Christians with an Attitude

Pastor Phil Andrukaitis, December 11, 2022

The Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians

 General Theme: Living Righteously While Waiting Patiently for Jesus to Return

Sermon Title: Christians with an Attitude

Sermon Text: First Thessalonians 2:7-9

Subject: Our attitude towards unbelievers

Complement: Christians need an attitude, a godly mindset, to impact unbelievers with the gospel.

Big Idea: Our attitudes determine our actions.

Overview & Review

I.          Spiritual leaders prove their concern for the church. (1:1a)

II.        Spiritual leaders provide care for the church. (1:1bc)

III.       Spiritual leaders pray for the church.  (1:2-10)

IV.       Spiritual leaders pattern a life of loving service. (2:1- 3:13)

            A.         By evangelizing lost sinners with the saving gospel (2:1-16)      

1st Question:   How do Christians conduct themselves before condemned sinners? (2:1-12)         

  • with a godly testimony (1-2)                          
  • with godly motives (3-6)                                
  • with a godly mindset (7-9)                 Today’s Focus
  • with godly mien (10-12)

2nd Question:  How do Christians recognize converted sinners? (2:13-16)

            B.         By edifying separated saints with loving concern (2:17 – 3:5)

            C.        By encouraging spiritual saints with hope and prayer (3:6-10)

Introduction                                    School Bus Driver Stops to Save a Life  

“On October 18, 2013 in Buffalo, New York, 37-year-old Darnell Barton was driving a bus filled with high school students over a bridge when he spotted a young woman perched on the wrong side of the guard rail.  Sensing something wasn’t right, Barton slowed to the side of the busy arterial and opened the bus door.  From his seat behind the steering wheel, the driver called to the woman asking her if she was okay.  When the young woman looked at Barton but didn’t respond, he left the bus and approached her.  Barton told the Buffalo News, She turned back to look at me and then back at the traffic and that’s when I kind of lunged and got my left arm around her body.  Barton proceeded to talk her into climbing back over the guard rail as he guided her with his large arms.  Together they sat on the pavement.

“A surveillance camera shows a pedestrian and a bicyclist going by the distraught woman without stopping to help.  But Barton, who acknowledges having grown up in church, said he could hear his mother’s voice in his head prompting him to do the right thing.  As a result, he gave her some encouraging words.  The two conversed until first responders showed up.  Barton told a reporter The Bible says we are to be ready in season or out of season.  You’ve got to be ready.  If you’ve got time to do anything you’ve got time to do the right thing.

“When Barton got back on his bus, he received a standing ovation from the high school students.  After finishing his route, Barton wrote up a report and went home.  Nicknamed “Big Country” by his co-workers, there is little doubt that this heroic driver has a big heart.”[1]

Transitional Thoughts

Talk about heart, this bus driver had the right attitude – he did the right thing!  Thank God for that bus driver’s mom who taught him this valuable life lesson.

Well, as we continue to examine our lives and the evangelistic ministry of Bible Believing Baptist Church of Gray, Maine, we have realized that possessing a godly testimony [our daily conduct] and godly motives are essential features if we are to be used by God to reach the lost with the gospel.  There is a third essential feature:  a godly mindset – having the right attitude towards others.

If you have missed Paul’s emphasis from the last two sermons, permit me to remind you how he and the mission team had effectively brought the gospel to the lost:  Know this, Paul is writing about the “heart issues” not evangelistic methods.   After all, it’s more painful to examine our hearts than it is to examine our methods. 

With that thought, let’s think on the following questions because they are addressed throughout this message:

  • What attitudes are necessary for bringing the gospel to our culture?
  • Do we have the right attitudes as we serve God?
  • What attitudes do we need for the long haul – a lifetime of ministry?
  • Has our ministry morphed into a duty – in other words, have we lost our heart for serving others only to serve our self-interests?
  • What would be our attitude towards gays, the elderly, bikers, etc. if they started attending our church services?
  • Would you, yes you, be willing to assume responsibility to help these folks mature in Christ?
  • Is God calling you to serve Him in a specific ministry?

