The Gospel and Our Motives

Series: How to Live in the Last Days

Sermon by Gabe Fluhrer on Jan 11, 2016

1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

Download Audio

As you’re being seated, please turn with me in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. You’ll find it on page 986 if you’re using a pew Bible; page 986. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verses 1 through 16 is what we will be studying this evening. Before we listen to God’s Word together let us pray and ask His blessing on it.

Father, we long for the words that we just sang to be the prayers of our hearts every day, that Christ and Christ alone would be the solid Rock on which we stand because we know from personal and painful experience that all other ground indeed is sinking sand. Would You examine us by Your Word tonight, would You encourage us, and would You point us to the One who is that solid ground, even Jesus? We pray through His name and His name alone. Amen.

1 Thessalonians chapter 2 beginning at verse 1. This is God’s Word:

“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed -God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, 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.

 

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

 

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved - so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

The grass withers, the flowers fall, but the Word of the living God shall stand forever and ever.

Have you ever been used by somebody? You know the drill. Somebody pretends to be your friend and you come to find out that all along they weren’t really interested in you at all but he or she was just interested in what that person could get from you. And when we find out that we’ve been used, disgust rises up in us, doesn’t it? And when we feel that disgust it reminds us once again the high premium we place on motives. That’s what’s going on when somebody uses you; they’re veiling their motives. And so when we find out again, we’re disgusted, and we ask, “Why did they do this?” The Bible has a lot to say about our motives and chief among them, maybe the center thing it tells us about our motives is simply this. We do what we do because we love what we love. We do what we do because we love what we love. What we love motivates us and as we learn to live in the last days, it’s the title of our series, in the last days as we talked about last time is that time between the two comings of Jesus; His first and His second coming. For the past two thousand years then, in other words, we’ve been living in these last days. As we learn to live in that time, the Gospel needs to challenge, shape, and inform our motives. That’s what the passage is about here tonight. We could sum it up in one phrase. Motives transformed by the Gospel result in a cross-shaped life to the glory of God and the blessings of others. Motives transformed by the Gospel result in a cross-shaped life to the glory of God and the blessings of others.

  1. The Mother Motive.

I want to look at this text with you tonight under three headings. In verses 1 through 8 is the mother motive; 1 through 8 is the mother motive. In 9 through 12 the father motive, and then in verses 13 to 16 the results of Gospel motivation. So 1 through 8 the mother motive, 9 through 12 the father motive, and 13 through 16 the results of Gospel motivation. Look with me there again at verse 1. Here’s what Paul writes. “For you yourselves know brothers that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the Gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” Paul’s reminding them, remember, one of the purposes of this epistle is to defend his apostolic ministry, and he begins this second chapter by reminding the Thessalonians, “You knew what we were like, how we came to you in boldness and proclaimed the Gospel.” He had suffered persecution for his faith. And then the question naturally becomes to us, “How is he so bold in the midst of persecution, in the midst of stark opposition to his message?” And the answer comes from the fact that, if you’ve noticed when I was reading it all the way through for the first time, the Apostle Paul uses the word “God” nine times in these sixteen verses. Roughly once every other verse he’s mentioning God, and he’s telling us by doing that, that being God-centered, living for Him and for Him alone, and that was the nexus, that was the nuclear base of Paul’s entire life and ministry, was God-centeredness. And when that happens, no matter what the opposition is, boldness results. That’s why he could do this! That’s why he could be shamefully treated at Philippi, kicked out from town to town, lose his place and standing and still be bold for the Gospel.

Selfish Motives Versus God-centered Motives.

