Summary: An example can be a powerfully driving force, even an ancient example like that of the Thessalonians.

Spontaneous Combustion

(I Thessalonians 1:7-10)

1. Many people believe in the theory of Spontaneous Human Combustion. Others say it is merely an urban legend.

2. According to an article from Wikipedia, those who believe that Spontaneous Human Combustion is true describe some of their observations:

According to believers, "...the phenomenon known as spontaneous human combustion may result in simple burns and blisters to the skin, smoking, or a complete incineration of the body. The latter is the form most often ’recognized’ as SHC. There are many characteristics that together distinguish alleged SHC from other forms of fire.

-1. The fire seems to have been generated spontaneously without any observable source of ignition.

-1. Fire damage is usually localized to the body of the victim. Furniture and appliances near the victim are usually left untouched.

-1. The body of the victim is usually more severely burned than in a normal house fire.

-1. The majority of the cases of alleged SHC have occurred indoors.

Due to the high temperature yet localized nature of the fire, hot air exposure can damage objects high above the fire."

3. Whether people simply ignite without cause is a matter of debate. But in the spiritual realm, it happens every day as believers in Christ who are burning with zeal bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. The Thessalonian believers were an example of Spontaneous Combustion in the Spiritual Realm.

Main Idea: An example can be a powerfully driving force, even an ancient example like that of the Thessalonians.

I. Their Example SHARING the Gospel Verbally (7-8)

A. In all GREECE (7)

B. God’s WORD (8a)

e)xhxe/omai "to sound forth, to sound out. The word suggests an echoing like thunder or sounding out as a trumpet"


--- a figure of speech (hyperbole) we might say "all over the place"

---so that we need not say anything

D. When my mother married my dad, she did know not how to cook. My grandmother on my mom’s side left her home in Poland to work in the salt mines of Germany at age 13 because she could not get along with her step mother. She never learned to cook. But my mom became an excellent cook.

When we were first married, Marylu could not cook much. Her mom did not like to cook, so she asked my mom for advice. My mom said, "With all the cook books around today, if you can read, you can cook." Almost 27 years ago, Marylu began reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows on TV. Right now she has a new cook book out from the library. She hasn’t stopped. If you can read, you can cook.

The same is true with witnessing. When was the last time you shared the message of salvation with a friend or relative? Never? More than 5 years ago? The easy way is to read over the 4 Spiritual Laws with them. If you can read, you can witness.

An example can be a powerfully driving force, even an ancient example like that of the Thessalonians.

II. Their Example of REPENTANCE in Action (9-10a)

A. An eagerness to RECEIVE (9a)

B. Dramatic CHANGE (9b-10a)

1. From IDOLS

• Before we get to less literal idols, we must talk about literal ones

• Literal idolatry is a problem

• If we think God is specially present because of an object, or we think that an object is spiritually powerful, we have an idolatry issue

• Picture of Jesus, even a Bible

• If you think a St. Christopher’s medal or a religious picture hung over a doorway or a cross around your neck is going to protect you, you have a literal idolatry issue to address;

2. To GOD

3. Now since the term "idol" is used in contrast to God in a black and white fashion, there is also a sense in which anything we freely choose that replaces our dedication to God can become an idol

Ephesians 5:5 reads, "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

An idol can be something that in itself is good -- but if it displaces the primacy of God in your life, it is an idol… let me repeat that…

An example can be a powerfully driving force, even an ancient example like that of the Thessalonians.

III. Their Example of a JESUS Focus (10b)

A. They were waiting for JESUS

1. You wait for someone You expect

2. You wait for someone You anticipate seeing (vs. dread)

3. Waiting for Jesus implies you are living to please Him, to serve Him, and are eager to hear Him say, "well done -- I am proud of you."

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