Before we look at our passage in 1st Thessalonians and discover the four godly attitudes necessary to reach the lost, I appreciate Woodrow Kroll’s [of Back to the Bible radio ministry] insight as he identifies five other attitudes necessary for God’s people to serve, since Christ sends us out into this lost world.

These attitudes are commitment, compassion, pliability, expendability, and ownership [Source:  The Vanishing Ministry, pp. 75-100]. 

As previously stated, our Thessalonian text reveals four attitudes that guided the hearts of Paul and the mission team, who brought the gospel to the lost sinners: 

I.         An Attitude of Intimacy with God (Acts 16:6f)

II.        An Attitude of Gentleness towards others (1st Thessalonians 2:7)

III.      An Attitude of Endearment for others (1st Thessalonians 2:8)

IV.       An Attitude of Sacrifice for others (1st Thessalonians 2:9)

These attitudes must always begin with our intimate fellowship with God; after all, we need to know God’s direction and will.  And when God’s servants are in the culture, the attitude of gentleness, endearment, and sacrifice will impact those God has called to receive salvation.

Attitudes determine our actions.

I.         An Attitude of Intimacy with God (Acts 16:6f)

Although not directly stated in this text but implied in other texts (especially Acts 16:6f), Paul and the mission team knew that it was the Spirit of Jesus Who was directing their steps away from Asia to bring the Gospel to Macedonia.

Therefore, I believe that the first and most important attitude behind any ministry Christians undertake, in the name of Jesus, begins with their intimacy with Jesus.  Intimacy (into me, see) with God is marked by a closeness, a personal relationship developed over time through Scripture and prayer.

Yet, Christians feel detached when they lose intimacy with God.  They feel like they are wandering aimlessly, while others desperately seek for love and understanding.  And still there are those believers who fall away from Jesus because they are overwhelmed with so much work to do in their homes, at the workplace, church, etc. 

Hmmm, could this be one of the reasons why some of God’s people and their church families do not experience a downpour of God’s outpouring of grace?  Do we know Jesus, or do we know about Jesus?  

Let’s consider asking ourselves three questions: 

  • First, are we afraid to get real with God?  After all, He knows the secret pain and burdens we carry inside us.  While we can hide our true selves from others, we can’t hide ourselves from God.  Our insecurities, failures, weaknesses, etc. still haunt us.  And yet, God invites us to come to Him.

Listen, go to God and tell Him of your fears and inability to cope with life or whatever situation is bothering you.  God desires to set His people free from sin and fears with the Truth of His Word.  Share the impact of 2nd Corinthians 5:17 on my life.

  • Second, do we feel uneasy because God might ask too much of us and we don’t want to pay the price?  We’ll talk more about this near the end of the sermon.
  • Third, are we afraid to “let go” of the control we exercise over our lives?  Even though we have seen God act in mighty ways in the past, there are times when we feel the need to take back control.  And then, there is the area where we try to control others.

When we address these questions with God and He helps us to make the changes in our minds and lives, we will know that our intimacy with God is being restored.  Listen to Hanani, the prophet who spoke to King Asa, saying:  “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him” (2nd Chronicles 16:9).

Our attitudes determine our actions.

II.        An Attitude of Gentleness towards others (1st Thessalonians 2:7)

“But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

(1st Thessalonians 2:7)

When we enter any culture with the purpose of revealing Christ and the gospel message, Christians are to exercise care for others with a gentle spirit, not with an overbearing spirit.  The sense behind a gentle spirit involves a tenderness and devotion while fostering a protective care towards their relationships with others.  Therefore, from this verse, I believe that two actions clearly identify a gentle spirit. 

  • First, those who exercise a gentle spirit are not authoritarian.

