7 Ingredients from the Thessalonica Community church
Sermon shared by Alan Balatbat
Summary: The good news that Timothy reported to Paul prompted him to write this first letter to the Thessalonians. I trust that as we look at some of the basic principles in the epistle to the Thessalonians, the Lord will help you to see what He desires from you a
Audience: General adults
Quote: A. W. Tozer said that if a hundred pianos were merely tuned to each other, their pitch would not be very accurate. But if they were all tuned to one tuning fork, they would automatically be tuned to each other. Similarly, unity in the church isn’t the result of running around and adjusting to everyone else. The Thessalonian church was surrendered to Christlikeness.
3. A SUFFERING CHURCH
First Thessalonians 1:6 says, “Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.” The Thessalonian church didn’t have it easy. In fact, any church that is saved and surrendered to Christ is going to have a difficult time. As soon as the Thessalonian assembly had begun, they experienced opposition. Acts 17 records what happened: “The Jews who believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain vile fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them [Paul, Silas, and Timothy] out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come here also” (vv. 5–6). Persecution began immediately for that church.
First Thessalonians 2:14–16 reviews the persecution the church had experienced: “Ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus; for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”
The church that is saved and surrendered to Christ is going to antagonize the world. Consequently, suffering will come. Jesus put it this way: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.… If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18, 20). Wouldn’t it be great to be persecuted for being Christlike because you’ve turned the world upside down? If unbelievers got irritated about your church (assuming that it wasn’t for being unnecessarily offensive), it would probably mean that it was correctly preaching the gospel in a manner that exposes sin. The church that confronts the world is going to suffer. Tradition records that eleven out of the twelve apostles were martyred.
4. A SOUL-WINNING CHURCH
The Thessalonian church had a marvelous twofold testimony. The first way they spread the gospel was by living exemplary lives. Paul said of them, “Ye were an example to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thess. 1:7). Other people could look at the Thessalonian church and say, “That’s the way we ought to be living.” Amazingly, it took the Thessalonians only two weeks to establish a lifestyle that was surrendered to Christ. Once they had done that, everything happened. It isn’t the programs or creativity that gives a church a credible testimony. It is each member’s Christlikeness.
The Thessalonians were like Jesus Christ. They set a pattern for everyone else, including believers. Chapter 1 shows how the believers in Macedonia and Achaia responded to the Thessalonians’
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