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The mission statement of our church

I Thessalonians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:29
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No one likes to waste their time. The other day I had a conversation with one of the CBM builders about our new church auditorium. One of the things that the guys from CBM are finding out about us, is that we like to change our minds. It takes us a long time to make decisions, and then sometimes after we have made a decision, we end up changing things. And I am sure that all of you can guess that they absolutely love it when we change the building plans on them. If you couldn’t hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice, then you need to go back and grab another cup of coffee this morning. They hate it! Why? It usually means that they have to redo something that they already spent a lot of time and effort making already. This was the case with the new auditorium. I changed what the pulpit wall is going to look like, and because of that change- the guys had to redo some of the electrical. And I had to assure them that it wasn’t going to change again. They were willing to redo their work, but they wanted a guarantee that this time all their hard work wouldn’t go to waste.
Now why do I tell that story? Well I think it is helpful for our text this morning to get us to think about our own lives and the work that we put into living them. I think if we evaluated our lives, and everything that we have done, we could boil down our actions into two broad categories: useful and useless, profitable and profitless, valuable and vain. I am convinced that Scripture views our lives and views our church using this kind of evaluation. Everything that we do in God’s eyes either has value or it is vain. Every effort, program, plan, ministry, or special in our church is either valuable or vain. Every conversation, encouragement, exhortation, or admonition is either valuable or vain. That means there is the potential to spend our lives in a valuable way- living it in a way that actually matters, and there is the potential to spend our lives in a vain way- living it in a way that is devoid of any intellectual, moral, or spiritual value- empty. That means that there is potential for us as a church to serve God invaluably or vainly. To make what we do here matter, or we come to find out that all of our effort was spent in vain. Like running electrical in the new church building only to find out that you have to do it all over again.
The Apostle Paul and the Thessalonian church wanted their lives and their church to matter- they wanted to spend their lives on something that had value.
I am convinced that the Apostle Paul oriented his entire life around a proper biblical/theological purpose statement. And because Paul lived life with purpose- the Thessalonians lived their lives with purpose. Why is that? They imitated who? Paul- and by extension Christ. The Thessalonian church is the model disciple making church- they were a spiritually healthy church. One of the reasons that they became a spiritually healthy church is they had the right purpose. They oriented the entire ministry of their church around a proper biblical/theological purpose statement.
Faith Baptist Church, we must orient the entirety of our ministry around a proper biblical/theological purpose statement.
What should the proper biblical/theological purpose statement of our church look like?
Two fundamental purposes that I want us to think through this morning.