Paul and the mission team had the right to receive respect, honor, and support because they were commissioned by the court of heaven to preach the gospel but, they chose not to burden the new church with financial obligations; nor did they promote their own personal agenda and interests but simply sought the spiritual welfare of the Thessalonian church.  Since the church was under persecution, Paul was seeking to strengthen their faith and to move them forward into the community with the gospel ministry. 

This is exactly what your pastor – yours truly – is striving to do.

Paul’s attitude towards the Thessalonians reminds us of Jeremiah’s words to the exiles living in Babylon: “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).

It’s interesting to see that this word for “gentle” is found only twice in the NT; here and in 2nd Timothy 2:24, which describes one of the character qualifications for those who desire to serve the church of God as elders – spiritual leaders.

There is a synonym for gentleness; it is meekness.  Those who are meek and gentle are characterized as those who…

            …maintain self-control, especially when offended by others (Matthew 5:5)

            …condescend to meet another person’s need (Matthew 21:5; Psalm 18:35)

            …are comfortable and confident to entrust everything to God (1st Peter 3:4)

Like Jesus, Christians must also be gentle and meek when presenting the gospel and when ministering the Scriptures to new believers.  Listen to Peter’s exhortation to believers:  “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1st Peter 3:15).

  • Second, those who exercise a gentle spirit will nurture others by protecting them and providing care.

Just as nursing mother, who “cherishes” thalpō (Strong’s # 2282) her newborn child and tenderly draws the child to her soft, warm breast to feed and protect her child, so must mature believers nurture and protect new believers.  And again, just as each of us feed and care thalpō for our own bodies (Ephesians 5:29), so must mature believers feed and care for other believers, especially new believers.

Paul and the mission team understood the vulnerability of the new believers as their culture’s unbiblical world views would threaten the new faith of these Thessalonian believers.  Paul did not think that his job was complete; therefore, he did not abandon the saints but took on the responsibility of nurturing them with Scripture so that they would be able to stand on their feet.  Remember, in the few months Paul and the mission team ministered to the Thessalonian saints, they surely covered a lot of ground. 

As your pastor, I have responded to God’s call and your call to come alongside you so as to provide stability and direction with those who are spiritually minded.  As we see God working in the lives of others, I pray that God would stir your hearts to come alongside new believers and to help them grow.

As we carry over this idea of nurturing and protecting new Christians, when a church simply focuses on “getting people into its building to hear the gospel” but fails to help new believers grow in the Scripture, the church becomes neglectful and abusive towards the newborn saints.  Raising families is not easy.  It requires patience and time.  It involves heartaches and headaches.  It requires your personal attention and involvement, if you ever hope to impact their lives, hopefully for Christ.  Well, it’s no different with a church family, too.

Here’s another example; patients who have experienced heart surgery.  Often, they are classified as being critical but in stable condition, if all went well.  Well, it takes a team of medical personnel to watch over them until the patient is strong enough to be transferred to a less intensive state of care.

By way of application, when it comes to new believers, mature saints would do well to become aware of the fact that that these new believers have also survived a “spiritual heart transplant” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).  They too need follow-up and feedings from Scripture.  If we become impatient with new believers and possess a critical and condemning spirit when they sin, expecting new believers to become mature overnight, we will discourage them in the things of the Lord.  New believers need our personal care.

Our attitudes determine our actions.

III.      An Attitude of Endearment for others (1st Thessalonians 2:8)

“So affectionately longing for you,

we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives

because you had become dear to us.”

(1st Thessalonians 2:8)

To become involved in the lives of others requires us to give ourselves away to others with an endearing spirit.  Many of us have felt varying degrees of heartache when a family moves away or a brother in Christ falls away because we have given ourselves, invested our very being, into their lives.  I believe that those who cultivate an endearing spirit…

  • long for the presence of those they love.

The word, homeiromai (Strong’s # 2442) is translated “affectionately desirous” [KJV]; “affectionately longing” [NKJV]; “fond affection” [NAS]; “loved” [NIV]. 

