Real Living

By Bobby Blakey on January 25, 2015

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

AUDIO

Real Living

By Bobby Blakey on January 25, 2015

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:00] We'll go ahead and have a seat.

[00:00:03] And I wonder if I said the phrase to you, "real living," now that's real living.

[00:00:10] What would come to your mind right now?

[00:00:13] Like if you could put yourself anywhere? I don't know. Walk in your dog, drink in your favorite cup of coffee, go into the beach. Like where do you see yourself? You're just enjoying yourself. You're living life to the full. Your heart is overflowing. And you could say now that that's real living.

[00:00:33] Last night, one of my new friends here at our church invited me and some other families to Monster Jam at Angels Stadium.

[00:00:41] Anybody ever been to Monster Jam before? I was a first time monster jammer. And the infield is taken over the outfield. It's just dirt everywhere at Angel Stadium, all kinds of ramps and crazy shapes and sizes. And you're just watch trucks just launch themselves into the air, these crazy loud trucks. And if a truck, like, falls over and like maybe the person inside dies, everybody cheers in the entire stadium.

[00:01:12] It's like, oh, man, you just wiped out then if you can, like, almost wipe out. But somehow, miraculously, because you're just that good at driving trucks, get yourself back on your feet. All the crowd loves that. Even more people are just like him. Right. There is this one guy. He does a trick. It jumps over another truck that's already broken down. He jumps over the other truck. Looks like he's going to crash. He writes the ship and then his truck catches on fire.

[00:01:41] And the place is just like. That's the greatest thing ever. He might have been burning right now. Woo hoo! This is real live, King said just tens of thousands of people in Angels Stadium. One of the guys, one of the drivers of these monster trucks. He grabs the mike and he starts shouting. If you thought it was great, we haven't done anything yet.

[00:02:04] We're gonna burn this place down and everybody's just like you.

[00:02:11] And I'm sitting there thinking, you know, maybe I don't get out much. You know, I'm the pastor, I guess, you know, kind of a party guy. But I'm thinking, man, it's hard enough to get in and out of this stadium.

[00:02:23] Normally, if it's burning down. There's gonna be brutal, man. What are you talking about? I think to a lot of people going to an event like that see some kind of big, exciting moment. See, that's what they look forward to. That's real live in. I don't know what it would be for you. Maybe for you it would be, you know, you and your spouse on some romantic getaway. Maybe that would be real. Live it to you.

[00:02:53] Maybe you sit there with your family. At the end of the day, you look around the table at the children. God has blessed you with and you think this is real live and right here. I mean, one thing you can always tell is that grandparents think hanging out with the grandkids. Now that's real live. And I don't know what it would be for you, but I know what it is for God, because he's going to tell us today in First Thessalonians, Chapter three. So if you could open up your Bible, I invite you to grab your Bible and turn with me to First Thessalonians, Chapter three. And through Paul the apostle God is going to inspire this passage of scripture and he is going to tell us what we should value as real living this fullness of life. And we are going through here at our church. We took a break as we moved into this new space. But what we like to do here at our church is we'd like to go through a book of the Bible at a time. And so we're working our way through First Thessalonians. You could see there if you got a handout and you want to take notes with us. This is our 15th sermon from Process Colonial's. We've already gone through chapters one and two. But if you're new and just joining us, today is a great day to jump in because it's going to kind of review what we've learned so far. And we believe that the best way to study the Bible is to work through verse by verse through a book.

[00:04:14] So we don't get to pick the passages that we like so that the Bible actually picks what we're going to preach at our church. And so when we come across something that might not be popular or might not really be culturally accepted right now in America, we still preach it because that's what the Bible says. We don't think that a man should get to decide what he's going to say at church. We think that God should say what he wants to say at church. And so here is something that God has said, that real living is through the experience of the apostle Paul.

[00:04:48] And I want you to follow along with me as I read First Thessalonians, Chapter three. We'll look at versus one to eight this morning.

[00:04:54] And it says, therefore, when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone. And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker, in the Gospel of Christ to establish and exhort you in your faith that no one be moved by these afflictions for you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction just as it has come to past. And just as you know, for this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

[00:05:45] But now that Timothy has come to us from you and he's brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction, we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now, we live if you are standing fast in the Lord.

[00:06:17] Ken. Paul wasn't dead. And then he came back to life.

[00:06:22] He says, now we live. Well, he was already living in a physical sense. So what does he mean here? He means, as we're saying today, real living. Well, this is what brings me joy. This is what keeps me going. This is what I thrive on. What I find my purpose in life to be that you. He says to these people that Thessalonians that he's writing this letter to. He says, you are standing fast in the Lord.

[00:06:48] You're standing strong as Christians. You're still living out the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is real living. If I can help someone else become a Christian and I can see them continue to live for Jesus Christ, I can make a disciple of Jesus that he would somehow use me in somebody else's life. That's what God wants us to think is real living here at this church.

[00:07:12] Now, if you were here last week, we learned very clearly that Jesus Christ gave us a mission and the mission that he gave us was to go. And what was anybody paying attention when it would make disciples? All right. I'm supposed to take everything that I learned about Jesus Christ and pass it on to somebody else. I reproduce myself what I've got and my faith in Jesus. I pass it on to somebody else. And when I do that and I see that person, then go and live for Jesus. And I hear about them in the weeks and months and years to come, that they are standing fast in the Lord, that they are still living strong as a Christian. See, that's real living is what the Bible says.

