Summary: The premise of our subject today comes from 1 Thessalonians 1:6 were Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for being imitators of Jesus. They are such great role models for other Christians and churches to follow that their devotion and mirror image of
Introduction to series: Video Clip from Jeff Foxworthy Bible Question, “Who helped you come to your faith?”
In our clip we have Jeff talking about who it was that implanted the image of Jesus and the Christian faith in his life. He noted that it was the example of His mom. A faithful prayer warrior for the Kingdom, a person who mirrored Jesus love and commitment to prayer.
Thesis: The premise of our subject today comes from 1 Thessalonians 1:6 were Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for being imitators of Jesus. They are such great role models for other Christians and churches to follow that their devotion and mirror image of Jesus was known throughout the region. It all was revealed through their faith, hope and love!
Have Picture of modern day Thessaloniki from my preaching trip there.
Background on Thessalonians:
The letter was written about 21 years after Jesus’ Ascension in Acts 1 and 14 years later after Paul’s dramatic conversion to Christianity.
Acts 17 tells us about how the church was founded – Paul and Silas came preaching the Gospel and started communicating this message to the Jewish people in the synagogues. Paul had received a divine vision of a man from Macedonia inviting Paul to preach the gospel in this region. This vision inspired Paula and Silas to come (see Acts 16:9, 10). The Jews rejected the message as a whole but a lot of Greeks embraced the message and gave their lives over to Jesus some prominent women of the city embraced it as well. Therefore the church birthed in Thessalonica rather quickly about 3 ½ weeks but it was primarily Greeks who converted some of them being nobility. The Jews opposed Paul and Silas and hired a mob of unruly men to cause trouble and then they had Jason the man Paul was staying with brought before the city magistrate and they had him post a bond. All the pressure and persecution by the Jews drove Paul and Silas out of the city. The opposition of the Jews to the preaching of the Gospel of Grace was extreme and dangerous for Paul in this city. But even though Paul and Silas were driven out quickly the church birthed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit impacted these converted Greeks and they ended up becoming imitators of Paul and Jesus and they became role models all over Greece. In spite of the persecution from the Jews the church grew quickly and in dedication to the teachings and to the message of Jesus. The churches reputation of being godly and holy even under persecution spread rapidly across the middle-east. Thessalonica was one of the major cities of trade and a business hub for the entire area for people coming and going in this region. They quickly became a role model to other Christians and churches because they were so committed to being imitators of Jesus. You could say they became well known as a church plant on what to do and not do.
1Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
2We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.
3We continually 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.
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
8The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,
9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Introduction to the Sermon: Reflect His Image!
The key verses of this chapter and our series are found in verse 6-8a: 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.