Summary: A sermon on the 2nd Lesson Faith and Hope
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
"Faith and Hope"
"Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
"In the west during the torrential spring rains, the rivers frequently rise and flood the lowlands. There was a little girl who lived In the valley of one of these mighty rivers and one weekend "he was going with her parents to visit friends. As she was packing, she placed her dearest possession in her suitcase---a little rag doll. She had made it with her own hands and cared for it with a mother’s love. But her masher told her she could not bring it with her because it was too dirty, threadbare and falling apart. Reluctantly, she left it home.
Over the weekend, a sudden storm kilt the valley and the river reached over it banks and flooded all the homes The little girl stood on the hillside looking down into the flooded valley, all she could think of was her little rag doll. When she could return home she rushed into her room, and her worst fear was realized--the flood had washed away her little rag doll.
One day while she was in town, she happened to pass a salvage store where objects found in the muddy debris were sold to raise money for the flood victims To her surprise and overwhelming joy, there wee her little rag doll with a price tag on it---25 cent. She had not money of her own, she went back home and helped her mother clean up. She earned a few pennies, she also helped the neighbors and earned a few more pennies. Finally, she had her 25 cents. She rushed to the store and placed her little sacrifice on the counter and claimed her doll. AY she walked from the store clutching her treasure in her arms, she was heard to say, "I made you, I lost you, I bought you back and now your are really mine !!"!!!!"
This story reminds us who we are. We are God’s vhildren saved through Christ. He made, he saved us, we are His.
The story is a good illustration of our second lesson from I Thessalonians. Paul is thankful they have kept their faith in Jesus Christ. He says, "For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction."
He knows the message of Christ has come to them and Paul knows how difficult it is for them to remain in Christ, so he prays for them. He says, "We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers." As he prays for these people, he recalls, he remembers how they have worked to remain faithful to Christ. He says: "remembering before our God and Father your work of faith, and labor of love andsteadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
This morning I want to focus on those phrases as we think about our faith, as we remember each other in prayer, and as we uphold each other in faith. I want you to be clear though, we are not speaking of salvation, we are speaking about remaining faithful to the salvation message God brought to us through the Spirit as He accomplished it through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Faith, is at the same time, our work and the work of the Holy Spirit.