Onwards & Upwards
By Bobby Blakey on February 15, 2015
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
Onwards & Upwards
By Bobby Blakey on February 15, 2015
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:00] Always exciting to open the Bible here together. But today is a special day in our study of 1 Thessalonians 4. So hopefully you've got a Bible or you've got one on your phone or you've got a friend that you can look on with. And let's all turn together to First Thessalonians, Chapter four. And this is really a turning point in this book that we have been studying since the first day of our church back in September 7th. Earlier in the fall season, we started First Thessalonians. We started going through it from the beginning. And now we have come to Chapter four and we're just going to see what we have to say in the first two verses here. So please read with me versus Colonial's Chapter four verses one and two. Are you with me?
[00:00:49] Is everybody there? All right. Let's read it together.
[00:00:53] Finally then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that as you receive from us how you ought to walk into please God, just as you are doing that, you do so more and more for you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. Two simple verses. But if you've been going through for Cecil Unions with us, that is an amazing thing that he would say right there, that, hey, you guys, we're urging you to walk to please God and you're doing it. And so I ask you to do so more and more. Now, the whole reason we're studying this book of First Thessalonians is it's a good example of how a new church should be. And we're a new church and we're trying to learn from their example. So these people, they're killing my friends. All right. I mean, look back at chapter one, verse eight. Look at how it describes let's just review great things he's already said about this church says we're not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you, the gospel is ringing out from you. It's echoing. There's ripple effects everywhere. Not only in is the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and AK, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere. Literally, people know about this church all over the place. So the we need not say anything for they themselves. Other people report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and how you wait for his son from heaven whom he raised from the dead Jesus who delivers us from the wrath of God when he says this church was known throughout the entire region of Macedonia and a K I like the current day country of Greece. Can you imagine a church get started, let's say, in Huntington Beach or a place that you know. Right. And literally throughout the entire country, people have heard of and are talking about that church. That sounds crazy. That's what was happening with these guys. I mean, he says in chapter one, verse three, that these people had a work of faith, a labor of love. They had steadfastness of hope. This was a church that was going for it in Chapter two. He describes them like they're a family. He says that they received the word as it really is not the word of men, but the word of God. They were persecuted. People were trying to shut them down. And they kept going. He's just gotten a report that they have faith and it's growing stronger, that they have love and it's increasing. And now he says to that church, hey, do more.
[00:03:39] Are you kidding me? I mean, it seems like these people are doing everything you could ask. They're already AP students. And now you're saying to them, do so more and more.
[00:03:52] I mean, here's the truth. If the Thessalonians could do more than anybody can do more.
[00:03:58] That's the idea here of the passage.
[00:04:00] So he wants to start teaching now. He's said so many good things about them. But now we make a transition. And he says, finally, I've got some things to teach you. I've been recounting our experience. We've been remembering what happened. But now I want to teach you some things. And here's the thing he wants to start with in the teaching portion of the letter. Chapter four and Chapter five, are you ready to hear more teaching? Do you even believe when you walk in here this morning that you can do more than you're doing right now?
[00:04:32] Who here has more capacity than you're currently using now? Most of us, I would imagine, did not walk in here thinking, oh, I can't wait to do more. I just have more time that I want to spend more money, that I want to give more interactions with people that I'm looking for. Is that how you came here this morning? Just like I hope he gives us a list of things to do. Because that's my love language, right?
[00:04:59] Happy Valentine's Day. All right. Doing more does not sound like a fun thing to busy people like us.
[00:05:09] Can I get in from anybody on that?
[00:05:11] My calendar is full. The budget is we're hoping we're not spending as much as we're taking in. Right. I mean, everybody relationally I feel maxed out with so many people to keep track. I mean, that's kind of how I hear people in Orange County talking.
[00:05:29] And yet, here's a church that's firing on all cylinders, growing like crazy. The gospels ringing out. They're standing strong in their faith and the ideas abound. That's really how you could translate it. Hey, just as you're doing now, abound now. Thrive. Now excel. Even to another level.
[00:05:50] That's what he said, because this side of heaven, we're not going to hit perfection. And so there is my friend. More for you to do.
[00:06:00] And we've got we've got to believe that, OK.
[00:06:03] Now, one thing I've got to make very clear right now is what we're not going to say for the rest of this sermon. We are not saying that if you do more for Jesus, you will go to heaven. We do not believe that here at all. That's called legalism. And we hate legalism here at CompassHB Bible Church.
[00:06:21] We are completely against the idea that good people are good and they can earn their way to heaven. You're with me to Ephesians Chapter two, and let's just make that very clear upfront. I am not saying that if you come to church more, we've got two services. Isn't it great how we announced that we're going to do twice the services on the same day that the Bible is going to tell you to do more isn't always like somebody is planning this. You get out of it. This is really working out.
[00:06:47] Say so. You know the idea here that I'm coming to you with, as I'm saying, do more. What I'm not saying is if you come to two services, if you start serving in kids ministry. If you read your Bible more.