And then he launches in verses 3 through 6 with reasoning. He tells us why he’s bold. Notice that marker there in verse 3. For, result, therefore - “our appeal does not spring from error, impurity, or any attempt to deceive, not to please man but to please God.” Verse 5, “We never came with words of flattery nor the pretext for greed. Nor did we seek glory from people,” verse 6. Paul begins this contrast between selfish motives and God-centered motives. He lists a number of these selfish motives here - error, impurity, any attempt to deceive, flattery, greed, seeking fame. Now the low hanging fruit, the immediate application of this kind of teaching is pretty clear to see. Our minds immediately turn to televangelists. We think of people that we see when we flip through the channels or we read about on the news who are constantly building multi-million dollar mansions while fleecing the flock and taking advantage of the poor. And it’s easy to point the finger at them and go, “That’s wrong.” It is wrong. It’s terrible. The so-called “prosperity gospel” is no gospel at all.

But let this text land with you. Go deeper with it. When you read this list of motivations can you not find a perfect description of why you did so much of what you did this past week? I know I can! Isn’t so much of what we do motivated not by God-centeredness but by the seeking to please people, seeking the praise or flattery of others? Greed! We do things out of a pretext for error. So often, our lives read like this list of motivations. Think about it this way! Why do we ever exaggerate? Why do you add that little bit on that you know is not true when you’re in a conversation? Because you don’t want to look bad. Why do we not want to look bad? Because we care way too much what people think about us! Why do we hoard money instead of generously giving it away so often? Because we’re afraid that God is a liar to us about providing for all our needs, if we’re honest. Putting it in stark terms, but that’s what we do. Paul reminds them on the contrary though that though he had the right to demand a living from them he makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 9 he says, “Those who preach the Gospel ought to earn their living by preaching the Gospel.”

Paul Sought to Please God.

But then he tells us that he didn’t do this. He says, “We could have made demands on you,” verse 6, “but we didn’t do that.” Why? Because he says so clearly right there in verse 5, “Nor do we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others that we could have, but we were gentle among you like a nursing mother caring for her own children.” He’s saying, “We were a certain way toward you Thessalonians. We could have asked for this but we were the direct opposite of that. We didn’t do that. We were gentle among you like a nursing mother.” One of the most amazing pictures, isn’t it? The Apostle Paul suffering, and why? So that he would be gentle among them and show them what the Gospel is like, literally how he lived it out in front of them like a tender mother caring for her children. And the ultimate reason that he did this is right there in verse 5. “We never came with words of flattery nor the pretext for greed.” I’m sorry, verse 4, “To be entrusted with the Gospel, so we seek not to please men but to please God who tests our hearts.” That’s his main motivation for what he does. He is seeking to please God. That’s why he’s gentle. That’s why, though, he could have demanded a salary. He could have said, “We deserve this.” He never did that.

He’s going to tell us more about that in a second, but don’t miss this. What Paul says here may give us the very center of Christianity. How can we say that? Every other religion, philosophy, and worldview focuses almost exclusively on our outward actions and our works. You do certain things and God accepts you; we’ve talked about that before. You see, only the Gospel begins with our heart motives. That’s what Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount, isn’t it? He starts it by saying, “You’re focused exclusively on whether or not you’ve simply taken someone’s life. You’ve never looked at your own heart and seen that when you hate somebody that’s the real motivation that ends up in murder.” It’s always been about our hearts. From the time Israel was in the wilderness, what does God say to them through Moses? “Circumcise your hearts.” The Gospel always and only looks at our motives because the Gospel and the Gospel alone is not simply about behavior modification. It’s not about just making us nicer neighbors and nicer spouses and better kids. It’s first and foremost about our hearts. What motivates us? Why do we do what we do?

And if you’re saved by what you do, if that’s what you subscribe to, if that’s how you live your life, you will inevitably, without fail, live a performance-based lifestyle. Your moods will swing. If you’re doing well, you’ll feel good about yourself. If people compliment you a lot you’ll feel like you’re making a difference in the world. If that doesn’t happen, you’re crushed. Why? Because if you’re only focused on the outward and not what’s going on inside, you’re simply doing behavior modification and Paul says, “Get away from the outward circumstances! That’s not what motivates us to do what we do.” He says, “Rather, it’s the inward transformation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that makes all the difference.” And you see, when we live this way, ironically, it’s only as we seek to please God, as Paul tells us there in verse 4, it’s only as we seek to do that ironically that we’ll actually ever be any good to other people. And most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, are people pleasers, are we not? We live for the approval of others. That’s what makes our day - if that person we’re trying to get to notice us actually notices us. And the Gospel turns that on its head. It says to us, “We no longer live for a performance-based lifestyle. We live only seeking to please God.” And we can seek to please God precisely because of what He has done for us in Christ. More on that later.

