Introduction to 1 Thessalonians
Sermon shared by Alan Mccann
Summary: An introduction and the church at thessalonica
Series: 1 Thessalonians
Audience: General adults
Labour prompted by love - it is easy to say you love but quite another to love. Love does not stop at the ordinary effort – on the contrary it goes the extra mile and more. Because these people love God in Christ Jesus they are prompted to labour. What Paul is actually speaking about here is self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice of their time, their talents and their resources. Let me ask you a question is your love for God seen in labour, in self-sacrifice? When I look around church this morning I see many of you and I know the sacrifices you make in your daily lives for the sake of the gospel. I know the sacrifice of time, talent and resources that you give to HT. But can I ask us all do we really make sacrifices for the gospel. How about the fact that we need another Sunday School helper, we need a team of people to allow the Sunday School teachers to hear a sermon now and then. We need a home for the second housegroup to meet in. we will all be challenged in the year ahead to make financial sacrifices to build a bigger building. Labour prompted by love.
Endurance inspired by hope – not just a vague hope but hope in the second coming of Christ Jesus. When times are hard these believers kept on hoping. They did not wallow in self-pity, they did not give up when the going got tough – why? Because their hope was not in an easy comfortable life, their hope was in the risen conquering Son of God. Theirs was no earthly hope but a heavenly hope.
You see Paul expected that faith would work, that love would labour and that hope would endure. They were, and are, signs of a Christian life. You see faith without love has no integrity, faith without hope well it loses direction and love without faith slips into sloppy sentimentality. All three are productive in the life of the Christian believer. Paul is impressed by their active Christian living and for this he gives thanks to God for them.
Then in verse 4 he reminds them that God has chosen them. He is confident that God has chosen them because he sees the evidence of Christian faith in their daily living. Transformed lives are one of the undeniable evidences of election. How did this change come about in their lives?
Verse 5 the gospel came to them in words but not simply words. It came in power. They knew it was no emotional trip which they were on. No the gospel came to them not just in words but in power. Words were essential but not sufficient. Think about it for a moment. They heard the gospel, many people do, but they could not respond unless the gospel came in power to them. The plain words of the gospel came with power to their hearts, to their ears, to their eyes, to their minds and they were transformed by the gospel. It came in the power of the Holy Spirit. The word was not only divine it came to them with a deep conviction that it was the Word of God, it was the gospel of Life.
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