[00:06:59] If you pray longer, if you add to the list of good things that you're doing, you'll end up in heaven or you'll get some some more favor with God or you'll become some kind of better Christian than other people. That's that's not the idea that I'm saying here at all. It is very clear that to be saved. OK, to get entrance into heaven. You cannot do anything because Jesus Christ has already done it all. That's what we preach here. CompassHB Bible did we put our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ? He already died to pay for all of your sin. He already rose again to give you new life. You believe in Jesus today. And you heard it on Fort has some unfortunate accident and die on the way home. Maybe you didn't get to do one good thing for Jesus Christ.
[00:07:46] You're still going to heaven forever. We see that in a thief on the cross.
[00:07:51] We see that. Here's a man who lived a life where he lived in sin. He knew he was up there and he deserved to be up there because of the punishment that he deserved. And yet he calls out to Jesus and he says, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus says today you will be with me in paradise. Zero good works are required to be saved. You just trust in the good work Jesus has already done. That's what it says here in Ephesians. Chapter two, verse eight. Look at it with me. If you ever meet anybody who thinks that they're earning their way to heaven by being a good person, please turn your Bible with them to Ephesians. Chapter two, verse eight four by grace. You have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God. You can't earn salvation. You receive it. God gives it to you. It's not a result of works so that no one may boast. So when our passage in First Thessalonians four says to do more, he's talking to people who are already saved. In no way is doing more, trying harder, becoming a better person, gonna save anybody here in this room. Can I get a man from eBay on this? Let's just be real clear. We hate legalism here at that church where you can save yourself by your own works of the law. We reject that as heresy and we pray for people who believe that.
[00:09:15] And we tell them the good news that Jesus already did all the work for them.
[00:09:19] Now, here's what's complicated about my friend's understanding that good works don't save me. Then read verse 10. Notice we're still in the same passage.
[00:09:31] It goes right into this thought for we are his workmanship. We are created in Christ Jesus. That's talking about the moment you get placed into Christ, the moment of your salvation. Hopefully that's happened for you at a specific moment in time. You went from the old you to the new you in this moment that the death and resurrection of Jesus happened to you now. And it says in that moment you've been created in Christ Jesus for.
[00:09:57] What does it say there? For what? Shout it out for good works. So are you saved by good works? No. Are you saved for good works?
[00:10:07] A man. See, it's complicated. Our good works. Both the enemy and our friend at the same time. Well, yes, they are. Because if I'm putting my trust in them to save myself, they're the enemy that will actually condemn you to hell. But if I have put my trust in Christ, then I have been saved for the purpose. It says here to do good works that bring glory to Jesus Christ.
[00:10:31] In fact, look at what it goes on to say, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. God's already got planned out a beautiful path of good works that He wants you to do in your life.
[00:10:42] And he saved you so you would do those good works and accomplish his purpose. And so our sermon is going out today. Have you been saved by Jesus Christ and his work? Well, then you've been saved to do good work. And here's the truth, Christian. You can do more than you're doing right now.
[00:11:00] That's what the Bible say.
[00:11:02] There's a level for you to grow. There's there's a place where you can abound even more in what you're doing now for Christ. And I see some tired eyes as I look out here today. Right. I see some some kind of sagging shoulders as I see. Look at people here today. Some of you guys just kind of popped up a little bit.
[00:11:23] I see people who are feeling a little way down and labored by all of the demands of life.
[00:11:31] And you're really going to tell me now to do more? I'm not saying it, my friends.
[00:11:37] But God, St. Paul's sang it to a church that is known throughout the country for how well they're doing. And he looks at them and he says, I see all that.
[00:11:46] You're doing a bound more. He says to the.
[00:11:52] So we've got to realize that the Bible's not going to ask us to do something that we don't have the ability to do. Let's just write that down.
[00:12:00] The Bible doesn't ask me to do something I don't have the ability to do in the power of Jesus Christ, not talking about myself, not my own ability, but in the power of Jesus Christ that I've been now created in. See, I'm now God's workmanship because of God working in me. I have the ability to do what he asks. I can obey every command that God gives me because of the power not of myself, but of Jesus working in me. So here's a real danger that every one of us who are Christians have here this morning. We're gonna wake up and we're gonna feel tired. We're going to look at our calendar, our to do list, and we're gonna feel stressed, stressed out, and we're gonna start to think that we are weak. And when we would be right about thinking that and we're gonna look at all that we might be able to do and we're gonna say, this is too much. I can't do it. And we white, when we see our own weakness, here's what we might do.
[00:13:02] We might limit God's work in our lives by playing up our weakness, which we can all relate to. We might miss the fact that we're God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he already planned for you to do.
[00:13:18] So I know you wake up feeling tired, but the Bible says there's a power, there's an energy, there's a strength that you have. If you're a Christian and you can do more. Let's get this down for point number one. Don't limit what God can do through you. Don't limit what God can do through you. Let's not think that our weaknesses are greater than God's strength. So here's what I want to do for you this morning in a sermon about doing more, which might sound like this is going to be a little bit brutal. What kind of list of things to do are we gonna get here today? I want to encourage you before we talk about anything more that you could be doing. I want to just remind you of that God has more power, more strength so that you can do it with me. To Isaiah, Chapter 40. And let's just behold our God here for a minute.
