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A Legacy of Love

 

Acts 17:1-4; II Cor. 5:6-21; I Thess. 1:1-10
Bible Studies for Life, May 27

 

This study begins in Acts 17:1-4 with Paul spreading the Gospel to those in Thessalonica. What a joy to be able to carry the Gospel to the world. Why is it then that so few are doing the job and so many are doing nothing to reach the lost? We need to understand what motivated Paul to go to the lengths that he went to in spreading the Gospel.

 

The prompting by God’s love - II Corinthians 5:6-21

The question is: “What was Paul’s motivation?” Here, Paul’s first motivation was “His desire to please the Lord”! In verses 6-10, Paul was laboring for God’s approval, knowing that all he was doing for the Lord would please his Savior if done for the glory of God. He was constantly aware that he would have to stand before the Lord and give an account of his labors.

If our works are done for the glory of self, they will be destroyed (I Cor. 3:12-14). If our works are done for the glory of the Savior, then we will be rewarded (II Cor. 5:10; I Cor. 3:14).

Paul’s second motivation was “His desire to persuade men to come to the Lord.” He recognized that his purpose, as a saint of God, was to share the Gospel with men in darkness (11-13).

His third motivation was “His desire to persuade men of the compassion of the Lord.” It is the love of Christ that “constraineth us” as we realize that Christ died for all men because all men are dead in their sins.

The word “constraineth” means we are being compelled, driven, and completely enveloped in getting out the message of the Gospel. The “eth” is an old English ending that implies a perpetual, never-ending desire to be constantly telling men of Christ. It is not something you turn on and off by convenience but ever-present with us, motivating us to share the Love of Christ for sinners.

If we are not willing to share this love, then we are guilty of quenching the Spirit of God who is seeking to share His love through us. Do we see all men as in need of the Savior?

 

The proclamation of God’s love - Acts 17:1-4

When Paul went to Thessalonica, he shared the Gospel with Jews and Greeks. Acts 1:8 tells us that with the power of the Holy Ghost, we would be witnesses to all people. Jerusalem could be seen as family; Judea could be seen as our friends; Samaria could be seen as our foes as the Samaritans were some of the most hated people on earth because of their nationality, being mixed between Jews and Assyrians; and the Uttermost parts of the earth would be the foreigners.

As we look around us, we are surrounded by all nationalities that do not know the love of Christ. The big question is: Will these people groups see the Love of Christ in us or see our mistrust of them because they are different?

We see here a need for “Compassion in Witnessing!” This is where the love of Christ, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, makes the difference. He helps us love those who are different, dirty, defiant, devilish and downright hateful to us! When we become silent in our witness because of being offended by people’s attitudes and actions, then it is self-love that is in charge and not the Savior’s love!

We also see the need for “Communication of the Word of God!” Every believer is called on by God to share the Gospel of Christ. Your question might be: How do we communicate the Gospel? In Mark 5, Jesus said to the man whom He had set free from the demons to go and tell his family what He had done for him. A personal testimony of how Christ has saved you and what the love of Christ has meant to you is a great way of sharing His love. If you need help in knowing how to do this, ask your pastor or a recognized soul-winner in your church to teach you.

In a society fast becoming anti-Christian, we need “The Courage to Witness!” We see in Acts 4 the Church, being under threat of persecution if they witnessed about Christ, prayed to God for boldness to proclaim the Gospel.

 

The perpetuality of God’s love - I Thessalonians 1:1-10

In I Thessalonians 1:2-10, we find the love that Paul shared in Thessalonica continuing in the church there. We see in verse 2, the “Prayer for the Church” as Paul prayed for them to continue in what he had taught them of the love of Christ. We see in v.3 the “Passion of the Church” in their labor of love!

Oh to God that we not be like the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2 that had the works, labor, separation from the world, and were doctrinally straight but had lost their first love. All of these other things are the right thing to do, but are of no spiritual value if they are not done through the love of Christ! We see the “Power on the Church” as they proclaimed the Gospel in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Then we see the “Performance of the Church” in verse 7, as it continues as an ensample of Christ’s love. You can teach an example but you can only live an ensample.

Are we a living, continual demonstration of Christ’s love? Let us submit to that urge and urgency, of His love, that is in us and working through us to reach the lost for Christ!