I. The ministry of our church must major on that which is genuinely valuable (vv. 1-2)

1 Thessalonians 2:1–2 KJV 1900
1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
The key word in v. 1 is the word “vain.”
κενός- pert. to being devoid of intellectual, moral, or spiritual value, empty, pert. to being without purpose or result.
This is what we don’t want for our church- we do not want our efforts or lives our energy to be vain- devoid of value, empty, without result.
Paul says to the Thessalonians- you yourselves know brothers, that our entrance (our coming to Thessalonica) was not in vain. What does Paul mean when we talks about their entrance into Thessalonica? I would cross reference I Thessalonians 1:5-7.
1 Thessalonians 1:5–7 KJV 1900
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
So what was not vain in Paul’s mind? Coming to Thessalonica and doing the work of a disciple maker. He came into town, he labored side by side with these dear people, he gave them the gospel, they received the gospel not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance. It didn’t stop there- then the Thessalonians became imitators/mimickers of Paul and of the Lord- and Paul taught them every thing he knew. But it didn’t stop there- the Thessalonians turned around and reproduced themselves spiritually in the lives of other people- so that they became examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
Last week we summed up the totality of the disciple making ministry like this- follow one, win one, lead one.
So when Paul says to the Thessalonians 2:1- you yourselves know what our entrance looked like unto you. In my mind what Paul means is you understand Thessalonians what Great Commission living, disciple making living looks like. And you yourselves know it. Why do they personally know it? Because they experienced it first hand, and they copied it and did it themselves. Of course they know it.
But look at what Paul says, He says our entrance in unto you- all of the sweat, blood, and tears we poured into the ministry on your behalf- it was not in WHAT? VAIN!
Paul majored on the kind of ministry that was not vain. His efforts were not empty, devoid of value, and without real results. Paul viewed disciple making- doing the Great Commission- as valuable. And it became the biblical/theological purpose statement of his life. It really effected every part of his life. Look at verse two.
1 Thessalonians 2:2 KJV 1900
2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
What is Paul talking about here? He is talking about suffering. Suffering! Even after we had already suffered and had been shamefully treated (scoffed at, mistreated, insulted, shamed), as you know, at Philippi.
We read about this suffering in Acts 16. We don’t have time to read all of it, but do you remember the story of the slave girl who had a spirit of divination? She followed Paul around crying out, “These men are servants of the most high God.” Finally after many days Paul couldn’t stand it any more and he casts the spirit out of the slave girl. This causes her owners to bring Paul before the market place. And what happened?
Acts 16:22–24 ESV
22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
This is the reception that Paul and Silas and Timothy got for being disciple makers. They were attacked, they were beaten, they were persecuted. Yet Paul can say in v. 2
1 Thessalonians 2:2 KJV 1900
2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
Why? How in the world could Paul say that? Why did Paul leave Philippi and travel to Thessalonica? Why didn’t Paul go home? It wasn’t as if the Great Commission, disciple making was easy. And by the way it isn’t. It takes a lot of work, and patience, and perseverance. It is slow, sometimes with little initial fruit. So why did Paul keep doing it? He is operating under a proper biblical/theological purpose. He majored his life on what actually had value. And disciple making, according to Paul, and to the Thessalonians is something that has incredible value.
And because they believed exactly that- Paul could say- we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God- even in the face of much what? Contention / opposition.
Even though it was hard, and they were opposed, and they had to suffer persecution. They kept making disciples because in Paul’s mind it was the only thing of real value. Why? Because he was so great? No, Paul’s boldness was in whom? In God. Why does Paul say that? And what does being bold in God have to do with value?
How do we determine what is vain and what is not? What has value and what does not?
God tells us.
1 Corinthians 15:13–14 KJV 1900
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
1 Corinthians 15:16–17 KJV 1900
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV 1900
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
What seems to be the difference in these verses between our lives, our faith, our preaching, being vain and not being vain?
Why are we of all men most miserable if we have hope in this life only?
1 Corinthians 15:20 KJV 1900
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Because Christ has been raised from the dead, what do we have hope of?
1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV 1900
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Why is our labor in the Lord not in vain? Because it is the only thing that is imperishable, immortal, eternal! Only that kind of labor- that which results in eternal things- is said to have value.
What did that kind of labor look like to Paul?
1 Thessalonians 2:2 KJV 1900
2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
It seems like Paul would define eternal valuable ministry as disciple making. We were bold in our God to speak unto YOU the gospel of God.
Follow one, win one, lead one.
I believe this was at the core of Paul’s purpose statement for the way he lived his life and the way he ministered through the local church. To Paul making disciples was NOT VAIN. And he believed it so much he was willing to endure much contention/opposition. Because even though it was hard- it actually mattered. And because the Thessalonians mimicked Paul, his purpose statement became their purpose statement, and the local church in Thessalonica became passionate about majoring their ministry on what really mattered so that their work would not turn out to be vain. What really mattered? People! Making disciples of people- that is what carried eternal worth- Follow one, win one, lead one. I am convinced that everything in their church was clipped to that kind of purpose statement. It got to the point where the people just got busy doing the main thing, the most important thing, the thing that had real value- the majored on that. Everything else they did was formed and shaped by this driving passion.
Illustration: Two options- tomorrow you can come to church and just sit in this chair and do nothing and I will pay you 1 penny per hour. Or there is a filing cabinet full of papers from the last 50 years upstairs in the office and I want you to start hand copping down the information from every single piece of paper. Who wants to do that? What if I paid you 10K per hour? You would major on the thing that actually produced value.
Folks, we can get really busy in the church- but are we busy majoring on the things that matter? What has value to God and to Paul? People.
1 Thessalonians 3:5 NASB95
5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.
What does that mean? Is Paul saying that if the people of Thessalonica didn’t continue in their faith, if Paul hadn’t impacted them for Jesus so that they followed Christ until the end- is he saying that his labor would be worthless?
Paul cared about people- and he was in it for the long term. He connected his life to their lives for the rest of his life. Paul actually was concerned in doing the Great Commission- in teaching them all things. Why? Because he believed that that kind of ministry was not done in vain.
What should the proper biblical/theological purpose statement of our church look like?
Two fundamental purposes that I want us to think through this morning.
I. The ministry of our church must major on that which is genuinely valuable (vv. 1-2)

II. The ministry of our church must be chiefly concerned with glorifying God (vv. 3-4)

1 Thessalonians 2:3–4 KJV 1900
3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
Why did Paul major his life on being a disciple maker?
His exhortation did not come from:
Deceit / Error- the idea is something that wanders from the path of truth)
Uncleanness / Impurity- that which has an impure motive or is morally corrupt)
Guile / deceit- treachery.
Paul was throughly convinced that he needed to be making disciples because his message was not error or impure or treacherous.
BUT-
1 Thessalonians 2:4 NASB95
4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.
4 ἀλλὰ καθὼς δεδοκιμάσμεθα
BUT just as we have been approved (per, pass, ind)
ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ
by God
πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον,
to be entrusted (aor, pass, inf) with the gospel,
οὕτως λαλοῦμεν,
so we keep on speaking (pres, act, ind)
οὐχ ὡς ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκοντες
not as pleasers of men
ἀλλὰ ⸆ θεῷ τῷ δοκιμάζοντι τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν*.
BUT to God the One approving (same word as above) scrutinizing our hearts.
Yes, Paul majored his life and ministry on doing that which was not vain- namely disciple making. But over arching every other purpose in his life was pleasing God.
Paul would always continue to make disciples, but he would always do so in a way that pleased God. He was entrusted with the gospel and he was not going to violate that trust. It wasn’t enough to just make disciples, but he had to do so in a way that wasn’t concerned with pleasing men, but God.
In life and in ministry this must be your overarching purpose- to glorify God. Our purpose is first and foremost doxilogical. We glorify God first- by making disciples in a way that pleases Him not men.
And you have to have both of these purposes.
And when you understand the biblical/theological necessity of both of these purposes for life and for ministry it actually becomes your mission statement- they become your marching orders.
Mission Statement: Faith Baptist Church exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christlikeness.
Majoring on ministry that is not vain- making the main thing the main thing: evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christlikeness.
We speak not as pleasers of men, but God who examines our hearts: We exist to glorify God- first and foremost- and out of that overarching purpose we become disciple makers- follow one, win one, lead one.
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