[00:14:08] Let's just see. We are God's workmanship. We've been created in Christ Jesus for good works. Do we think that God is able to empower us to do good works? Why is it a Chapter 40 says, let's get up on a mountain. Let's get up on a high place and let's look at God. And so let me just refresh you. Let me just encourage you. Maybe some of you guys got a three day weekend. Well, here's a refreshing, restful concept here. Look at Isaiah. Chapter 40. Verse 10. Behold. Look at this guy. Isaiah Chapter 40. Verse 10. Page 600. If you got one of our Bibles here.
[00:14:44] Behold, the Lord God comes with might and his arm rules for him. Behold, his reward is with him and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arms. He will carry them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with Young, who has measured the wall waters in the hollow of his hand, who's marked off the heavens with the span, whose enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure whose weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance, who has measured the spirit of the Lord? What man shows him his counsel? Are you getting the picture? Behold. Can you look at it? Can you grasp all of this? God is way bigger than you are. He can hold. I mean, I when I see the globe from outer space, that's an image we can all relate to. I see all the blue. I see all the oceans of the world. And it just told me that God can hold the oceans of the world with a world in the hollow of his hand, just says that he takes these big mountains that we see. And he puts them on scales as if to balance the.
[00:15:56] We serve an awesome God who can equip us, it says, to do more. Look, at the end of this, you could read this whole chapter if you've got a day off tomorrow. Just spend some time in Isaiah 40 and find some refreshment. But let's jump straight to the end. Look at verse twenty eight, verse twenty eight. Here's something amazing about God that I. I'm still trying to figure out in my own life. Have you not known. Have you not heard. The Lord is the everlasting God. Easy turtle. He lives outside of time. He never had a beginning. He will not have an end. He's the creator of the ends of the Earth. Now God does not faint or grow weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
[00:16:43] In fact, he gives power to the faint. And to him, who has no might, he increases strength. Now, even youth. Even young people full of life, full of energy, even use shall faint and be weary. Even young men shall fall exhausted. But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. And this is something I have to have revealed to me, because this doesn't make sense to me. All I have ever known is a decrease in energy.
[00:17:25] Right. Whenever I feel like I'm at the top of my game, it's all downhill from there. Anybody else relate to this? Right. I mean, I need to sleep every night. I don't know about you, but every night I got a recharge this thing. Right. I got one of these here phones. Anybody else got a smartphone? Right. And you're using it and you're doing all this cool stuff. And then what happens? It runs out of battery right when you need it the most. Isn't that how it works? Right. Because you got to charge it like my car. It just doesn't keep going. I got to put more gas in. Everything that I've ever seen needs to be refilled or recharged. But there is someone who always operates at 100.
[00:18:10] Always at peak efficiency.
[00:18:12] OK, so here's how it works for me, I'll come and I'll pray to the Lord and I'll ask God to help me. And he'll give me strength and I'll be like, wow, that was awesome. And the next day I'll come and I'll be a little beat down by the day before. But I'll be like, No, God, you can give me strength and I'll go for it again. And eventually I'll start feeling tired and eventually I'll start feeling like I can't do anymore. And I realize that the God asked for strength a couple of days ago. His strength, while mine's been diminishing his is the same.
[00:18:42] I mean, think about that every time you've ever asked God for strength, for energy, to do something for him. And he's answered that prayer. It did not take away from his power or his energy. One little bit. Everybody here running on full capacity completely, depending on God for strength. We would never even diminish his strength at all.
[00:19:07] Every morning, no matter how tired you feel, he's run in with a full tank and he's ready to fill you up. That's what Isaiah, 40, is saying right there. You've got energy for days. My friends, let's get this down under point number one, God's energy never stops giving you strength. This is more true than how you feel. This is more true than what your body is telling you. It says here in the Bible, he gives power to the faint. To him who has no might, he increases strength. In fact, not only will he give you the strength that you need or give you a little bit more than you've got, it'll be like you've got wings. It'll be like you can fly. It'll be like you can even run and not be weary. You can even walk and not get faint. And some of us who have been held up by the Lord's grace when we've known we've gone way past what we could do. And somehow we just keep going. And it's because of God's energy working in us. Anybody ever experience that before here? Do you know what I'm talking about? You have that same strength right now here, as you said. The energy of the Lord. He is offering it to all of his people. If you don't feel like you've got wings, you do, is what it's saying.
[00:20:27] He could rise up and you could fly like an eagle. That's it.
