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Great Expectations




"12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We are so glad to have our brothers and sisters from all over the world here with us today.
We continue you lift up all in prayers.  


Leadership requires follow-ship and in our culture church leaders are under the microscope of mistrust and doubt. By being unfaithful to our calling, and our families and our churches, its no surprise, that  many church leaders have fallen by the wayside and into moral compromise. There has never been a time in my life, more than today, when authentic and God called leaders, need the church to step up and stand behind us. We need to you to have our backs and not allow words of negativity or criticism to be spoken about those people who willingly, dedicate their lives to serve you and lead you.

Church leaders are not perfect, however, they are generally men and women of God who give their absolute best to work. I can tell you that anyone associated with this ministry, is highly motivated,  and devout. They would not be allowed to remain, if they were any other way. I hold them to a level of accountability that is not necessary in other fields or endeavors. Like it or not, there must be order in church. Everyone can have an idea about how things proceed, but a church can only successfully go, in one direction at a time. So, someone must be out in front leading and that requires trust and follow-ship.

While, the world continues to live as it pleases, believing the lie that nothing could ever prevent or hinder their prosperity. They refuse to hear the Word of God and turn from their wicked ways. We are seeing the prophecy, as given by Christ, fulfilled in our generation. Matthew 24:37-38, "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark."

Man may deny the Lord’s return, they may continue to live their lives as if there is no end, but one day, and I do believe it will be in our lifetime,  the Lord will bring swift, unrelenting judgment upon them!

I am often quite amazed, by the flurry of predictions that have been made about our Lord’s return. As Scripture has so clearly said, "no man knows the day or the hour." We have no way to predict His coming, however, it should not come as a surprise if it were today. Actually, we should live each day expecting the Lord to return for the church.

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Father, thank You for this rich and wonderful truth. Thank You for this loving reminder, that those of us who know the truth and are called to live holy lives. Lord, we pray for those who claim Christ, whose lives are characterized by deeds of darkness. Father, we pray that our reflection of the moral nature of Christ Himself, be evident in our lives. Help us to have a new, loving boldness to proclaim the truth about what awaits the unregenerate sinner, so that the gospel of salvation may penetrate their hardened hearts. Lord, we pray that You would prepare their hearts and reveal opportunities, as they reveal themself for us to share the good news of deliverance through Christ. 
We pray this in His name

Today's Message: Great Expectations

The eyes of the world are on the church. May I say, that I have never been involved in a ministry so committed to community and to the commission of Christ as ours! I can honestly say to you, that our ministry, reminds me of the church in Thessalonica and Paul’s feelings toward these believers express what is in my heart for each of you. As I meditate upon the words of  I Thessalonians 1:2-3, "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father."

 A wise pastor knows when he has made a mistake and admits when he is wrong. In spite of their human limitations, God’s spiritual leaders should be respected and obeyed, unless, of course it is obvious that they are outside of God’s will. The result of the church family following the spiritual leaders will be peace and harmony in the church. Whenever you find division and dissension in a church, it is usually because of selfishness and sin on the part of the leaders, or the members, or both. For a pastor to be among and over at the same time, demands the grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. Some church members want their pastor to be a buddy, however, this weakens his authority. On the other hand, if he only emphasizes his authority, he could well become a dictator. Therefore, he must be lead by the Holy Spirit.

Leaders, however, cannot do all of the work of the ministry alone. Believers must learn to minister to each other. Those who are more mature in the faith, must learn to nurture and guide, those who are not yet there. I believe, this is essential to church growth.

Open with me your Bibles to the fifth chapter in the Book of first Thessalonians. As we move toward the conclusion of portion of God's Word, we will be looking at verses 12 through 15. I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read. I Thessalonians 5:12-15.

"But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people."
As I was studying God's Word, preparing for our message, I was reminded of something William Arthur Ward once said: "Flatter me and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you." The word "encouragement," is mentioned 46 times in the New Testament, I believe its because God wants us to look for ways to delight in each other. 
The Apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of encouragement after laying out the details surrounding the end times in 4:18, "Therefore encourage each other with these words" and again in 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." Jesus is coming back, but while we wait for His appearing, let’s be sure that we are encouraging one another.
Acts 13:15, illustrates the importance of building one another up. "After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."
I believe, that after being hit pretty hard these last few messages, covering sexual purity, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Christ, God has a Word of encouragement for us today. We'll look at some practical guidelines as it relates to leadership and fellowship, so that we can have order in the church and peace between each other. The Thessalonians were an example to others, just like our church is, as our testimony echoes throughout this community. If our winsome witness is to continue, certain basic responsibilities must be fulfilled within the church.
The Apostle Paul begins by addressing two primary factors involved in the maturity of a church. First,godly leadership and graceful follower-ship. I'd like to drawn your attention to the fact, that he is making a request of the entire church: "Now we ask you, brothers…" This is clearly a personal appeal, much like something a friend would ask of another friend.
While this passage certainly has application to pastors, I do not believe that these words are not limited to them. Here, Paul lists three main distinctives in leaders. First, leaders are hard workers. This phrase means to labor to the point of sweat and exhaustion, to work until we’re weary. This same word is used in Luke 5:5, which tells us, "Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." I can assure, that his ministry is filled with people who give it their all, tirelessly working until the job is done! I am so grateful for my team, rest assured, they work long and hard to serve the Lord and all of you.
Leaders oversee the flock. To “be over” refers to those who “stand before.” Leaders are not afraid to take the lead because they understand that they have the responsibility to provide direction. If it’s true that “everything rises or falls on leadership,” and the “speed of the leader” dictates the speed of the team, then we’re in good shape as a church. Notice that this leadership is to be “in the Lord.” Leaders are not to boss people around, but to be servant leaders under the Lord’s authority according to I Peter 5:2-3 "shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock."

