Summary: We are not special because we are particularly talented, particularly well-behaved, or born into prestigious families. We are special because we know God.
We Are Special
Confidence in God…but confidence in others?
To some degree, yes.
When we believe in others and have confidence in them, they are more prone to:
(2) be encouraged
(3) develop and grow
(4) venture forth
This is especially easy to do when people have proven themselves stable and dependable. It is not that they will never fail in any way, but rather that they are unlikely to fail in important ways.
And, when people have a track record of dependability and fail in some way, we need to help them and then reaffirm our feelings of confidence in them; we all have times where we mess up in some way.
The Thessalonians were solid believers, but they were a little gullible in believing unsubstantiated rumors; Paul corrected them, but wanted to make it clear that he did not think less of them because of their failure in this one area.
And Paul shows this confidence by reminding them that they are truly special, God’s chosen who bore God’s seal of approval and empowered to represent God’s Kingdom to a fallen world.
Cinderella stories fill our repertoire of fables and tales.
Main idea: We are not special because we are particularly talented, particularly well-behaved, or born into prestigious families. We are special because we know God.
I. We Are Part of A Spiritual FAMILY (13a)
1. In Greek, like many languages, the plural masculine is used to cover both genders. This is why we have a choice in translating, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children" or "Parents, do not exasperate your children" in Ephesians 6:4
2. Here, it probably means "brothers and sisters"
3. Church family can be a reality because of this dynamic
4. But not always; I was talking to a pastor whose church is in a small town; we chatted about extended Christian families and re-locaters or folks from unbelieving families…
B. LOVED by the Lord
1. The term, "loved" is in the perfect tense, meaning, "having been loved with the result that you are now loved"
2. If this was true of every human being, it would not be very encouraging to state it to the Thessalonians; we are talking here about a special love tied into the doctrine of election, as follows.
3. Interestingly, I have read a bit about the differences between widows and widowers
• Widows generally do much better than widowers in many ways; not always, but usually
• It seems that if a woman felt that her deceased husband really loved her, her self-esteem remains lifted even when he is gone
• But if a man loses his wife, even if he has no doubt of his love for her, he is more likely to die or be unmotivated to participate in life; not always, but more often.
• Christ provides for both needs in the spiritual realm: He loved us and gave Himself for us and He is present with us until the end!
II. We Are CHOSEN (13b-14)
The word "chosen" means "selected" and implies that others are not chose or selected (or the word becomes meaningless). God is the one Who does the choosing.
Yet God uses us in the process. That’s why on our prayer card with the egg timer, we pray for a lost person every day. Some of us forget that God has work for us to do; He wants us to seek the lost and share the Gospel with them. The doctrine of election should encourage us in the process -- we are not doing this alone. God is working.
A. To Be SAVED
Many times in scripture, the term "saved" refers to physical deliverance, as in the Psalms. David often asked to be saved from his enemies. It is bad interpretation to understand the word "saved" in the Psalms to refer to the salvation of the soul, as is the case in the text before us.
There are many ways to translate this word because English has such a rich vocabulary. We could translate it: rescued, released, delivered, protected, guarded, safeguarded, preserved, salvaged, reclaimed, or unthreatened.
Being saved means all these things: we are delivered from God’s wrath and rescued from eternal separation from God. Instead, we are on friendly terms with God and are on His team.
B. To Be SANCTIFIED
The Holy Spirit is the agency of salvation, and His work is called "sanctification," or setting us apart for God. At conversion, we are legally set apart for God, but they He works to set us apart in daily life…it is progressive and durative…
One great truth that does me good is the fact that God works in the hearts and lives of His children
• when I preach to you, I assume you want to grow; I am not out to persuade you against your will; besides, if the HS is not working within you, you can’t grown spiritually anyway!