Monday, May 11

Follow, lead and ring out!

Scripture: 2 Samuel 21-23, 1 Thessalonians 1

1 Thessalonians 1:6–8 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. 7 As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. 8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God.

Observation

Three things about the Thessalonian Christians:

First, they imitated both Paul and the Lord.  How?  They received the gospel with joy in spite of severe suffering.  Jesus suffered to save us; Paul suffered to bring the saving gospel to the world.  And the Thessalonian Christians suffered because of the gospel.  Paul says, “You’re not the first ones or the only ones to suffer for the gospel; you are following in my footsteps and most importantly, following Jesus’ example.”  

Second, they became an example to all the believers.  By following Jesus’ example, they became an example to others.  Follow first, lead second.

Third, the word of the Lord was ringing out from them to people everywhere.  They were very open about their faith.  They spoke openly and lived openly so that others could see.  Consequently, the gospel rang out from them!  It sounded forth—like a trumpet call.  Follow first, lead second, ring out third!

Application

There is a nice order for becoming an influential Christian.  First, follow Jesus’ example.  Second, become an example yourself—lead by example.  Third, let the gospel ring out of your life and words.  

It all starts with following Jesus.  1 Peter 2:21 “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”

When you do that, you become an example to others.  You lead by example.

And then not only your words, but your life speaks.  The gospel rings out from you in word and deed.  If you try “ringing out” without living it first, you become “a sounding gong or a noisy cymbal.”  In other words, just an irritant!

If you’re going to talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.  

Follow, lead, and ring out!

Prayer: Lord, let that be true of me—and of every Christian everywhere, especially here in my church and my town!