Sunday, May 8, 2016

Paul's Epistles - I Thessalonians Part 1 – Introduction

Paul's Epistles - I Thessalonians
Part 1 – Introduction
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


We began looking at the basics of Christianity and the foundation of the church. How it was constructed, how it is to operate, and the instructions we as followers of Christ are given.

We looked at the Book of Acts, which shows the ups and downs of the Apostles and the early church. Many of the issues they had then, we still deal with today. So it is good for us to read these books and keep an eye on ourselves.

After Acts, we looked at the first few chapters of Revelation to read what the letters Jesus sent to the churches consisted of. We learned where the church were doing good, where they were messing up, and in all cases, how they were “supposed” to be.

We took those letters, compiled them and read them as if it were Christ’s instructions to us, as individuals, and as a church.

From the letter’s of Christ, we turned then to Paul’s letters, or epistles.

First looking at the Book of Romans, then to I and II Corinthians, from there to Galatians, and now we are looking at his letter to the Thessalonians.

This letter is believed to be Paul’s first letter.

He begins with salutations and thanksgiving, then continues in the first chapter with praise for the churches hard work, and results.

Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters (adelphoi in Greek, meaning believers) loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

a. Work produced by faith
                                                                                  i. The “works” spoken of here are produced BY Faith
1. They are not done to OBTAIN Faith!

                                                                               ii. Works cannot save, but the saved will have works!
1. James 1:14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no works? Can such faith save them?”

2. James 1:17 “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

                                                                            iii. The Thessalonians had proper works that were produced BY their Faith!

b. Labor prompted by love
                                                                                  i. Luke 10:25-28 “25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
1. Love is an action we do (I Corinthians 13)

2. Not based on feelings or emotions, but works prompted by love for others, and the Thessalonians had that

c. Endurance inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ
                                                                                  i. Last week at the end of Galatians, we read Paul encouraging the Galatians to not give up, to endure, and not grow tired of doing good to the end, and if they did so, they would receive their reward.

                                                                               ii. What inspired us to endure to the end?

1. Our hope that when we continue to live the way we are instructed to, we will receive what the Lord Jesus Christ has promised, everlasting life.

2. All promises in the scripture work both ways. For better understanding, as Paul says in Galatians, if we do not endure to the end, we may suffer loss!

a. Because our Gospel came to you not simply with words, but with power
                                                                                  i. The Holy Spirit and deep conviction

                                                                               ii. They knew the Holy Spirit was at work because thee Thessalonians lives were changed!
                                                                            iii. If you say you have accepted Jesus Christ, and your life has not changed, if you are still living as you were before, you have a problem.

                                                                              iv. Either you have not accepted the gospel, or you are resisting the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.

                                                                                 v. NO ONE is so good that their lives are not dramatically changed by the presence of the Holy Spirit from Salvation!

1. Scripture is clear, we become NEW CREATURES, NEW CREATIONS, and the old has passed away!

2. If the old has not passed away, you are NOT a new creature nor a new creation!

3. You may bring your baggage to the cross, but if you walk away with your baggage, you are no better off than when you arrived.

b. We lived among you for your sake
                                                                                  i. Not because they had to, but to help them grow Spiritually as examples

c. You became imitators of us and the Lord
                                                                                  i. You welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering
1. They had been rejected by friends and family because of their belief in Jesus as the Messiah

2. However, knowing the Word and Gospel to be true, they welcomes the message of the cross

a. And did so with joy given by the Holy Spirit

                                                                               ii. Doing so, you became a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia

1. Nothing advertises the Gospel better than a changed life!

                                                                            iii. Your faith in God has become known everywhere
1. They were adhering to the Gospel they preached

a. They report of what kind of reception you gave us
                                                                                  i. The Spiritual Fruit produced by the Thessalonians testified to the character of the laborers

b. They tell how you turned to God from idols
                                                                                  i. How you now serve the living and true God

c. They tell how you wait for His Son from heaven whom God raised from the dead
                                                                                  i. The resurrection of Christ guarantees the resurrection of Saints


There is a coming Judgment

It will ultimately come to all who reject Christ and the cross.

But because of the cross, through Jesus Christ, we can be saved from that coming Judgment!

Paul praises the Thessalonians for welcoming the Gospel, receiving it, living by it, producing fruit, and displaying changed lives because of it!

Work produced by faith, labor prompted by love and endurance inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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