Summary: Suffering for the Kingdom of God.
1. Paul was the kind of guy that didn’t quit.
a. His heart LARGE, his energy levels HIGH, his love DEEP.
b. His first calling was to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and share the gospel. When speaking to Ananias Jesus says…
Acts 9.15-16 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake."
SO Paul did just that… he went out and shared the gospel, planted churches, & established leadership.
• Then he would move on to next city. A city, an area w/ a need.
Romans 15.20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation,
• We know now looking back, that God used Him greatly!
• His small, tiny life affected literally millions of souls!
APP: It’s a great encouragement to us who are not looking back, but looking forward.
• If you’re prone to look back this morning…
• THEN what you’ll see is pain & sorrow & regret.
• BUT GOD IS NOT DONE WITH YOU YET…
Phil. 3.12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
NOW: It’s neat to see Paul’s passion & love for all the churches.
• Let’s flip over to 2 Corinthians 11.22-28
• He loved them! He cared for them. He prayed for them.
• And it broke his heart when false teachers & wolves & SIN would enter in after he left to destroy God’s work.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED w/ the church in Thessalonica.
• Paul was there for 3 Sabbaths teaching the young church.
• What a time that must have been as they were taught very deep and significant doctrines.
• But envious men stirred up evil men from the marketplace (Acts 17) and gathered a mob setting the city in an uproar.
• Paul and Silas were sent away to Berea immediately!
SO IN THAT VOID, false teachers with their false teachings arrived.
• The poor little church was confused about the resurrection, the Rapture of the Church, the 2nd Coming of Jesus.
• They were FEARFUL for their loved ones who had died.
• On top of that, they were discouraged by all the persecution.
• And we see, in this 2nd letter, they were also becoming DISOBEDIENT, specifically by refusing to work expecting someone else to take care of them.
• Some of the believers had concluded that the Lord’s coming was SO NEAR, that they ought to just quit their jobs and spend their time waiting for Him, while mooching off the church!
SO WORD of all this reaches Paul again and he pens this letter probably within just a few months, or even a year of the first letter.
• IN CH1, Paul reminds them of God’s goodness and His justice.
• As he deals with their persecutions first.
I. (1:1-4) Your Growing Faith!
1. (1-2) Grace & Peace
a. Paul opened his letters in a typically w/ a powerful greeting.
b. He says, I’m here with Silas & Timothy… and we love you.
c. Grace: ‘Charis’, the Greek greeting of the day.
d. Peace: ‘Shalom’, the Hebrew greeting of then and now.
NOTE: We say ‘HEY’, or ‘What’s Up?’
• But Paul commends them to the grace & peace of God!
• It would be cool if this came back today. Grace! Peace!
NOTICE that it’s GRACE first, then Peace. Always in that order.
• Why? Because you will never really know & experience the PEACE OF GOD unless first you receive His great grace!
APP: I believe that for some of you, God is using that TURMOIL in your hearts & lives to draw you closer to Him.
• So that His grace my be magnified & highlighted & received!
• So that you might wholly depend upon Him & not yourself.
2 Cor. 12.8-9 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.