Let’s turn to the true God from idols to serve God. This is what repentance is to turn to God from our idols to serve God. Remember repentance is not a one time event, we are to continue growing in our repentance which means we are to continually identify idols in our lives and turn from them. Pastor Gregory gives us keys on how to identify idols that we set up in our heart.
The Thessalonian believers were commended for living out the Gospel and passing it on. We also should be models of how our lives have been changed by Christ – not models of perfection but of making progress in becoming Christlike. We are entrusted to boldly and compassionately share the Gospel. May we never be guilty of not speaking the Gospel.
The believers in Thessalonica are commended by Paul for receiving the message of God into their hearts as God’s truth. With joy given by the Holy Spirit, and in the midst of suffering, they lived out the message as they conformed their lives to the Word of God.
Christ the Word, the eternal second person of the Trinity, took upon Himself mortality and all human emotions and experiences. The God of creation revealed in Genesis 1:1, John 1:1, and Revelation 1:8 bridged the gap between God and humanity that we might know Him and find forgiveness through Him.
The imitation of Christ is to be our chief end. There should not be a gap between the Christ we proclaim verbally and the Christ we present visibly. With dependence upon the Holy Spirit, let us seriously consider the life of Jesus and pray for holiness.
Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers that they were loved and chosen by God before the creation of the world. Being chosen results in our spiritual adoption into His family and our progress in holiness, with the ultimate goal being that we will respond in praise and worship.
On the cross, the Son of God endured agony and public humiliation. As He heard the mocking of the onlookers He spoke words of forgiveness, promise, care, and victory. The significance of the cross is that Christ died specifically for each of us as individuals, to absorb the wrath of God on our behalf and bring us to reconciliation with God.
Paul expresses thanks to God in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 for His transforming grace in the lives of the Thessalonians. Their faith has produced a zeal for good works, their love has prompted them to intense labor and service, and their confident hope in the return or Christ has resulted in steadfast endurance. Let us verbally express our thanks to God for these same virtues and ask Him to increase them in our lives.
Paul's greeting to the Thessalonians is "Grace and peace to you...". Grace is God's undeserved favor and kindness to those who have dishonored His name, disobeyed His laws, and rejected His authority. Peace is reconciliation with God through being justified by faith in Christ and His substitutionary sacrifice for us. Grace and peace make us into a church community, called out of the world to publicly belong to Christ.
The Bible contains the authoritative truth of God which has the power to change us. The book of 1 Thessalonians teaches us how to live in anticipation of the return of Christ, with joy and with love for each other and for a lost world. As we begin our study of 1 Thessalonians , let us study this epistle humbly, expectantly, and prayerfully.
The apostle Paul was able to stay strong and joyful in the midst of difficulty through faith and hope in the reliable God, the prayers of others, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Like Paul, whose purpose for living was to honor Christ, let us respond to suffering by standing firm, sticking together, and staying confident.
God's pattern of redemption — God reconciling the world to Himself — is not a pattern of might and power. Just as Christ suffered shame and reproach on the cross, we are to identify with Him in suffering as we are sent as ambassadors of reconciliation. We should fix our eyes on what is unseen and eternal, view others as having intrinsic value, and give our resources sacrificially, so that God's glory may increase and that others may find the hope of eternal life.
The Gospel has been entrusted to us and in order to share it we must pray for God-given boldness. The Gospel is to be shared in sincerity and in fullness from a heart of love and from a desire to serve and praise Christ.
The most exalted name or title of Jesus is Lord. Jesus, equal with God, humbled himself and came into our world to bear the punishment for our sins. Therefore, Jesus is exalted as the Lord of Glory. In Philippians 2, Paul ascribes to Jesus the title given Isaiah 42:8 (Yaweh) and the text of Isaiah 45:23 (every knee shall bow). At this moment, Jesus is supremely exalted (Philippians 2:9), and one day His Lordship will be confessed by all (Philippians 2:10-11).
The Church is to be busy in the world for Jesus while we wait for Him to return from heaven. Christ will come again in bodily form. We should live with a spirit of urgency and eagerness as we imitate Christ, serve Him, and share the good news of the Gospel.