Summary: A sermon on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 as a challenge to the church for the new year

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Sermon for 12/28/2003

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8


William Wilberforce was born in 1759. In 1780 he was elected to the House of Commons in the English Parliament. James Boswell called him a shrimp because he was so short. But in 1807 the little representative of Yorkshire sat stunned as the entire House of Commons rose to honor him for his relentless battle in Parliament for over two decades against the English slave trade. Mr. Wilberforce endured 20 years of defeat after defeat in Parliament

Where did Wilberforce get the strength to press on in a seemingly hopeless dream of abolition for over twenty years of setbacks? At least part of the answer is that in 1792 Henry Thornton founded a new community of evangelical politicians and churchmen who lived and worshipped together in the community of Clapham near Parliament. They became known as the Clapham sect and were derisively called the "saints" by their opponents.

William Wilberforce was one of these “saints”. They were devout Christians. They were political conservatives, and for the most part wealthy. But they spent their wealth solving human problems and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They created institutions for Christian missions and humanitarian services. And they were passionately committed to the abolition of the slave trade. And they stirred each other up to love and good works!

How did Wilberforce hang tough for twenty years of setbacks? He banded together with some brothers. And he shared the passion of his own soul. And in that Clapham community, soul to soul, they kept each other hot until the victory came.

Where the gospel flourishes people share their own soul. And where souls are knit together in the cause of Christ there is power for the long hard ventures of ministry


A. Discussion of 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8:

1. Mother imagery

a. It takes time and energy to care for children. Paul did not turn his converts over to baby-sitters; he made sacrifices and cared for them himself. He did not win them to the Lord and then leave them high and dry.

b. Paul had patience with the new Christians. Children do not grow up instantly. Paul’s love for them made him patient.

c. Paul nourished them. A nursing mother imparts her own life to her child. You cannot be a nursing mother and turn your baby over to someone else.

d. The nursing mother eats the food and transforms it into mild for the baby. The mature Christian feeds on the Word of God and then shares its nourishment with the younger believers so they can grow. A nursing child can become ill through reaction to something the mother had eaten.

f. A mother also protects her child.

2. Paul was willing to give not only the Gospel but his own life as well. His love for the Thessalonians was so great he would die for them if necessary. He shared his life with them. Find out more about this in upcoming weeks.

B. This is our purpose statement.

1. Give history. (On Sunday night, put in a few words the essence of our mission)

2. Scripture. Went over many Scriptures, this one most popular

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