Summary: A discussion based exploration and exposition of 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
The Church that Made an Impact: WHY the Thessalonian Church Made an Impact
Series: 1 Thessalonians
NOTE: This is the fourth lesson of an extended Bible study of the book of 1 Thessalonians. Each lesson includes discussion questions. Some are open ended questions which require no guidance or correction designed to just get the participants thinking. Some offer suggested possible answers to make sure they are included in the discussion, or correct answers for questions that have only right or wrong answers. Most lessons extend over more than one week; some several weeks if the discussion is good.
TEXT: Read all of 1 Thessalonians 1.
In the last few weeks we have been looking at a church that made a tremendous impact. Note verse 7 – “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.”
You will recall that the word ensamples is the Greek word tupos, which literally means “an impression; the mark of a blow; the impress of a seal; the stamp made by a die.” So Paul was not just saying that they had been GOOD EXAMPLES, though they were that. He was saying that they had made a GREAT IMPACT, or a DEEP IMPRESSION, upon all the believers throughout all the regions of Macedonia and Achaia. The church at Thessalonica was not a mediocre church, but a dynamic one that made a deep impression both on those in the church and those outside.
Over the last two weeks we examined HOW they made an impact. It was a church that made an impact in five ways:
1) First, it had a mind to work – Verses 2-3 – “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”
2) Second, it had joy in the midst of problems – Verse 6 – “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
3) Third, it was bold and excited about being saved – Verse 8 – “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.”
4) Fourth, there had been a dramatic change in the lives of its members – Verse 9 – “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
5) Lastly, the church of Thessalonica looked with anticipation and expectation for the Lord’s return – Verse 10 – “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
These deal with HOW the church of Thessalonica made such an impact. But I like to dig deeper and examine WHY things are the way they are. So, let’s now consider WHY this church made such a profound impact.
In chapter 1 of 1 Thessalonians, we see two keys that unlock the door to the greatness of the church at Thessalonica:
I. NUMBER ONE, THEY WERE RECEPTIVE TO THE WORD OF GOD
B. Let’s look at three verses in chapter 1 that mention their receptivity to God’s Word:
1. The first is in verse 5 – “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.”
2. Look also at verse 6 – “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
3. Now let’s go over to chapter 2 and look also at 2:13 – “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
D. These verses reveal to us the keen receptivity the Thessalonian church had to God’s Word.
E. Remember this: Grace Baptist Church will only be as good as its members are receptive and open to the Word of God.
F. Also, personally, YOU will only succeed in your Christian life insofar a you are receptive to the Bible.
H. In regard to their openness to receive God’s Word, let’s note three attitudes the Thessalonians had: