Sermon Overview & Prayer: "The Surprising Power of the Ordinary"
I Thess. 4.9-12 – SERMON PRAYER POINTS
These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (I Thess. 4:9-12)
For the Christian, there is no insignificant day—no mundane task. The gospel transforms the ordinary details of our lives into opportunities to please God and love others.
PRAYER: Father, thank you that every moment of our lives finds significance and fulfillment in Christ and his kingdom. Thank you that one “ordinary” part of our week is our Sunday gatherings. Enable SGCL to grasp the glory experienced in this routine. Help us to continue to lean into the preaching of your Word so that the gospel can further transform our hearts, as well as our work for God and our love for others.
“Paul does not regard love for one another as an achievement that has been attained once for all time but as a fountain which should continually be overflowing.” Angus McLeay
PRAYER: Father, thank you for making our church “God-taught” in love. We only know how to love because of you. I pray that we would continue to increase and abound in love just as Christ did for his people. Help me to apply this text in specific ways this week, looking for opportunities to express love.
The call to “mind our own affairs” is not a call to isolation/ignorance about our culture and it's needs, rather, it’s a call to faithfulness—especially a faithful stewardship over our lives.
PRAYER: Thank you, Lord that grace teaches us how to live faithful lives today (Titus 2:11-12). Help me, along with my fellow church members, to be faithful and responsible with what you have given us and not busy ourselves with things out of our control or responsibility.
We, too no longer invest this world and it's preoccupations and it's pleasures with ultimate meaning or significance. Our hearts long and wait for Christ to return.
PRAYER: Father, we know that all of our labors on earth have an end date. Teach us while we faithfully work to look forward to, and long for, the day our Savior returns. Help us in our responsibilities to not treasure this present world, but rather to keep our eyes focused on the final day when we will finally be with you.
Daily labors—which to many are distasteful—are transformed by the gospel into opportunities to please Him and to love others. Every moment is an opportunity to love and strengthen Christ’s church.
PRAYER: Lord, as we work this week, we ask that you would fill our minds with the eternal significance we receive when we work for you, for the purposes of your Kingdom, and those purchased with your blood. Amen.
OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
“The gospel transforms the ordinary details of our lives into extraordinary opportunities to serve God and to love others.” Jeff considered three aspects of transforming ordinary situations into God-glorifying opportunities. God, himself, taught the Thessalonians the priority of love as Christians should serve one another with brotherly love. Then, Paul defines the demonstration of love as: cultivating tranquility, concentrating on our responsibilities, and displaying diligence in our labors. This demonstration of love is directly tied to the first command of scripture and is still the call of the Church today. Finally, Paul addresses the effects of love as believers care for one another and work diligently.
- Looking over the passage again, what surprises you about how ordinary some of the exhortations feel? What does this say about God’s care for our daily lives?
- Of the exhortations Paul made, “live quietly, mind your own affairs, and work with your hands…,” which of these were convicting to you? Why?
- Jeff discusses the definition of brotherly love. How have you seen that exemplified in your own small group? In our church?
- Take some time to encourage each other with examples of diligence that you have seen in your own family and/or group.
- How can our ordinary life and our daily habits affect our evangelism opportunities?
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