Life was designed to be lived in community.

09/01/13 Without Me You Can Do Nothing!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Friday, September 6, 2013 Under: Sermon

Don’t Be Confused Series: wk. 6

Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (NKJV)

11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Intro: This is a transitional section of Thessalonians, Paul prays here for the church of Thessalonica as well as for himself. Paul was fully committed to the understanding that he could do nothing apart from Christ who dwelt in him. Paul Knew!

Application: Our ability to persevere will require prayer for each other.

Paul knew without Christ he could do nothing, so he prayed for:

1. His Direction: vs. 11 “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.”

The greatest virtue in the world is love. This is the one possession that a person must have if they want to have an abundant life. Without love that person is nothing. Paul knew this; therefore, he went before God and prayed that the Thessalonian church and its believers might grow in love more and more, Paul prayed for direction. The model church will be a church that has a strong love.

God is a Father to us, intimately involved in our lives. He is not just in outer space ruling and reigning and being far removed from us. God our Father is right here with us; He is actively participating in our lives just as an earthly father participates in the lives of his children. Paul, as a child, approaches God our Father and asks Him for certain things; and when he asks, he knows that his Father will hear and answer. He knows because God is not only able to answer, but God is his Father. Paul asked the Father and the Lord Jesus to direct and guide his way to the Thessalonians. 

Paul knew without Christ he could do nothing, so he prayed for:

2. His Growth: vs. 12 "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you."

The word increase means abound, to multiply over and over. The word abound means to excel and overflow.

There is a great need to grow in love, to excel. The love being spoken about is not what the world means by love. The love that we must grow in is the love that makes us love everyone, not just one another. "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men."

How in the world can we love some of these people? How can we abound in love for them? How is it possible to love those who do evil to us and who treat us as enemies? Is it even practical to ask us to love all people? Is it even humanly possible? No! It is not possible for us to love those who hate us and who stand as enemies against us - not humanly possible. But there is a way. However, there is only one way.

The source of love is the Lord. There is no other source, not for the kind of love that can love all people. This is the reason Paul went before the Lord and requested such a love. Paul knew that it was impossible for him or the Thessalonians to work up the kind of love that could reach out and abound toward all. A love that could love those who ignore, neglect, abuse, and shamefully treat us could only come from God.

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”  Romans 12:9 (NLT)

We grow when we can learn to love: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He died so we could live, I mean really live!

Paul knew without Christ he could do nothing, so he prayed for:

3. His Heart:  vs. 13
“So that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

The word establish means: create, to form, it is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who establishes our hearts before God. No one else has the right or power to set us before God; no one else can make us acceptable to God. 

If we have Jesus’ heart we are blameless, free from fault and blame, to be free from all charges. This heart also makes us holy, set apart and separated to God.

He alone can free us from the faults and charges of sin; He alone can present us unblameable and holy before God. Just think about it: Who else has such power? Do you know such a person? The thinking and honest person has to answer no. And to be honest, if Christ does not have the righteousness and power to present us unblameable before God, then we are hopelessly doomed. Why? Because He is the only Person who has ever risen from the dead to never die again and to live eternally with God. If He is not our Savior, then we shall die and never arise, never live with God. Man's only hope is Christ - that He truthfully has the righteousness and power to set us unblameable and holy before God.

Love, and every other virtue, springs from the heart. It is not a matter of following rules, but of the inner life that makes Christianity alive. Paul’s prayer was that the believers’ hearts would be strengthened.

He realized that unless the heart is firmly established, there will be no growth and development. Changing methods or habits sometimes lasts for a short time, but lasting change begins with the heart. This change can come only from the Lord. The reason our hearts need to be strengthened is so that we will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father. How’s that working for you?

Love is more than an emotional stirring of the heart, although it often involves this. The kind of love that Christians are to express can be given to other persons, in spite of their treatment or abuse. This is a love that looks beyond self. It is a love which comes from the Spirit of God.

I serve a risen Savior; He’s in the world today; I know that He is living, whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, and just the time I need Him He’s always near.

In all the world around me I see His loving care, and tho my heart grows weary I never will despair; I know that He is leading thru all the stormy blast; the day of His appearing will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find, none other is so loving, so good and kind.

Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.  Alfred H. Ackley

Conclusion: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”  Philippians 3:10

Faithful obedience to Christ will always result in misunderstandings and persecutions from those outside the faith. Thus, encouragement becomes a source of strength in our relationships with one another and in our ability to persevere.

Paul identifies himself as a prisoner of the Lord: Have you, are you identified with Christ, are you abiding in Him? Do you love Him?

Paul was a master at expressing his strong love and deep concern for the people of the churches. He was not hesitant to tell them of his desire to be with them and to reveal how much he hoped they were doing well. He seemed to know how important it is to God to see strong love in the lives of his children. People in a church should be constantly encouraging and building one another up. Pain and temptations are regular components in a Christian’s life. Faith is a growing, daily commitment to believe God, no matter what happens to us. Only God can help us grow in his kind of holiness and love.

We should let others know that we care about their faith and growth. Prayer for one another’s character should come before concerns for the physical aspects of life. Our Christian relationships will be characterized by love and care for the good of others.

Prayer is not an empty exercise; it is the power of God brought to bear upon a dilemma. Paul recommended it in the same place he advised: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Paul also did all he could to defuse the worrisome situation: he sent Timothy. It was a practical and useful action that accomplished two goals. Timothy was able to provide the encouragement and instruction which the new believers needed, thereby reducing the risk of spiritual ruin. Timothy was also able to bring back news of how the Thessalonians were doing, thereby giving an accurate picture of their spiritual condition.

Some anxiety or worry is natural if the perils are real. But it should never stop there. Prayer is always called for, and then we should take the responsibility to act upon the situation in whatever way is necessary or possible.

It is imperative that we go to God on one another’s behalf so we will be blameless and holy before God. “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Ephesians 4:1

When you abide in Christ there is no confusion, you will have direction, growth and it will be evident that you have the heart of Christ.

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