Monday, October 8, 2018

Introduction to 1st. Thessalonians

Begin at Acts 17:1-10

This church is (1) Born amidst turmoil!! 

                      (2)  Sandwiched between turmoil!  Acts 16 - Philippi  (church start - riot - beating - jail)
                                                                           Acts 17:10 and onward - (church start - near riot - hasty departure)

                      (3)  Church born of Divine Prohibition!! Acts 16:6-10  - ended up in Macedonia - uncharted territory.  This is where the church developed in a westward direction - all of the European expansion started here.

Timeline:  (1)  church start at Thessalonica  (AD 51-53??)
then... (2)  Paul sends Timothy back to Thessalonica!  (Timothy not a main figurehead like Paul) - (to teach, instruct, disciple them...)
          (3)  1 1/2 - 2 years later -- Timothy comes to Paul (at Corinth) with a GOOD report of church growth, health at Thessalonica.
So.... (4)  Paul writes a letter to them ... (1st. Thessalonians) - one of the earliest New Testament letters/books  (following James and Galatians)  - Gospels haven't been written yet.

Reasons for writing ... (application to us?)   - the writings (ie:  2000 year old letter to the Thessalonians) are still relevant today - people don't change
#1.  To Encourage - in the face of constant opposition
       (a)  religious pressures - from Jews and pagans
       (b)  social pressures - family and friends; traditions; Thessalonian culture, etc.
       (c)  Spiritual pressures - Rom. 7:21

#2.  To Answer (respond to) charges leveled (in Thessalonica) against Paul's character, ministry motives.
For;US this = question of Paul's authority.  Therefore, a question of Scripture's authority!! - Is very important to us who believe Scripture IS our authority!!

#3.  To correct errors - (notions, theories, ideas) especially concerning the Lord's return! An issue that still plagues the church today!!

#4.  To Instruct in Christian Living - they had NO New Testament!! - just the letter(s) from Paul
      WE need the New Testament they (eventually) received!!  (we're human beings with human character)

#5.  To Exhort Believers - to urge, charge, challenge
may have the necessary information and Still need a push!!  (supports)
Sometimes we know precisely what we need to do just need a shove to do itl

1 Thess. 1:1-3 - Paul commends the new church for their:  WORK   LABOR   ENDURANCE
This is remarkable because Paul - Apostle of Grace!! - Eph. 2:8-9

BUT NOTE!!  1 Thess. 1:3 - work - produced by (your) FAITH
                                              labor - prompted by (your) LOVE - for God, Christ, the church, other people
                                             endurance - inspired by (your) HOPE

Paul is saying:  "I can see your faith! because:
(real) faith will work
(real) love will labor
(real) hope will endure
Compare to James 2:14-18
Note:  Eph. 2:10

By this you can measure your faith!  (ie:  one important measure)

Question?   Am I willing to WORK?  What's that say about my faith.

Question?  Am I willing to LABOR?  What's that say about my LOVE??
Love of God, Christ, Gospel, Church, people

Question?  Am I willing to ENDURE?  What does that say about my HOPE??  Throughout the last 2000 years -- one of the greatest testimonies of the church = willing to persevere in face of OPPOSITION.

Example:  A ____________ church is made of __________ people.

This is not the only way to measure faith, but is excellent tool to do so!!

Closing Scripture:
1 Thess. 5:23-24


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