The Thessalonians’ faith
Published 2:58 pm Friday, June 18, 2010
Scripture: I Thessalonians 1:2-10; 3:6-10
Aim: To help the pupil understand how the principles of Christianity took root in the lives of the Christians at Thessalonica. They became examples for others.
Golden Text: “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from Heaven” (I Thessalonians 1:9b, 10a).
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The believers at Thessalonica set forth an example of the change that should be made in the lives of all those who receive Christ as Savior.
1. Paul preached at Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (1:5-6). Paul preached with great power and enabling of the Holy Spirit (vs. 5).
The people responded by believing on Christ and becoming followers of Paul and the teachings of the Gospel (vs. 6).
Even though there was a great deal of opposition to these people believing and following Christ, they believed anyway (vs. 6). They heard the truth, and they were determined to obey it at any cost. Faithful continuance in the Christian Faith is not an option. It is a necessity!
2. Notice the experience of the people at Thessalonica (1:9-10). They were idol worshippers when Paul came to preach Christ to them. When they heard the Gospel of Christ, they turned away from their idols to God. That shows their faith in Christ.
Second, they began to serve the living and true God, Jehovah God. This shows their love for Christ.
Third, they began to expect and wait for the return of Christ for the Christians (vs. 10). This shows their hope in Christ.
This is the process that takes place when one receives Christ as Savior. The Gospel is heard. The hearer believes the Gospel (that Christ died, was buried, and arose from the grave for the sins of us all). Then the hearer turns from whatever he has been worshipping to call upon Christ. This is repentance. Having turned to Christ, the believer begins to live for and serve Christ.
3. The testimony of the Christians at Thessalonica became known throughout the whole area (1:3, 7-8). Paul commends them for their “work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 3).
Their lives became examples to all those around them (vs. 7). They preached the Gospel of Christ to the people all around with such success that all through the whole area knew about their faith in Christ (vs. 8). Many had been converted. These Christians lived up to their profession of faith in Christ. Their works declared their faith. The power of example has never been exceeded!
4. The Thessalonian Christians faced opposition and persecution as they lived and carried forth the Gospel of Christ (I Thessalonians 3:7). Timothy brought Paul a report from the church at Thessalonica (3:6), which encouraged Paul and inspired him to write this letter to them.
5. Paul’s desire for them is expressed (3:10-13). First, Paul desires that their faith may be perfected (made complete, mature, vs. 10).
Second, Paul desires that they may be led and may follow the Lord in all things (vs. 11).
Third, Paul desires that they may be increasing in love and devotion to God and His work, and that they may increase in love for the people around them (vs. 12).
Fourth, Paul wants them to be established in Christ with a blameless life before others and a life of holiness before God (vs. 13).
Finally, Paul wants them to wait expectantly for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (vs. 13). These Christians had begun well. They had received Christ and had grown in the grace and knowledge of Christ so that they were good testimonies for God and Christ. That is necessary, but that is not the end of becoming a Christian. One must continue to grow and develop into a mature and faithful Christian. This was what Paul desired for all who were converted under his ministry. It was, and still is, the design of the Christian faith.
Believe, serve, and wait for His coming!