Summary: We look at our society and see great confusion about the nature of the church. Is it a worshiping society of people who come together once a week for cold formal pomp and circumstance. . . . Or, is it a place we come for a wild tumultuous emotional rele

God’s Pattern for the Local Church: Thessalonica

TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 1:3-8


1. If you read the paper or watch Television you know that we live in a time of great moral, ethical, political and religious confusion.

2. For example, our nation is now struggling with the question of avowed Homosexuals in the military, in the pulpit and in legally recognized marriages.

3. Our nation seems to be having a great deal of trouble deciding if Sodomy is moral or immoral.

4. Which such confusion on physical matters of this nature, it’s little wonder that there is great confusion in our society concerning supernal subjects like the nature of the church.

5. We look at our society and see great confusion about the nature of the church.

6. Is it a worshiping society of people who come together once a week for cold formal pomp and circumstance. . . . Or, is it a place we come for a wild tumultuous emotional release valve of group therapy with a primordial scream modality of treatment?

7. Hopefully, those of us in the Lord’s church understand that it is neither.

8. We understand the pattern for the Lord’s church is not subject to the cultural or ethical whims of the moment. Rather it is a fellowship of people who have been called out of the world to serve God according the instruction of the New Testament.

9. We know that The Lord left a pattern for the OT. Tabernacle and the Temple. He warned repeatedly that they be careful to build all things according to the pattern

Exodus 25:40 "And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain. Acts 7:44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, Hebrews 8:5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

10. In a similar manner God has left a pattern for the New Testament church.

11. We have preached repeatedly about this subject over the last five years. But, usually we talk about such things as the order of worship. The organization of the church, the seven fold platform of unity revealed in Ephesians 4.

12. But today I would like to discuss the pattern for the church from a different perspective.

13. Topic: God’s Pattern For A Local Church: Thessalonica.


I. The background.

A. The church at Thessalonica was established by Paul during his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1ff.).

B. Paul had preached in the Synagogue for three weeks and had converted a small number of Jews many of the Gentiles and some notable women of the city.

C. We don’t know how long Paul was able to remain in Thessalonica to work with the church there, but 1 Thessalonians seems to indicate that it was longer than the three weeks mentioned in Acts 17.

D. Eventually the Jews were so moved by jealousy at the success of the gospel that they caused a disturbance that lead the temporary detention of some of the new christians and Paul’s hurried departure from this new church.

E. It is clear that Paul had fallen in love with the Thessalonian brethren. He wanted to return but was unable to. So, While he remained in Athens, the sent Timothy back.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:3 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you; even I, Paul, time and again; but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. 3:1 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.

F. As soon as Timothy returned with good news about their condition Paul wrote to them.

1 Thessalonians 3:6-10 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you; 7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?

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