[00:20:30] That's a good word for busy Orange County people in the 21st century. So, I mean, we got we got to take time to plan out the things on our phone that are going to help us save time. I mean, that's the kind of complicated life we're living in. We've got all the energy that we need. Go with me to Second Corinthians, Chapter twelve. Hopefully I'm hopefully that encouraged you a little bit. If not, go with me to Second Corinthians, Chapter twelve. OK, well, there's unlimited energy, I guess. What I guess. What's your say? Free gas for life. I guess that's what you're saying. OK. I don't really feel like there's free gas for life though. Oh, good. Good. Because that's the person who. Who gets it.
[00:21:09] The person God can only help the weak person. Does God give power to the strong person? Does God give power to the person who's who's running great all the time? No, he gives power to the faint and those who have no might, he increases strength.
[00:21:24] It's the weak people that God helps. So if you're willing to admit that you're weak, then you're going to find help. Look at this. Second Corinthians twelve verse seven, fascinating story about our hero in Thessalonians the Apostle Paul. So something happens here. Verse seven of Second Corinthians twelve. So to keep me from becoming conceited so he wouldn't be puffed up or proud because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Now, there's a lot of speculation about what this might be, some physical infliction on Paul's body, some person that was like against Paul that was pressing him. But basically because Paul has been able to see glorious revelations of Jesus Christ, Satan now is coming after him and allowed him to give God has allowed Satan to give Paul some kind of thorn in the flesh. And look at Paul's response three times verse eight, I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in what? Oh, wow. How do you get access to God's power? Admitting that you're weak. That's how you get it. You have to be run down to get filled up again. So if you're feeling run down, you're the prime candidate to receive the power of God. In fact, it's made perfect in people who are willing to admit that they are weak and declare their dependance upon the power of God. Let's get that down for a second dash. Under point number one, God's power is made perfect in your weakness. God's energy never stops giving you strength, and God's power is made perfect in your weakness. It's really Satan's trying to disrupt Paul, but actually he's playing into God's plan because God wants Paul not to be proud, not to think he can do it. Not to go for it on his own. No, he wants him to be weak. Why? Because that makes him dependent on God. Because that makes him look to God's grace. And here's Paul's response. Therefore, I will boast. You're going to be conceited.
[00:23:34] If I'm going to be puffed up or brag about anything, I'll boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me for the sake of Christ.
[00:23:45] Then I'm content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and Clanton's. For when I am weak, then I am say it with me for when I am weak than I am. That's what he believes.
[00:23:57] That's what he's experienced.
[00:23:59] It's good if I want to tell anybody anything about me. It's not. Hey, I'm. I'm a holy roller. Hey, I've known Jesus. Hey, I've had great God do great things. Am I. Now here's what he wants people to know.
[00:24:09] I'm weak and you know what that means. I got access to God's power and anything good that you're seeing in my life. It's because it's God's workmanship. Work in through me. See?
[00:24:20] See, that's the secret.
[00:24:22] Being weak is the secret to getting God's strength. And that's what Paul knew. That's why he could say you can do more because he knows where the strength is.
[00:24:33] It's in your own weakness.
[00:24:37] I mean, the most proud thing that you and I can do is not pray. Can we all write that down? The most proud thing that you and I can do is not pray, because when we don't pray, what we're saying is, I got this.
[00:24:50] I can get through today without you. God, I can.
[00:24:53] I'm gonna be able to make it through all survive. I'll get to the weekend. All be all right. That's the most proud thing we can do. But when we humble ourselves and we come to God and we say, God, I will not be able to do this. And must you give me the power? I'm completely dependent upon you. Then guess what?
[00:25:14] God answers our prayer and we find that his grace is sufficient. How strong is God's grace to you is Grace? When you hear Grace, do you think all that's robust right there? That's like power. Or do you have this kind of weak view of grace? Like like many modern American Christians today I call God's grace. It's just going to cover us. Basically, grace is like the Band-Aid we put on our sin. That makes it okay. That's not what great races in the Bible. Grace is a lot more than God forgiving you for your sin. Now, that's a big part of it. Don't get me wrong.
[00:25:55] When you sin, you're able to come before God and you receive grace where he forgive you, forgives you. But really, that's almost what mercy is. Let's make a distinction between mercy and grace. Mercy is you not getting what you deserve. Let's write this down. Mercy is you not getting what you deserve. So when you sin, there should be some kind of judgment, some kind of consequence coming from a holy God. Mercy means you're gonna be forgiven. You won't get that consequence. That should come from all he got. Grace is something beyond mercy. Grace isn't just forgiveness. When you sin, grace is the strength not to sin and to move forward in a new way. Throw with me the tightest chapter two. It's a few pages over to the right here. Everybody, let's hear the beautiful sound of Bible pages. Turn it to Titus. Chapter two, verse eleven. And let's just make sure we're all when we use the grace word. One of our favorite words here at church, because we're not saved by legalism. We're saved by grace, by God's goodness to us. He gives us strength. He makes us new.
[00:27:05] So what do we mean by that word, Grace? We gotta understand it and we gotta define our terms, not based on the contemporary worship songs or how we feel.
