Summary: As we look at qualities in the Thessalonian church and in the lives of Paul and his companions, we can see what it looks like when people are spiritually alive. I’d like to look at chapter 1 in this light. We can identify several vital signs that should b
Intro: (Play Clip: Stethoscope Man: Christ Lives in You)
This book of 1 Thessalonians is thought to be one of Paul’s first letters written to a young church he and his ministry partners had started earlier. He is writing to encourage the believers there to keep growing in their faith and to let them know how proud he is of them. As we look at qualities in the Thessalonian church and in the lives of Paul and his companions, we can see what it looks like when people are spiritually alive. I’d like to look at chapter 1 in this light. We can identify several vital signs that should be evident in our lives.
1. Identity- We know who we are in Christ
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
-When we come into a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus, it changes us! Our life takes on new purpose and meaning. Here is one way Paul describes it in another letter of his: NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
NLT 2 Corinthians 5:17 What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
-As Paul wrote to this young church he reminds them who they are in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
-First, they are the church, the ekklesia. The called out ones. God has called to them and they have answered His call. God’s call is a call to come and worship Him, but that is only possible when we put our faith in Jesus and God transforms us by His Holy Spirit on the inside. And this is what it means to be in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the life of God in us! We are in Him and He is in us! We are forgiven and free from the chains of sin that held us down.
[Play clip of Who I am in Christ]
-The believers at Thessalonica had embraced their new identity in Christ and had begun their new life with Him! Let’s look at another vital sign that can reflect as well as impact the spiritual health of a Christ follower.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. 2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
-There is no mention here of the Thessalonians praying, but we know that they did! Prayer is how they maintained their relationship with God. Paul and his companions are the ones doing the praying here, but as we’ll see a few verses later, they imitated Paul. Paul said they thank God for them always, mentioning them in their prayers. They thanked God for their work and labor of love, along with their endurance – hanging in there even through the hard times!
-Prayer is something a Christian does, not because they have to, but because it is our lifeline! How can we possibly get to know God w/o talking to Him? And prayer accomplishes much! James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. This is basic but so important!
3. Effective Evangelism
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
-Notice the reference to lifestyle here. But also notice the reference to words. Great evangelism requires both! It is not an either/or proposition.
-The gospel is preached verbally. Acts 17:2 tells us that Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” Paul and his team used words to communicate the truth but they recognized that it wasn’t their eloquence that would bring people to faith.
-The gospel came with power. Never forget that the Word of God has the power to change lives! Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” When the Bible is faithfully proclaimed, it is the most powerful force in the world.