Glory to God!
After a powerful time of worship, Sophie Rowe spoke to the children (and the adults!) about Ruth and Naomi. She showed us how, just as Ruth made a commitment to identify herself with Naomi and be with her wherever she went, so believers must realise that to be part of the Body of Christ is to identify oneself with her and be actively involved in and with the life of the church. Sophie encouraged everyone to serve in the church so that we function effectively as Christ's Body.
We then looked at the first letter to the Thessalonians and noted that they were a church that had become famous for their faith (1 Thess. 1:8). The Lord then showed us how the Thessalonians developed a faith that became so well known. This is what He showed us:
The Thessalonians saw and experienced the example of a people of faith. Paul and his companions lived amongst the new believers and demonstrated lives of faith as they not only shared the Gospel but their very lives with them. The Thessalonians saw faith in action as Paul and his companions devoted themselves to the people (see 1 Thess. 1:5; 2:13).
The Thessalonians received God's word to them with joy as from God and not from men. They submitted their lives to the authority of the word of God. They received the Gospel with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction because of their attitude toward God's word to them (see 1 Thess. 1:6; 2:13).
The Thessalonians allowed God's word to convince them. They did not just hear the word of God but allowed it to replace their own thinking. They allowed the word of God to convince them so that they lived their lives accordingly (see 1 Thess. 1:4,5).
The Thessalonians demonstrated their faith. Because of their faith in God, they lived lives in response to God's presence. Consequently they demonstrated their faith by working hard (1:3), persevering despite suffering (1:3; 2:14); loving one another (1:3; 3:6); repententing from paganism (1:9), etc.
The Lord is speaking to us about faith working through love and the example of the Thessalonians reveals that God wants the Church to demonstrate her faith through loving His presence, His people and His purposes. All three loves must be part of the disciple's life as s/he lives the Kingdom life.
Love for God's presence is demonstrated by a devotion to seek God's face privately and corporately. True faith believes God exisits and that He rewards those who seek Him (Heb. 11:1,6). Consequently to love God's presence is to be God-conscious at all times and to live a life in response to His presence. Paul calls it, "Living to please God" (1 Thess. 4:1).
Love for God's people is demonstrated by a devotion to Christ's Body, the Church. This love is revealed as believers care for one another, serve one another, share their resources with one another, worship together, pray for one another, encourage one another, etc. Love for God's people is demonstrated by an unconditional commitment to the Church. God wants our love for one another to increase so that the world will recognise that we belong to God (see 1 Thess. 4:9,10).
Love for God's salvation purposes is demonstrated by a devotion to the lost. This love is revealed as God's people develop a burden for those who are seaparated from Christ, both Jew and Gentile. Loving God's purposes means loving what is on God's heart and seeking His will. It means reaching out to the lost in every area of life, personally and being part of what the Church organises.
Faith works through love as believers
love God's presence, God's people
and God's purposes.
Our prayer is that KLF will become famous for her faith and love as we devote ourselves to God's presence, people and purposes! Hallelujah!
Quote of the week
"...your faith has become known everywhere." 1 Thess. 1:8