1 THESSALONIANS 1:5-10
1Th 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power (Piercing their hearts with a sense of sin and deeply conviction), and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
- Paul called his message “our gospel,” because it was for him and all sinners to believe it an call upon The Name of Jesus for forgiveness of sin.
- Paul writes that he knows that they were elect of God because when he shared the Word of God with them, it wasn’t just an academic exercise in theology...it was a mighty move of God’s Spirit and power: it was real...it was visible...it was not some purely emotional, ecstatic experience...it was a new birth!
- When the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ comes into a person’s heart, it comes in power, The Holy Ghost and much assurance:
- Power- Ro 1:16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
- Holy Ghost- Peter wrote in 1 Pet 1.12 that he and the other apostles preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.
- Paul said to the church in Corinth- 1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
- Much assurance-
- Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
- Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever
- If somebody tells you that there is no assurance of whether or not a person is forgiven of their sin and going to heaven, I can assure you that they did not come to that conclusion from the Bible! (1 John 5.11-13)
- Our assurance stems from believing the gospel that results in the Spirit confirming evidence of a fruit bearing, radically changed life! They were living for heaven and fully assured that they were going to heaven. To be absent from the body is to be present with The Lord.
As ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
- The character of these men in Christ will be more fully looked at in the second chapter. Suffice to say, they lived out their convictions. They were living epistles of The Lord Jesus Christ, known and read of all men.
- Their message was not “Do as I say and not as I do”...it was follow me as I follow Christ. (1 Cor 11.1). They lived lives that were consistent with their message. Can you say that?
- If people were able to put a camera on us and observe our normal day to day activity, would they see a consecrated life? If people were able to record our speech for a normal 24 hour period, would they hear words seasoned with the grace of a consecrated life?
- Paul said, our gospel came unto you in more than words. Likewise, the gospel that you and I proclaim must be more than words guys. There needs to be a personal demonstration of the power of God’s Spirit in our lives for us to say that our conversion is a valid one. Jesus rebuked the religious Pharisees who honoured God with their lips but their heart was far from Him.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction (pressure; opposition), with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia (Roman province, of which Thessalonica was the capital, lying north of the Aegean Sea) and Achaia (The Roman province of which Corinth was the capital).
- Keep this in mind as we move along in our study through the rest of this epistle....Roman provinces were notoriously known to be party cities...alcohol flowed freely, gambling was in (remember the soldiers at the foot of Jesus cross?), sexual sin was common and acceptable.
- It was in this environment that these saints became followers of The Lord Jesus Christ. The word followers means imitators. They were following The Lord Jesus Christ and the example set by Paul, Timothy and Silas.
- Mom, dad..are you setting a Christ like example for your children? Are we setting a Christ like example on our jobs?
· These saints learned early that following Jesus would not make them popular in a sinful society; they immediately were thrown into a world of persecution and affliction (Ac 17:5-9). The Thessalonians needed to be reminded that their sphere of protection and provision was “in God The Father and in Christ Jesus.” In the midst of tribulation and suffering it is so easy for us to forget this.
- Coming to Christ was the beginning of a life of opposition from the world. But note that they received the Word with joy of The Holy Ghost! In spite of all that they were going through, they received the Word with gladness. They could not get enough of it. What a congregation! Does this describe you personally? Does this describe KF as a whole?
- Jesus said to His followers, in this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Trusting in Jesus Christ does not promise a problem free life. Do you ever feel the tension of the world, your flesh, and Satan pressing in on you? Because they came out of paganism, many of these believers experienced rejection from family members. Because of your love for Christ and faith in Him, many of you are willing to be an outcast at school and work. You don’t always fit in with your family and friends because of your faith in Jesus and for that reason you experience tension and opposition.
- Paul and Barnabas told the church at Lystra, Iconium and Antoich that Ac 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
- Their hard circumstances did not cause their joy to wither away. In fact, it was the presence of The Lord in their affliction that was the cause of such great joy.
- Ac 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
- Heb 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
- There is no way that we can escape the afflictions, opposition or persecution that comes from following Jesus Christ. To live for Jesus Christ and take a stand on His truth will by default place us in opposition to the god of this world and his principles. 2 Tim 3..12 Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
- Persecution can be the fastest way to grow a church in health and number.
8 For from you sounded (trumpeted) 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.
- The church in Rome was another powerful witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ro 1:8 ¶ First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in a world that has lost its moral compass and sense of spiritual direction.
