Sermon Overview + Prayer: "A Pastor's Heart"
PRAYING THE PASSAGE: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The bold points below are quotes from CJ's sermon "A Pastor's Heart"
John Piper - I owe my life to the gospel of Jesus and no one has taken me deeper into the mysteries of the gospel than Paul…I love him for the Christ he shows me.
Father, thank you for the Apostle Paul, who compassionately, courageously, uncompromisingly points me to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remind me of others who have also profoundly touched my life, that I might pray for them, and emulate their example.
Gordon Fee - Paul was a follower of the crucified One and was not about to let mistreatment in one place keep him from telling people about Christ in another.
Please fortify my faith and courage to share the gospel, that I might resist the fear of reaction or rejection, whether real or imagined.
Beginning in verse 3 Paul refutes the slanderous charges that are circulating and reminds them of their experience when he was with them. This was no doubt an awkward task for Paul and not his personal preference, but it was necessary in order to protect the church and safeguard the gospel.
“...we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves because you had become very dear to us.”
Lord, please sustain and strengthen our pastors. Satisfy their passion to walk in integrity, to preach biblically and courageously, and to shepherd compassionately and wisely. Help them to emulate the Great Shepherd of the sheep in their lives and leadership.
He exhorted them and encouraged them and charged them to happily submit to God’s rule in every area of their lives for God’s glory.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)
And Paul’s awareness of this entrustment of the gospel and his heart for the gospel is the compelling example and model your pastors are given to follow in the service of our church...
You have our pledge that the entrustment of this message and the proclamation of this message is what defines and informs all we do as your pastors in serving you.
Father, help our pastors to always preach, teach, counsel, care, equip, and share their affection in a way that points us to the hill called Calvary. And help us to live every facet of our lives before others, in a way that does the same.
John Piper - My aim has been to help you along the way in getting to know the apostle Paul and what he taught and how he lived. Behind this aim is the hope and prayer that this man’s God-entranced soul and his unparalleled vision of Jesus Christ and the authenticity of his life would move you to admire him and believe his message and embrace his Lord…
Lord, as I consider Paul’s life, and embrace with conviction his message, what one step of faith, obedience, repentance, or application can I take to gratefully steward the gifts of your Holy Word, and Paul’s compelling example?
OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON: [by Seth Mick]
In this passage Paul responds to slander and opposition, providing insight into his God-centered heart. Paul points out the suffering he and his fellow missionaries received at both Philippi and Thessalonica for the sake of the gospel to authenticate their motivation as ones entrusted by God with the proclamation of the gospel and who speak, not to please man, but to please God. He reminds the Thessalonians that it was with the tenderness and self-sacrifice of a mother, and personal instruction and exhortation of a father, that they cared for these new converts. They labored night and day to support themselves so they would not be a burden to the church. Paul had a heart to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to love those gathered by the gospel that they might be saved and then walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls them into his own kingdom and glory.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: [by Seth Mick]
- Knox Chamblin reflected, “Who of us would not be nervous at the prospect of sitting down to a meal with [Paul]”? After considering these verses further, what question would you humbly ask Paul at that dinner table?
- Paul was devoted to preaching the gospel to the lost and caring for the Church. How has the Spirit used these insights into Paul’s character to motivate you towards a particular response or action?
- How has God used the gospel-centered focus of our pastors’ preaching, exhortation, counsel, and encouragement to change you since joining this church?