[00:27:14] We have to define it based on what God says in the Bible. Titus Chapter two, Verse 11. Titus Chapter two Verse Eleven says, The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people.
[00:27:28] So you can see Grace, you could look at it. It has a face. Who's the one who brought salvation for all people? Jesus. That's what Grace looks like. Jesus is all of God.
[00:27:38] He's full of grace and truth. And here's what Grace does in the face of Jesus Christ. Verse twelve.
[00:27:44] Grace training us to renounce UN godliness and worldly passions. To say no. To sing and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age. So, Grace, my friends, according to what we just read there, not only forgives you for your sin. It teaches you now how to say no to sin and to obey God to do more for God.
[00:28:13] Instead. Is that really what you think, Grace's?
[00:28:18] Do you think that when you say not only is there Grace to forgive you, but there is Grace, so you don't have to do that sin again?
[00:28:26] Is that what you believe?
[00:28:29] That's what it goes on to say more. Look at verse 13. This Grace is teaching us and we're waiting for our blessed hope. We can't wait to see the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us.
[00:28:43] He died for us to redeem us from all lawlessness, from all of our sin, and to purify bought himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for. What does it say? They are my friends. What we're talking about. More good works. How do you want to do more good works?
[00:29:01] You understand what Grace really is. When you understand how strong the grace of Jesus Christ is that you are able now to choose not to sin and to choose obedience. Christian people have a choice. They aren't slaves to sin. We can choose to give into our sin or we can choose to say yes and obey Jesus Christ. That's what makes a saved person different from everybody else. We have a choice now. And Grace is always there so that in every temptation there is a way of escape. And you can choose to do the right thing every time because of God's grace. That's what it means. And we're waving grace around today like it's almost any excuse to sing, like it's almost a license that says, well, God, you're God's grace is upon you.
[00:29:54] So if you do sing. Not that big a deal because you'll get away with it, honestly. That's how it seems like a lot of people are are talking about Grace.
[00:30:03] Reminds me, we played a lot of games when I was growing up at the Blakey household. I don't know if you guys play board games at your house. That's kind of a throwback to another time. But we we played a lot of board games. All right. And one board game we played was Monopoly. I don't know if anybody's ever played Monopoly before. But there's a space that says go to jail on that board.
[00:30:22] Right. And if you got on that space. Right. That seems harsh. Go to jail. But then you're the person who has the what?
[00:30:30] You pull it out, you wave it around. You're so puffed up. Right. I've got to get out of jail free card. So thank you. I actually want to go to jail and not land on your hotels. This is something I've said sarcastically to my mom many times playing this game. Right.
[00:30:46] I mean, that's how we use. That's how we use Grace. Right? Oh, I should be busted, but I've got to get out of jail free card, so I'm going to be fun. I think it's a bad definition of grace. What Grace is like another game we used to play at my house. Maybe you've never heard of.
[00:31:03] It's called Milbourne Says the name of the game.
[00:31:06] And in French, Milbourne means a thousand miles. And it's this card game. You've never heard of this game. You should play this game with your family because it's one of my favorite kind of games. Here's my favorite kind of games. Ones that require no skill or strategy, pure luck games. I love the play. Pure luck. Games like bongos and other great one where you're just rolling dice like you're somehow in charge of what dicy roll. You know what I mean? I love to play games that can't possibly be dependent on my skill. And then just trash talk a lot. That's one of my favorite things to do. Just act like somehow I'm in control of the cards I'm getting. Or the dice that I'm rolling. So, I mean, at my house, we play this card game. You're just playing cards. It doesn't matter who wins. We're just flipping cards around. But basically we talk like, yeah, that's right. I just did that, you know, to me. And you could do fun things. The goal is to drive a thousand miles in this game and you can do super fun things like give your friend like a like a flat tire. You can you can send your mom into an accident. You can siphon the gas out of your dad's car. I mean, this is a great family time. All right. Now we're having and then we would start speaking in like French accents and all coming just cowboy talk. I mean, it's all of a sudden everybody's just trash talking. And in all these accents, we're just having a great time.
[00:32:25] But there was these cards and they were called the Q4 rate cards, which in French means counter thrust. Right. So here comes your punky little brother. And you play like I'm going to go green light. And he comes out like he out of gas. You don't have any gas.
[00:32:41] Maybe you should go to Taco Bell and he's like starting to trash talk you and you just go, Khufu, Ray, say, and you pull out the counter, attack the counter thrust car and you play it and you throw his card across the room and you start doing your victory dance, you know what I mean? Because not only did it not only did it just take away the the penalty of your card, it completely erased your card from the board. That's what Grace does about France, doesn't just get you out of jail free. It says, I don't even ever have to do the crime again, is what it says. Say it's a counter thrust. We're not defensive when we have grace. We're on the attack. When we have grace, it propels you forward. And if you don't know that grace is the strength not to sing.
[00:33:28] My friends. No wonder it's hard for us to do more because we're forgetting our theme. Our motto.
