Monday, October 22, 2018

1st. Thessalonians - A Letter

Who was Paul?  What was he like?  What did he look like?  = common questions

1st. known description from a late 2nd. century work of fiction entitled "The Acts of Paul & Thecla" -
    "A man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked and his knees were far apart;  he had large eyes and his eyebrows met and his nose was somewhat long!! And he was full of grace and mercy; at one time he seemed like a man and at another time he seemed like an angel."

2 Cor. 10:10 - "his letters are weighty and forceful but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing."

All to say - Paul was a very ordinary man!

On one hand, we can't know (see) his appearance.
However, we can know (see) his heart!!
ie:  his heart for God, the gospel, the people with whom he shared the Good News.

So:  1 Thess. 2:1-3:13 - read as a letter to a people he called "brothers, loved by God" - 1 Thess. 1:4

Today read a large section AS A LETTER!!
Will help us see Paul's person, heart, love for the churches and the people.  Puts light on his teaching.

Also, we see (interwoven) some of the Primary Points of his successful ministry.  (doesn't mean the only points, but does mean important points.)

Some of Paul's Primary Methods
#1.  offer information
#2.  make an appeal
#3.  expect opposition
#4.  offer encouragement
These = part of Paul's ministry ... that we can implement, imitate

Started with:
I.  Offer Information - (example:  Paul's practice - enter synagogue, present Christ)

for us?  "gospel" illustrated by the Bridge Illustration
This = bad news (man separated from God) --> good news (God built bridge to Him) -->  bad news (must cross the bridge or are still separated.)!

1 Thess.2:15-16
alongside gospel of grace ... travels message of judgment!! - this = FULL Gospel.

II.  Make and Appeal - 1 Thess. 2:3 compare to John 14:16 - (appeal as does Holy Spirit)
Evangelism = totally ineffective without the call of God.
(we do our part and trust God to do His part!)

III.  Expect Opposition
Social - 1 Thess. 2:14
Satanic - 1 Thess. 2:18
Note also -- 1 Thess. 3:3-4  (with 2 Tim. 3:12)

Are two applications here:  
(1)  Christian - when you make an appeal ... Expect OPPOSITION!
(2)  Pre-Christian .. when you experience the call..  Expect OPPOSITION!

BUT also remember "warrior psalms"
On one hand, the enemy is greater than me!
But, my ally (Holy Spirit, Christ, God) is greater than the enemy!!!  - 1 John 4:4

IV.  Offer Encouragement
Obviously, the potential, new convert needs Encouragement, so... 1 Thess. 3:2
But is also true ... the seasoned minister needs Encouragement as well!!!   1 Thess. 3:7
"Burden of Ministry" - all can relate, all need encouragement
(application works both ways!!)


You are NOT Paul!  BUT ---- these ministry components are Valid and Effective today!!
  #1.  Offer information
  #2.  Make an appeal
  #3.  Expect opposition  (count the cost)
  #4.  Offer encouragement

My Appeal..... Christians - consider this!!  Pre-Christians -- consider this!!!  World will say this is archaic mythology, BUT when the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, you know that it is not!!

My Encouragement:
Closing Scripture:  1 Pet. 5:8-11

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