Summary: Discover the essential qualities of a church that consistently experiences the best blessings from God.
Essential Qualities of a Blessed Church (The Church of Thessalonica)
Discover the essential qualities of a church that consistently experiences the best blessings from God. So many churches are failing to enjoy the best of God’s blessings, benefits and bounty because they fail to meet the conditions exemplified in a successful church. We can find these qualities in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonicans:
1. Steadfastness -
I Thes. 1:3 - "Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father."
The New Testament says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" 1 Cor. 15:58). Paul had given rational grounds for faith and hope in Christ, the risen Lord and Savior, and now calls upon these saints to be firm and unshakeable. They now had an understanding as to why they should be steadfast in all that the gospel demanded. This word "steadfast" is here used in a metaphorical sense of those who are fixed in purpose. Again, the same apostle wrote, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel . . . ." (Col. 1:23). The word "settled" translates the same word rendered steadfast" in 1 Cor. 15:58.
The expressed admonition by Paul, writing as the Spirit of God moved him, makes man know his need for firmness. It would seem unthinkable that a condemned sinner coming to know the saving power of God, turning in faith and repentance and being baptized into Christ for the remission of- sins, would then have great difficulty to be firm for the Lord. Yet, this is the very problem experienced -by so many would-be Christians today. Some will not leave alcohol alone; some continue to lie; others continue to steal; and continue in adultery. While the word of God forbids one to do these-things, and condemns the sinner in doing them, many so-called Christians are found engaged in them. The word of God also forbids a Christian to "forsake the assembling" of himself with the saints (Heb. 10:25), but many have no steadfastness in this matter. They can miss assembly after assembly and think there is impunity in such behavior. "Steadfast"? They do not know its meaning.
2. Supplication Oriented -
I Thes. 1:1,2 - "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers."
People who are asking, seeking and knocking while worshiping the Lord are going to enjoy the best of God’s blessings. (Matt. 7:7) Supplication is one of several words in the Bible referring to prayer. The word is found 60 times in the Bible: 39 times in the singular and 21times in the plural; or, 53 times in the Old Testament and seven (7) times in the New Testament. It is a synonym of "prayer" and of the 58 verses where supplication is used, 31 of these verses also have some form of the word pray or prayer.
However, although supplication is prayer, it must have a specific meaning to itself. According to the word history of supplication, it refers to a bending down and indicates a bowing or kneeling in submission. 1 Kings 8:34Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.
"And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven." By extension of this picture, to supplicate is to ask for humbly and earnestly. It refers most to the attitude of our prayer.
As a study aid to help understand the meaning of a Bible word, I often look at other words often found with the word I am studying. The word, supplication, is found seven (7) times in connection with crying out to God (1 Kings 8:28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
2 Chronicles 6:19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
Psalm 28:2Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
Hebrews 5:7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;