The Community of Love that Surrounds the Gospel.

Now coming back to this mother motive, before we move to our next point, very quickly, what does that look like in the community Paul is writing to? He says, “We were gentle among you like a nursing mother.” You know it! He’s encouraged by their faith; we saw that last time. And the point he wants to make here, he says, “We’re so affectionately desirous for you. We long to share not just the Gospel with you but our very lives.” Paul was desirous to keep pouring himself out for these believers. In fact, he never writes like this anywhere else where he says, “You’ve become very dear to us.” Here’s a man who loved his flock, as it were, and they loved him, and there’s this community of love that’s being built around the Gospel.

And that makes us ask another question. Are we a place like that? Can we say that this is a place where pastors are those who care for all the people who come here like nursing mothers for children? Is this the kind of community that we’re building around the Gospel here where we’re affectionately desirous for one another and we can say that we’re very dear to one another? Now let’s not go easy on ourselves. Remember, everybody thinks their church is friendly. In fact, I’ve never once, preaching all over the place, ever been to a place where I’ve said, just sitting over lunch, asking somebody a question, “What do you think about your church?” “Well, we’re terribly unfriendly! Don’t ever come back!” Never heard that. Everybody thinks their church is friendly, and then you start talking to other people and you say, “That church was so cold.” Let’s go deeper and ask ourselves, “Are we a place that’s looking like what Paul is talking about here?” How do we gauge that? Do we listen to each other in humility? Do we have a willing spirit to listen to others around us here in this body of believers? Is there a humility that dominates our lives together? That’s a really good test. When you love somebody you’re anxious to listen to that person. You’re anxious to hear that person’s opinion. Is that how we are with one another? That’s what this text would ask of us.

  1. The Father Motive.

Well in the second place, Paul gives us the father motive. Look at verse 9. “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.” Paul says his love is sacrificial for them, in a word. That’s what he is telling them. Again, he had the right to do this, but the other false teachers coming to Thessalonica were charging for their services. It was a common practice among the teachers of the day and Paul says, “I am going to go the distance to put no stumbling block in front of you.” So he works night and day, probably as a tent maker or some kind of artisan where he would have had a lot of opportunities to share the Gospel. But what he’s saying to them is - look at the example that he left them. Love, flowing from the Gospel, shows itself in self-sacrifice, not self-interest. He says, “When you’re motivated to please God more than people, self-sacrificial love flows out of that. You’re anxious for the Gospel and the God of the Gospel to get the glory rather than yourself.” We are to grasp how fully and deeply loved we are by Jesus and then show that kind of love towards others.

And that’s what he says happens. He says, “Look at the lifestyle we led. You were witnesses.” And notice he calls God to witness for the second time; the first time was in verse 5. He’s taking this seriously. He’s calling God to witness. “And God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.” You see, he says, “I want you to look at my lifestyle.” Why did he live like this? Was it a result of Paul’s own strength? No! It was a result of the grace, as he’s going to tell us about, that God called him to. It’s by grace and by grace alone Paul lived this holy and blameless and righteous life, because he was already accepted that way in Christ.

Paul’s Motivation for Encouraging Believers to Live Holy Lives.