[00:33:35] I've got everything I need in Jesus Christ to say yes to everything he wants me to do today. I am able to obey today because I have grace. Let's get that down for our third little dash here. God's grace abounds to your obedience. If the scripture commands you to do it, God's grace enables you to do it. Every time there's another step of obedience to be taken. You can have faith that there is the grace to take that step. My friends. That's what. Not now. Is anybody slightly, a little bit feeling encouraged here today? All right, here's what I'm saying. You can never run out of gas. All right. As I'm telling you, God's got energy for everything that you're going to do. Hey, if you feel weak. If you feel empty. Perfect. You're the prime candidate for God's power. And when it comes to any command that God wants you to obey. There is the grace that you can choose to do it and say yes.
[00:34:36] Now, with that in mind, let's go back to First Thessalonians, Chapter four.
[00:34:41] And let's look at this idea from a different perspective, not how we felt when we walked in the room, but based on the reality of what the Bible teaches. And let's read our passage one more time. Finally then, brothers, we ask and urge you encourage you in the Lord Jesus that as you receive from us how you ought to walk. We taught you the commands of Jesus, how you please God. In fact, you're doing those commands.
[00:35:07] You're obeying them. Well, do so more and more about in what you're doing. So let me ask you, based on everything we just learned, a brief summary of our awesome God is can you do more here this morning? I mean, here as you can. You have a relationship with that God who has that energy and that power and that grace. Then he will enable you to do way more than you think you could ever do. You can about.
[00:35:37] In Jesus Christ. That's that's the idea. So just the fact that he's telling these people to do it in some ways is a real complement, is a real encouragement.
[00:35:48] The fact that the Bible's going to ask you to do more means that you can do more.
[00:35:53] And there is an encouragement in there. So now here's what I'm going to ask you to think about. How are you going to do more?
[00:36:01] Now we're going to get to a whole list of commands and some of them you're not going to like very much at all of Chapter four. Chapter five. There's a lot that he's going to tell these people to do. But before we get to the specific things that the Bible is going to command us to do, let's just make sure that our hearts are open to doing more. Would you be able to say here this morning that I need to and want to grow in my walk with Jesus Christ? Am I ready to say that there's another level and I'm not just asking you to say this lightly? No. I want you to really think about where you're at right now and start to see what that next level, that next step could look like in your life. We've got all kinds of different people of all kinds of different ages, people who've been Christians for a long time. People who are brand new Christians. We've got people who aren't even Christians yet here in this room. So there's a next level for everybody here. I want you to start to him. What would that look like for me right now in the year 2015? In fact, let's just even put a timeframe on it on these next seven weeks as we approach Easter. What would it look like for me to grow? Point number two, let's set a goal to grow. Let's all do this together as a church. We already announced that the church is going to grow from one to two services. So let's now, as individuals think, how can I grow?
[00:37:26] How? And really the idea when it says do more and more. I don't know. That just sounds kind of mean, I guess. Do more and more. Really, the ideas abound. That's really the word here in the Greek language. It has this abundance. How can you just be so full of life of Jesus Christ that you're abounding? Let me show you some other passages that that use this idea of a bounding go to First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verse 58. Some of this might sound familiar because this word abounding has shown up a lot in First Thessalonians. And so we've been already seeing some of these passages.
[00:38:07] But here's an after this awesome chapter that starts with the Gospel and is all about the resurrection of Jesus and the power that we have in the resurrection of Jesus to live for him. This is the conclusion. First Corinthians 15. Verse 58. First Corinthians 15. Verse 58.
[00:38:25] Therefore, my beloved brothers to everybody in the room who's a who's a brother or sister in Christ, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. OK, now that's a high standard. That's a big call for all of us based on what Jesus has done based on his grace. We're supposed to be always abounding, is what it says.
[00:38:59] So this is a state of being is how it's describing this abundance.
[00:39:03] So I'm not asking you to add one more thing on your life's to do list. I'm asking you to abound in all the things is basically what we're getting to here always abounding.
[00:39:15] So let's we got a few dashes coming under point number two. One thing we're going to need to consider, as you said, a goal to grow is time, OK, time.
[00:39:25] If anybody else has a Google calendar these days. But it seems like a lot of people I talk to, a lot of my friends, they've got Google calendars. Anybody got Google calendars to go with your G mail?
[00:39:34] A few people pupu. Some you guys have calendars. You just don't want to raise your hand and admit you do in church. OK. Here we are at. OK, I want you to look at how you're spending your time. And I want you to think, am I always a bounty?
[00:39:51] Is there room in my calendar for more abundance, more obedience to Jesus Christ? We got to evaluate where we're at before we can get ready to do more. We got to take a good, solid look at what we're doing.
[00:40:06] And here's here's the idea. How could I do more with my time? Say.
[00:40:13] Now that that doesn't rub you the right way right away, does it, because it's like, wait a minute, I'm crazy busy.
[00:40:19] You don't understand. But actually, I do understand a little bit because we're all kind of crazy busy. Right. And it's saying you can do more and it's saying you can always abound. Am I making the most of my time? Do I strategically even keep track of how on managing my time.