To understand the full force of this word, perhaps its use on a Lycaonian tomb from the 4th century may help us to understand.  Evidently, the sorrowing parents had inscribed on the tomb these words, …homeiromenoi peripaidos…  They were describing their longing for their dead son. 

In addition to possessing an increasing love for others, I believe those who cultivate an endearing spirit…

  • invest themselves and bless those they love.

Paul and the mission team not only delighted to give the Thessalonian people the gospel, but also their lives for the following reasons.  Paul and the mission team…

            …were divinely guided to Greece

            …believed the power of the gospel would change lives

            …expected fruit from God’s Word and Spirit

And when sinners were regenerated by the Holy Spirit, Paul and the mission team cared for them – they were “little brothers and sisters” in Christ.

Think about it:  When we surrender ourselves (body, mind, spirit, and every earthly resource) to God and obey His direction, embracing the reasons just mentioned, we will see God at work in our lives and in others. 

My life verse is 2nd Timothy 2:10 which says, “Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Our attitudes determine our actions.

If we are to ever have an effective ministry within our culture and among new believers, we need an attitude – or better said, to cultivate the following attitudes:

1.         Intimacy with Jesus

2.         Gentleness with others

3.         Endearment for others; and finally,

IV.       An Attitude of Sacrifice for others (1st Thessalonians 2:9)

“For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil;

for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,

we preached to you the gospel of God.”

(1st Thessalonians 2:9)

Paul and the mission team continuously labored and physically toiled with difficult tasks for many nights and days.  [Luke reveals the fact that Paul was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3)].   Obviously, they sacrificed much in their lives; comfort, rest, sleep, and personal belongings to bring the gospel to unbelievers.    

And when sinners were “born-again,” Paul and the mission team were planning to spend lots of time to help them grow in Christ – but God had other plans for them. 


Almighty God delights to reveal Himself to His greatest of all His creation – you and me.  Why are people God’s great creation?  We are made in His image.

Sadly, Adam disobeyed God, not by accident but by choice.  Adam decided to rebel against God’s Law.  Adam also decided to rescue Eve from the deceptiveness of the Serpent, Lucifer.  As a result, Adam plunged the entire human race into sin, death, and condemnation.  What does this mean?  We are born sinners.  We desire to sin and rebel against God.  Moreover, no one seeks after God.  Therefore, no one deserves to go to heaven. 

However, if there is a desire to seek God, it is the result of God the Father drawing sinners to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.  While God is just to righteously send everyone to hell, He has made just one way for sinners to escape divine judgment [which we deserve].  What is the way to salvation?

John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-9

Acknowledge the fact that you are a “dirty, rotten, low-down sinner” [quote from Rev. David King] and there is nothing in you that warrants God’s grace.

Believe that Jesus paid your sin debt and will forgive you and cleanse you from all your sins.

Confess [agree with God regarding your status] and call out to Him to save you from everlasting condemnation and you will be saved (Romans 10:9-13).

Conclusion                                                     I Cannot Love Them

“In his commentary on Luke’s gospel, pastor and author Kent Hughes tells the following story:

“Several years ago, one of my wife’s friends took a missionary furlough with her husband and family after an unusually tiring stint of service.  She had been looking forward to this time with great anticipation.  For the first time she was going to have a place of her own, a new, large townhouse-styled apartment with a patio.  She is very creative and made the patio the focus of her decoration.

“After a few months some new neighbors moved in.  The word to describe them would be “coarse.”  There was loud music day and night along with a constant flow of obscenities.  They urinated in the front yard in broad daylight.  They totally disrupted her peace.  She could see nothing good in them.

“She asked the Lord to help her be more loving, but all she got back [from her neighbors] was disgust and rejection.  The crisis came when she returned home to discover that her neighbors’ children had sprayed orange paint all over her beautiful patio—the walls, the floors—everything!  She was distraught and furious.  She tried to pray but found herself crying out, I cannot love them; I hate them!

