Summary: In our culture we call most people we have frequent contact with "Friends." In this message of Love we'll learn what "True Friendship" is according to biblical standards.
For those of you who weren’t here with us last week, we finished off the book of Daniel.
• It was a wonderful book to teach, and I hope that all of us had our faith strengthened as a result of this book. (Elaborate)
• Now this morning we’re going to start the book of Thessalonians.
• And Thessalonians is a book that will help us to see the outcome of a life lived wholeheartedly unto Jesus. (Elaborate)
• Now the book of Thessalonians will also teach us about the Rapture as we’ll see when we get to 1st Thessalonians Chapter 4.
• And I can’t wait to teach it.
• But for this morning, let me give you an overview of what we can expect to learn about from 1st & 2nd Thessalonians.
First of all we know that 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, along with Galatians were the first letters written by the Apostle Paul approximately twenty years after Jesus’ Resurrection.
• So now we know when Paul wrote Thessalonians, but why did he write it?
• Well, Paul had just been delivered miraculously from a Philippian prison according to Acts 16.
• And after he was delivered Paul heads down to Thessalonica where he starts a church, appoints elders, and helps the ministry take root.
• He did all of this in the space of 3 weeks according to Acts 17:2.
• Now some may say, “Wow! How could he get a ministry started and be an effective ministry in only three weeks?”
• Hey, when God wants something done, he can lead a person to do it in a very short time span! (Elaborate)
• In fact, let me read you a story from Calvary Chapel Pastor Jon Courson who experienced this very thing early on in his own ministry.
QUOTE: Our first youth pastor was a California-transplanted hippy who got saved and baptized at our first Bible study at Yale Creek. About two months later, he said, “Jon, I am so thrilled with what God is showing me that I want to teach the kids.” Smelling cigarettes on his breath, I said, “If you’ll never smoke another cigarette, you can be our youth pastor.” “Okay,” he said. Dave stopped smoking that day and became our youth pastor. He is now pastoring a Four Square Church in Washington State.” I look back now and wonder if I was crazy to put a guy on the ministry team who looked like Charles Manson and smoked constantly. Yet Dave was, and continues to be, an example of how the Spirit of the Lord can change a person from within and blow conventionality right out the window. I’m not suggesting we put every three-week-old Christian in a position of leadership. I am saying that in certain times and places, it can happen. END QUOTE (Elaborate: We must be led of the Spirit and not by man’s wisdom or customs)
Now when we look back at what Paul did in Thessalonica, we see that he too was led by the Holy Spirit.
• You see, the Holy Spirit knew that Paul needed to plant and nurture this church very quickly.
• But why? Because at the end of those three weeks Paul would be driven out of Thessalonica.
• But during those amazing three weeks Paul saw people saved, discipled, and ordained for the ministry.
• Today, we too as believers should also desire and long to be led in the same way by the Spirit of God. (Elaborate)
• Listen folks, don’t ever think that you’re too young in age, or in your faith to be used by the Lord.
• Jesus knows if your heart is right.
And if it is, the Lord has a place for you to serve Him! We need to believe this folks! (Elaborate)
• So after some time Paul being curious about how the Thessalonians were doing, and wanting to encourage them about the Lord’s coming,
Paul writes these two letters we’ll be studying, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians.
• We can learn something very valuable from what Paul does here.
• And that’s to do our best to continue to encourage those who are young in their faith and ministry. (Elaborate)
So what does Paul tell Thessalonians in these two letters? Well, let me give you an outline.
1. In 1st Thessalonians chapters 1-3 Paul shares with them about when he was with them and how he enjoyed living among them, and staying in close communion with them in the Lord.
2. Then in the first part of Chapter 4 Paul refocuses the Thessalonians present circumstances by encouraging them to love each other with brotherly affection.
3. Next in the second part of Thessalonians Chapter 4 and the first part of Chapter 5, Paul reveals to the Thessalonians the joy and expectation of heaven, and how one day the church will be caught up in the clouds to be with Jesus Christ. (Elaborate)