Tag Archives: faithfulness

Weekly Expository Sermon Outline – What a Faithful Church Needs (1 Thessalonians 1:1)

Introduction: Faithfulness Greater Than Success

God makes it abundantly clear throughout Scripture that He cares more about faithfulness than success. In other words, He wants His church to be steadfast and faithful instead of “successful” in the worldly sense (cf. Revelation 3:7-13). God doesn’t expect a local church to have thousands of members or thousands of dollars in the bank. What He expects is for all true churches to remain true to Him, His people, His word, and His mission. The body of believers at Thessalonica were a faithful church, as Paul makes apparent in every verse of this letter.

Therefore, Paul appropriately begins this letter explaining the three necessary components all churches must have in order to be faithful. What a faithful church needs are (1) faithful leaders, (2) faithful people, and (3) a faithful God.

Historical Background of First Thessalonians

Through Paul’s ministry, the Lord converted souls and established a vibrant church in the busy city of Thessalonica (cf. Acts 17:1-15). But why did Paul write to them? At this point in time, Paul was separated from them due to a “hindrance” of Satan (1 Thess. 2:18). Therefore, he sent Timothy to check on them. Timothy brought back an encouraging report (1 Thess. 3:6-7), and Paul wrote in response to it.


“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.”

The church of Thessalonica was faithful partly because of her three faithful leaders: 

  • Paul, the apostle. Paul founded the Thessalonian church, and he loved them dearly. Paul would have taught theology and sound doctrine, thus giving the Thessalonians a study foundation of truth. They would need biblical truth in order to live faithfully; all churches do. 
  • Silas, the missionary. Silas (or Silvanus), an outspoken leader of the Jerusalem church and missionary companion of Paul (Acts 15:22; 40-41), was left in Thessalonica to minister to this young church after Paul’s departure. And, while Paul provided the Thessalonians with a solid foundation in truth, Silas would have instilled in them a passion for evangelism as he modeled missionary zeal. All churches need leaders like Paul to instruct, as well as leaders like Silas to imitate. 

  • Timothy, the young minister. Timothy, Paul’s youthful ministry pupil, also stayed behind with Silas to nurture the Thessalonian church in his absence (Acts 17:14). Timothy could uniquely minister to the Thessalonians because of his young age. God used him despite having little experience or elderly wisdom. All churches can benefit greatly from raising up young leaders to love and learn from. 

The Point: A faithful church needs pastors, elders, deacons, and other leaders to instruct in doctrine and live exemplary lives of godliness. Certainly, a church can have the best leaders and still remain unfaithful. Remember, the plagued and sinful churches of Corinth were led by the apostle Paul himself! There can be faithful leaders without faithful churches, but there can be no faithful churches without faithful leaders. Therefore, pray for your leaders, hold them to biblical standards, and honor them with support (Gal. 6:6-10; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:17).


“To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • The church of Thessalonica was faithful because their members were saved by grace and serious about graceful living. 

  • Living faithfully is impossible if you are not “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” If you are unsaved and out of spiritual union with God, you cannot walk in obedience. The Thessalonians were indisputably converted. Therefore, they possessed the passion and power to live faithfully, as all true Christians do.

  • As you read and study First Thessalonians, you can see just how faithful they were (which we shall see in future sermons).

The Point: A faithful church needs faithful members who will pray fervently, evangelize urgently, give sacrificially, learn eagerly, love unconditionally, and live faithfully by God’s grace in Christ. Faithfulness must come from both the pulpit and the pew.


“Grace to you and peace.”

  • The Thessalonian church was unmistakably strong and faithful because of her faithful leaders and faithful people, but they were nothing without the grace and power of a faithful God. No matter how great their leaders or how gracious their people, they could not live faithfully for even a nanosecond without the empowering grace of God.

  • Paul wishes them such grace from God, as well as peace. All believers need both in order to be faithful people.

  • Grace. You received saving grace at salvation, but you need sanctifying grace for service (cf. 2 Cor. 9:8). If we wish to be faithful believers, we must depend wholly upon God’s strengthening grace. Relying on the grace of God, you can stand strong; relying on anything else ensures a dangerous fall.

  • Peace. Believers possess peace with God, peace with others, and inward peace within the heart (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:11-22; Phil. 4:4-7). But we must continually plead for and pursue such peace because living faithfully is not always peaceful. Faithful living always causes conflict with those living unfaithfully. It requires that we make sacrifices, too. 

The Point: Without grace and peace from a faithful God, we cannot be faithful members of the Lord’s church. 


