Summary: Sermon from I Thessalonians 2 - encouraging the church to keep pressing on.

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“It’s Not in Vain”

1 Thessalonians Series – Black Creek

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

The first part of studying the book of 1 Thessalonians led us to seeing that Paul was encouraging and lifting up the members of the body of Christ in Thessalonica. He challenged the church and through his words – challenged us to the following six things:

I. Are we a community rooted in God’s grace, love, and election

II. Are we a community committed to Jesus Christ

III. Are we a community that is empowered by the Holy Spirit

IV. Are we a community that bears witness to the gospel

• Both in how we bear witness and in how we do it

V. Are we a community characterized by faith, love, and hope

VI. Are we a community clearly differentiated from other religions

Through these six points – we see an established foundation upon which Paul has lead the Thessalonican church – WITHOUT THE GRACE, MERCY, AND LOVE OF GOD – The church WOULD NOT EXIST. Also, WITHOUT THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – The church WOULD NOT EXIST.

It would be a social club – instead of a soul-winning station. Just this week, Pastor Bryant Wright posted in his one minute devotion the following: Note this as it is on the screen this AM:

The Local Church and the Neighborhood Bar

"...not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:25

Have you ever thought of the similarities of the local church and the neighborhood bar?

In both places:

...people come looking for fellowship;

...people go where others know their name;

...people go where they are accepted;

...people go where their spirits will be lifted;

...people are united around one theme;

...people go where they like the music.

Like a priest or pastor, the bartender serves by listening to people's troubles. But the differences are profound. The bar is centered on booze and the church is centered on Jesus Christ. The bar offers a way to escape problems. The church offers a way to face them, get through them, and overcome them. The spirit inside the bar lowers one's guard when it comes to temptation and sin. The spirit of the true church encourages people to turn from sin and turn to God.

The bar may be a substitute for the environment of the church, but it never comes close to providing the meaning and purpose found in a Christ-centered church.

This morning, we take the next step in our journey through 1 Thessalonians. We see Paul in the mode of defense. He is defending his team’s work in Thessalonica. Satan is always ready to slander a true man of God. Satan is never happy when a church is moving forward. Satan is never happy when an individual is truly serving the one true God.

Today – through God’s Word – I show you – why – Serving God IS NOT IN VAIN!

TEXT – 1 Thess 2:1-12 – note Reg – use the KJV for the text reading, but use the NIV as we develop the theme.

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