Thessalonians – Living Forward
Know His Message.
Know Your Heart.
Know Your Audience.
These words have guided me for many years. I head them in a presentation at a Billy Graham School of Evangelism that Randy and I attended together. At the time, Randy had left behind public school teaching to pastor the church where we grew up. We both knew we needed help. I was still a public school teacher, his helper in ministry and taught kids at church.
Ron Hutchcraft was the speaker of a breakout session that I attended. The presentation was entitled “Sixteen and Lost”. I took notes feverishly that day, hanging on every word. It’s wasn’t the speaker so much as the Holy Spirit driving me to listen, to pay attention, to open my heart, to really hear through this messenger what God wanted me to know, to be and then do.
The words challenged and changed me. I knew God was calling me to something different than public school teaching. I was transformed because this messenger knew God, knew God’s message, knew his own heart motivation for speaking and knew what his audience needed to hear because of listening to the Holy Spirit and allowing God to speak through him. A pure heart, a pure focused message. Life transformed.
Paul leads us to this same truth…
2 Thessalonians, The Message
No Hidden Agendas
3-5 God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.
6-8 Even though we had some standing as Christ’s apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else. We weren’t aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did.
The Message transforms lives…always has, always will IF we listen…and take it to heart.
13 And now we look back on all this and thank God, an artesian well of thanks! When you got the Message of God we preached, you didn’t pass it off as just one more human opinion, but you took it to heart as God’s true word to you, which it is, God himself at work in you believers!
What do we learn?
–KNOW GOD. Let Him have complete control of every part of our lives. Know that God is continually at work in us.
–KNOW HIS MESSAGE: Read, study, and meditate on God’s Word. KNOW His Message well.
–KNOW YOUR HEART. Let God purify our hearts daily so that there is nothing standing between God, His Message and our ability to deliver God’s message with pure motivations…our of love for God and others.
–KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Know when to say what to whom at the right time and place. That comes from listening and yielding to the Holy Spirit. Always. We might have an agenda WE think our audience needs to hear, but more than likely it is not what God wants said. God knows all hearts. HE knows real needs. Listen to your audience. Listen to God. The message needs to fit the needs of the audience, not the other way around. Our need to say it, in other words, is probably not what our audience needs most.
Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word, Your Message, Your teaching is an ever flowing river of wisdom. Thank you. Forgive us when we don’t listen. Transform our thinking to match Your thinking. Purify our hearts. In Jesus Name, Amen