Last week we talked a lot about our example- What kind of example are we? Are we examples of faith, love, hope? Has our faith towards God gone out? The last verses of chapter 1 we read that they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. We see that they waited for the return of Christ, and that Jesus would deliver them front the wrath to come. So now as we enter into chapter 2 we are going to see how they came to them…
- 1 Thessalonians 2:1-9- Spitefully treated in Philippi- In Acts 16 we read of Paul heading to go pray and there was a girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination. We are told she brought great wealth to her masters through fortune telling. For many days this girl would yell out that these men were servants of the Most High God, who proclaim the way of Salvation. What she proclaimed was true yet how it was being proclaimed greatly annoyed Paul! He had it up to here with her and so he turned to the Spirit and rebuked the spirit to come out of her. The spirit came out of her but the girl’s owners didn’t like it one bit because they couldn’t use her for their financial gain. Paul and Silas were brought to the rulers in the marketplace and they were accused and then they were attacked by a crowd and they were beat with rods. Then they were thrown into prison-
- They were rescued from the prison and they led the jailer to the Lord and he was baptized and his family. At the end of the chapter Vs 35-40- Yes indeed they were spitefully treated yet they continued on to Thessalonica. Though they were mistreated it didn’t stop them to minister in Thessalonica. Though they experienced great conflict they were bold to declare the Gospel of God. What an example they were in the simple fact they didn’t go on a vacation after the hardship in Philippi.
- Not in error, impurity, or deception- To please God and not man- No flattery words- When it comes to ministry and the gospel, I pray that we have this attitude as well. Yet so sad that we can use the gospel for these things Paul mentioned. Yet as Paul didn’t!
- Nursing mothers- This image is odd but the idea is new believers need loving care. New Christians need love, food and care, just as a mother would give to her own children. Newborn babies need the milk of the Word, then they move on to meat. Just like babies there is growth and spiritually as well there is spiritual growth as we are drinking the milk of the word and then moving on to some baby food and then to the meat of the Word- Or as I like to call it the “Vad Porkolt of the Word.”
- Not a burden- What a great example to see Paul could have made demands but he didn’t want to be a burden but he wanted to be a blessing and didn’t want any hindrance of the Gospel going forth. How sad that today people make their demands- I will give go and preach at your church if you give me this amount of Forints. I pray that as ministers of the gospel we would never be a burden but that we would take joy that we are able to proclaim the good news.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:10-16- First a nursing mother and now as a father- As a fathers that is the job we do- We exhort our kids and yet we encourage them as well and we charge them. As a Father it is important to do these things and in the same way as Spiritual fathers we are as well to exhort- strongly urge- Yet as fathers we are to encourage- Good job guys- Charge- Let’s go for it- Of course it is always great to hear the encouragement- Good job guys on being loving- Yet the exhortation- We ought to be more loving to people that we don’t know- Charge- So guys let’s love! For Paul he exhorted, encouraged, and charged for the people to walk worthy of God who calls us into His own kingdom and glory- Paul himself lived justly and blamelessly, but he also told the Thessalonians they should live the same way. He could tell them that they should walk worthy of God because his life and message were consistent.
- Are our lives consistent where we can can say “Walk as I walk and love as I love, Imitate me as I am initiating Christ? I pray so for me, you, and us as a fellowship.
- How great to see that the Thessalonians received the word not as the word of men- How sad because I had my high school pastor- begin to think that the Word of God was simply the word of man. He no longer believed that all Scripture was God breathed. He ended up losing his church and also now states that he is now an Atheist. Yet the church here they believed it as truth, and with all my heart as the Word of God worked effectively in those that believed. The same for us- I believe that the Word of God works effectively in our lives for us who believe.
- Once again they were imitators of the churches of God which were in Judah in Christ Jesus- “In Christ Jesus”. The church of God- This cannot be emphasized enough- Who are we in? Who is our identity in? I pray for each and everyone of us that our identity is in God and is in Christ. I pray that would be the heart of the churches here in Sopron- We are in God in Christ Jesus. Our identity is in Him and Him alone.
- The Thessalonians were imitators of the churches of God in that they as well suffered and were persecuted. Though there was suffering they stood steadfastly. Paul wrote Timothy that those who live Godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Yikes! How funny it is that we can complain about little things and yet in the world there are Christians that are being persecuted and are dying for their faith. Of course in my mind I would say “Yeah I am willing!” Yet honestly I pray that “I am willing.” Not like Peter “I will die with you!” Then a little girl said she saw him with Jesus. “I don’t know him!” We see that the Judeans forbade them to speak to the Gentiles, and so we see this hindrance yet we continue on…
- 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20- Though Paul was separated from them physically he wasn’t separated from them in heart. He longed to see them again. Though Paul wanted to see them we see that Satan hindered them. Guys we must never forget that we have an adversary and he wants to hinder the work of God. Satan hindered the work that Paul was unable to go to them and see them and encourage them. Though Paul was hindered by Satan to go and see them face to face- Though there were great persecutions and though Satan hindered him from seeing them- He was joyous and everybody could be joyous and rejoice and take hope and joy. For one day they will be in the presence of the Lord at His coming.
- What comforting words- At the end of chapter 4 when it comes to this gathering- rapture- Paul says 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18- I love seeing that Paul was comforting them and telling them that though they were being persecuted and Paul was hindered by Satan that when Christ returns to gather His church that that there is such hope, joy, crown of rejoicing for all will be in the presence of the Lord. You are our glory and joy- How endearing that Paul said this about the church- He loved them so much and it is so neat to see how much joy he took in the fact that they were God’s children and that one day they would all be with the Lord.
For us as well- I pray that we would be everybody’s joy and glory- Guys one day Christ is going to gather us and we will be with Him forever- I pray that we would take joy and glory in one another here on this earth. Paul loved them and wanted to see them but Satan hindered them but Satan would not and will not be able to hinder the day when we will be in the presence of the Lord, together- How joyous and how glorious.