What difference does God make? Because the difference that God makes makes all the difference in the world.
Quick Review of Paul
- Led a successful campaign in Thessalonica
- He and Silas were banned from Thessalonica
- He and Silas are now staying in Berea
- The two commissioned an untested Timothy to represent them
- These three are working together to lead this church
Personal Motives – God is not only concerned about outward actions but also with your motives behind those actions.
Observation #1 – You can’t really reveal what’s in your self by yourself. (When you’re by yourself, you will tend to lie to yourself.)
Key Question: With whom are you having the deep conversations?
Observation #2 – Your motives need the closest evaluation when responding to past painful circumstances.
When we’ve been through pain we often respond to get elevated or get even.
Observation #3 – It’s not just your words but your actions that really reveal what’s going
on inside of you.
How did Paul speak?
- He avoided flattery
- He was careful with his authority
- He spoke the gospel
- He was encouraging and comforting
- Paul’s been through some painful stuff
- Paul stayed committed to the mission
- He was talking about what was really going on inside him
- He decided he was going to love others. Love was worth the risk.
What’s the difference God makes?
- Prayerful spirit-filled conversations with close friends about important matters will lead to better outcomes
- Loving with kindness is worth the risk
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Proverbs 4:23
TALK IT OUT
- Read Proverbs 4:23, Jeremiah 17:9 and Proverbs 3:5-7. According to these passages, why does the condition of our heart matter? What steps should we take to keep it in good condition?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 2:2. How do you usually respond when you are mistreated? When Paul was mistreated, what was his response? What enabled him to do that?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 2:4. Since God is the one who ultimately examines our hearts, why do you think we often seem to be more concerned with pleasing people than Him? What are some of the potential dangers of being a people-pleaser?
- Read Mark 7:6-8. What does Jesus teach us in this passage about the relationship between our heart, our words and our actions?
- Read Matthew 20:25-28 and 1 Thessalonians 2:6-12. How did Paul’s leadership style compare with what Jesus taught? Think of two leaders with whom you interact on a regular basis. How does their leadership style compare to what Paul described?
LIVE IT OUT
- Take a few moments right now to do a heart check. Ask God to show you any areas in which you have let your guard down and to which you need to give more attention.
- It’s been said that everyone leads (or influences) someone. Whom do you lead? How would you compare your personal leadership style to what Paul describes in this week’s message? What could you do differently that might affect the ones you lead more positively?