Thriving Through Thessalonians #1


Thriving Through Thessalonians #1

Acts 17:1-9 (MSG)
1 They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. 2 Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. 3 He opened up the texts so they understood what they'd been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that "this Jesus I'm introducing you to is that Messiah."

4 Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. 5 But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas. They broke into Jason's house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there.

6 When they couldn't find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, "These people are out to destroy the world, and now they've shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! 7 And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!"

8 The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. 9 They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.


It is from Corinth that Paul wrote his first letter to the believers residing in Thessalonica in 50 A.D. after Timothy returns with a report on the new congregation.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (MSG)

1 I, Paul, together here with Silas and Timothy, send greetings to the church at Thessalonica, Christians assembled by God the Father and by the Master, Jesus Christ. God's amazing grace be with you! God's robust peace!

2 Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers 3 as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. 4 It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. 5 When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn't just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.

You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, 6 and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.

7 Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? 8 The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master's Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don't even have to say anything anymore—you're the message! 9 People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. 10 They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

Principle #1:  Fellowship.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 (MSG)
I, Paul, together here with Silas and Timothy…

You need the encouragement and strength that comes from having one or two intimate spiritual companions.
Do you have two spiritual friends?
If you are meeting at least weekly for fellowship with one or two others would you be so kind as to write your name and theirs on a slip of paper and give it to me, I want to pray for your group.

To thrive spiritually you need this kind of iron sharpening iron fellowship.

Principle #2 Supernatural Resources.
1 Thessalonians1:1 (MSG)
God's amazing grace be with you! God's robust peace!

God’s grace is the desire to do the will of God and the power to accomplish the will of God.
                            
Shalom is a greeting, an appropriate replacement for hello and goodbye.  But that greeting when it comes in the name of God also comes with the       request that harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility all yours through Jesus. 

You are given the resources of Grace and Peace in proportion to your desire           to know God and do His will.

To thrive spiritually you need the supernatural resources of grace and peace.

Principle #3 Laboring love.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.


Christianity isn’t a spectators sport. Faith calls you to action.
                                               
To thrive spiritually you must discover what God wants you to do and begin to do them


Principle #4 Holy Spirit Power
1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NIV)
…our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

This power means inner transformation from Adam’s likeness into Jesus’ likeness.
                            
To thrive spiritually you need Holy Spirit power.

Principle #5 Need for Mentors
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 (NIV)
You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is best caught not taught.

Who is the person you are imitating?  
                            
To thrive spiritually you need a mentor, someone to show you how,
         
Principle #6 Need to be an Example

1 Thessalonians 1:7-9 (NIV)
And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God…

Every believer is to be a model of living the abundant life.

To thrive spiritually you need someone to whom you are modeling the Christian life.

Principle #7 Hope to Endure

1 Thessalonians 1:10 (NIV)
…to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

When you find yourself in a place where the going is hard and you just want to call it quits, remember that Jesus is coming and He is going to set things right.

To thrive spiritually you need hope in the second coming.





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