But what motivated him, as he tells us there in verse 11, was the fact that he was like a father with his children. He exhorted and encouraged them. I can speak from my own experience. There was absolutely nothing more that pleased me growing up than when I knew that my dad would give me that, “Atta boy!” after doing something. That fatherly encouragement meant so much! And thankfully I had a father who did encourage me and my brothers well; he was a great encourager. And that’s what Paul is saying. “I want to be a good father to you. This kind of love that’s self-sacrificial, that exhorts with wisdom and encourages.” Why? Why is Paul like this? We exhorted each of you and encouraged you and charged you, verse 12, “to walk in a manner worthy of God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” Why does he want them to live like this? Why does he want them to have holy lives? Because he says the kingdom is at stake.

Notice again what he’s done here! “My life is holy and righteous among you,” he says. But notice who made that happen. God’s the one who calls us into the kingdom. We don’t obey and lead holy and righteous lives and therefore we’re in the kingdom. It’s precisely, simply, an evidence that we are in that kingdom. It’s the evidence of that call upon our lives and Paul says that evidence must be there because eternity is at stake. That’s why he encouraged and exhorted them like a father and like a nursing mother, gently but with strong encouragement saying, “Walk this way. Follow my example as I follow Christ.” Why? Because the kingdom is at stake. At the beginning of this new year we need to ask ourselves, “How are we doing making progress in following Jesus? Do our lives show more evidence of holiness? Do we see more desire to obey Jesus?” That’s a four letter word too often today; it’s not in the Bible. We never confuse the two. We never think that we’re saved by obedience; we’re saved to obey. That’s what Paul’s point is. God calls and our response is one of grateful obedience to Him. And Paul says, “If there’s none of this holy living in your life it’s because you haven’t heard the call. You’re not His.” And so the test for all of us here tonight, very simply, is this:  Do we desire to follow Him? Is that call evident in how we live? Or put another way, if somebody pulled a co-worker of yours aside or a fellow student at school, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?

The Result of Gospel Motivation is Thankfulness.

The final thing Paul says here is the result of Gospel motivation in verses 13 to 16. Verse 13, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” What is the result of Gospel motivation? How does it show itself according to Paul? First and foremost, thankfulness. Remember, he picks this up from chapter 1 and verse 2. “We give thanks to God always.” And then he has all these other things he’s talking about. He winds his way back around to thanksgiving here and says, “When we see true motives happening that are shaped and informed by the Gospel, it’s going to show up in thankfulness.” You see, selfish people are not very thankful because if you’re constantly focused on yourself and pleasing yourself you’ve only got yourself to thank. When you’re focused on serving others and receiving from others you’ve got someone to thank. Self-dependence, self-reliance, never leads to thankfulness, and God will put us in a position of dependence upon Him, one reason for which is to cause us to be more thankful.

Here’s a test, another one:  How’s it going with your prayer life? Are you thankful in your prayers? If you’re anything like me, you skip far too often to the, “Please help me, God; I’m desperate,” situation. That’s not a bad place to be. We need to call out to God. He tells us to call out to Him. He’s the one who answers prayer. But it’s amazing in my own life when I spend time actually thanking God how things change, how much I find to thank Him for. That’s what Paul is doing here. He’s overjoyed with thankfulness and overflowing. For what reason? And he tells us so plainly. “You received the word of God that you heard from us and accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.” Now it’s popular today, even unfortunately in evangelical circles, to take a low view of the Bible, to say, “Really, actually what’s happening here, is Paul is just a product of his culture. That’s why he wrote mean things about male leadership in church. That’s why he wrote mean things about the roles of husband and wife. That’s why we can’t trust him at all to tell us about how the human sexes are supposed to function. All of that is because of his cultural captivity because it’s not really written by God; it’s Paul writing, or Moses, or take your pick.” But the problem with that is, the Bible, on every page, attests to its inspiration, its God-breathed nature, and therefore its perfection or inerrancy. That’s what we mean by inerrancy! We mean the Bible is without error and by that we mean it’s true. Or to put it simply, what the Bible says, God says! That’s how Paul thinks about his words.

The Gospel of God.

