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Being An Example for Others

by Rev. Dr. Paul Sene

1 Thessalonians 1:7-8 7 So that you become examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.

These verses are really amazing as it tells of how the church in Thessalonica became an example, not only in the Macedonian region and Achaia but people every where had heard about their example.

Why did the example of the Thessalonian church become the focus of Apostle Paul's attention in his ministry?

Apostle Paul noticed that there were four attitudes that were cultivated by the Thessalonian church. These four attitudes are:

1. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.

The first attitude: They were confident that they were elected by God to be example to others.

Every one who receives Jesus as Lord must have the confidence in their hearts that they are chosen by God to be an example to others. It will be difficult for us to be examples to others if we ourselves do not have the confidence that we are elected by God. One good example is Peter. Peter was empowered by the Holy Spirit, he gained confidence in Jesus and in his calling. Until today, he is known as a great evangelist whose life was an example to the people he reached out to.

2. 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 in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

The second attitude: They persevered in prayer and always relied on the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 1:4 Jesus told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem but to remain there until the Holy Spirit came on them. Jesus knew that in order to be an example to others, His disciples needed the power of the Holy Spirit.

We also see how the early church persevered in prayer when Apostle Paul and John were arrested and brought before the court of law (Acts 4:23-31). The disciples' persistence in prayer bore great results to the growth of the early church.

3. 1 Thessalonians 1:6a And you became followers of us and of the Lord.

The third attitude: Obedience to the teachings of His apostles and prophets.

The fruit of Jesus' obedience to His Father was salvation for all the people on earth (Romans 5:19). Just as Jesus obeyed His Father and the disciples obeyed Jesus, we should obey God's authority in the church. God has placed the Senior Pastors, Pastors, Leaders, etc. to watch over us. Your obedience to their teachings will produce fruits of the Spirit. You will manifest Christ-like attitudes and others will be blessed by it.

Apostle Paul was so obedient to God's call to the extent that he could be an example to the people he preached to (Romans 15:14-21).

4. 1 Thessalonians 1:6b Having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.

The last attitude: Stand firm in affliction

Sometimes the Lord allows us to go through affliction so that the perfect moulding of the Lord can be seen in our lives (Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 4:12-19 & 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Pure gold is so beautiful and expensive, that people are willing to spend a lot of money on it so that they can buy a piece of shining gold jewelry. However, if we were to do some research, gold of such beauty are actually derived from stones which contain gold. The stones (which are filled with gold) have to be processed intensively before it can be worn as a piece of jewelry. This process includes explosion (to remove the stones and soil). Then the stones which have been separated from the soil are put into another container to be crushed into smaller gold stones. Then, the small gold nuggets are put inside a chemical which functions to separate the gold from other materials. The gold then has to go through a series of process before it can be formed into a piece of jewelry.

It is the same with us. Affliction is something we have to go through in order to be purified. Through affliction, persecution and testing, our old attitudes or mindsets are removed from our lives and the character of Christ becomes visible.

These are the four attitudes which were developed by the Thessalonian church whose example was known by others. These are the attitudes that we, as the church of God must develop today. Amen.

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