We had such a good Bible study and prayer time on Wednesday night that I couldn’t keep it from you. We are seeing in what Paul wrote to the church of the Thessalonians how to live for the end. In other words, we’re seeing how we ought to be living both as individual Christians and together as Christ’s church.
Below you’ll find an expanded version of what is written on the dry erase board in the picture above: six marks of an exemplary church (a church that is a good example for others) that we saw in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10. This comes on the heels of seeing some of the characteristics of “called out ones” in 1:1-5, and this coming Wednesday we’ll see more “marks of an exemplary ministry” in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
So often we are quick to pray for “unspoken” prayer requests, and that’s fine. We should. And so often we pray for people related to their physical condition. And likewise, that must continue. But we are selling ourselves short as a church and revealing a heart not completely trusting in God as it should when we pray only for things of temporary, earthly necessity and not for matters with eternal consequences.
I challenge you to take the list of “Marks of an Exemplary Church” on the back of this page and add them to the things you regularly pray for. Post this list on your refrigerator, or place it in your Bible. Keep it where you’ll see it, and pray, pray, pray for yourself and your church in these things.
We shouldn’t want to settle for less than God wants us to be as disciples of His Son Jesus Christ. So let us all take these eternally consequential things to the Lord in prayer — for our benefit and for His glory!
MARKS OF AN EXEMPLARY CHURCH
found from our studies of 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10
- SEEKING TO MIMIC JESUS
An exemplary church is filled with those who seek to imitate/mimic the Lord Jesus Christ.
- THRIVES WHEN PERSECUTION COMES
An exemplary church doesn’t wilt under the heat of persecution, but it blossoms. It doesn’t die, but it thrives.
- RECEIVES THE WORD
An exemplary church receives the word of God for what it is — the inspired words of God Himself, and thus completely authoritative for our faith and practice. This means we welcome the gospel in our hearts, not merely superficially.
- THE WORD SOUNDS FORTH
An exemplary church proclaims the word of God, both within its walls and everywhere it goes in its community and the world, like the blasting of a trumpet. This means we must have a constant and increasing evangelistic zeal!
- DECISIVE BREAK WITH CULTURALLY ACCEPTED RELIGION
An exemplary church does not settle for faith and practice that the rest of the unbelieving world would approve of. Like the Thessalonians, Jesus’ church must break with culturally acceptable religion to worship and obey Him as He has told us in His word.
- CONSTANT EXPECTATION OF CHRIST’S RETURN
An exemplary church lives in light of what they know — Jesus is coming back. This means we don’t just wish He’d come back soon, but our lives reflect through our faith’s work, laboring to love, and steadfast hope (1 Thess 1:3) that we know He is coming back.