Summary: Paul's instructions to the Thessalonians on sharing the Gospel.
I don’t know about you, but the spreading of the Gospel and the growth of the church from the day Jesus said: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church” amazes me. It amazes me because of how the Gospel and the church spread from that little area of the Mediterranean to the world…There has been many discussions and wrestling over the Scriptures from the time of Christ till now.
Our Church Fathers have had many “council meetings” to discuss the Scriptures. There was the Nicene Council, the Council of Constantinople, council of Ephesus, four Lateran Councils, and the council of Lyons 1 and 2. There have been great controversies and separations.
There was the split in the Catholic church in 1054 were there became two sides…the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox churches. There was further splitting within the Orthodox faction and eventually also in the Catholic Church. In 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on church doors at Wittenberg Castle, Germany. He was a Priest in the Roman Catholic Church that started to question the churches power and miss interpretation of Scripture and thus began the Protestant church.
Since that time we have further developed as people continued to study the Scriptures. Some have interpreted some of the things differently and so we have the many denominations. Most of these differences within the protestant church do not have to do with the essentials of salvation, but may have to do with understanding the Scriptures on the different ways to baptise, understanding the difference between man’s free will and God’s sovereignty and on other fundamentals and not so fundamental…
- Luther was the beginning of the Lutheran church
- There was a Roman Catholic Priest named Menno Simmons who questioned the Catholic church also and the Anabaptist movement was started from where the Mennonite Church was came from
- The Church of England (Anglican) was formed in 1530 when the King of England split ways with the Pope because the Pope would not grant him a divorce
- John Smyth an Church of England priest broke ranks to form the first Baptist Church
- John Wesley, a Church of England priest started seeing the scriptures in a different way and Methodism was born
- And our own bit of history was the church of the Nazarene came out of the Methodist movement as our forefathers and mothers got back to the root teachings of John Wesley.
And during the reformation and beginning of Protestantism the New world was being discovered…North America….And… it became a new place where people could have a new life. Many who were experiencing their new Protestant faith found a new life in North America and that is how Christianity came to North America…And we are still making history today…
Since that time we have continued to see new denominations form…There have even been cults that distort the Scriptures pop up everywhere…So why the history lesson? Other than that I am a history nerd!!!!
We are currently studying the First Letter to the Thessalonian Church. This church was north of Greece and Christianity grew from there to Europe and England! Our Christianity here in North America, likely had roots to the Thessalonian Church of 2000 years ago!
How did Christianity grow from Thessalonica? How can Christianity grow from us? This is the topic for us this morning, “How should we share our faith?” Although the main purpose of the First Letter to the Thessalonians was to encourage the Christians in spite of persecution, we will note from Chapter 2 how Paul, Silas, and Timothy shared the Gospel effectively. And it was a success for God! Let us be a success for God as well!
Let’s read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13:
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results.2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.
3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children[a]among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.