07/21/13 The Elements of a Complete Testimony!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Thursday, July 25, 2013 Under: Sermon

Don’t Be Confused Series: wk. 1

Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (NKJV)

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and 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, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Intro: This ancient church gives us a clear example of what the witness of every church should be. As you know, when we speak of the church, we are speaking of the people who make up the church. Each of us has a testimony as an individual, and we have a collective testimony as a church. Paul is writing these words to the church. He is commending them for their clear testimony for Jesus Christ.

Now, whether we like it or not, our church has a witness in the community. People see us and they see how we conduct ourselves and they form opinions about us, and about our Lord, based on what they see. These ancient Thessalonian believers demonstrated a complete testimony in their day. We should desire to demonstrate nothing less before this world.

This passage reveals the elements that came together to allow these believers to display a complete witness. I would like for us to place our church alongside this ancient church. We need to examine ourselves and see whether the same elements that marked their witness mark ours. We can thank the Lord He gives us an example of a church to follow who displays: The Elements of a Complete Testimony.

Paul was thankful for the Thessalonians and for the faith they so clearly and openly displayed. It is evident from reading this passage that this church made an impact in their day. Their devotion to Jesus Christ still speaks to us today.

Application: The Elements of a Complete Testimony will identifying the Elect.

1. The Element of a Church's Work: vs. 3-7

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.”

The word church in the Greek is pronounced: (Ekklēsia) Ekklēsia is related to the phrase ek kaleō, “to call out,” and means “the called out ones,” or it can mean “the elect ones,” especially when connected with the phrase “His choice of you” Paul was certain that the Thessalonians were among God’s elect because he had seen the evidence of their transformation. Would it be nice and it can happen that Ocean View Baptist Church in the Outer Banks of NC could be seen as: called out ones!

The Work of Saving Faith: Salvation is not by works: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 Faith is an act of the heart and mind. It is the only act that allows Jesus to retain all His glory. Paul is saying that the church must have a saved membership! If we don't have salvation, nothing else matters.

The Work of Serving Faith: A saved people are a busy people! No one can say we are not a busy church, my only concern is are we being productive and obedient to God with the business going on? Saved people prove the reality of their salvation by their works. This labor is born out of “love.” We love the Lord because He first loved us. Therefore, we serve Him, we serve others, whether they are saved or lost, because we love them too. Salvation = Fruit.

The work of serving faith tells us; “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” “And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, and temperance.” That’s the work of saving faith, that’s the work of serving.

The Work of Sustaining Faith: Patience! Patience when things are not happening as soon as you would like them too, patience through trial, Patience through afflictions, patience through everything that is thrown your way. One of our greatest testimonies is our faithful service of love to God and others, in spite of our afflictions. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Grab the nevertheless and run with it! Don’t look back, keep your eyes on the prize of the high glory in Jesus Christ.

2. The Element of a Church's Witness: vs. 8

“For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.” This church and its members did more than work; they had a vibrant witness too. Vs. 7 “As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.” These people, by their witness, were an encouragement to the saints and evangelists to the sinners.

The Message of This Witness: “the word of the Lord” — The Gospel was the heart of their message. They did not promote self or their church, they promoted the Savior. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 that’s the message and the power of it!

The Method of This Witness: They opened their mouths and they shared the Gospel. As they did, and as they lived out their faith, others talked about them.

The Ministry of This Witness: Their witness was so effective that everywhere Paul went; he found their message had preceded him. The same should be true in Kill Devil Hills! We should saturate our world with the message of salvation!

3. The Element of a Church's Walk: vs. 9-10

“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and 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, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

It Was a Holy Walk: When these people met Jesus, everything in their lives was changes. They abandoned the false gods of the pagans; they turned to Jesus and manifested a changed life. Nothing declares the Lord's power to save to a lost world than a believer who is letting his light shine. Nothing says, “There is no power in the blood”, than a professing Christian who still lives like the world. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

It Was a Hopeful Walk: These people lived their lives in view of the coming of the Lord Jesus. They were expecting Him, and they lived like it. When we are looking for Him, it will tell on us in three ways. It will cause us to be active, clean, and joyful. “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13

Conclusion: The key element was the element of Love: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Chapter 1 of 1 Thessalonians clearly reveals the blessings of gratitude Paul shares with the church; God’s saved one’s (An Elect People, An Exemplary People, An Enthusiastic People, and An Expectant People. That is what we are supposed to be! Is that what we are? Do we live out a 1st Century witness in a 21st Century world? As individuals and as a church, do we possess The Elements of a Complete Testimony?

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