[00:07:56] Seeing other people grow because you invested your life into them. So that should be the goal for real living. All right.

[00:08:06] I mean, many of you may be reliving is your family, your kids, your grandkids. What it's saying here is who are your spiritual children? Who are the people that you have taken your spiritual life and you've passed it on to them and they've now grown up behind you. Those are the people that are going to be the greatest blessing to you in your entire life.

[00:08:26] That's the clear teaching that we're gonna see here today.

[00:08:30] So let's start working our way through. We kind of get right there to the end, which is the climax. Verse eight. But go back to verse one and let's start really thinking through everything that Paul says here in Paul's writing to the to the church here of Soul and Micah. And if you look back into chapter two, verse 17 versus Orleans, chapter two were 17, he says, but since we were torn away from you. So he got separated. And we've talked about this as we've been going through this letter.

[00:08:59] But you could write down if you're just joining us in Acts Chapter 17 versus one to 10, it tells the story that Paul came into Thessalonica knowing no one started preaching the gospel. And a great revival happened in that city. Many people got saved. But then at the same time, there was this resistance that rose up, this persecution that came against the church. And they Rand Paul and Silas that he started the church with, they ran them out of town. And so while this great church, I mean, a really good example of a church, that's why we're studying this letter, because it's a good example of a new church. And these people, they're going for it. But Paul, who gets the church started, he gets torn away from them is how he says it. And he starts our passage in chapter three, verse one. He says, therefore, when we could bear it no longer like it was just wearing me down, I was wasting away being separated from you guys because I just grew to love you guys and I was barely getting to know you. And now being a part is just driving me crazy. And he said he wanted to go back, but Satan kept him from going back to see these people. And so here he says, I was willing to be left alone at Athens. And so I sent my my my brother, my God's coworker. Like, we know that Timothy is kind of Paul's right hand man. And he says, I feel so much for you guys. All send my own right hand man to be with you because I'd better be alone myself than have you guys be alone without leadership.

[00:10:30] So he sends Timothy to go find out how these people are doing because he has an intense love for people saying something we've lost in church these days, kind of moving fast past the superficial past the donuts in the coffee past our church faces on Sunday and really getting to know people and caring for them. And when you can't see them, you can't bear not being with them. That's how it's supposed to be. Now, let me throw up a map, because we have cool screens now that we can use.

[00:11:02] So let me throw up a map. We've never actually seen a map in all of our sermons on. There's still a Nyko. We've never actually seen where it is. And every time we use the screens, I kind of feel like a pansy a little bit because you realize the great preachers of the Bible, they didn't have screens that, you know, John the Baptist wasn't work PowerPoint, you know, when he was there. So I kind of feel like I'm letting the scripture down a little bit. But here's quick visual. Get it in your mind and then we'll move on. All right. But here's the idea. Thessalonica, you can see it highlighted there for you. That little dot, it's at the top of this gulf and it's on the visa, Ignacia. I don't know the Ignacia away. They're a little dotted line you can see there. So basically, it's like in a place that's right off the four or five and at a famous beach. I mean, that's kind of where Vessel and IKAR is. There's a lot of similarities in the geography of this city to even Huntington Beach, perhaps. And then you could see the poles down in Athens, way down there in it down in southern Greece, as we would think about it. And so that's a long distance there from Thessaloniki to Athens. And so Paul Sand albe in Athens alone. And I'll send Timothy to be with you because I care about you guys. And Paul never liked to. Be alone when you look at Paul traveling around starting churches. He always has a posse. He always has a crew. Paul worked in teams.

[00:12:20] We might think of him being this super hardcore apostle Paul. But he always had a brother right next to him. And so for him to be alone, that was a real sacrifice that he was willing to make. Now, our kind of our theme verse from this whole got this whole book that we're looking at, First Thessalonians is chapter one, verse eight.

[00:12:39] If you could just look it over there with your eyes. Says For the loop, word of the Lord rang out from you. And it says that this word of the Lord that sounded forth from you in Macedonia and AK and I've kept saying that's like modern day Greece.

[00:12:53] But now that we've got the map, you can see Macedonia is kind of that green area to the top and a Caixa is all of that southern area there. This is a massive region that the gospel is echoing. There's ripple effects of what's happening in this one church, in this one town, and it's spreading all over the entire area, Macedonia and AK.

[00:13:17] And here's Paul. He's feeling like I care about you guys so much, I'm going to send my own right hand man so he can go find out how you're doing. And he says here to clear goals, establish and exhort you in your faith. Now, this wasn't some crazy act of sacrifice for Paul to be alone in Athens. This was the kind of sacrifice that made up a lifestyle for the apostle Paul because he knew a secret that it seems to me a lot of Christian people today don't understand. Go to Ax Chapter twenty, turn back with me to ax Chapter 20, or Paul is going to say goodbye to another church that he started. This is the Church of Emphasis. And we get a whole speech here that Paul gives to these men, to the leaders of the church. He trained up leaders who are going to continue to lead it after he left. He spent a long period of time with these people, planting this church. And at the end, his last words to this church are an ax 20, verse 35, look at ax 20, verse 35.

[00:14:20] And he says, In all things I have shown you, I've been an example to you that by working hard in this way, what kind of hard work are we talking about in this way?

[00:14:30] We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said it is more blessed.

[00:14:40] What does it say there? Anybody read? It's more blessed to give than to receive.

[00:14:47] Why so secret message from Jesus?