- Each and every Christian and congregation are called to be a living GPS that points people to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Contrast the glorious witness of these two congregations for Jesus with the unfortunate report written about Corinth: 1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
- Persecution and mockery didn’t stop these saints from living out their faith and sharing it with others as well. They truly loved Jesus Christ. Heaven was real...hell was real!! 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear
- Persecution often flames the fires of evangelism:
- Ac 8:1 ¶ And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4 ¶ Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
- This congregation took the great commission seriously: Mt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
- They weren’t blowing their own horn, they were trumpeting the glorious gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ! In just 3 weeks, this church grasped the importance of the great commission and began to share the word everywhere as The Spirit led them. (Acts 8, Phillip). When a life changes for Jesus Christ, news spreads quickly. Ask the people who knew the woman at the well in John 4.
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
- People were telling Paul and the others about the effect that the gospel had in the lives of these saints. Paul would say, We are hearing from your family, your neighbors how your life has changed in a most glorious way. Their lives were turned around because they took the word into their hearts, not just their heads. They turned to God from idols to serve The True and Living God.
- The 2nd part of verse 9 is one of the best definitions of genuine repentance in the entire Bible. Note the order of words. We would normally think in terms of turning from idols to God, but here Paul’s argument is that they first turned to God and then away from idols. The Thessalonians didn’t leave their idols and then go out to find God. They turned to God and then left their idols. Both conversion and repentance are the fruit of turning to Jesus Christ, not following a preset list of rules and regulations.
- Evangelism is catching fish, God then begins the life long work of cleaning them. The key to overcoming sin in your life is not by doing an in depth study on that particular sin, but by drawing closer to The Lord Jesus Christ.
- Remember beloved that repentance means that as I draw near to Jesus Christ, my life is being changed on the inside by The Person Holy Spirit Who dwells within me. Repentance is a beautiful word in Scripture.
- We will see this repentance more in chapter 4, when it speaks about pleasing God by walking in holiness and sanctification instead of worldliness and fornication.
- However, when a person ceases to draw near to Jesus, they lose their first love and source of ultimate fulfillment and inevitably turn back to their old habits and worldly ways for pleasure. They will begin to mingle with the old crowd. Their desire and hunger for the things of The Lord will give way to other things. They will get more excitement about sports, music, or the latest fashion. They will prefer to spend an hour alone with their television than than spending an hour alone with Jesus or coming to a prayer meeting...if that is you today, you need to repent and return to Christ...you need to turn away from those idols.
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.
- In the 3 weeks that Paul was in Thessalonica, he clearly made the imminent return of Jesus Christ a very prominent point.
- If Paul told the saints in Thessalonica to wait for Jesus to return from heaven, I take that to mean that they were to be expecting Jesus to come at any moment in their lifetime.
- As we have seen in our study tonight, whenever a person truly believes that Jesus died, rose again and is coming at any moment, they will begin to live an altared life.
- Jesus told that guarding our hearts is vital to waiting for His return
- Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged (weighted down; overburdened) with surfeiting (dissipation; self indulgence), and drunkenness, and cares (anxieties; worries) of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares (like a trap). 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore (stay alert), and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
This last phrase delivered us from the wrath to come. Rev 6-19 is one section of Scripture that describes the wrath of God that is going to be poured out upon a Christ rejecting world.
- Rev 6.17 Who shall save us from the day of the wrath of The Lamb. These people clearly understood that they were experiencing the wrath of God. How much provocation does it take to make a Lamb angry?
- The church is not mentioned in Revelation 6 through 19. In 1 Thess 4, we will look at the rapture of the church and how we will be taken up to be with The Lord Jesus prior to the wrath of God that will be poured out upon the earth and those who are living upon it at the time.
- The idea of waiting here in verse 10 should not be thought as something passive. One Greek scholar tells us that the word wait here was used to describe a pregnant mother waiting for her soon to arrive child....she knows the baby is coming....she is getting ready for the arrival of that baby....she is actively preparing for the coming of the baby. That’s the idea here saints...we know that Jesus is coming and that means that we are to be about our Father’s business...we are to occupy...we are to redeem the time...we are share our faith...
Let me leave you with this tonight…there are 3 things mentioned here in verses 9 and 10 that correspond with what we covered in verse 3....
- Turned to God from idols corresponds with the work of faith...
- They served The Living and true God, which corresponds with the labor of love.
- Wait for His Son from heaven which corresponds to the patience of hope.
- May we constantly be placing our faith in Christ.
- May all that we do be a labor of love for the glory of Christ.
- May we in patience possess our souls as we wait for the return of our Beloved Bridegroom Jesus Christ.