As leaders provide oversight for the flock that means that we should expect leaders to lead. I’m thankful for the courageous and spirit-directed team that has demonstrated their faithfulness in the past and continue to do so today! I look forward to continuing to partner with these fine young men, as we continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and direction for the next step of our ministry.

Leaders are to admonish believers. This fascinating phrase literally means, "to put into the mind." This involves more than just teaching, the idea is that we’re to instruct in order to correct. Admonishment often takes the form of a warning as in Acts 20:31, when Paul summed up his ministry to the Ephesian elders. "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears"
God has ordained leadership for the  church. It is true that we are, as Galatians 3:28 teaches us, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In verse 12, Paul tells us that we should "appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction." There is nothing wrong with honoring faithful servants of God, as long as God gets the glory. Spiritual leadership is a great responsibility and a difficult task. It is not easy to serve as a pastor,  or spiritual leader. It is dangerous when a church family takes its leaders for granted and fails to pray for them, and encourage them. In contrast, the same is also true of the pastors for their flock!
One of the greatest burdens of a pastor, is to make sure that we don’t shrink back from fully proclaiming the Word of God. By nature I am an encourager, however, I am certainly not a people pleaser. As your pastor, I am faithfully committed to teach, warn and admonish when the biblical text dictates it. That is biggest reason why I like preaching through entire books of the Bible. We’re forced to tackle topics that we might not otherwise choose to address, as is often the case in many modern churches today. Before I begin my study each day, spending hours of preparation for what may appear to be an effortless sermon, I remind myself,  that I am called to proclaim God’s Word, regardless of how people respond!
To admonish someone, is to be so deeply concerned about the way they are living that we gently come alongside them and point out the way to change a sinful behavior or an errant attitude. Allow me to remind you, there’s a big difference between admonishing and blasting off at a believer. If you enjoy going off on people, finding fault, then I must tell you this, that there is something seriously wrong with your spirit. I’m grateful to be able to take this responsibility seriously, as I strive to follow God's mandate to admonish, correct, and even discipline those who go astray.
Verse 13, "and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another." This passage challenges followers to hold leaders "very highly in love." While some of you might disagree with a decision the leadership makes, or maybe not even care for the personality of one of your leaders, we are called to love them anyway. It’s easy to be indifferent toward someone or to be unkind. I believe, one of the best antidotes for that, is to take the time to get to know your spiritual leaders. It’s very hard to dislike someone once you learn their heart for you. I must tell you, that I sense an incredible amount of love and support from all of you, and I'd like you to know, the feelings are mutual. I admire and applaud your willingness to follow my leadership and am thankful for the elevated "grace quotient." As I have stated many times, I love all of you, and am deeply concerned about your spiritual well-being. At times, my passion may become intense. Please understand, this is purely out of my deep love and concern for you. So, your grace means more than you can know.
The love we share for one another as believers is important, you’ve all been around churches that are filled with constant animosity, friction, tension and conflict. While it’s no fun to be around, there’s nothing more debilitating to the body of Christ than discord in the church. Ministry must flow out of worship, otherwise it becomes nothing more than a "busy activity," without power and without heart. While there may be "results," they will not glorify God! it’s because we’ve allowed our culture’s anti-authority attitude to seep into the church and we view leaders with distrust. Whatever the case, we’re to do whatever it takes to live in peace with each other. That specifically means pastors and people, shepherds and sheep, teachers and the taught. I’m committed to do that, and I am grateful to know you are as well.
In verse 14, Paul says "We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone." I'd like for you to notice that, again, Paul uses the word, "brethren" to indicate that he’s speaking to the entire church family. Paul is not speaking about those who were weak physically. He is referring to the weak in faith. Usually, weak Christians live by rules and regulations. They are afraid of their liberty in Christ.
The health of our ministry depends to a large degree on the commitment not only of our leaders, but  each one of us to certain standards of conduct. The sheep are to be involved in helping other sheep that need assistance. It’s not just the job of the pastors and other leaders. We are the church!
In verse 15, Paul tells us something, I believe, is very important for a believer. "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.
Paul is reiterating the teaching of Jesus about non-retaliation. No matter what is done to us, the follower of Jesus has no excuse to get revenge. Matthew 5:38-39, "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."
Let’s bring this revolutionary teaching a bit closer to home. There are people in the church who are going to hurt you, and some probably already have.  
Matthew 18:15-17 gives us clear instruction on how to handle these types of situations. "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." But, whatever you do, refuse to retaliate. It will only eat you up and you usually get back what you give. 

In Closing...
We are to cultivate kindness with each other and we are to be kind to people outside the church. In spite of what you’ve done to me, I’m going to do everything I can to do what is good for you. 

We might wish for a fully mature and problem-free church; but one sign of a growing, healthy church is the presence of immature persons in its fellowship. Griping about their presence is like a doctor griping about the presence of sick people in the waiting room.

People with problems, whether their problems are spiritual, emotional, or physical, need help. Yet, ministering to these people can be trying. They do not always respond well or quickly, even to those trying to help them. So, believers are to be "patient with everyone." Patience can often sound as though we're being passive, like doing nothing; but the Church is not to ignore people with problems. 

Instead we are to try as best we can to help them, just as God helped us in our sin. We help by introducing them to Jesus, by showing them godly love, by not responding to evil with evil acts of our own. We should be bringing out the best in them, not the worst.

May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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