Every church is known by something. Reach into the recesses of your memory to churches you have been involved with...No doubt there will be something that stands out in your memory of what that church was like. Of course different situations, along with different times bring back different memories.
The church of the Thessalonians was no different. They held a very special place in the mind and the memory of Paul, Silas and Timothy. Not just them but the Thessalonians were known throughout the world, not only in Macedonia but also in Achaia. They were considered to be a “model church” to other cities where the Gospel was being preached and churches established. Let your eye scan down to v.7-8.They were known by others.
There was a lot about this church that Paul had reason to give thanks for.
They were a young church...having a great impact on their world…even though experiencing hardship…difficulty…testing for these young believers…God was doing a great work in them and through them.
In fact, in Acts 17:6when the Gospel was preached and the church was planted the
accusation made against the church: “These who have turned the world upside
down have come here too.”
What can we learn from this church that lived and served almost 2000 years
ago? Because we want to impact our world, our generation for Jesus Christ.
God alone is the One who works in us and through us. God alone is the One who begins the work in us and God alone who finishes the work in and through us. When Christians realize their complete and utter dependence on God and keep this in clear focus…then and only then are we able to move forward on to greater spiritual progress.
There are three reasons that Paul provides
for us…three characteristics that this church was known for. And he notes them
Their Work Springing from Faith! Their Labour ...Prompted by Love! Their Endurance... Inspired by Hope!
1. WORK SPRINGING FROM FAITH!
Note this is not SALVATION by works. Paul is not referring to what these Thessalonians have done in order to be saved…but rather…it is what they have done because they have already been saved. It is the work of faith…work that comes out of (arises from…springs from) their faith.
Paul heard about their work of faith…how out of their faith sprang works that
point to an inward change an inward reality, and an inward transformation. And
he was thankful for their “work of faith”.
It is an absolute essential for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ…that if you have faith in Him, in His work upon the cross of Calvary to pay for your sin, and believing that He rose again from the grave…that springing
from that faith...there will be WORKS i.e. fruit of righteousness. Your works spring from your faith.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WORKS SPRINGING FROM FAITH? “FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS”?
Leave sin behind...in 1:9 the Thessalonians left the worship of idols. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ they were leaving the popular, cultic, cultural, state religion of Roman Imperialism, they no longer worshipped at the throne of Caesar, they left their
idols (v.10) and chose to serve the living and true God...i.e. follow Jesus Christ.
Serve God...with godly fear...Hebrew 11:7 “Noah warned of things not seen moved with godly fear...”
Speak for God...these Thessalonians “...sounded forth the word of the Lord...” they were a people who shared the word of the Lord in word and deed...they shared their new found faith with those around them.
2. LABOR PROMPTED BY LOVE...
The Thessalonians were also known for their “…labor of love”(I.e. Labor that is
PROMPTED by Love). The Greek word for “labour” is “kopon”. This word refers to “...an intense, arduous, wearying toil involving sweat and fatigue…usually coupled with
So Paul in effect was saying: “When we remember you…we remember your labour, your sweat, fatigue, you are a weary people…burned out because of your passionate love for people...all for the cause of Jesus Christ… and when we experience what we are experiencing in Corinth we are encouraged…when we think of your passion, the love and the cost of your love.
This love…is agape…unconditional, sacrificial, wearying, toilsome...the same love that God shows to you and me. The same love that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. That is “Love so amazing so divine....demands my soul, my life, my all…”
Bring this kind of "labour of love" into your everyday North American marriage...imagine the testimony of a Christian marriage...even when love gets difficult it still persists.
Bring this labour of love to the school hallway students love and acceptance of all showing your peers unconditional acceptance. It is hard, toilsome, sometimes misinterpreted, misunderstood, and often rejected...
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
You want an impact...let the love of God impact you...think upon its greatness...you will have the passion the conviction to love God and others.
3. ENDURANCE ...INSPIRED BY HOPE
One more thing the Thessalonians were known for by Paul and his associates ENDURANCE INSPIRED BY HOPE. This is not a passive quiet resignation…“Que sera, sera...whatever will be will be…the futures not ours to see...”
One commentary put it like this... “This is an active, aggressive constancy in the face of extreme difficulty”…i.e. because all was not going well, there was opposition, there were confusions, there were perils and there were challenges and there were difficulties for this young church. But they had "stick-to-it-iveness" that was inspired by tehir hope in teh coming Lord Jesus. The ultimate reason to persevere, to endure the hard stuff.
You are up and active and you are constant in the face of difficulty.
Know the promises...stand on them...know the reality of God with us...in the dreary blind alleys and around the next corner where the future is unseen. Endurance is only possible when we have hope in Jesus Christ and His imminent return.
Do you want to turn the world upside down like the Thessalonians? Maybe someday somoene will write/say of you: "When I think of you...I think of a faith that functions...I think of a love that labors...and I think of a hope that hangs on."
Have a great week!
About our Pastor...