Be Imitators, pt4
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Six times in Scripture, Paul encourages us to be imitators. Let’s keep digging into those encouragements.
1 Thessalonians 1:6
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Paul is commending the Thessalonian believers for being imitators after watching him be persecuted. The point of conviction was the Word, not their preferences or experiences. It was the Word of God that was buried deep within their hearts. They chose to suffer, but to suffer with joy.
As I have read stories in Scripture, studied the life of martyrs, had relationships with people who stood for Truth and weren’t reacted to in a pleasant manner--I see that all those people have something in common: They suffered on the inside before they suffered on the outside. In their walk with the Lord, they were in a place where the Word could speak to their heart. God would speak to them and would not allow them to compare themselves to the average Christian. He would stir their spirit and get them to embrace the calling on their life.
This is what Paul is commending the Thessalonian church for--they were an example. They had imitated what they had seen.
A model is better than a message sometimes. Yes, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word, but sometimes we need that example. Jesus was the Word, and that Word was clothed in flesh. He was the expression of God. God did not just send a message; He sent the message in a model. I believe that is what the Church is to be, believers are to be.
And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the marketplace, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.
There was a stirring that we see here. People pray for revival. People pray for a move of God. Historically, revival was very messy. Disruption is one of God’s techniques to get people’s attention.
There is a philosophy in the Church today that we should go along to get along rather than being the people that stand out in the culture and speak God’s Truth in love and clarity, regardless of what might happen.
Notice the passage refers to “leading women.” In Acts 16, we met Lydia who was a seller of purple. It was her house that they went to when they were persecuted. She had economic clout in the city. In Acts 17, we see a great cloud of women. There was an apostolic team around Jesus that included women. It seems like the pattern in the New Testament is that there was a group of courageous women that would rise up. Maybe part of it was the fact that the message of Christ liberates women. Jesus liberates women because we are all created equal. The nations that respect women, where women flourish and are treated with dignity, are the nations where the gospel is preached.
The passage also points out that the Jews were becoming jealous. Never be surprised at the role jealousy plays in people. Truth is not assumed motivation. In pro-life circles, in the early days when technology was not available, we thought that if people would just see the beating heart, abortion would be abandoned. That was naive. They really didn’t want the truth; they wanted their own way.
Are we really Truth seekers? Paul was commending the Thessalonians for choosing Truth over comfort.
The Thessalonians imitated because they received the Word of God. They honored the Word of God. Let’s put the Word in our heart and allow it to do its work so we can walk it out and allow it to be the example. Let’s imitate the true soldiers of the faith.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!