A Good Word for God’s People
October 16, 2005
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians' Faith
1Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.
2We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning. Our message for today is entitled “A Good Word for God’s People,” and it is based on the wonderful opening verses from the Book of Thessalonians.
I’d like to begin today by playing a little game together. I need to apologize in advance who may not remember some of the examples I’m going to use today, but maybe some of you will. I’d like to ask you to fill in the blank in these slogans. We’re going to be talking about slogans. Do you remember this one?
*N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle’s makes the very best… _______________
*What toothpaste is involved in this commercial?
Brusha, brusha, brusha,
New [some kind of toothpaste],
Brusha, brusha, brusha,
It’s better for your teeth.
*There was a certain product, 45 years ago, that had stamped on the package the letters LSMFT.
Answers: chocolate; Ipana; Lucky Strike means fine tobacco. The congregation guessed all three correctly!
How remarkably slogans affect us, and how we remember them for such a long time!
There’s one more slogan that I’d like to introduce to you, and I hope you take it to heart. This is for a very good product, I assure you. This is something that will make your personality even more magnetic. This is something that will make your home an even sweeter place to be – your workplace, too, even your church. Follow this slogan, and things will improve on all those fronts. The slogan is this: LSGBS, oh yes.
What does that stand for? Simply this: Let Something Good Be Said. Oh, my friends, we have a wonderful instruction from the Bible today to do this very thing, to let something good be said. LSGBS, oh yes.
Let’s take a look at the scripture. Saint Paul is writing to the people at Thessalonica, to the church of the Thessalonians, the people gathered there. The first time I read it I wasn’t sure what was going on in this passage. In subsequent readings, I made an interesting discovery, and I think you will, too.
This passage, these first ten verses in the book of Thessalonians, is a bouquet of blessings. It’s like a great round wreath full of flowers, full of blessings. That’s what this passage is. This morning I’d like to concentrate not so much on what the Thessalonians are doing as on what St. Paul is doing to bless the church. St. Paul is presenting them with a garland of blessings. Let’s look at how.
Verse 2 reflects what’s in my heart for you: “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Remember that wonderful song, “The Wind Beneath My Wings”? It includes the words “Thank you, thank you, thank God for you,” the wind beneath my wings. That’s what St. Paul is saying here to the people of Thessalonica, and that’s what I’m saying to you – for your work of faith, for all you do to bless the Lord. It’s something to be proud of, for your labor of love and your steadfastness of hope in Jesus Christ.
Paul is presenting this blessing to the people of Thessalonica. And may I, to you. As you go forth from this place, my friends, I pray that you would imitate St. Paul as well. To the people in your world, let something good be said, because your words are powerful. There are at least three reasons to do this. First, it will make your world – your workplace, your home, your church – a more wonderful place to be. Wouldn’t that be a great thing? Let something good be said. There’s a magnet in the air. There is a sparkle, a vibration that happens when a good word is said that changes things for the better and lets the whole spirit of God in.
How about in your home? Is there someone who needs a good word there? Sometimes we take for granted the good things that happen there. But don’t do that! Let the good word be said. I don’t know how it is for you or how it was when you were growing up. My mother had great skill at letting the good word be said. I wish my dad had, too. I miss them both so much. I wish that when I was growing up my father had a few good words. I remember the day that he did have a good word for me. I was playing the organ in church; I guess I was about twelve. When I got home, my father said, “That song that you played at the offering, that song was so beautiful.” I was amazed, and I was thankful, and all these years later I remember his good word, his blessing. There were more, as he got older. But why wait? Is there someone in your world who needs a good word? They may remember it for a long, long time. LSGBS, oh yes. Let something good be said. Your world can get better for it.
Now another reason to let something good be said is the R word – reputation. Let’s take a look at the scripture again. St. Paul is saying, “You know what? I am so proud of you, not for just what you do but for what I hear about you.” Look at verse 8: “For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known.” It’s second-hand information – reputation. My friend, we are always speaking into a microphone, aren’t we? We ministers have to be a little careful, because we wear a wireless mike. That means that anyone near a speaker can hear me. We need to be careful. A number of times I’ve stood out in the hall greeting folks and someone has come out of the sanctuary waving his hands and saying, “Your mike is on!” The truth of the matter, though, is that we’re always speaking into a microphone, because often folks tell folks what other folks have said – for better or for worse.
Let something good be said, because we’re always speaking into a microphone.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale talked about being in a church where there were two women who were at odds. They hadn’t spoken in many years. Let’s call them Mrs. Hatfield and Mrs. McCoy. He was determined to bring them together. Mrs. Hatfield had a reputation for making wonderful apple pies. Once, when he heard Mrs. McCoy say, “I have to admit, Mrs. Hatfield makes great apple pies.” Dr. Peale took the opportunity, next time he was talking to Mrs. Hatfield, to tell her of Mrs. McCoy’s opinion of her apple pies. She said, “Really, did she say that?” And Dr. Peale said, “Yes, she did.” It was a time when reputation went to good use. Eventually, the two women became reconciled with one another. They became friends, and the silence wasn’t there anymore.
Reputation is another good reason for letting something good be said.
And last, if you take the opportunity to say the good word, to let your blessings abound, to not care how it’s judged, to not care whether people accept it or reject it, to not care whether people think there’s an ulterior motive when there isn’t, say it with sincerity and say it clear and plain. Don’t be afraid, because you’ll be following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who always said the good word to people.
“Blessed are you, mourners. You’ll be comforted.”
“Blessed are you, pure in heart. You simple in spirit, you will see God.”
“Blessed are you who are persecuted. You will be known as the spirit of God.”
“Your faith has made you well.”
“And you crucifiers – heavenly Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
Jesus had a way of letting something good be said. Say the good word. Dare to be bold. Let grace flow. Others will see you and say, “Ah, this is what a Christian does. That Jesus must be pretty wonderful. I’d like to know more about him.” Let something good be said, and your life will be brighter for it.
Let us pray. Dear Lord, our God, send us into the week blessed, refreshed, uplifted and inspired, so that we might let Your grace abound wherever we go. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2005 Anthony J. Godlefski