Did you know that the Apostle Paul gave out Gold Stars too?
If you read the 1st chapter of I Thessalonians, you will notice that Paul is handing out the proverbial Gold Star to this church for several reasons. In my sermon this past Sunday, I highlighted those reasons and challenged the congregation to be the type of church that if Paul were to come by and visit, he would be forced into handing out the glitter
-Below is a summary of the sermon I preached this past Sunday @ Northminster:
5 Elements of a Great Church (I Thessalonians 1:6-10)
1. They imitated the right people (Paul & the Lord)
-I Peter 2:21 teaches us that Christ set the example for us and that we are to follow in His footsteps. Paul's life pointed past himself to the Lord (I Cor. 11:1). In my own life, I like to tell people that my goal as a believer is to follow the Leader.
2. They served as examples to others
-The reason people could look up to this church is because they spent their time admiring the right people. Look, everyone of us is a follower in life, the key is to mirror the people that love the Lord and challenge us to be better people.
3. They are evangelistic in their efforts
-In verse 5 we see that this church went from "receivers of the word" TO "proclaimers of it." This means that this church felt the need to reproduce. It was not enough for them to sit back and soak up all of Paul's teachings, they went out and found ways to share the gospel with others.
4. They are a serving church
-I love how in verse 6, Paul commends them by stating that they were "converted from idols ...to serve the living God" This little device is to teach us that when God saves you, He not only saves you from something (sin, hell, etc.) but He also saves you to do something. A great church will get savvy and find ways to impact their culture by serving.
5. They are an expecting church
-In verse 10, Paul commends this church because they are an expecting church. They eagerly await Christ's return and because of this perspective, it changed the way they lived on earth in the meantime. The immanent return of Christ will change the way you live right here, right now... it did then and it does now.