Summary: This is the 4th sermon in the 1 Thessalonians series, "Encouragement". What does the Model Church look like?
Series: Encouragement [#4]
RESOURCES OF A MODEL CHURCH
It was not easy to be a Christian in Thessalonica where people suffered persecution. Yet, in the midst of this suffering; the Thessalonian Christians experienced joy. Churches do experience “growing pains” as they seek to win the lost and glorify the Lord. Here, Paul shows us the resources we have in times of suffering and persecution.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NIV)
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
1. Word within us.
The Church is founded on the Word of God- The Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The same Word that brings us salvation also enables us to live for Christ and endure suffering for His sake.
? Appreciate the Word.
They did not receive the Word as the word of men; but as the Word of God. We must never treat the Bible as just another book. It is the Word of God. God’s Word is holy, pure, and perfect. The way a Christian treats his Bible shows how he regards Jesus Christ. There is a 2nd attitude we must show toward the Bible.
? Appropriate the Word.
Paul used 2 different words for “received”- The 1st means “to accept from another”; while the 2nd means “to welcome.” 1 means “the hearing of the ear”; while the other means “the hearing of the heart”. These believers not only heard the Word, they took it into their hearts and made it a part of their lives.
? Apply the Word.
They obeyed the Word by faith, and the Word went to work in their lives. It is not enough to appreciate the Bible, or even to appropriate the Bible. We must apply the Word in our lives and be hearers and doers of the Word. There is great power in the Christian who applies the Word to his life.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (NIV)
14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
2. People around us.
Paul encouraged the suffering Christians by assuring them that their experiences were not new or isolated. We need each other as a source of encouragement during tough times. There are many people here today that have been through some tough things and you could be a great encourager for those that are going through similar situations. I say this all of the time; but Christians need other Christians for encouragement.
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 (NIV)
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you- certainly I, Paul, did, again and again- but Satan blocked our way.19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
3. Glory before us.
Paul is telling us we must persist despite problems. Don’t forget, in the end we will be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Heaven. God will work in you and through you if you will allow Him to. Christians, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. We have no excuses.
Christians, we have so many resources available to us. Are using them?