In Acts 17 we are told how the church started in Thessalonica- Paul as his custom went to the synagogue and for 3 Sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures- explaining and demonstrating that Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead. He told them- This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ- Some were persuaded- and there were devout Greeks and women joined Paul and Silas-
Yet the Jews didn’t receive and they were envious- and gathered a mob and set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jacob- but they didn’t find them so they dragged Jason and and some brethren to the rulers of the city. They cried out- These who have turned the world upside down- What a great thing to have been said of! “Those Sopronians have turned the world upside down”. Now do to the threat Paul and Silas were sent to Berea. Though Paul wasn’t in Thessalonica for long the church thrived. I love reading the impact Paul had in the people there even though it was only a short while- I pray that when it comes to the Gospel and outreach whether it is for many years or for a few weeks the Lord can use us to bring great impact into the lives of people. Sometimes I will hear people say “Short term trips are really no good.” Yet I whole heartedly disagree- The Lord can use those short days or weeks to do great things in the lives of people. In the same way some might think that the best ministry is the one who disciples (Very important). Though there is the Evangelist and their service is leading people to Christ. Though the ministries are different all are important. As introduction I pray that we would take encouragement.
Curious about how the Thessalonians were doing, and wanting to encourage them concerning the Lord’s coming, Paul writes the letters before us, wherein he: Remembers the Thessalonians’ past- in chapters 1-3 he Recalls how he lived among them and shared with them in close communion and fellowship. Refocuses their present in the first part of chapter 4 as he encourages them to love with brotherly affection; Reveals their future in the second half of chapter 4 and the first part of chapter 5 as he speaks to them of the Rapture and of heavenly expectation; Refines their walk in the last part of chapter 5 through a series of practical exhortations; and Reinforces his teaching concerning the Second Coming in 2 Thessalonians. In these last days, as we study Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, may the Lord refocus our vision of the big picture—the hope of heaven. So let us get into this wonderful letter…
- Thessalonians 1:1-3- We see Paul, Silvanus- Silas- Acts 16-He traveled with Paul on his second missionary journey and was imprisoned and set free with Paul in the Philippian jail. When Paul first came to Thessalonica, Silas came with him. Therefore, the Thessalonians knew Silas well. Timothy was Paul’s protégé- Timothy and even later in this letter we will see that Paul will send Timothy to them.
- Paul uses his normal greeting- “In God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Guys I pray we understand that sure we might be a church of Sopron or Golgota Sopron- Yet I pray that would never be our identity- As a church or as the body of Christ the most important thing is to know Who we are in! I am in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often we can forget that and we get caught up in our churches name yet I pray that we would be caught up with the One who we truly our in!
- “Grace and Peace to you”- Every letter we have studied together I have always said “We can not experience true peace in this life until we have experienced God’s grace. Another thing that I love about Paul in his letters is he tells them that he gives thank for them and prays for them and he remembers their work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. When I read the letters of Paul I love his greetings because in the greetings they are pact full of questions that I should ask myself- As the pastor- am I praying for the church am I making mention of you guys in my prayers? Also as the church had these evidences of faith, love, and hope. This church- us who are in God the Father and Lord Jesus- are we men and women who are known by these things.
- Though we might say “Paul basically writes this to every church so he was just being kind to them.” I pray that as a fellowship as Christians as a body that we would say “Lord I want these things to be said of me as an individual but also I long for our church to be known for these things. Hey I want the word to get around that people say or even other churches would say “Oh man Bejo Laci, is on fire! He is full of faith, love and hope.” Same for Edit- Oh man Istvan though he is extremely quiet there is something about him. BARNUS!!! Seriously I pray that this is what people would see and that we would be known by these things.
- Let’s honestly ask ourselves- Are we? Full of faith? Are we? Full of love? Are we full of hope? Can we be honest- We are a tightly knit church- Some of us have been friends for years perhaps a couple of decades. I understand we have a bond and that is awesome and it is good. Yet at the same time can we, do we allow, those that aren’t or are new or perhaps even different- LABOR OF LOVE-Can we love them and in faith step out and invite them and encourage them? Can we tell them the hope we have? See guys I know it is sometimes awkward to go up to the new person. Yet can I tell you how awkward it must be when they come through these doors for the first time. Then if we don’t go up to them and they are just left alone it can be really awkward. You might be thinking Natasha goes up to everybody! Praise the Lord for that! Yet I pray that we would also step out of our comfort zone and go. I am in this as well! Sometimes it is easy to go up to the guys that I have strong bonds with. Yet I pray that even this moment we might say “Yeah I want to be known as a man of faith, love, and hope. Spirit fill me, Lord here I am.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5- Elected us or chosen us- I like the ESV translation- We know brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you- Ephesians 1:4-5- I love that before the foundation of the world He elected us and chosen us- Before we did anything He chose us. To me when it comes to election and being chosen and being adopted into God’s family it is wonderful. I know that since I was adopted that my parents chose me. I remember the first time I called them mom and Dad. Yet I know they chose me. Now being on the other side- Bella and I chose Lexi- Izabella held her “She is the one.”
- DL Moody said that He was happy God chose him before he was born because he didn’t think that God would have chosen him after he did some living!
- Vs 5- Remember in Acts 1:8- But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you- I love that the gospel didn’t only come in word but in power- and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction- We see the example they were they proved what kind of men they were. For us- I pray that we would know we are the children of God (Chosen)- I pray that we would be filled with the Spirit and that the Word of God would go forth in power and full of the Spirit and conviction- Yet once again notice the importance of our example. It is all important but it ought to fit together. The words we preach that we are also loving, living examples.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10- Followers of us and of the Lord- Guys are we this kind of example- Notice though there was much affliction there was joy of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we can say “Isn’t it prideful to say follow me or you followed us- Absolutely not because as Paul was following the Lord and imitating the Lord he desired for people to follow him in that. I pray that in our lives that we can say “Follow me or imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Though there was affliction there was joy- Seems like an oxymoron but it isn’t. Yes in this life there will be affliction, trials, tribulations- James echoed this- Count it all joy when you fall into various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
- I pray that our faith is going forth- This morning I see so importantly to ask ourselves and examine ourselves- Am I as an individual a good example- Are we as a church a good example- As they turned from idols they served the living and true God. We as well have been saved- As well we have been saved from idols and sin. I pray that we like the Thessalonians are examples. I love the ending verses because I pray that we also long for the return of Christ.
- Jesus ascended- but there will be a day when He will descend- As we will study at the end of chapter 4 where we will be caught up with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. We are to comfort one another with these words. Jesus is coming back- We don’t know when but that is why it is good to wait like the Thessalonians. He will deliver us from the wrath to come- Yes in this life we experience trials and tribulations- Yet when God will pour out His wrath upon this earth- We who are the elect or the chosen- We who received Christ we will be delivered.
Closing: Today let us ponder and sincerely ask ourselves “Am I an example?”