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Summary: As a Christian serving and following the Lord, where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Still serving?

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“LOOKING IN THREE DIRECTIONS”

(I Thes.1:1-10)

7/15/2005

The background to this church and its beginning is found in Acts 17. Paul was humanly responsible for starting this church…and he only remained there for less than a month.

But the church with its new converts took off at record speed…and quickly developed into a “Model Church” for other churches to go by.

After a period of time…Paul wrote back to these believers…and we have this letter broken down for us into 5 chapters.

Each chapter has a Theme:

1. The Reputation of the church.

2. The Review of the church.

3. The Reassurance of the church

4. The Rapture of the church.

5. The Responsibility of the church.

 The Climax chapter of this book is the 4th chapter…the Rapture of the church.

*1 Thess 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Let me point out 3 things here:

1. The FACT of Christ’s return… “The Lord Himself shall return…”

2. The FEATUERS of Christ’s return… “Shout…Voice…trumpet.”

3. The FORCE of Christ’s return… “the dead in Christ shall rise…”

Just as sure as we believe that Christ came the First time…we believe that He will Return a Second time.

With this fixed firmly in their mind…Paul immediately goes into chapter 5 dealing with the Responsibilities of the church.

(There are 4 responsibilities of the church in view of the Lord’s Return)

1. BE WATCHFUL.

*1 Thess 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

“Sleep” means to be Spiritually Indifferent. In other words…don’t let the Coming of Christ catch you off guard and unprepared.

2. BE JOYFUL.

*1 Thess 5:16, “Rejoice evermore.”

Nothing gives the believer a greator sense of joy than to know that his Lord is coming back for him one day.

3. BE PRAYERFUL.

*Vrs.17, “Pray without ceasing.”

Nothing will keep a Christian closer to his Lord than time that is spent in the Lord’s Presence due to praying.

4. BE FAITHFUL.

*Vrs.21, “…hold fast…”

I see so many Christians…start and then stop. Gain ground and then lose ground. Get on fire for God than cool off.

 There has to be something that causes a Christian to maintain his walk with God on a consistent basis…and I believe the one thing that will do it is…the knowledge that Jesus could return at any moment…and then you and I will find ourselves face to face with God.

• Be Watchful!

• Be Joyful!

• Be Prayerful!

• Be Faithful!

• WHY? Because Jesus is coming back one day!

NOW…let’s go back to chapter 1 and let me show you the Reputation of this church.

#1. IT WAS AN EXEMPLARY CHURCH.

*1 Thess 1:7, “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe….”

Every church has a Reputation …a Testimony…

Every church is an Example of How to do things or how Not to do things.

A church can be a Good example or it can be a Bad example.

#2. IT WAS AN ENTHUSIASTICE CHURCH.

*1 Thess 1:8, For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad;

The Saving Grace of God stirred their hearts and Thrilled their souls so much that they went Everywhere telling Everyone about the Good News of the Gospel.

#3. IT WAS AN EXPECTANT CHURCH.

*1 Thess 1:10, And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come

They Expected the Lord to return!

They Looked for the Lord to return!

#4. IT WAS AN ENERGETIC CHURCH.

*1 Thess 1:3, Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

 One reason this church was a “Model Church” was because they Worked at it!

They were Serious.

They were Dedicated to the task.

They were Committed to the cause.

They were Loyal to the Lord.

Here’s my Question:

How did thy maintain this level of commitment?

Within a matter of weeks or a month we will be moving across our Red Sea to claim new territory for the Lord.

IF we are going to get anywhere for the Lord…it is going to require Work, Labor, and Patience on our part just as it did on the part of the Thessalonians.

We are going to have to WORK…LABOR…and WAIT on the Lord .

• Its going to require a lot of Dedication.

• Its going to require a lot of Commitment.

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