from you or from others, though we could have   Jesus such an effective minister. I believe Paul was a model minister
          made demands as apostles of Christ.  But we were gentle among   and when someone becomes a “model” of another, it will cause you
        you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.  So, being  to  lose  sight  of  the  model  and  instead  fully  see  the  one  they  are
         affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not  trying to reflect. Like a mirror, if it is a perfect mirror, you don’t see
          only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had   the mirror but the reflection. Flawed mirrors draw your attention to
                          become very dear to us.              their imperfections. Paul was a model minister because he reflected
          For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night   Christ. When they looked at Paul, they saw the heart, passion, love,
          and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we   integrity, authority, and power of Jesus. That is heavy! What’s more,
         proclaimed to you the gospel of God.  You are witnesses, and God  we are all reflecting someone. The question is, who? The world, the
         also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward  flesh and the devil? Or Jesus? Let that settle on you stir your heart
             you believers. For you know how, like a father with his   for  a  moment.  Realize  that  if  you  feel  inadequate  right  now,  the
           children,  we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you   living Christ wants more for you.
         and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you     In the opening passage we get a chance to see the mirror, if you
                      into his own kingdom and glory.          will.  We  have  an  opportunity  to  understand  the  qualities  of  the
              And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you   “reflector”; the minister. Paul gives us insight by explaining some of
          received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted   the things they DIDN’T do, and what they DID do among the people
            it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of   they  were  ministering  to.  Read  the  passage  again.  Is  it  clear  what
                    God, which is at work in you believers.”   Paul and his co-ministers were seeking to do? Is it clear how they did
                                            -1Thessalonians 2:5-13  it? I want you to see that there isn’t a magic spell or an aligning of
                                                                                       the  celestials  required  but  a  simple
            Do  you  see  yourself  as  a  minister  of  the                           and focused motivation; real love. It
        gospel of Christ? If you’re on the fence about it                              not  something  you  can  conjure  up
        or  would  fully  declare  a  “no”  to  this  question,                        yourself but it can compel us. When
        and  you  believe  yourself  to  be  a  Christian,  be                         the mirror is pointed at Jesus, Jesus
        forewarned!  You  are  going  to  have  serious                                is reflected. It may sound a bit odd
        problems  with  the  scriptures  where  it                                     but  I’d  like  to  say  it’s  almost
        thoroughly  and  authoritatively  defines  what  it                            “natural” for a true believer. It’s like,
        means to be a Christian. According to the Bible,                               you  cannot  help  but  reflect  Him
        all Christians are called to minister. Indeed, not                             when you are in Him.
        out of obligation but by the compelling influence                                      There  is  a  humanitarian
        of the work and love of Jesus Christ for each of                               element  that  comes  along  with
        us; but that is a different subject for a different day. Today I would  Christianity. However, being a humanitarian doesn’t mean you are a
        like  to  draw  your  attention  to  some  of  the  fundamental  biblical  Christian.  Non-Christians  with  compassion  for  those  less  fortunate
        qualities of the one who is to be a minister of Christ. I love how the  may  have  all  the  best  intentions  but,  without  Jesus,  they  are  just
        scriptures deepen our understanding of what we might often take  helping  less  fortunate  people  feel  comfortable  on  a  sinking  ship.
        for granted or even ignore. Admittedly, the bible is (and should be)  With  that  said,  I  believe  compassion  in  non-Christians proves  that
        both  enlightening  and  convicting  for  us.  For  the  true  follower  of  God  created  us.  Compassion  is  a  part  of  us  from  God  which
        Christ,  there  should  always  be  a  level  of  recognized  and  separates  humankind  from  the  animal  kingdom.  Again,  another
        unsatisfactory  self-inadequacy  in  us  conjoined  with  the  holy  drive  subject. The point I am trying to make is a  “church attender” may
        for what is right and holy. In other words, while I can see and feel  have  humanitarian  compassion  but  not  Jesus-compassion;  a
        my  failures  in  the  exhortations  of  the  scriptures,  I  also  sense  the  compassion  that  centers  on  the  gospel.  It  doesn’t  matter  if  you
        truth of such messages and a desire to conform to those standards  desire  to  help  people,  if  eternal  help  isn’t  part  of  it.  You’re  only
        because I see them as right and true. Do you see? It was understood  prolonging  the  inevitable.  It  would  be  an  error  to  think  that  just
        by Paul the Apostle in two separate comments he makes:   because  you  have  compassion  and  attend  church  that  you  are  a
            1)  “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance,  minister or even Christian. If you reflect Jesus, Jesus-compassion will
               that  Christ  Jesus  came  into  the  world  to  save  sinners,  of  be seen which is gospel-centric.
               whom I am the foremost.” -1Timothy 1:15            So, let us look at 1 Thessalonians 2:5-13. What qualities of the
            2)  “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not  minister (Paul) can we identify? The DIDN’Ts start right at the front.
               have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus  He says they didn’t come with words of flattery or pretext for greed.
               through  the  gospel.  16  I  urge  you,  then,  be  imitators  of  They didn’t seek  glory from you or others. They could have made
               me.” -1Corinthians 4:15-16                      demands  as  apostles  but  they  didn’t.  Ideas  that  come  from  these
        If Paul was the “foremost of sinners” (“chief” in other translations),  statements  are  “truthful”  and  “without  manipulation”  and
        then why would he “urge” others to “imitate” him? Paul understood  “humble”.  They  weren’t  sweet-talkers  or  looking  to  gain  from  the
        that  while  he  was  fully  enlightened  to  his  own  sin  nature,  he  people in any way. Philippians 2:6-8 is where Paul tells us about the
        yearned to rise to the bar of the truth of the word, despite his sin.  character of Jesus. He says, “Though he was God, he did not think of
        He  was  compelled…  why?  What  drove  him?  I  would  contend  that  equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9