[00:14:52] I mean, here's a quote from Jesus crisis's. Remember what Jesus says. It's more blessed to give than to receive all that direct quote you cannot find in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John any recorded place that Jesus said that directly. But he knows something about Jesus that every Christian, if you're really going to live for Jesus Christ, you're going to have to believe this little phrase right here, that it is better.

[00:15:18] It's more blessed. I'm going to end up really loving. If I spend more of my time giving than receiving. If I spend more of my money giving than receiving. If I spend more of my heart and energy in the life that I have in me giving it away than receiving for myself.

[00:15:37] Now, doesn't that just grate against you a little bit? As I said it three times just for effect. Doesn't that just like what? I don't know.

[00:15:45] What about me? You know, I was looking out for me. Right?

[00:15:49] I mean, we just have that natural inclination towards self-defense, self-preservation, self esteem, like I'm the most important person in my life. And here's the words of Jesus Christ to you this morning. It would be better for you.

[00:16:04] To get over yourself and to give yourself completely away for the lives of others, it will be more blessed for you.

[00:16:12] You will understand more what it means to really live when you give. Point number one, let's put it down like this. You need to give your life away for others. Give your life away for others.

[00:16:24] Paul says all be alone. It's going to hurt me. I'm going to suffer loss. All be alone so that you don't have to me have to be all be alone instead of you. That's how Paul thinks about it. All suffer. So you can have all give.

[00:16:40] So you can receive. Because that's my motto. That's Jesus's motto. That's the secret that we should all know if you're a Christian here this morning.

[00:16:48] Hey, isn't it better when you stop thinking about yourself and you serve other people and you serve Jesus Christ than when you're walking around? Totally. Just lost in introspection, trying to figure out how you feel and how you can make yourself feel better. See, America right now, we are riding that roller coaster, aren't we?

[00:17:06] Everybody's chasing their own better feelings. Where's that giddiness exactly? Living for your feelings. How's that working for our country right now?

[00:17:17] How's that working for people who just ride the emotional roller coaster of life? You don't want to live for your own feelings. You want to live to serve other people and to put them as more important than yourself in Paul Live. This he could say. I've shown you this. This is my example to you. And look at the people's response. They're not like, wow, Paul, you have a high opinion of yourself. Now look at how they respond in verse 36. And when he had said these things, he knelt down and he prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all. They embraced Paul and kissed him. These are grown men here hugging and kissing and weeping, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken that they would not see his face again. Been to a lot of churches, heard a lot of Christian people talk. Haven't seen too much hugging and kissing and weeping at the thought of not seeing each other any more. Because we have given so much of our life to one another's.

[00:18:24] That we can't even bear the thought of being apart.

[00:18:29] If you want to go to a church where you know people in a very casual kind of superficial away, let me just warn you, you might not like this church because we want to love people here, like Jesus Christ has loved us.

[00:18:42] And we want to really find out what it means to live a life that is more blessed because you give rather than you receive. Now, here's what I'm concerned about.

[00:18:51] Paul is our example in our text of versus Colonial's chapter three versus one to a Paul is the example here in Acts 20.

[00:19:00] What I have learned from preaching to people at church is that when I say here's how Paul is, let's go be like Paul. A lot of people in the room are, what, right away thinking to themselves, I will never be like Paul.

[00:19:13] He's an apostle. I could never be like him. The standard you're setting might be true for you as a pastor or might be true for some people. But how could that be the standard? For me, I get a lot of feedback like this when we hold up a good example, like the apostle Paul, when we take a Bible character and we say, here's a man, here's how he live.

[00:19:34] The Bible says, this is how we should live. God approves of this. Let's go do it. People are like, well, that's a Bible character.

[00:19:41] I'm a real person. Right? Well, I get a lot of that impression right.

[00:19:46] I mean, even last week, it's like, let's go and make disciples. I'm like, hey, let's go actually do what it says. And some people, they heard that. And they were like, well, I think that was just for the original disciples.

[00:19:57] I don't know if that's really for me today.

[00:19:59] I like that standard feels high. That feels like that would change the way that I live right now. That's making me uncomfortable because to be honest, I don't do that.

[00:20:10] So I don't really think that applies to me. Here's a quote from the scripture. Be holy as I am holy. How we do in living up to that standard. Anybody here reached peak holiness yet? One hundred percent perfection. Because if you have, you can finish the sermon.

[00:20:26] I'm not there. Right.

[00:20:29] So, I mean, what kind of attitude are we going to have at this church? Oh, wow. Be holy for I'm old. Never gonna get there. Why even try?

[00:20:36] I'm not even going to change adapt anymore kind of holiness in my life. Say no to saying try to do what is right because I'll never get to God's standard.

[00:20:43] No. He says to you as one of his people who he knows will not get there. This side of heaven be wholly for I am holding.

[00:20:53] And yeah, there's some things about the apostle Paul that you and I may never exactly be like. But when he says, here's kind of a secret, remember what Jesus said. It's more blessed to give than to receive. Why in our hearts do we not want to follow that example? Why do you start taking yourself out of that equation so quickly?

[00:21:15] And why do you not think that's true? That's for real. That's how I want to live my life. I need to change my life today so I can say I'm giving it away for other people.

[00:21:27] Go to acts, Chapter nine, God Acts, Chapter nine, and you'll see that Paul is just passing on what he received. OK.

