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Go Die! Let Jesus Live In You!

I Thessalonians 2:1-8

Instead of a joke, I want to give you the chorus of a song that was suggested as very relative to this week’s lesson. The author is Brandon Heath and the title is Give Me Your Eyes.

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Read the section of God’s word 1st and then read the lyrics of this song. I’d encourage you to read chapter 1 of I Thessalonians as well. What you’ll see is that this book is being written by Paul, Silas and Timothy as an encouragement and a confirmation that the church family in this city is showing evidence of a true Christ-like heart…they’ve given up themselves for the sake of Jesus’ mission.

They are not keeping themselves for themselves. They are sharing themselves and the Jesus that lives in them. They are forgetting the world around them. True, we see that some of them have suffered for not only their belief but actions as well. They continue though, to live as though Jesus has taken over their very lives. The evidence? People in nearby and far away towns are hearing about what’s taking place in Thessalonica. They are hearing of the great things the Christians there are doing. And guess what? The Thessalonian church family is not becoming famous…Jesus is. The evidence for this? Jesus is now being preached in the nearby and far towns and cities…because of the church family in Thessalonica. Wow! They died to themselves and are living Jesus each day.

Do you notice that in this section of Scripture, there is not commendation given to specific leaders or the success of specific programs or “church” events? There is not commendation given to growing Sunday School classes or Youth Groups or Kids’ Groups. There is simply commendation given for their faith in action (1:8-9). Paul then reminds them that they, the church family in Thessalonica, is doing just what he and his cohorts showed them. He shared not only the Gospel, but his own life as well. He had died to himself so Jesus could live through him. I hope that makes sense. Word of the church wasn’t traveling fast…word of Jesus was traveling fast! And not only was the Word traveling fast, but people were accepting it for themselves just as fast as well! Lives were being changed because people gave up their own ‘stuff’ for the stuff of Christ.

How do we teach people to give up themselves…to die to themselves? We have to show it. This is an action oriented lesson. Sure, it can be taught that Paul and his fellow disciples did this, but taking knowledge to life changing action is a different story. This lesson is often caught, not taught.

This lesson is not just about sharing with other people. It is more about sacrifice. It’s easy to share when you have enough, or you still feel comfortable, or you know that you’ll be ok. Sacrifice is when you are truly going to give up something that you might not get back. Sacrifice is to give more than you feel comfortable doing. Sacrifice is when you give without knowing if it will return to you. Sacrifice is when you die to yourself and your needs and your feelings, and let Jesus live through you.

Adults and teens will get this. It’s pretty concrete. Little kids will get this too…but on a different level. Life for them is primarily built out of necessity because they can’t do much for themselves quite yet. As verse 7 of chapter 2 states, this is why children need a caring parent. When they are older, or when they have kids…or friends or neighbors, they can look back at how a parent gave up life for their sake…and hopefully they will live the same philosophy towards not only their own children, but for everyone around them as well.

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