People Are Important
Be right with God and right with people so as you present the message of salvation, your walk will be credible.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Oh, I trust everything is alright at your house and, most importantly, in your heart.
You know, if our heart is filled with the peace of God and we’re conscious of being, as the old timers used to say, prayed and confessed up to date, we can go through almost anything and do so victoriously. Paul the apostle said, “Thanks be unto God,” which always – not just sometimes, but always – causes us to triumph in Christ and make it manifest of the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place. You’re God’s perfume when you go through life with His presence within you and all around you. Well, God bless you today, dear friend, and keep you in His care.
I’m glad to be back with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. I want to walk with you through 1 Thessalonians for awhile. I don’t think I’ve been working in that book with you on the radio for a good long time. I love the Word of God, don’t you? Every Word of God is important and eternally meaningful.
So let’s start. Well, that we have Paul and Silvanus, and that’s our word “Silas.” Silas evidently was either a short form of Silvanus, a nickname like if a man’s name is Charles, we call him “Charlie” or “Chuck,” could be. Anyway, when he says “Silvanus,” he is talking about Silas and Timothy writing “unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.”
I will go that far and have just a comment or two here as we begin this book. People are important. You read the letters that Paul wrote to the churches and you will find him very often mentioning people as being important. Not only the folks who were with him and for him, but also even his critics. In Colossians, for example, he talked about Tychicus or Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother; Aristarchus, a fellow prisoner; Mark, sister son to Barnabas, the one concerning whom he has said “I won’t trust him to fail twice,” but later on of whom he said, “he is valuable to me for the ministry.” Mark was there. Justus and Ephapras, who is one of “you,” a Colossian Christian; and Luke, the beloved physician; and Demas and Archippus. “My people.” That was just a rundown of few of the people Paul mentioned in his one letter there to the folk at Colossae.
I bring the whole matter up because you don’t want to skip over the fact that in this inspired record, every Word of God is inspired of God. God breathed. You have Him mentioning people, Paul and Silas. Silas was the one that was chosen to go with Paul on that second missionary journey. He was with Paul in the prison there in Philippi, beaten within an inch of their lives, and then their feet made fast in the stocks so that there was not only the physical pain of their beating and their lacerated wounded bodies, but now there is no way of getting any kind of rest or comfort.
Silas was there, and it said “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to God: and the prisoners heard them.” Then came the earthquake and the opened doors and the conversion of the jailer and the turning around of that whole situation, so that the church that was born out of that experience at Philippi became the most one of the most vigorous and generous and outgoing churches in all of the New Testament days.
Paul and Silas and Timothy, this young man that Paul had taken under his wing and trained him, and to whom he wrote two of the New Testament books, 1 and 2 Timothy. There they were. This letter, we’re told, was written from Athens. And so Paul said, “I’ve got people with me who are important;” that’s the thing I’m pressing here. Paul said “I’ve got people with me who are important in the work of the Lord,” and what I say to you, I say within the framework of the folk who are with me working for the Lord.
So now I come down to applying it to my own life, and I have to ask: “What can I say to other folk that is within the framework of a godly and helpful relationship with people?” You begin to understand the importance of a right and helpful and service-oriented relationship with people, and the importance of that in any kind of effective witness for the Lord Jesus. We’ve all been hurt and heartbroken over the scandals that have arisen in the church in these past couple of years, but just to use that as an illustration that makes us wince and almost brings the tears once again, you and I know that the effectiveness of what those folk may say has been greatly diminished because the relationships they sustained were flawed. Do you understand me?
That is why it is so important for you and for me to be right with our God and right with people as we present the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, I just, I have to face that myself. When you’re at home, for example, you’re irritable and impatient, as we all are sometimes. And you say something that may be curt or sharp, and the effect of which on the other person is cutting and it hurts. Now then, how are you going to talk about the love and patience and mercy and goodness of God to that person?
You know, it’s just… That’s a big assignment – I know it is – but there is where we’re at, friends. We have to walk every minute of the day and night in dependence upon our Blessed Lord so that our relationship with people will undergird and make credible and effective the ministry that we have to other people. Alright?
Now both Silas and Timothy preached, as we read in 1 Corinthians, but for the most part they were “along with;” they were helpers. They helped in being there, they helped in getting there, they helped in proclaiming the message, but it was Paul and Silas and Timothy.
Now, what’s the point there? Well, I have to be willing to just “be along with,” as the Scandinavians say. Any of you Swedish and Norwegian and Danish people listening? It always brings a smile to non-Scandinavian people when they hear you say “I’m glad you can go with,” and you leave the rest of the sentence unsaid, because that’s enough isn’t it? Come on, “go with.”
Well, sometimes you minister best when you’re just “along with” God’s servants to help and to encourage and to be a blessing. The point being, you don’t always have to preach the sermon and you don’t always have to be chairman of the committee. You don’t always have to lead the crusade. Sometimes you’re the most blessing when you’re in the place of Silas or Timothy or some of the others. You want to think about that in relationship to your own situation? See, we tend to think of the concept of being important and significant as being out in front. No, the man or the woman who is out in front has to depend, has to, I say, depend upon the prayers and the faithfulness and the help and the encouragement of the folk were along with him.
That’s why I ask you to pray for me sometimes. I know – down deep in my soul, I know – that there is nothing that I can do of eternally lasting value that doesn’t come as an answer to your prayers. You keep on praying for Bob Cook, would you? Oh, it’s so important.
Paul and Silas and Timothy. Now, he says “I’m writing ‘unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.'” “Ye are in God,” he says to the people of Colossae, “You are dead, ‘and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.’”
What’s the point he is making? The significance of the church is that it is made up of people – redeemed people – who derived their very life from their relationship to God in Christ. Jesus said “I am the way. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” So he says “I’m writing to the folk at Thessalonica,” who comprise what we call a church, and that church is what it is because it derives its very life – these people derived their very life – from their relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Strangely enough, most of the problems in a local church come from human nature foul-ups and cross-ups. People disagree on points like “What color shall we paint the boiler room?” But most of the problems in the local church can be solved by getting down on one’s knees and praying until the touch of God is on the whole congregation. I’ve ministered in churches long enough… I was full-time 18 years in the pastorate – certainly have preached through a good many years now, to a good many churches – and I’ve found church problems always yield to spiritual revival.
Holy Father, have Your way with us today. May we be filled with the Spirit of God. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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