Jump Start # 2391
1 Thessalonians 1:5 “For our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
Often the power of the message is lost in the fog of the messenger. We can be so enamored with the preacher that we do not even hear the message. This has always been a calling card of cultic religions. They are led by charismatic personalities that gather a following. Their crooked and misguided messages are believed because the masses are in awe of the messenger, who often claims to be a prophet.
Paul said, “you know what kind of men we proved to be among you.” The example of Paul and these preachers illustrated the message that they were preaching. There is an old saying, “The proof is in the pudding.” I have no idea what that means, but here the message and the messenger complimented each other. They saw the message being lived in the lives of the messengers. This had an impact upon this young church. They obeyed the message and they imitated the messengers. They in turn became living examples for others.
This is in great contrast to what Jesus said of the Pharisees. He told the disciples, “all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say things and do not do them” (Mt 23:3). What they were saying and what they were doing didn’t match. They’d preach a good sermon, but they wouldn’t live that sermon. Their actions were proving what kind of men they were. They proved that they really didn’t believe what they were telling others.
I love that statement of Paul, “what kind of men we proved to be.” Our actions speak louder than our words. Our family, those who are so close to us, know what kind of people we really are. They hear the words from our lips. They witness our attitudes and our complaining. They see what we do. We prove what kind of people we are.
In many ways this is what Peter tells Christian women who were married to non-believers. He said, “even if any of them are disobedient to the word they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Pet 3:1). These Christian women proved what kind of people they were.
Think about some areas of application:
First, at work. There may be co-workers that you have tried to get into a Bible study or invite to services but they do not seem interested. Yet, day after day, without realizing it, they see you, hear you and witness your attitude and spirit. You are proving what kind of person you are. They see that you do not compromise. They see that you are kind. They see that you do not like potty talk and gossip. They see that you walk away from stories about smut. You talk complimentary of others. You bring up the Lord in your conversation. You love worship. In time, when one needs advice, they may turn to you. In time, when they are discouraged, they may turn to you. You have “proven” the kind of person that you are. While some may mock you and not include you, there are many others that respect you and admire the faith that you carry dear in your heart. You have shown them what a Christian looks like.
Second, at home. There are little ones that look to you. They know better than to put food in their mouths before a prayer is said. They know honesty is expected at all times. They understand that one can have fun without breaking rules. In time, it is you that they will come to when life tumbles in on them. When hearts are breaking, they will look to you to help heal them. You have proven yourself among them. And, even among the extended family, our parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, they have come to know how to act around you. They may not agree with you, but they know where you’ll be come time for services. They know not to bring alcohol into your home. They know certain words are off limits. You have proven yourself among them. And, in time, it is you that many will turn to when there is a death. They know you will know what to say. They know that you will have answers. You have proven yourself. You know God and they see that.
Third, among brethren. You have shown yourself to be dependable, responsible and one that will follow the Lord. You have shown yourself to be a believer of God’s word. You have proven that you put the Lord first in your life. You have sacrificed for the Lord and have shown a deep concern for the people of God. You have proven to be a listener with a compassionate heart. You have shown yourself to be dear to the Lord. The brethren recognize this in you. In time, they call upon you to help out. It may be in teaching. It may be in leading. The reason being, you have proven yourself. You don’t fly off the handle. You are considerate. You walk with the Lord. Years of service has made you one of the pillars of the congregation. Folks trust your insight and your wisdom. They can talk easily to you.
Finally, the Lord knows you. You have proven yourself. You have remained faithful to Him. You have been steadfast. You have been a worker in the kingdom. Through life’s ups and downs, you have stayed close to the Lord. His word has guided you. Your heart has talked to Him daily. You have let your light shine, the best you can. And, someday, when the Lord comes, He’ll have no trouble recognizing you because your colors will be true.
We have proven ourselves. Now, think about that. Some have proven that they can’t make it to all the services in week. Not just this week, any week. Some have proven that they can’t keep a secret. Some have proven that they you can’t trust them. Proven…We have proven ourselves.
What do people know about you? What you’ve done has proven it to them. Your words and your actions need to be the same.
Something to think about…