[00:21:36] It's crazy to me that people think I could never rise to the to the level of the Apostle Paul because people would probably not see themselves having ever gone down to the level of the persecutor named Saul. Right now we realize if you know the Bible at all, Saul and Paul are the same guy.

[00:21:56] You guys know what I'm talking about, right? He's going around killing Christians, throwing Christians in jail. He's completely against anything to do with Jesus Christ. Then he meets Jesus Christ and then they start calling him Paul. And then he becomes a guy who just goes around and gets thrown in jail because he's trying to make so many Christians and everybody's like, well, I could never be like him.

[00:22:16] Why I wasn't a bad of a sinner as he was either. But now I could never be like, if no if God can use an example for a purpose, he says, God save the sinner like me to show that his grace could change any one. That's the point. You think, Paul, the first day he was saved was all of a sudden just like super apostles status. You think that's how he got there, Mel? Here's what happened right after he gets saved in Acts Chapter nine. Then he comes and he tries to join the church in Jerusalem, look at Acts 926 with me and look at Acts nine 26. He comes back to the town of Jerusalem where he has killed people who were Christians, who were claiming the name of Jesus Christ. He has thrown people in jail. He started a great persecution. And now he comes back to that city and he attempted to join the disciples and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. I mean, can you imagine, like, kind of a sketchy day at church when Saul, the persecutor, comes walking in? What is this, like some undercover sting operation? What's going on? Right. I mean, it would be like the Nazis, the Gestapo, the secret police walking in. It's like, yeah. Maybe I won't extend the right hand of fellowship to that guy. Right. You could see people over at the donuts going, can you believe he's here?

[00:23:34] What is he doing here? That guy's been bad news. Stay away. Right.

[00:23:40] He walks in and he's the loner. He's the guy that doesn't belong at church. The people who can relate to the apostle Paul are people who feel like churches in my scene. That's how he was. And then one guy changes everything. Look at verse twenty. But Barnabas, this guy named Barnabas, which means the son of encouragement. But Barnabus took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them, hey, on the road he saw the Lord Jesus who spoke to him.

[00:24:11] And at Damascus, he started preaching boldly in the name of Jesus. He's one of us. Now he's been saved. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord man.

[00:24:22] Where would Paul be without this guy named Barnabas who went over and grabbed him and brought him in and started introducing him to everybody else at church?

[00:24:34] So that's how. How did Paul learn the secret saying of Jesus, it's more blessed to give and to receive?

[00:24:41] He saw it in Barnabas. That's how he learned it. He learned it from example somebody gave to him. And now he's just passing it along.

[00:24:51] And if someone has given to you, if someone has welcomed you and brought you into church, if someone has ever preached to you the gospel or tried to come alongside you in your life and mentor you and encourage you if you have ever received anything, the call is for you. Can you pass on what you have received to other people? Who here can say that they're doing that, I'm not looking for a show of hands. But I am asking you to ask yourself in your heart before God in his presence as we gather here this morning. Can you honestly say, my friend, that you are giving your life away and that this week you lived like it's more blessed to give? Then to receive all be alone so that people at church can have the blessing. That's the attitude that we see here. And let's go back to First Thessalonians three and we'll see what it's motivated by. Why does he care so much? What is driving him to this kind of extreme love for people that we see Paul having? We'll look at chapter three, verse three here with me. He says that no one be moved by these afflictions. He knows that the Thessalonians were experiencing persecution there, that people were against them because they were raising such a ruckus in that city for Jesus Christ. They literally accused them of turning the world upside down. What a great compliment when they meant it in a negative way. They actually said something great about this church. They're changing the whole atmosphere of our city is what they said. And so he's concerned about these afflictions, this persecution. But he says you yourselves know that we are destined for this. I told you it would be hard delivered Jesus. The world would reject you when we were with you. We kept telling you beforehand. We warned you that we were to suffer affliction just as it has come to pass. And just as you know, for this reason, when I could bear it no longer, there it is again. I just can't stand being apart from you when I could bear it no longer. I sent Timothy to learn about your faith for fear. Here's the thought that Dark thought that made Paul care about people so much that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. I was concerned that me getting torn apart from you guys, that maybe Satan would come in, there would be deception, false teaching, sin, and this great work of Jesus Christ that got started in this church would go away. He was concerned for their souls that they would say, hey, I want to live for Jesus. But then really, they would keep going back to their life of sin and idolatry.

[00:27:29] And he says, out of fear for what might happen to your soul. I would rather send Timothy to you than have and be with me. So how much do you care about people as souls?

[00:27:42] How much are you concerned about the eternal destiny of the people around you? How much do you see them as spiritual beings who will live forever and not just in the shape or size that they come packaged to you in our human bodily form? But how do you see people? Do they know God or are they apart from him? Do they have the joy and peace of salvation or are they still lost? And he's concerned that he thought these people got saved. You know, how he longed for them to be saved.

[00:28:10] But what if they had been tempted and they had gone back to their old ways? He couldn't stand the thought of people he cared about falling away from faith in Jesus Christ.

[00:28:21] So we had to do something about. And he wanted to go to them, but he couldn't. So he sent Timothy.

