The Ideal Church
I Thessalonians 1
This is Paul's earliest writing of at least thirteen books. But you couldn’t tell it. It may have been a first draft but that made no difference for he wasn’t the real author. That’s inspiration...perfection from the very beginning to the end. And this book is about the ideal. The ideal church, the ideal servants, the ideal discipleship, and the ideal walk.
The city had originally been call "Therma". There were hot springs there.
Alexander The Great changed it to “Thessalonica” after his half sister. Sounds like a lovely girl!
Paul's vision of the Macedonian man brought him to Philippi. Lydia, a demon possessed girl, and the jailer were saved. Being forced out of town, Paul, Silas, & Timothy came to Thessalonica. Their ministry was primarily to slaves and working class people.
He wrote this letter to encourage and strengthen them. His theme is the ministry and service to the Lord in a local church in light of the coming of the Lord. The coming of the Lord is mentioned in every chapter of I & II Thess.
Paul knew that Prophetic truth would motivate them to practical service.
Doctrine gives direction. The word directs our walk.
Belief determines behavior. Creed leads our conduct.
There is an interesting contrast between I & II Thessalonians.
1st. Thess. 2nd Thess.
1. Coming in the air 1. Coming to the earth
2. Coming for the saints 2. Coming with the saints
3. Day of Christ 3. Day of the Lord
4. Could be today 4. Could only be 7 years from now.
Acts 17 tells of the inception of this church. Paul preached there for 3 weeks and got a church going. Unbelievers started a revolt, calling the disciples “these that have turned the world upside down” [what a testimony!]
Why are they the ideal church?
Notice the word ‘in’ back in v. 1
Jn. 15:1 "in the vine"
I Cor. 12 "in" Christ."
Col. 3:3 "w/Christ in God."
I. THEIR ENERGY. V. 3
A. Their work of faith. V. 9 proved they had been saved! Nice when you can ‘tell’ someone is saved.
B. Their labor of love.
C. Their hope & endurance.
Faith directed toward God.
Love directed toward others.
Hope directed toward the future.
Faith draws us closer to God.
Love draws us into the world.
Hope draws us toward His coming.
Faith works. "work of faith"
Love labors. "labor of love"
Hope endures. "patience of hope"
II. THEIR ELECTION. V. 4, 5
So which is true, predestination or decision? I say both!
In God the Father’s mind you were saved before the foundation of the world.
In Jesus’ mind you were saved at Calvary.
In the Spirit’s mind you were saved when you made the decision.
God has foreknowledge of who will be saved, but we don’t, so we must seek the lost!
God chooses to save all who choose Him. God elects all those who elect to call upon Him! He draws all who draw nigh!
III. THEIR EXAMPLE. V. 7
They followed an example of the disciples in v. 6, and then became an example. Their testimony went far and wide. We need to be examples, not just preachers.
Ill.—you can pull a rope behind you, but you can’t push it! Lead the way, give people good steps to follow in! Shepherd, not rancher.
IV. THEIR ENTHUSIAM. V. 8
“Famous for the gospel” – the world doesn’t have to like us, but they can’t ignore us!
“Sounded out” is the idea of blowing a trumpet. Enthusiasm comes from the Greek words ‘en theos’ = in God!
Ill.—A bee’s stinger is 1/16th of an inch long...the rest of what you feel is enthusiasm!
Ill.—a man w/ too much enthusiasm: the storekeeper had only 1 fish left in his icy barrel. A lady asked for a big fish and he reached in and showed it to her. She wanted a bigger one so he reached in and grabbed it again and said w/ enthusiasm, how about this one?! She wanted something bigger so he grabbed it again and jumped up and down w/ his find. She said, they’re all a little small...I guess I’ll take all 3!
“We need not to speak any thing” – it speaks for itself, your enthusiasm!
We don’t have to advertise as much as we have to just be the right thing. We can pump ourselves up and spin the situation all we want but we should put more energy into what we are, and that will attract others.
Ill.—lots of companies want us to advertise our website, but we don’t have to, we have the best free advertising you can get, better than anything we can pay for...because search engines rank us at the top because so many others use it worldwide. That’s a million word of mouth recommendations and it happens just because of what we are!
V. THEIR EXPECTANCY. V. 10.
They knew Jesus was coming and they lived in the light of that coming.
The Bible is full of prophetic teachings. Not just Revelation, but cover to cover! I love preaching prophetic messages. One person thanked me for my ‘pathetic messages’!
Liberals try to say Christ is not coming back in judgment, but to take everyone to heaven. They say, we can’t find any rapture in the Bible, you can’t get that out of the Scriptures. You better believe you can’t get it out, it’s there to stay!
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