Leadership in Context Episode 75 Show Notes
Be Imitators, pt5
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Let’s keep diving into Paul’s encouragement for us to be imitators.
1 Thessalonians 2:14
For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews.
In chapter 1, Paul complimented them for imitating individually. In this chapter, he compliments them as a church for imitating the other congregations they had seen.
One of the marks of an apostolic church is not only that it is proficient and able to multiply, but it is also a good model. In other words, even outside of their own activities and strategies, they are an example that people can emulate. We need apostolic congregations like that today.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
There was a great reverence for the Word of God. It wasn’t treated like an apostolic opinion or a prophetic promise.
Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.
There was a real understanding of the concept of the churches being knit together. There was vital apostolic ministry going on.
And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
The ministry of the New Testament churches was to plant churches and strengthen churches. Everything they did was connected to that. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Paul said, “they were imitators of the churches.” We should imitate what those churches did at that time.
Even when we are doing compassion-based ministries (building wells in another nation or a home for unwed mothers), we have to be able to connect the dots to the mission that God has given us--strengthening the church and pioneering the church. How do our acts of compassion or our mission outreaches tie in? They should be more than the activities of good-hearted believers.
Example: I’m involved in the pro-life ministry. I made sure I am not just compassionate and concerned about human life--which in and of itself is worth the effort--but that I also understand the critical way that is connected to the integrity of the Church message. I believe that if we can’t be right on that issue, then we really lose integrity to be right on other critical issues.
I personally believe that is why we don’t have much of a voice in the whole transgender, homosexuality issue. Our voice has been so silent on the issue before that--the life issue--that we’ve lost our integrity to speak on other issues. The life issue is that God is Creator, Redeemer, Savior.
When I am doing pro-life ministry, it is always from the standpoint of preaching the gospel, extending the Kingdom, strengthening the Church, and using that as a vehicle to understand that we need to plant more churches. It is a justice issue because it is a God issue. The enemy is going after lives that Jesus paid for. We have to frame that debate in this way.
When we are passing out food to people who need a meal, we have to frame the debate as to why we are doing that beyond just meeting a human need. There is a blessing in doing that, yes, but we have to tie it into the big picture of what God is doing.
In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul says that they suffered at the hands of their own countrymen. These were people who were resisting them because the message they were bringing was affecting the culture. Their message was impacting the culture. That message was causing people to think about what they were doing and how they were treating other people.
The true preaching of the gospel will generate a cultural backlash usually before it generates a cultural appreciation. Things will most likely get stirred up before they get cooked up.
Let’s be imitators of the churches like the Thessalonians were. Let’s look at the churches in the book of Acts and see what they did and how they did it. Let’s commit to imitating them. As we do that, we will see the fragments of revival begin to stir.
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!