And did you notice that little phrase he repeated twice? “The Gospel of God.” It’s His Gospel, it’s His Word, and Paul has no problem here saying, “And my words are the words of God.” Now if he is not saying that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he is a madman and we should stop listening to him! But he’s not a madman and we should listen to him precisely because this and this alone is the Word of God. You see, when we understand that, it changes our lives, doesn’t it? It changes our lives to know that this is not simply the product of men. There’s all kinds of arguments. Huge books have been written about them, still debated today. The bottom line comes down to this:  Will you or will you not bow the knee of your mind and listen to Paul when you really will in fact be listening to God? That’s what he asks us this evening. That’s what he says he’s rejoicing over for these Thessalonians.

And that resulted in something as well. Look at verse 14. “For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved - so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!” What is he saying? “You received the Word of God, it changed your life, you were faithful in wretched circumstances. That’s how I know you received it not as the word of men.” If I come to you and say, “Be faithful. Try really hard and make it last,” and you just have my authority on it you’re not going to make it. If you believe it’s God speaking to you in the Gospel, you will persevere, and Paul says, “That’s what’s being evidenced in your lives, Thessalonians.”

And just quickly, let me make a note here. Because of the climate in which we live, Paul is not anti-Semitic; he’s not anti-Jewish. He’s speaking in reference here to the Jewish leaders who crucified Christ and he’s giving them as an example of the hardening that began with that generation that crucified the Lord Jesus and that, he says, is a picture of what will happen to everyone who hardens themselves against the Gospel. Notice this section and the one that we studied last week both end with a mention of God’s wrath. And he was reminding us by doing that if we constantly refuse to listen to Jesus, if you reject Him, the only thing that remains for you is wrath, hardening, turning away, no hope. He doesn’t want that for you! I don’t want that for you. But the main point here is this. The Gospel challenged and changed the motives of these Thessalonians.

How Jesus Changes our Motives.

And so as we think about what this looks like in our week coming up, let me give you two things in closing. How does Jesus change our motives? How does that happen? Don’t you want to change? Doesn’t everybody in here want to change? And if you’ve ever tried to change something about your personality, your character, whatever it is, you know how very difficult it is. And isn’t this the time of year where we feel that acutely? This is the time of year when we’re all about change; that’s why we have New Year’s resolutions! Do you want to change? Paul says, “Unless Jesus informs your motives, you’ll never change. You’ll continue to do what you do and get what you’ve got.” How does He challenge and shape and inform our motives? Paul tells us here by His suffering example. Because of what He did on the cross, because of that suffering that He underwent, that pattern will match, will be matched to our own lives, rather. All of us in here have that measure of suffering to undergo as we walk with Jesus, day in and day out we can expect trials and hardships. And Paul says that’s one of the ways our motives will be changed.

Think about it. What’s threatening to undo you tonight? As you sit here, as you pick up the hymnbook, as you listen to the call to worship, as you listen to the preaching of the Word, and inside you’re falling apart. What is doing that? Maybe it’s financial stress? Maybe it’s huge troubles at work? Maybe it’s difficult relationships? Whatever it is, there’s motives there, a lot of them; there are a lot of motives. And the main motive that will begin to drive you in all of these situations is fear. Fear of whatever it is - losing something, losing money, losing health, losing position, whatever it is. And what Jesus says is, “I’m going to send trials, they’re from My hands, to wean you from these false gods so that you might be motivated to please Me above all things, precisely because I’m going to suffer with you.” And that’s why suffering won’t crush the Christian. It will crush us if we don’t have Christ.

I was talking to somebody the other day who’s losing a loved one very rapidly to cancer. And this spouse is verbalizing how incredibly difficult this has been, to watch a husband of five slowly die. But then she said, “I’m not crushed. I’m not crushed.” Why? Why? How does that happen? It only happens if Christ, in His suffering exampled to us, in the One who suffered in our place the penalty for our sins, when that grabs hold of you and you realize that everything you’re undergoing, He walked before you and walked in your place and now walks beside you and even carries you, when that grabs a hold of your heart you won’t be crushed by suffering. It will hurt, you will be disappointed, it will be difficult, it’s going to be messy, but you won’t be crushed because you’re simply following the pattern of the One who suffered perfectly in your place.

