Summary: In this introduction to 1 Thessalonians, we see the qualities which make this a good church.
First impressions are lasting impressions.
Have you ever had a first impression that was dramatically wrong. Your first impression was one in which you were sure that this individual had no hope. Then as you got to know them, they were the ones who actually came through in the crunch.
Such is the case with the church in Thessalonica.
Background - Negative impression
Acts 16:6-10 - call to Macedonia
Act 16:11-40 Philippi
Acts 17 - Thessalonica
Thriving seaport - the most important in the Roman province of Macedonia. Sat on the Egnatian way the major east-west highway of the Roman Empire. Cosmopolitan population of 250,000. Large enough Jewish population to support a synagogue.
It was a free city - it was not occupied by Roman soldiers.
Initial Contact 17:1-4
More Trouble 17:13-15
Introduction - A good church 1:1-3
Three characteristics of a good church
Faith, hope and love
A. work produced by faith - their faith was evidenced in their works
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
NIV Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
B. Labour prompted by love - agape love that caused them to labour
labour - strenuous, wearying toil done to the point of exhaustion
by this shall all men know that you are my disciples
C. your endurance inspired by hope - staying under pressure
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
13 while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Hebrews 6:18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,
20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.