[00:28:27] Now go with me to Matthew Chapter 13, because this is a reality for all Christian people all across the world. Since the time of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ taught us this in a parable here in this parable, the parable of the soils, you might be familiar with it here as Jesus kind of transitions into teaching and in parables in his ministry. He gives us this parable. And if you grew up going to church, you probably have heard it before. This guy goes out and he throws out a bunch of seed out there and then on some of his seed, like birds just descend and they start just eating the seed. Came in here this morning. Somebody had left their jack in the box in our parking lot. And I saw that in action. You know, seagulls are beautiful birds until there's French fries on the ground. Have you experienced that or maybe just one in your hands? Be careful how how high you hold that thing right there. They're like vultures is what you realize, right? Scavengers, right. I mean, that's what just happens to some of the seed boom. Satan, it says, just comes and takes it right away. But a lot of this seed in the seed is the gospel of Jesus, that he died for our sins and rose again. And you can have eternal life in his name. That's the good news of some of these seeds starts to get into the ground. And a lot of it seems like it starts to produce a good crop in it. It starts to grow. But then Jesus says, well, actually, there's there's three different kinds of this growth. And you can read about it here and in Matthew 13, jump with me to the part that we want to look at, verse 20. Here he's explaining the parable. And he says some of this see, that looks like it's growing. That seems like real salvation at the beginning. Verse 20. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word. And immediately he receives this good news of Jesus with joy. But he has no root in himself and he only endures for a while. And when tribulation, when trials come and live, starts getting hard or persecution, rejection from the world and other people arises. On account of the word immediately, he what falls away.

[00:30:36] Just a tragic phrase there.

[00:30:38] So there's going to be people at church and they're going to hear us talking about Jesus and saying, here he is, he's the lord of heaven and earth. Yet he humbled himself and he died on the cross for you so that you could have a new life right now. Today, we're gonna say that people are going to be like, I want a new life right now, today, and they're going to come forward and they're gonna pray.

[00:30:57] Maybe after the service with me or somebody else. And they're gonna be like, all right, I'm going to follow Jesus Christ. And then life's going to get hard.

[00:31:06] And they're going to realize, well, I committed I made a big commitment when I said I was going to follow Jesus. And there's a lot I got to do with that. And it's not easy.

[00:31:15] And they're going to get. It says, really tempted to maybe give ending, not keep going.

[00:31:22] And it says there the roots don't get too deep here in this rocky ground and they fall away because it's hard.

[00:31:31] And I don't know if you've ever experienced somebody that you thought was a Christian right there next to you. And then they stopped. You could just see them pull back a little bit and they stopped coming to church as much and they stopped kind of answering your phone calls as much. And then pretty soon over time, they weren't even coming to church at all when you tried to talk to them. They didn't even want to talk to you anymore. And you were their old friend, their brother, their sister. You were family together. And now you feel that rift. Have you ever experienced that before? Hang out at church long enough and you're going to experience some of this.

[00:32:03] People start out so gung ho for Jesus and then they fall away.

[00:32:08] And it breaks Paul's heart to consider these Thessalonians perhaps falling away from the faith. And so he says, I gotta send Timothy to encourage them. I gotta keep finding out how they're doing. I gotta insert myself into the equation of helping these people because I don't want them to fall away.

[00:32:27] And again, you might think, well, there's the apostle Paul, he's the apostle. So he could keep people from falling away, not little me. We'll turn to Hebrews Chapter three with me, please. Hebrews Chapter three. And here's a passage that is clearly for all Christians, for the one and others, for all of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ and come to church to gather together as the body of Christ. Here's a passage for you passage that has helped me greatly in my life to care for other people.

[00:32:57] And it says in Hebrews chapter three, verse 12. Are you with me? Are you there? Is anybody there with me? Look at it here. Hebrews Chapter three, verse twelve. It's on page 1002. If you got one of our Bibles, 1002, you can turn there. It says Hebrews Chapter three, verse twelve.

[00:33:12] Take care, brothers. Watch out. Listen to this. Lets there be an any of you an evil, unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God. It could happen. Some people right here among us now could be those who are gonna fall away. So what can we do about it? Verse 13. But exhort one another. A strong word for encourage one another every day. As long as it is called today that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to sharing Christ, if indeed here's who the real Christians are. We hold our original confidence firm to the end.

[00:33:53] He says here's something that should really bother you, maybe you just joined one of our home fellowship groups. This week is a lot more people showed up. Maybe you met some friendly people and you start to get to know these people and you become a group and somebody gets sick and you bring soup to their house.

[00:34:08] And a few people are hanging out on Friday night. And you go out to dinner with them and you realize, I like some of these people, maybe not all of them, but you start to like at least some of them, you know, I mean.

[00:34:17] And they start to grow on your heart.

[00:34:20] And then you start to see that, Bob, we'll just use that name. Bob, he he's not showing up anymore.

[00:34:28] And he hasn't been there the last couple weeks. Senior, get this thought in your head. What if Bob stops coming to our group? What if he stopped going to church? I guess that would mean he stopped following Jesus Christ. And I know what happens to people who don't follow Jesus Christ. And I love Bob and I care for Bob. And I don't want to see that happen to him.

[00:34:51] That's the thought here.

[00:34:53] In fact, it gets to where it's almost like before Bob even stopped showing up. I'm just looking at Bob and I'm thinking, hey, man, I love you. I don't want to see you lose your fire for Jesus Christ. I want to see you grow in your love for Jesus. I want to see you doing more good works for Jesus. So I'm thinking about how I can encourage you and come alongside you. Because the last thing I would ever want for somebody at my small group, somebody of my church, is to fall away from salvation in Jesus Christ.

