As a Christian, we have a sense of hope about the future. We believe that Jesus will return one day. That’s what the gospel teaches us. Having hope in this gives us something to look forward to. Even when the world seems dark and dismal the believer has a hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We’ve been looking at Paul’s letters to the Church at Thessalonica. Paul writes these letters from Corinth. He was run out of Thessalonica, Berea, heads to Athens and to Corinth. He’s been accused of being in the ministry only for the money. But in these letters, he reassures the believers of his love and concern for them.
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
Paul is tired and frustrated by this point. He’d have to be, wouldn’t he? But, even the strongest in faith can get discouraged. What helps us keep going? We have community, at least we should. God created us to be in community. He provided a companion for Adam, why should we think he wants less for us? In community, we have other believers to help hold us up!
A perfect example in the Bible:
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hand up – one on one ide, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.Exodus 17:11-13
God wanted Moses to record this incident on a scroll so Joshua would hear about it. So, it must provide an important message, right? We need each other to be able to maneuver the pitfalls of life.
The church is a community distinguished by faith, hope, and love. We see the work of the Holy Spirit in the people of the church because the Spirit produces change in the lives of those it inhabits.
True faith produces work.
We should be able to look at a Christian and see the product of their faith. It may be observed in the influence they have in others by sharing their faith by encouragement, or teaching, leading by example.
We work for what we love.
The love of the Thessalonians produced labor. Work is not always pleasant nor is it always easy. There is a physical cost and an emotional cost to the labor of love. We do many things for those we love, because we love them, not because we necessarily want to do them. But, we can’t live on love, it requires an investment.
Hope produces patience.
We need endurance to survive the hard time and to triumph through them. What gives is this hope to endure? The promises we are given by the sacrifice of Jesus. The hope of spending eternity in heaven.
Faith, hope and love are evidences of Holy Spirit.
They work together to completely change our lives as we find ourselves being drawn up towards God in faith, out towards others in love and on towards the second coming in hope.
Each of these qualities is also productive in our communities. True faith leads to good works. Without works faith is dead, right? A true love for people leads to a labor of love for them. If not then it’s simply sentimentality. A true hope, which looks favorably toward the return of Jesus, leads to endurance. This may require patient diligence toward the opposition that we face.
Regardless of what the future holds, the Church will prevail, and you know how the story ends if you’ve read to the end of the Book! We may think that it depends on how the election turns out, but God is in control. It may be messy, because our world can be messy! We are sinners, all of us, but we can rest on our faith, our love, and our hope in Jesus Christ.
Where do you place your hope? What motivates you? Is your fear misplaced? Is your faith yours? Can you take off your mask?
I am so thankful for my church family! The more involved I’ve become, the more I’ve been blessed. The more I’ve poured into time spent with God in the Word and in prayer, the closer I’ve come in my relationship with Jesus and the more my faith has grown. Becoming immersed in the Ladies Bible Study, the closer I have grown to love and depend on those women for support. The more I’ve reached out to others, the more I’ve grown to love them and become willing to do even more. It’s an endless cycle that provides much in return!
This post is based on the sermon by Jon Porter at Milan Christian Church. What an awesome message! Thank you, Jon, for leading us in these troubled times. We appreciate you so much.