Every church should want to be faithful. But faithfulness cannot be ordered from Amazon and delivered in two days. Faithfulness must be sought after. Therefore, for a church to be faithful it must have faithful leaders, faithful members, and the grace and peace which comes abundantly from Almighty God.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

What’s Under Your Roof? | Bible Gleanings – April 3-4, 2021

What’s Under Your Roof?

The woman’s home and land had the kind of beauty and elegance that instantly made you think, “Oh yeah—this person is loaded.” The two-story home was decorated with charcoal-colored brick with a gleaming texture. Vivid flowers surrounded the house and every bush was flawlessly whittled down. The exposed aggregate driveway wound aesthetically through the yard, weaving through the gorgeous green and hilly property. Speaking of green, I’ll bet that not one blade of grass was improperly trimmed.

This heavenly home was also the workplace of an accredited tax preparer my father and I had visited to pay our dues to Caesar.1 My mouth dropped in awe at the enticing appearance of the outside. However, my mouth dropped even farther as we were welcomed through the front door. Mountains of paperwork smothered the tables and countertops. Another mountain was in the sink—a pile of dirty dishes that would have tumbled had one more fork been laid on top. And a tornado of children had obviously blown through every room, as Barbie dolls and soldier toys lay far and wide.

Now—I’m not being critical—just take a look inside my home! The point is, looks are deceiving. What was under the roof contradicted what was outside of the walls. The condition of the inside was completely different from the appearance of the outside. And appearances only go so far—what really matters is what’s inside.

Apparently, the Lord God agrees: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). God cares about the condition of the inside, that which is “under your roof,” within your heart. And it doesn’t matter if the lawn of your life is perfectly trimmed if the living room of your heart is a sinful mess. External conformity to Scripture is meaningless without internal purity. As Jesus once said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28). Jesus also said that upkeep of the outside is foolish if we neglect maintenance on the inside (Luke 11:39-40).

The truth is, none of us have our house in order—we all need the Spirit of God to make the inside clean. That is why you must be washed and regenerated by the Spirit as you take hold of Christ by faith alone (Titus 3:5). And after your heart has been purified by the Spirit, you must continually pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). So, what’s under your roof?

  1. This story is from many years ago, in a location far away from Murray. That’s why I thought no harm would be done in sharing this account. Plus, I know the woman referenced and she would get a kick out of this story as she is a faithful believer in Christ.

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Small People, Big Impact | Bible Gleanings, September 19-20, 2020

Small People, Big Impact

Earlier this month, Americans and many nations abroad celebrated the 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II. The worldwide conflict initiated in 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Every major part of the world loaded their weapons and got involved, including the United States. After seemingly endless battles and bloodshed for over half a decade, the war officially ended on September 2, 1945 when the Japanese formally surrendered.

A little-known fact about the world’s bloodiest conflict is that a small business in New York City helped the Allies triumph victoriously. Over 70 years ago, Louis Pfohl founded Plaxall, a family-owned plastics manufacturing company, which still operates today. A New York Times article recounts that they have recently aided in the production of face shields to combat the coronavirus, but most notably helped us defeat the Axis powers during WWII. The federal government requested that their minuscule workforce produce plastic replicas of American, German, Russian, and Japanese airplanes so citizens and military personnel could better identify them during air raids. Plaxall even advanced the production of the atomic bomb as they were contracted by the Manhattan Project to build a five-sided pyramidal cone that was indispensable to the endeavor. 

Plaxall may have been small in number but they were big on impact. They helped us win the world’s deadliest conflict, although they never employed a huge workforce. They didn’t need a great army to help the greatest armies of the world. They didn’t need a big name to make a big difference. The truth is, you don’t need a multitude or a ton of resources to make a global impact. All you need are a few committed people working together for the fulfillment of a single mission.

Jesus Christ agrees: “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8b). Jesus commends the Philadelphian church, acknowledging that they had been faithful despite being small. They had little strength—small numbers and little resources. They couldn’t produce much because of their little size and influence, but they produced the greatest thing of all: faithfulness to Christ. That’s all it takes to make a big impact. God will use you greatly when you remain faithful to your mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20).

He doesn’t need a big church to make a global difference. He doesn’t need an army to spread the gospel to the world. He just wants faithfulness. God can do a lot with a little, right? Christ fed the multitudes with a sack lunch and even changed the world by the preaching of twelve apostles. Do what you can and God will use it, even if it is small. He may even use it to win a war.

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it will be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).