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The Die Stamp

The Die Stamp

Words of Faith 3-5-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Thessalonians 1

      [6] You 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. [7] And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. [8] The 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, [9] for 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, [10] and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

 

        What does it look like when the Lord really gets a hold of you?  What are the signs of personal revival in a community?  What shape does that take? The Apostle Paul was sure convinced that a beautiful work of God had taken place in the people of Thessalonica.  What did that look like?  He described it pretty clearly.

         The people in Thessalonica had become imitators of the Lord as they had experienced the Lord in these three men—Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  They looked to the life of Jesus in those who were leading them.  These men certainly had their faults and , but the people were able to see Jesus in them, and they became imitators of Jesus.

        These folks were no longer concerned so much with their individuality as with their character formed after the shape of the Lord Jesus.  If you want to know the beginning of the WWJD movement (What would Jesus do?), it probably began in Thessalonica!  These people were not particularly concerned with being culturally relevant, even though they probably were very much so.  They were not worried about fitting in with the crowd.  They were merely focused on the work of the Spirit within them to shape them into the character of Jesus.

        As a result, the believers in Thessalonica became a model for all believers in the region.  The Greek word here is "tupos," and it means a "die stamp" that is struck. A die stamp was commonly used to mark metal objects permanently.  Die stamps were used on coinage in the ancient world to cut the image of the Emperor into the coins permanently.

         Paul tells us that the people of Thessalonica were the die stamp of the image of Christ to the rest of the region as they looked to become like Jesus. Their lives, used by the Spirit, were cutting a permanent image of the Lord into the new believers coming to Christ in the region.  Wow.

         The faith of the Thessalonians became renowned.  They were, in a sense, famous throughout the region because of several things. What did this "die stamp" look like?

         They were known for the "kind of reception" they had given to Paul and the others.  They responded to the Gospel with a deep conviction. They were known for the wonderful way that they received and honored those who brought the message of the Gospel. 

         They were also known for the way that they had turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.  This was no small thing in first-century Roman culture.  There was a practice of Emperor Worship that was required to participate in commerce.  There was idolatry everywhere.  These people turned away from the idolatry of their day and served only the one true and living God.

         They were also known for their expectant hope.  The folks in Thessalonica were not concerned with worldly affairs or even the persecution they endured. Why? Because of their expectant hope in Jesus, God's Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead-- who rescues us from the coming wrath.

         A good question for us to ask is “What kind of "die stamp" are we?”  What is the impression that we leave on people?  What is the image or shape that we are cutting into the lives of those who are coming to faith in Jesus? What is the image we are stamping into the lives of young people, children, and neighbors?

        As people look into our lives and our faith community, what do they see?  Do they see bickering, division, and disrespect for leaders—or do they see receptive honor toward leaders and teachers?  Do they see people who have turned away from idols for the one true and living God-- or people who have swapped one set of idols for another? Do they see people who have peace in spite of difficulty because of their expectant hope in Jesus-- or people who are upset, panicked, worried and gossipy over every little thing?

 

        Lord Jesus, I want to be a die stamp of You.  By Your Spirit carve me into that image.  Help me to get me out of the way.  Teach me how to rightly honor those who lead and teach.  Show me the idols in my life that need to be removed so that I may serve the one true living God.  Build in me the expectant hope of Your return.  In Jesus' name.