2016-06-19 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ What are We Modeling
We have the same models as the Thessalonians, Christ, Paul and other of the Biblical saints. We often have other examples, those who may have led us to the Lord, teachers we have sat under. But our best example is still Christ.
I think, for us, the issue isn’t so much do we have models, but what kind of models are we to others? There is no question that we model to the world around us. Think about the way people around us respond, when we don’t behave in a way they think Christians should. Unbelievers often set higher standards for us than Scripture, due to their own ignorance. Just look at how your entire life is on constant display before your children. We are models, whether we want to be or not.
Let’s look again at the Thessalonians as our examples. Paul praises them for being models that have turned their lives around because of their salvation, that have changed in such a dramatic way that all around them are aware of this change.
This means two things must have been happening. First, each individual life must have been reflecting the reality of Christ’s presence.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).
Second, they must have been living this same reality out corporately, for there to have been so much awareness of what was going on with this group of believers.
“… With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2–3).
How are we modeling as individuals? Do those around us see something of the Lord in us? What do the guys on the job think of you? Is your behavior such that they can see no difference between you and themselves?
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:1,4).
Do our bosses see us being responsible employees as a result of our faith?
“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ” (Ephesians 6:5).
What do our neighbors see in our homes? Wives, do your lives reflect the reality of the teaching of Scriptures?
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22).
Husbands, what about us? If we have friends over, do they observe us in a Biblical light?
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:22, 25).
I suspect that we all know what our lives are to reflect, the only real question is: Will we live in a way that is consistent with that knowledge? Paul’s words to slaves to motivate them should be a reminder to us of the basis of our obedience:
“… Rendering service with a good will, as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free” (Ephesians 6:7–8).
Finally, if we strive to live individually in a way that is pleasing to God, then this will carry over into our corporate life. As we strive to love God, we will love one another, we will be a loving body, and that love will reach out to those around us in an unbelieving world. We may be the only example of God’s love that some individuals may have. It has been said so many times, but it can’t be said enough:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).
As we go into our everyday lives, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will give us a sensitivity to the reality of our walk, that He would give us the desire and power to live in a way that reflects something of God to those we come in contact with. May we pray that we will truly look at those around us with God’s eyes, seeing their need for salvation, and putting this need ahead of our own convenience and fears. May they see Christ in us, and for others to see the Lord in us, we need to see Him there. As Evie puts it:
”You’re searching for Jesus, looking to find Hope for tomorrow and some peace of mind. Well, you can find Him in the Bible,
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.