[00:40:40] That's actually think about it, some of us are wasting time. And that is what's keeping us from greater obedience to Jesus Christ. We want to look at that carefully. How is that going to help you grow? Where where could you is there a night of the week that you're kind of not really doing anything that perhaps you could give to meeting with somebody? You're coming here to church and serving in some way? Take a look at your calendar. Go to Second Corinthians, turn over to the next book, Second Corinthians, chapter nine, verse eight. And here's an encouraging verse.
[00:41:12] I mean, this verse, you want to talk about it? Strong, robust view of grace. Look at Second Corinthians, chapter nine verse say says in God is able. Well, we believe that. What is he able to do? He's able to make all grace are bound to you. Wow. So there's always the grace for everything you need.
[00:41:34] So that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. That sounds to me like a verse that should maybe appear on everybody's mirror this week right there.
[00:41:48] Right. Was that enough? All for you in that verse. Is there anything that could not be included in what that verses say? There's all grace to a bound at all times and all things you can do every good work. Now, here's the part that's going to feel a little awkward, because in this passage, look up a few verses. What's the heading there? The cheerful what giver? Then look up at the heading above verse chapter nine, the collection for Christians in Jerusalem.
[00:42:21] So we have this beautiful verse that there is all grace for all things at all times so you can do every good work. Doesn't that sound encouraging in the context? What are we talking about?
[00:42:31] The giving of money is what we're talking about and we're not even talking about the giving of money for the Corinthian church. We're talking about a special giving of money beyond what they would normally give for the churches in Jerusalem, because Paul is writing to them and asking them, hey, we got some churches here in Jerusalem that are having a rough time, these churches in Judea.
[00:42:53] The church that really started it all. Remember them guys? Hey, they're having a hard time. Could you guys contribute and bless the church where it really all began? So he's asking not only for them to give normally to the church. He's saying I now want to reach deeper and ask for a extra amount of giving.
[00:43:13] And in case you haven't our time giving, let's just see what the Bible says, God is able to make all grace in all things at all times. And what are we really talking about here? Financial provision.
[00:43:26] That's what we're talking about. Do you believe that?
[00:43:31] Do you believe that God is so good that he can bless you, that you could even be have enough faith in his goodness to give?
[00:43:42] Trusting that he will give to you. That's the idea here.
[00:43:47] I really believe in this powerful grace of God, I will be generous. And we all know what this is like if we have children, right? Because we don't like greedy kids. Does anybody here like you when your kids are greedy? You enjoy going to Target or Wal-Mart and your kids are reaching out of the cart like they're going to fall and crack their head open on the floor because they're trying to grab something off the shelf and you take a picture and Instagram it and say, oh, how cute. Look at my greedy kid. Right. You got a as a dad.
[00:44:23] Nothing really kind of gets under my skin other than the greed of my children. I just want to sit him down and say, look, kid, see everything that you have? Look at this house. See the car? See that seat that you the special seat we got for you in that car? Do you see the food that you're putting in your face right now?
[00:44:43] See those clothes that you're wearing? Do you have any toys here? Do we have a we here? Hey, kid. Yes.
[00:44:49] Who got you all of this? Ever feel like that as a dad? They might speak in anybody's language right now. Where did they come from, kid? Me. And now you're acting like it's yours. Who do you think you are? You little ingrate kid of mine. Right. OK. Guess what?
[00:45:08] All of God's children say. Everything you ever have gotten, that's good. He gave to. And you're thinking, I can't even put fifteen dollars in the offering a church. I don't have enough faith to put 50 dollars in. I can't give because what if I need it? What if I want it? What if it's going to come up short? I think the father is going to be OK with greedy kids. We don't understand the goodness of God. God gave you good things so that you could abound in good works. God gave you good things so you could abound in good works.
[00:45:51] Say so if we're gonna set a goal to grow. We're gonna actually have to consider money. Let's put that down and we're gonna abound. We're gonna have to evaluate. How am I doing financially? How am I doing? Am I really putting myself in a financial position where I can do more? Or am I actually being unwise with my finances, which is holding me back and making life harder for me and eliminating opportunities?
[00:46:21] Now, sometimes people say to me, as a pastor, they'll be like, I don't have enough money to give to the church pastor and I'll be like, no, because you don't give to the church. You don't have enough money. That's how it works. That's the principle here.
[00:46:36] We're in verse eight. Look at verse six. What it says right above it. The point is this. Whoever sews sparingly will also reap sparingly. Here's the basic idea how it works. If you're stingy, you get stingy. If you're generous, you get generous. Saudis, you receive what you give. That's the principle. Whoever sews bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give, as he has decided in his heart. I'm not trying to force anybody to do thing anything here. You do what you want to do. Don't do it reluctantly. Don't do it under compulsion. But here's what you should know. God loves a cheerful giver.