[00:35:21] And I take this so every day it says, I'm encouraging them, I'm exhorting them. They don't have enough time to start thinking about falling away because I'm always talking to them. That's the idea. You're right. Let me just get personal, if I can. I went to college. I don't know if anybody else here went to college, but I went to college and I got a degree and it cost me tens of thousands of dollars. You know what I mean? And here's the most important thing I learned in my four years of attending higher education Hebrews chapter to three versus 12 to 14. And I'm giving it away for free here, here today to everybody. Here's a thought that God put in my head in college that has basically led me to be standing before you here today. I could be the guy who could say something to somebody else that could keep them from falling away. God could use me, say. I could encourage somebody else so that they wouldn't fall the way. That's what this passage is saying. If we exhort one another, people don't. They won't get this hard heart. They'll keep on living for Jesus Christ. That's the idea here. And in college, this thoughts hit me. And it was from the Lord. And I was like, hey, I'm gonna go and I'm going to talk to people like what I say matters in their life. Like maybe somebody will even listen to me. I was just going for one person at first, and then I found one person and that was exciting. And it just grew this passion that somebody like me could encourage somebody else.

[00:36:56] And I believe the scripture and I thought, I'm going to do this. And I started to do it. Today could be the day that God could start using you and if he hasn't already. You could start saying things to people that will help them love Jesus more. That is real living right there, my friends.

[00:37:17] I mean, you don't have to be a Christian to love your own family. You don't have to be a Christian to love your own country. But the love people that you have no relation to and to care for them like you would care for yourself. Only Christian people can do that. So. That's what it means to have the love of Jesus Christ.

[00:37:37] And if you invest your life in other people and you see a positive impact from you, maybe you help somebody get established in the faith. Maybe you could even lead someone to being saved by Jesus Christ. Or maybe you find somebody who's already a Christian and you just help them grow and you just walk with them and you just be that friendly, encouraging brother or sister that they need. When you see that person continuing to live for Jesus Christ in the future and you know that in some small way, God used you to be a part of that.

[00:38:09] That.

[00:38:11] How we live. My friends. Now we live. And if you haven't experienced that, you're missing out on. I think the greatest joy that you can find here on this planet is to help somebody else. Love Jesus Christ. And I want to encourage you. It could be you that God uses. Go back to First Thessalonians three and you'll see here the joy that Paul has that leads him to our statement. This is real living.

[00:38:38] So. So to conclude that thought. Point number two. Let's let's put it down like this. Encourage them so they don't fall away. Encourage them so they don't fall the way. If this is your church. Who are you coming alongside of exhorting every day? As long as it's called today. Who are you going to make sure doesn't fall away from Jesus Christ? There should be at least one person you can start with. Maybe you could make a long list of people here at this church that you're gonna be a a presence in their life and you are going to encourage them because you would hate the thought of them falling away. And when people don't fall away, but they stand firm in the Lord. Look at the joy. Look at the switch. Here we have all this affliction and all of this. I'm alone in the tempters gonna tempt you and all of this dark thoughts that Paul is having. But then verse six, Timothy comes back to Athens and he gives the apostle Paul the good news and he says in verse six. But now that Timothy has come to us from New UN, he brought us the good news of your faith.

[00:39:36] You guys are still living for Jesus and your love and each other. And he even reported that you always remember us kindly and longed to see us as we longed to see you. Well, we have a mutual love relationship here.

[00:39:48] We really care about each other for this reason. Brothers in our distress, an affliction. Well, now he's not talking about their affliction and persecution anymore. He's saying, in my own affliction, I was having a rough time.

[00:40:03] I was in Athens alone. There was a lot of hard things going on in my life. But when I heard about how you were doing, he says, and all our distress and affliction, we have been comforted about you through your faith. In fact, now we live. Now it feels like I'm really live. And again, when I hear how you're doing. You see how this works. Paul sends his right hand man. I mean, if you're going through a tough time, you want your right hand man with you. But Paul says, no, ominous in my own guy to help them.

[00:40:33] And he then ends up having a hard time.

[00:40:36] But when Timothy comes back and he gives him the good news of the Thessalonians standing strong in Jesus Christ, Paul is so encouraged his own problems don't even seem to matter in comparison. Do you see that? It is more blessed to give than to receive.

[00:40:57] And he's saying, I feel it.

[00:40:59] Man, it was awesome. It was like life was worth the living.

[00:41:05] When I heard that you guys were standing strong in Jesus Christ, what he says. Have you ever known the joy that someone you were wondering how they were doing? Someone you cared about. Deep. And you heard that they were representing Jesus Christ. Amen. That is real live and go to third John.

[00:41:26] It's a little book right before Revelation here. Third, John. And this is just a verse that we all need to think about because it uses it an analogy. And I think we think about this analogy wrong. OK, good. Look at third, John. It's just one chapter. And we're gonna look at verse four. It's a verse maybe you're you've heard before because it's on like Christian Hallmark cards that get passed around. And here it is. Third John, verse four.

[00:41:53] Here's the apostle John saying, I have no greater joy now when when something cannot be greater, that means it is the best. Okay. And the best, Joy. All right, then, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

[00:42:10] And when you hear that verse and it's often used, I think, to talk about our physical children, do we as parents long for our physical children to live for Jesus Christ?

[00:42:22] Does anybody want your kids to grow up saved and living in Jesus name? Can I get a man from any parents here right now? Is that what you're praying from day one for your kids, that Jesus will save them from their sins, take them to heaven, give them new life?

[00:42:36] He's not talking about those kids, guys.

[00:42:39] They're talking about those kids and he's not saying your love for your kids is way up here.

