Family Bible Study lesson for July 31, 2005: Working for God : Friday, July 15, 2005
July 15 2005 by Chadwick Ivester

Family Bible Study lesson for July 31, 2005: Working for God : Friday, July 15, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for July 31, 2005: Working for God

By Chadwick Ivester
Focal passage: 2 Thessalonians 3:3-15

If evangelistic programs saved souls, Southern Baptists would have won the world to Christ many years ago. But programs, of course, don't save souls.

The apostles didn't use a program to grow the church. They used and promoted a potent technique that can be described as lifestyle evangelism.

Although organized programs can be beneficial, they can never replace lifestyle evangelism. The reason is because that type of evangelism permeates every area of a Christian's life from the dinner table to the workplace. It applies to the housewife and to the shut-in. Though many persons copyright their programs, the Holy Ghost is the author and equipper of lifestyle evangelism.

When Rolfe Barnard was preaching in Chattanooga, a bank manager came to hear him preach. Though the bank manager had gone to church all his life, he had no living relationship with Jesus Christ. But his heart was opened under Barnard's preaching, and he went through agonies of conviction until the Lord gave him peace.

He then asked Barnard whether he should tell the people in the bank the next day that he had become a Christian. "No," said Barnard, "Don't tell anyone."

A few days later, after the evening service, the bank manager came up to Barnard and gave him a hug.

"Let me tell you what happened today," the bank manager said. "My private secretary has been with me for over thirty years. As I was dictating to her, her eyes brimmed with tears. She got to where she couldn't see what she was writing. She said, 'I just can't do the work today,' I said, 'Is there anything troubling you?'

"She said, 'Yes. Could I ask you a question? What's happened to you?'"

His life was new. Salvation had made the bank manager a citizen of heaven, and the salvation showed in his life.

Continue doing good

2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to trust the Lord to empower them to live holy lives that reflected God's love and Christ's endurance. Lifestyle evangelism is anchored by faith in the faithful one who will never let you down. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep and protects them from the devil (John 10:11-12, 28).

Consider others

2 Thessalonians 3:6-9

Lifestyle evangelism requires consistent and transparent holy living. The age-old excuse for many wrongdoers is they got involved with the "wrong crowd." The Bible teaches that the people we associate with are really a reflection of ourselves. Paul commanded his audience to imitate him and his associates.

Paul was the pioneer for the gospel in a pagan culture where people had never heard the good news. Paul didn't have an established church to fund him in Thessalonica. Paul visited the town, with Silas and Timothy, on his second missionary journey, and he had to work to put food on his table. He was a bi-vocational minister (a tent-maker). He had no support from the Cooperative Program, and yet, he did not freeload from any of the Thessalonians.

Behave responsibly

2 Thessalonians 3:10-13

Right belief cannot be separated from right behavior. The Lord doesn't call lazy people to do His work. Joni Eareckson Tada's life is a great example of how every Christian should live. Whether physically disabled or financially depleted, every Christian can be active through lifestyle evangelism.

Laziness is a sin. The church should not consist of lazy people or help them. Doing good should never tire us because it is the essence of the Christian life.

Relate redemptively

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

Paul bluntly got to the point concerning those who were a hindrance to the church. The best way to deal with cancer is to remove it. If left alone, it will destroy the body. Likewise, troublemakers in the church should be removed for the church's sake and their own sake to bring repentance unto them.

Church discipline always should be done not for permanent reproach but for eventual repentance of the guilty party.

7/15/2005 12:00:00 AM by Chadwick Ivester | with 0 comments

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