[00:47:17] God loves when he can see one of his kids share what he's given to them with somebody else, that makes the father happy, as it does for every dad here in the room. Oh, how much? We like it when our kids can get along and share. And it's not his toy or her toy or his thing or her bank account, but it's shared among the brothers and sisters of the house.
[00:47:43] So God's looking for.
[00:47:44] So maybe one way that we need to do more is we need to think through our time and realize we've got more time to give, that we're not doing anything with maybe another way that we could do more as we evaluate our money and we see that we have money to give, that we're not giving.
[00:48:01] These are some of the ways that we're gonna be challenged to abound even more now go back to First Thessalonians four, because there's a big one right here in the book of First Thessalonians that that's just looking at a couple of passages in First and Second Corinthians that use the same word, the same Greek word for a bound was used in those verses we just read. But here's something right in in the book. He says, I want you to do so more and more. What might he be referring to? We'll look back up at chapter three, verse twelve. This is the request that he was praying for them.
[00:48:35] And he says, May the Lord make you increase and bound in love for one another.
[00:48:43] Here's something he's praying that they will do more of. He wants more love. That's what he's looking for.
[00:48:51] More love among the people. Look at chapter four, verse 10, we're gonna get to this here in a few weeks. It says, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. He says you guys are loving not only just each other, but even other Christians throughout the entire region.
[00:49:10] But we urge you brothers to do this more and more. What is he talking about? Brotherly love.
[00:49:18] So something that you and I are supposed to a bound in, something we're supposed to know that there is always grace for is relationships.
[00:49:27] Let's get that down is our third dash here. There is a capacity for us to get beyond ourselves and our own needs and our own wants and desires. And for us to put others as more important. For us to put others first.
[00:49:43] For us to come here to the church and not ask, what is this church doing for me, but what can I do for the other people here at this church?
[00:49:52] And you know what? The main thing people need is?
[00:49:54] They need a friend. That's a main thing people need these days.
[00:49:58] I don't care how weak you feel, how poor you feel, how tired you feel, if you have a friend. You'll feel better.
[00:50:06] That's just how it is.
[00:50:09] And when you're by yourself and you feel like it's you against the world, that's a tough place to be. But when you feel like you can't do it anymore. And you know that if you take so-and-so, they'll text you back. You know that you call that friend of yours, they will answer your call. And you even know what they'll say to you. You even know the warmth in their voice that they'll you'll hear when they greet you and they answer that call.
[00:50:33] So you can do a lot. If you have a brother, if you have a sister, you have a friend.
[00:50:39] And we all want the friend who's willing to be the friend. Who's willing to abound? More and more in love?
[00:50:47] Who's willing to come here to a home fellowship group at this church? Not just for themself, but for the other people in the group. And to start looking at it like this is my group and all of these people here are my people. And I've got a very important job to do. It's the job that Jesus did perfectly for me. I'm here to love these people.
[00:51:07] Who's ready to pound more in that?
[00:51:10] Who's ready to say I'm ready to talk longer on the phone, to spend more time texting? Spend less time doing what I want and more time investing in other people. I want to meet more people at Starbucks when I take somebody through partners or discipleship program. I want to really not just go to Home Fellowship group and kind of talk about church things. I want to go out to dinner with the people in my own fellowship group and talk about what's really going on in their heart.
[00:51:39] I bet if you take an honest look and you really examine your life this week and you look at your calendar, you look at your bank statement and you look at your closest relationships, guess what you're going to realize.
[00:51:52] Not only can you do more, you need to do more. That's what you're going to see. You're going to see that while there's people who need me that I need to love.
[00:52:04] Wow, there's something going on at this church that I could support, whether with my time, with my money, some act of service. There's an opportunity for me here. I want to make the most of that, I believe that God has everlasting energy. I believe that God's power is made perfect. And my weakness? I believe that grace is not just forgiveness for my sin, but it's the chance to fight back. I want to do something for Jesus Christ. Can you say that? Well, then you're one of the people who's ready to about and do more and more. We pray for you. Got. Thank you so much. That we can come here. Maybe not feeling like we can do more, but that the truth is in the power that is in Jesus Christ. We can do more. Got an I know it's it's personal to talk about our calendar and our bank account and our relationships, but God. That's right. Where your word gets it cuts to our hearts. And so God set our entire church into a time of evaluation and let us really set goals of how we're going to grow around here. But let us try to break a new personal record. Let us try in some way to a bound more in obedience to Jesus Christ than we ever have in our entire life, whether it's giving more time, more money, more of our heart to somebody else, whether it's some command that we know that we're failing, that we're going to we're going to go and we're gonna choose. Yes. To obey Jesus. We want to be people who experienced the abundant grace that you have. So help us to abound more in obedience, Scott, over these next few weeks, teach us teach us how to do more God and let it all be based on what Jesus Christ has done for us. God, we're so thankful that Jesus Christ, when he was up on that cross, he did not pull back. He did not consider himself, but he gave his life all the way. God, we thank you for the work that Jesus did for us and let us respond by giving our lives to him. We pray this in his precious name. A man.
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