Christians Must Learn to Suffer Together.

And that suffering will only really take a hold as we do it together. That’s what Paul is talking about in Thessalonians here. He’s saying, “You’ve suffered this together. You’ve followed the pattern of Jesus who suffered at the hands of the wicked Jewish leaders of His day.” Is this the kind of place where, as we grow through trials together, is this the kind of place where we feel safe to fall apart to each other? What keeps so many of us back from feeling like we’re really experiencing the Gospel is because so often in our churches we don’t feel like it’s a safe place for us to fall apart, even though inwardly we are. And we all look around at each other and everybody’s got a smile on their face and it just reminds of a title of a book I read once, Everybody’s Normal Until You Get To Know Them. All of us seem like everything’s together until you get to know us. Can we suffer well together as we suffer in union with Christ?
 

The last thing is this - how do we do this? How does Jesus change our motives? Isn’t it so sweet what he tells us about the Word here, the Gospel? It’s God’s Word, not man’s. You can come and safely place yourself under the authority of the Bible tonight if you haven’t done that. You see, every other authority - that’s why we’re suspicious of it in these days. People are suspicious of authority claims. Why? Because many people have suffered at the hands of abusive authorities. But only the Gospel gives you a King who dies for you. Not just lorded over you; He has the right to do that. He’s the owner of everything! He’s the sovereign of the universe! That’s who came down in the manger of Bethlehem - the One who made everything! He can tell you what to do but He comes with metaphors like, “a gentle, nursing mother,” and says, “This is the kind of King I am - I serve by dying for you.” That’s the kind of authority you’re coming under in God’s Word when the Gospel is preached, when you read it. No other king is like that. There’s no other authority as sweet as Christ. This is why He says, “My yoke” - yoke means difficulty - “My yoke is easy. My burden” - burdens are heavy; we don’t like to carry them - “My burden is light.” And that makes no sense at all unless we understand what He’s saying to us and that is simply this. When you come under the sway of this Word, it will change you, it will challenge you, it will shape your motives, but it will do so through the loving, crucified hands of a Savior who did this because He loves you, because He says, “This is the only way to change.”

I read a study in a leadership magazine recently by two psychologists, Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer. They interviewed six hundred managers and they found a shocking result. Ninety-five percent of managers misunderstood what motivated their employees. They thought that what motivated employees was making money, getting raises, and bonuses. In fact, the psychologists analyzed twelve thousand employee diary entries and here’s what they discovered. The number one work motivator was emotion, not financial incentive - the feeling of progress everyday toward a meaningful goal. That’s what, of these twelve thousand employees, most said is what makes them go to work each Monday morning. You see, for Paul, he says there is a meaningful goal, and the only meaningful goal for Paul’s life to transform motives that springs from this single, all-encompassing motive, is simply this - to please God and not to please man. Because we live to please with the One who is pleased with us forever because He’s the One who spoke over His Son, “This is My Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased,” and that is the One to whom we are united and who will bring us safely home.

Let’s pray.

Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You for challenging and shaping and informing our motives. We pray that that would happen in this week. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit would say to the Church through Your Word this evening. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

©2016 First Presbyterian Church.

This transcribed message has been lightly edited and formatted for the Web site. No attempt has been made, however, to alter the basic extemporaneous delivery style, or to produce a grammatically accurate, publication-ready manuscript conforming to an established style template.

Should there be questions regarding grammar or theological content, the reader should presume any website error to be with the webmaster/transcriber/editor rather than with the original speaker. For full copyright, reproduction and permission information, please visit the First Presbyterian Church Copyright, Reproduction & Permission statement.