Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the 1 Thessalonians series, "Encouragement". What does the Model Church look like?

Series: Encouragement [#1]


1 Thessalonians 1:1-4


As I talk with Tharon often about his health, I hate that I passed some of those genetic traits to him. The truth is, we all pass things on to our children whether it be a genetic trait, a behavioral issue, or a birthmark. I have noticed that this generation is ok with birthmarks. Through the years, many people have spent a lot of money or a lot of time covering up birthmarks; but now it seems acceptable. Birthmarks are not a curse; but are outward evidences of your family.

As we begin a new series from the Book of 1 Thessalonians, I want us to look at the background and history of Thessalonica. 1 Thessalonians is likely the 1st Epistle Paul wrote; though some think Galatians was written earlier. Paul had been to several places. He had been beaten, thrown into jail, ran out of town, etc… He moved on to Thessalonica, 1 of the most important cities in all Macedonia. Running through the City of Thessalonica was the Egnatian Way- A superhighway of the day, tying the east and west together. There is no place in early Christendom that was as significant for spreading the Gospel than Thessalonica. The Church planted there could extend its message to the east and the west, (even to Rome itself); and that is exactly what happened.

In Thessalonica, the Apostle experienced both tremendous success and great opposition. He went to the synagogue, (which was his pattern); and told the worshipers about Christ. He was there for 3 Sabbaths, (some think that was his entire length of time in Thessalonica). It may have been slightly longer, as 3 Sabbaths may refer just to the length of time he was in the synagogue. At most, he was there only a few months. Although he left Thessalonica, he was concerned for the new Church that he had planted there.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 (NIV)

6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

Paul says that this Church had become a model to all of the believers around them. Christians, there should be birthmarks that show who we belong to.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 (NIV)

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.

A birthmark of a model Church is…

1. Grace and peace.

A Church that does not extend grace to others is a Church that does not experience peace. Grace is receiving something that we do not deserve. Christians, salvation is because of the grace of God. We have done nothing to earn our salvation and we should remember that as we minister to people. Peace comes when we trust God no matter what is going on around us.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV)

2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A birthmark of a model Church is…

2. Works produced by faith.

We are not saved by works; but our faith in Jesus Christ should produce works. There should be evidence in a congregation of their faith in Christ. The Church is not here to serve itself; but to serve those who God has placed in our path.

A birthmark of a model Church is…

3. Labor prompted by love.

Not only should our faith in Christ produce good works; but our works should be motivated by love. It is God’s love for us that put a perfect Jesus on the cross. It is only through God’s love that we can serve all people.

A birthmark of a model Church is…

4. Endurance inspired by hope.

The Book of 1 Thessalonians discusses the 2nd coming of Jesus often. It is our hope of eternity with God that helps us keep pushing through. It is a hope that you know will happen, you just do not know when. When you feel stuck in life and don’t think you can keep going; remember what lies ahead for you in Heaven.


1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NIV)

4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.

When we studied the Book of Ephesians, we talked about election and predestination. This verse says that God has chosen you. Remember that salvation is a choice that the individual makes. Yes, God knows who will be saved and who will not be saved; but He is not choosing. God chose to send Jesus to this Earth in the form of a man so that He could redeem mankind. God knew that was going to happen before He even created us. God wants all to be saved; but it is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be saved.