a. On his second missionary journey, Paul and his companions had just left Philippi
c. Paul immediately located the synagogue and used their Sabbath gathering as an opportunity for evangelism
d. For three weeks he reasoned with the Jews, converting some and a number of prominent Gentiles
e. But unbelieving Jews soon caused a disturbance, forcing Paul to leave
3. What was the church in Thessalonica like?
a. Without Paul, did the young church survive?
b. Had persecution discouraged the new converts?
c. These were some of the concerns that prompted Paul to send Timothy - 1 Thessalonians 3:1-6
d. Timothy brought back news that was certainly encouraging
A. THEY HAD A WORKING FAITH
1. In other words, a faith that was alive! - James 2:20, 26
2. Their faith was likely centered in the person of Jesus Christ - Colossians 1:4
3. It was likely prompted by love - John 14:15
4. In his second letter to them, Paul would remark about how their faith continued to grow exceedingly - 2 Thessalonians 1:3
B. WHAT ABOUT OUR FAITH...?
1. Is our faith a living faith?
a. A faith manifesting itself in obedience to the word of God?
b. Or are we like some who believe, but do not obey Jesus?
1) Such as some of the Jewish rulers who believed in Jesus - John 12:42-43
2) Such as the demons who believe, but only tremble - James 2:19
2. Is our faith strongly centered in Jesus Christ?
a. A faith produced by the word of God? - Romans 10:17
b. A faith that leads to life in Jesus Christ? - John 20:30-31
3. If our faith is like that of the Thessalonians, then it too will grow exceedingly, evidenced by our faithful service to the Lord!
A. THEY HAD A WORKING LOVE
1. A love that was not in word only, but in deed and truth! - I John 3:18
2. Their love was likely directed toward their brethren in Christ - Colossians 1:4
3. Paul would later commend their brotherly love - 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
4. In his second letter, Paul says their love continued to abound - 2 Thessalonians 1:3
B. WHAT ABOUT OUR LOVE...?
1. Is our love in word or tongue only, or in deed and truth?
a. Do we walk the walk?
b. Or do we just talk the talk?
2. Is our love directed toward all?
a. Which is a mark of true discipleship - John 13:34-35
b. Which is an indication of spiritual life - I John 3:14
c. If our love is like that of the Thessalonians, then it too will abound, evidenced by serving one another in love - Galatians 5:13
A. THEY HAD A HOPE THAT GAVE THEM PATIENCE
1. A strong hope is that which gives one patience - Romans 8:25
2. Their hope was likely focused on what was laid up for them in heaven - Colossians 1:5
3. Peter referred to this hope as an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you - 1 Peter 1:3-4
4. Paul would later encourage them to wear this hope as a helmet - 1 Thessalonians 5:8
B. WHAT ABOUT OUR HOPE...?
1. Do we have a strong hope?
a. A hope that comes from reading the Scriptures? - Romans 15:4
b. A hope that spurs us to be diligent, living holy and godly lives? - 2 Peter 3:10-14
c. A hope that prompts people to wonder why we have it? - 1 Peter 3:15
2. Is our hope focused our inheritance laid up for us in heaven?
b. The new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells? - 2 Peter 3:13
c. Which is beautifully described by John? - Revelation 21:1-7
3. If our hope is like that of the Thessalonians, then we too shall let it be a helmet protecting our minds from the distractions of this world which is passing away! - I John 2:17
1. This triad of faith, love, and hope is a common refrain of Paul
a. He wrote of them in his epistle to the Colossians - Colossians 1:4-5
b. Also in his first epistle to the Corinthians - 1 Corinthians 13:13
c. But he likely first wrote of them in this epistle to the Thessalonians
a. They certainly are among the more important - 1 Corinthians 13:13
b. Where found, the others will likely follow!
-- Don Treadway, July 2009 --