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Summary: A healthy church will have a deepening faith which produces wonderful works!

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1. It’s sad to think of what Thessalonica was like without a church… without a light… without the hope of the gospel.

• What would they do about their sin? What would be their standard for right behaviors, for spiritual things?

• How would their homes stay strong? Their kids?

• Where would they spend eternity? Do they care? Do they know?

• But God had a plan for this thriving city… He was going to reach it through team of believers with a leader named Paul.

• Through His servants Paul & Silas God would raise up a church, a local body of believers to reach this city – One AT A TIME.

NOTE: I love the NT MODEL for the planting of a church.

• You go into a fresh area, an area where there is a NEED and you faithfully preach the gospel & teach the believers.

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,

• SO You hit the streets, the workplace, the airwaves & give forth God’s Word – Preaching & Teaching & Pastoring.

• And God Himself, raises up a local body of believers.

• People get saved, their lives change, and a church is born!

• It doesn’t take years to establish a church.

• In Thessalonica, remember, it took a matter of weeks!

NOTE: That’s one thing I love about our church.

• This fellowship was established quickly.

• God provided an army of willing, teachable, faithful saints

• And He’s bringing more & more of you into this family!

• Just as many of you have been saved and established quickly.

• God’s doing a wonderful work in these last days and isn’t it exciting to be a part of it!? – Let’s flip to Acts 2.16ff

• I see so many of you growing and serving and hungering for the Word of God and for holiness!

Matthew 5.6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

APP: You can grow in the Lord quickly, mature rapidly!

• It doesn’t have to take 20-30-50 years to grow in the Lord!

• You can have an understanding of the Word, you can be anointed by the Spirit if your heart is right and the Lord is in it!

• Just dive into the Word. Devour it. Take it in. Act on it.

Acts 2.42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Committed themselves (MSG), devoted themselves (NLT), spent their time (NCV)

NOTE: The church in Thessalonica DID WELL as they become our model for a young, thriving, and enduring fellowship!

I. (1.1-4) STRONG FOUNDATION

1. (1) Grace and Peace…

a. When a letter was written in ancient times, it didn’t start out with Dear Thessalonians…

b. Instead, the Greeks would always begin their letters with the salutation at the beginning and also at the end.

I like that. I think we should come back to that. I guess we have a little with e-mail as you know in the header who wrote it.

• But I know as soon as I get a letter, the first thing I do is look to see who it is from. Then I’ll understand the rest.

• This letter is addressed “to the church”.

THE CHURCH is not a building. For the last 5 years we’ve learned that personally & practically meeting in this school.

• The building we’re in is NOT THE CHURCH. You are.

• The building serves us we don’t serve the building!

• Word for church, “ecclesia” literally means “Called out ones”

• The Church is a group of people called out of the world!

• When you leave this place, you take the church with you.

SO WHAT MAKES A CHURCH STRONG? What are some signs of a church that is healthy, mature, and growing?

• They were a faithful, loving, & patient church.

• And it all began in v5. Let’s start there.

1. (5) The Word in Power

a. The word came in power! The Holy Spirit was on the move!

b. That’s what Paul had to give them, the Word.

Acts 17.1-2 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

c. And they faithfully responded to what they heard!

SO What happens when the Holy Spirit moves in the Word?

• Lives change; every single time. People begin to see their lives from God’s perspective and change takes place!

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