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Good News For A Faithful Servant

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Good News For A Faithful Servant

Introduction

>      A teacher of witch craft prayed to his gods last week before gambling & got the good news that he won the lottery ($49M).  Christian families in Korea have been praying to our God for over a month & got good news last week that hostages in Afghanistan were released.  Is there any difference in “good news”?

>      1Th. 2:17-3:5 = The Christian’s response to satanic opposition: Loving determination for personal fellowship w/brothers & sisters, Seeking wise alternatives for success in ministry, and Focusing on the goal of maturity for brothers & sisters even in times of persecution.

>      Remember Paul discerned that God was not going to remove Satan’s hindrance & sent Timothy to help these persecuted believers.  Timothy now returns with good news…

I.      The Content of the Good News

A.    The brothers & sisters loved God (1Th. 3:6a)

“good news” in the NT normally refers to the specific gospel message about Christ, but here it refers to believers who have faith in & love for Christ.  It is good news to see genuine faith in & love for Christ = true redemption & eternal life.  Persecution can never bring a true believer to apostasy (Rom. 8:16ff) = GOOD NEWS!  God’s faithfulness to His children thru trials = GOOD NEWS!  These brothers & sisters proved their love for God = GOOD NEWS!

B.     The brothers & sisters loved Paul (1Th. 3:6b)

They had pleasant memories of Paul – mentor, preacher, teacher, counselor, prayer partner, pastor & friend.  They did not blame him for their troubles (causing persecution) or for leaving them abruptly when they needed him.  They also longed to see him personally – face to face = evidence of true love for Paul = GOOD NEWS!

It is extremely rewarding to hear from people whom you have cared for/discipled.  Let’s not forget those who helped us grow spiritually.  Do you need to contact someone & give them the GOOD NEWS about God’s faithfulness to you?; …that their labor was not in vain?

II.    The Effect of the Good News

A.    Paul is comforted (1Th. 3:7-8)

Because Paul loved them, he was genuinely concerned about their well-being in these serious/life-threatening afflictions.  He was concerned about their physical & spiritual well-being.  The good news brought comfort, encouragement & joy even though his personal difficulties did not change.

B.     Paul is thankful (1Th. 3:9)

Paul attributes the perseverance/faithfulness of these B/Ss to God alone.  Therefore God alone is worthy of praise/thanks-giving. Regardless of our personal circumstances, we always have reasons to praise/worship God – even for His goodness to others saints when our situation has not changed.

C.     Paul is motivated to pray more earnestly (1Th. 3:10-13)

Difficult circumstances in life can negatively affect our prayer life – stress & anxiety (focus on problems & the unknown).  God’s faithfulness to these believers stirred up Paul’s faith to focus on God in prayer – God is the only one who can control Satan’s hindrances (v. 11), make them grow in love for people (v. 12) & establish them in holiness (v. 13)

ILL:  In Numbers 13-14, 12 spies were sent to search out the land of Canaan & bring back a report of the situation & type of opposition facing God’s people.  10 spies brought a bad report = we are not able to overcome the enemy, too strong.  Joshua & Caleb brought a good report = we are well able to overcome the enemy, the Lord is stronger than the enemy.  Israel believed the bad report, yielded to fear/unbelief & God destroyed them & 10 spies.  They could have been blessed if they had only believed the good report/good news!

APPL:  When you look around NHBC & this community, are you more like the 10 spies who see the strong enemy & defeat or like Joshua & Caleb who see the Almighty God & victory?  Do you bring a bad report to discourage your brothers & sisters or a good report to comfort & encourage them?  What you have to say about God’s work & plans at NHBC affects your brothers & sisters and God is taking note of what we say.  Remember Prov. 15:30 & Prov. 25:25!


!! CONCLUSION

Is all good news the same?  Is there any difference between the types of good news that we might receive in life?  It certainly is beneficial & encouraging to receive some things unexpectedly– gift of money, clothing, appliance, vehicle, scholarship to school, etc.  It is also encouraging to learn that your body, a relative or friend has been healed of a disease or that someone’s life has been rescued from danger.  The good news regarding these matters is temporary – money will be spent, clothing will wear out, appliances, vehicles & even our own bodies will eventually fail.  But the good news regarding the kingdom of God & those in the kingdom will never fail; good news about souls being saved & growing in grace & in the love of God will never fail.  The good news is that Christ has saved some souls here at NHBC; saints are growing in grace & in the knowledge of Jesus Christ here at NHBC; saints are learning to persevere in spite of satanic opposition; God is carrying out His sanctifying work among us to prove His love for us.  So let’s be comforted today by this good news, let’s be thankful for everyone that God used to disciple us & let’s be motivated to pray even more earnestly for the progress & success of the gospel among us.  Our Lord has promised to complete the good work that He began in us – this my brothers & sisters is GOOD NEWS!

I also have good news for anyone here that does not know Jesus as your Savior & Lord; good news for anyone under the guilt & shame of sin; good news for anyone who is tired & weary from slavery to sin – today you can be set free…

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