[00:42:43] Maybe your love for people at church could kind of get up a little bit. He's saying, no, my children, he's putting the people at church on an equal playing field with his own kids. So there's a natural love and then there's a supernatural love. And he says, my greatest joy, the best joy that I have experienced. This is a man who walked with Jesus Christ. This is the disciple whom Jesus loved. And for all that was special and unique about John.

[00:43:15] Getting to know Jesus in a way that you and I don't get to know him today because he's not here doing miracles and teaching. He says the best joy that I've had, no greater joy do I have. He's not looking back at being with Jesus. He's looking at people that he's invested in walking for Jesus.

[00:43:33] And he says that's the greatest joy. That's a joy you and I can experience. When we invest our lives in others and God saves them and they continue to live for God, there is no greater joy.

[00:43:46] Point Umber three. Let's put it down like this. Find your joy. Get your real living in their faith. Find your joy in their faith. And this isn't like a point. Like some day when you after you've invested in people, you're gonna have to go kind of discover your joy. That's not what I'm trying to say. No, I'm saying start living for other people. Start investing your life in other people. And you will find great joy. That's what I'm saying. You're not gonna have to remind yourself to feel joy as you see people that you've led to Christ just going and leading other people to Christ as you become a spiritual grandfather and then a spiritual great grandfather. And you're just watching disciples being made. And you were a part of the chain of discipleship that was happening. You're not have to go searching for the joy. It's going to be overflowing out of your soul.

[00:44:34] It's going to be a fire in your bones. And you get to see people live the Christian life and you think, you know, God, I don't know why God used me to.

[00:44:47] I remember the day I talked to that person and they were not headed in the right path.

[00:44:52] And I said something. And since that day, they've turned around. God used me, the Holy Spirit of the living. God spoke through me and got a hold of somebody else. Man, there's nothing better than that.

[00:45:07] There's no greater joy that you will experienced. I'm a I'm a young man. And I have young children. But by God's grace, I have been able now to talk to quite a few people. And I've been able to have important conversations in people's lives.

[00:45:23] I've experienced this joy. In fact, our church is very new. It's like this is our fifth month that we're ending here today in our church. So we are a baby church. Right. But some of the people that are starting this church are people that I have known for years. And I said people I said words to some of the people that are sitting in this room right now. Years ago, some people over a decade ago, I said something to them. And that's part of the reason they're here today, because God used something that I said in somebody else's life in college when I learned that lesson.

[00:45:59] I started talking. There was one guy that I started talking to and I just kept talking to this guy like I was a stocker, like he could not get away from me. Like, even if I couldn't see him, I would just call him. And even if he wouldn't answer the phone and you'd have to ask him whether he was not answering because he was busy or he just didn't want to talk to me, I don't know. But I would just say whatever I wanted to say right there on the voicemail. Why not? Right.

[00:46:23] I mean, this guy I would talk to him over and over and over and over again.

[00:46:28] And he came up to me when we found out we were gonna play at the church and he said, I'm going to move my family and we're going to come play at this church with you. See, because all the all I did was just open my mouth and let God's face up. You can do that. Anyone here can do that. And all of a sudden you'll have all these relationships to you. And when you come into a place like this, you won't see people, you'll see souls. You'll see people that Jesus Christ is saved all over this place. I mean, when you dropped off your kid here, when you did electronic check in, say, you know that guy. I hope that I become a Christian. I was I was his youth pastor a long time ago. So when you when you walked in this door and so-and-so greeted you, one of our ushers there in the back and they shake your hand and they brought you in. I talked to that guy one time when he was in a dark place.

[00:47:24] Since his family to me.

[00:47:27] I'm inviting you to come and join a family. But here's the thing. You've got to do. You've got to believe the motto. You've got to get on board with the tagline. And it's been passed down all the way from Jesus Christ. To you today, it is more blessed to give, say. Then to receive. So we're going to have to completely rewrite the script. We're gonna have to stop thinking about how much time can I fit into church in my calendar, say? We're gonna have to flip that question around to how much time can I give to the church in my calendar?

[00:48:00] How much how much time do I have for so-and-so? Because my family's got a lot going on.

[00:48:04] We're going to have to actually think maybe I need to change some of the way I do things with my physical family because I need to spend more time with my family at church because they're on an equal playing field in God's mind.

[00:48:16] So this is going to really change a lot of our lives if we start thinking that God's going to speak through me to somebody else. So I need to start studying the Bible so I would know what to say to that person. I need to get into a group where I could even know people to have that conversation. Really think about what it's going to mean to give our lives away. It's going to change everything about us and two people will look at us and they'll be like, why can't even be like you, Apostle Paul. No, he was he was just somebody sit in a church one day and people didn't even want him there. And somebody came in, grabbed him and brought him in, said, you're gonna be a part of the family now. Timothy and Matthew, Chapter 20. Matthew, Chapter 20. You know, to be a Christian, you know. What does it mean to be a Christian to you?

[00:49:04] Because to be a Christian in America right now means you believe that the Bible is true to some degree. And you believe that there really was a man who was God named Jesus, and then he really did die and he really rose again.

[00:49:16] And as long as you agree with those intellectual facts, if you know the information, then in America today, you could call yourself a Christian. In fact, if you haven't even gone to church in a long time nor barely read a Bible, but you just kind of believe there is a God. See, in America, you would get bucketed. You would get labeled into this Christian group. Right. And when they take the poll, it's going to say that 85 percent of Americans believe in God and somebody is going to say, see, we're still a Christian nation. That's how we're talking about a Christian today.

