I’m sure you’ve felt like a failure. I have. I remember when Judy & I were church planters in Columbus, Ohio. We had great hopes. But it just didn’t take root and we ended up leaving. I felt like a failure.
Mac Brunson shared this message in our Tuesday evening meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International 2017 Spring meeting at Seminole Baptist in Springfield, Missouri. He pastors a mega-church in Jacksonville, Florida – First Baptist.
The Apostle Paul had spent only 3 weeks in a city called Thessalonica and was run out of town. The people who became believers joined together and formed a church. Many of them faced similar persecution.
Some of those who opposed Paul called him a failure. They were actually calling God and His Word a failure.
But Paul encouraged these believers in 1 Thessalonians 2 to face fear and failure with faith.
“Failure may change circumstances but it does not have to control your life.” – Mac Brunson
1 – Faith fortifies your resolve (1 Thessalonians 2:1, 8-10)
When we fail, we tend to withdraw. We are embarrassed, humiliated, and have no confidence. We don’t want anybody to know. And we don’t want to fail again.
But Paul reminded them (and us) that our work for God is not a failure. It is not “in vain.” The Gospel that is preached is powerful to do exactly what God wants done.
Paul’s enemies were telling them that Paul was a failure and evidently the Gospel a failure. But rather than a failure, Paul was a hero.
Hebrews 11 is a list of Bible heroes. These are men and women of faith. However, everyone of them were failures. For example, Abraham was willing to give away his wife to save his own life… not once, but twice. Isaac did the same. Jacob was a deceiving con-artist. But God’s description of them in Hebrews 11 is men of faith.
Our failure does not have to define us. Our faith will give us the resolve to continue what God wants us to do despite what others think.
2 – Faith frees you from unnecessary self-absorption (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)
As mentioned earlier, when we fail we begin to focus on us. We become self-absorbed. We isolate ourselves. This is not good.
Paul was accused of preaching for money and popularity – fortune and fame. But he would not allow what others think to stop him.
Paul did not use any deceitful practices to entice his hearers. He simply presented the Gospel to change lives. Failure tends to get our focus off the power of the Gospel and on to shady means of getting things done.
God actually allows us to go through trials like this to help us grow. Sometimes God allows us to fail so we can learn to trust in Him and His power more.
God tests us to prove us. Satan tempts us to provoke us. When you try to please others, you often fail. But when you seek to please God, you will never be a failure. All we have to do is please God.
3 – Faith fills you with all you need (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6)
Paul didn’t visit Thessalonica to get what they had. He came to give. He had all He needed in Jesus. Paul may have come broke but not empty. Paul was full of the Gospel.
“When you are full of the Gospel you have no need of anything else. You have all you need in Jesus.” – Mac Brunson
Faith is not going to keep you from facing failure. But it will take you home.
You can read the other posts about this meeting here: BBFI 2017