“Knowing she had to deal with the sin in her heart, she began to converse with the Lord in her inner being, and a Scripture came to mind:  “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3:14 NASB).  In her heart she questioned, Lord, how do I put on love?  The only way she could picture it was like putting on a coat.  So that is what she determined to do—she chose to wrap herself in the love of God!  As a result, she began to experience a deeper life of Christ within her.

“She made a list of what she would do if she really loved her exasperating neighbors, then did what she had listed.  She baked cookies, she offered to baby-sit for free, she invited the mother over for coffee—and the most beautiful thing happened!  She began to know and understand them.  She began to see that they were living under tremendous pressures.  She began to love her “enemies.”  She did good to them.  She lent to them without expecting anything back.

“The day came when they moved—and she wept!  An unnatural, unconventional love and captured her heart—a supernatural love—the love of Jesus.”[2]

Has God captured your heart and mine?  As we sit before the Lord this morning, what attitude adjustment is needed in our lives?  What steps will you take to seek that adjustment?

Let’s consider the following applications.


1.         An Attitude of Intimacy with God

Therefore, if deep, personal, intimacy with God is ever to become a reality in our lives, we need to…

  • Make time alone with God.
  • Be honest with God by keeping it real.
  • Trust God – He will not laugh at our fears and tears when we pray.
  • Remain determined and passionate when we draw near to God.
  • Surrender to God, no matter what He asks of us or where He leads us.

You may be asking yourself this question, How does the attitude of intimacy with God impact a person’s ministry, especially when they try to evangelize others?  The Answer:  Intimacy with God comes before ministry for God.  First intimacy, then ministry. 

If we attempt to serve others without God’s clear direction, we will most likely…

…serve others in our own strength and not with God’s strength;

…lean upon our own understanding, not God’s understanding;

…feel an increasing sense of insecurity;

…work harder while gradually losing the fire in our souls;

…get angry with others because they may not agree with you;

…quit –  because we will have reached the end of ourselves.

Let’s return to the basics:  Spend time alone with God and His Word.

2.         An Attitude of Gentleness towards others

  • Avoid being bossy.
  • Nurture your relationships, first in your home [spouse, children, grand-children, neighbors, etc.]

3.         An Attitude of Endearment for others

By way of application, do we possess this degree of longing for other Christians, especially those who are self-centered, rude and crude, lukewarm to the things of God, and even offensive and mean spirited?  And what about those Christians with whom we disagree over politics; how do we feel about them?  I confess there are times when my “longing” for them is cool. 

I wonder if that is one of the major reasons why many churches slowly diminish or why many simply move from one church to the next.  Is it possible that we too could lose our cohesiveness?  What can we do about it?  I believe that each of us needs to confess our prejudices to God and to ask God to help us cultivate a longing heart for all the church family. 

4.         An Attitude of Sacrifice for others

As we encounter our culture, is our attitude one of sacrificing ourselves for others? 

  • Do we know the burdens of our neighbors, people with whom we work, school mates, along with friends and acquaintances with whom we meet on a regular basis at a local restaurant? 
  • Do we care about their burdens? 
  • Do we sacrifice ourselves to ease their burdens? 

Consider for just a moment this question, what does an attitude of sacrifice reveal about a person?

  • The welfare of others is as important as your own welfare.
  • There is a willingness to endure hardship for the sake of others.
  • There is a focused goal of bringing the “Words of life” to those under God’s condemnation. 

We don’t know whom the Lord has elected; that’s none of our business.  God simply tells His people to engage their culture and sow the gospel seeds.  God will do the saving.  And when salvation comes to the lost, the church is to make disciples of them.

Go, and bring Jesus and His gospel to the lost.

Our attitudes determine our actions.

[1] Carolyn Thompson, NY Bus Driver Saves Woman from Jumping off Bridge, [doc online];, accessed 2018, Nov. 17.

[2] Kent Hughes, Luke Volume 1, [doc online];, accessed 2018, Nov. 17.

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