[00:49:50] But Christian is a little Christ, a Christian is someone who denies themself, takes up their cross and follows Jesus. So let's get this down.

[00:49:59] Here's what Jesus says. He says, follow me. That's what it means to be a Christian. A Christian is someone who's answering that command of the Lord Jesus Christ right there. And you follow him. Say, but here's what I have found, is that when I ask Christians, where is Jesus leading you? Where is Jesus taking you? When Jesus says to you, follow me. Where is he on his way to? As he's saying that when he's going up to fishermen and he's pointing his finger in their chest, he's saying, you follow me and they're dropping their nets and they're immediately leaving everything and following him when he goes up to this tax collector named Matthew and he says, you, you. I'm talking to you. You follow me. And he, like, leaves his tax booth and he just goes off and follows Jesus. Where is he taking them? See, today, people are like, oh, I know where Jesus will take me. He'll take me to have. And that's not where he's saying follow me to. Where is he going? He's going to die on a wooden cross. That's where he's going. He's going to give his life away for the church. So what he's going to do. So let's follow me. Here's where you got to go. You got to go to the cross. That's where he's taken.

[00:51:08] Okay. And he makes it very clear that you have to deny yourself. You can't keep living for yourself anymore. And you have to pick up your cross and you have to follow me. That's where he's going now. Why did he go to the cross?

[00:51:21] Why would Jesus Christ, who is God? Who is the creator of the heavens and the earth, who upholds right now? The reason the universe stayed together this morning is Jesus it is upholding it by the word of his power. That's Hebrews Chapter one.

[00:51:34] So why is that board of heaven and Earth going to a wooden tree to shed blood and die like a human being in a terrible way of execution, that's really a form of torture before it kills you.

[00:51:46] Why is he doing that for others?

[00:51:48] Say not for himself. He did it for you.

[00:51:53] And he did it for me and ultimately he did it for every single person who will ever turn from their sin and put their trust in him and be saved by him. So you follow Jesus to the cross for the purpose of the church. That's where Jesus is leading us.

[00:52:09] So if you're a Christian, what you are saying is that you are giving your life away now, just like Jesus did for the other people, and you no longer live for your own glory, your own privilege, your own esteem. You empty yourself as Jesus Christ and you give your life away for other people. That's a real definition of a Christian person.

[00:52:33] And you could see that here in Matthew, chapter 20, verse 28. Matthew, chapter 20. Verse 28. We've been reading through the gospel of Matthew. You can see it on the back of your hand out. We have a Web site, CompassHB, HP dot com slash read where we're reading every day of the week, a chapter Monday to Friday, a chapter. We just read this and Jesus says this. And Matthew, 20, verse 28. Even as the son of man, that's how Jesus referred to himself as the one coming to ride on the clouds. Even the son of man came not to be served, but to what does it say there? To serve and to give his life as a ransom.

[00:53:11] For who? Well, if you're gonna follow Jesus Christ with your life, my friend. Then that's where you're going. Right there.

[00:53:18] You're going to less and less thinking about yourself. Less and less following your own emotions and feelings and more and more giving yourself away until you think I don't have anything left to give. Lord, I'm giving it all. And he'll say, Oh, no. Oh, no. There's much more for you to give say.

[00:53:37] Until you've given it all away. That's when you'll know what it's like to be like Christ. Say. That's what he did.

[00:53:44] Is anybody here glad that Jesus Christ didn't think about himself, but he thought about you? Is anybody here glad that when he was up on the tree and the blood started to lose out of his body and the physical pain started to take over and the father turned his back on the son and he cried out, God, why have you forsaken me? Is anybody here glad that Jesus didn't think about himself on that day?

[00:54:06] Say.

[00:54:08] And how dare us go wave the name of Jesus Christ? And say, who's here to serve me? That's how Christianity somewhat Jesus is all about.

[00:54:21] You're going to call yourself a Christian. Make sure you realize you have given your life away as a ransom for many people, you're following his example. He shed his blood to save people. You're gonna go tell him that good news. You're gonna love him. You're going to bring him into the church. And maybe one day they're gonna act like they're going to fall away and bam, you're gonna be there smilin. And you're gonna be there ready to talk to them and encourage them. And I hope you know the joy. I know some of you do. I hope you know that, Joy. The real living. That it's more blessed to give than to receive. Let me pray. God, thank you so much for the example that we can see here of First Thessalonians, chapter three, verse one eight, which is really the example of Jesus Christ himself, that real living for now we live. When people that we have been able to talk to, people that we've been able to care for and encourage, when those people continue to stand firm in Jesus Christ, that's living kind of pray that we would believe that not only with and with our heads, but that we would give our hearts away to other people. Created in the days to come, if anyone does fall away from this church and now we know that there's there's rocky soil, that that people will claim Christ and then fall away. God, I pray that every person who falls away from CompassHB Bible Church, Huntington Beach, that some of our hearts will break because that person falls away. That that will hurt us because we cared for them so deeply. God, I pray for every single person that you really do save at this church who really does start to live for you. That that joy. It will be nothing greater than that in our lives, and we will thrive on it. We will sit around together and we'll talk about a man. Let me tell you what Real live in is. No, so and so you have they're on a mission trip right now. They're live in for Jesus Christ. God, let us find let us take you up on your promise that it's more blessed to give than to receive. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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