Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Thessalonians - Chapter 1

I. Recap from Last Week - Introducing I Thessalonians

A. I Thessalonians one of oldest books in New Testament; written between 50-54 AD
B. Thessalonica was the Roman provincial capital of Macedonia
C. Most of the early church members in Thessalonica were gentiles, who previously worshipped Greek idols
D. Paul, Timothy, and Silas traveled to Thessalonica after escaping prison in Phillipi during Paul's second missionary journey.
E. Paul's time in Thessalonica is described in Acts 17:1-9

II. Opening Verses

A. In opening verses Paul reveals a great deal of his heart
1. To quote Dr. Ray Pritchard (Baptist minister), "If you want to know what he (Paul) believed read Romans. If ou want to know what he was like as a person, read I Thessalonians.
2. Everything Paul writes is meant to lift their spirits

B. Word "Church" comes from the Greek word "ekklesia"
1. "ekklesia comes from two other words, "out from" and "called"
2. Thus "church" means a group of people called out from other people for a particular reason

C. How or why were these peopled called out?
1. Paul writes that they were "in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"
2. Thus they had received the Holy Spirit from God through Jesus the Christ

III. Conversion - Paul now recalls how Thessalonians came to be converted

A. In vs. 4 Paul describes what happened first - God CHOSE them
1. Theologically this is known as the Doctrine of Selection
2. Salvation begins with God's choice of us, not our choice of Him
3. Hard concept to comprehend, are we not all called?
4. What about Revelation 3:20, "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and him with me."

B. In vs. 5 Paul describes how they were filled with the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word

IV. Evidence of the Conversion (vs. 6-8)

A. Thessalonians were so glad to be saved, even in the face of severe persecution
1. Think how it must have been...
a. small group of Greek converts
b. surrounded by unbelievers and all of their former Idol gods
2. not to mention the Jews, recall Acts 17:5, "But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city."

B. Living the Word
1. Not enough to believe, must also live the Word
2. Thessalonians did this as well
a. "and so you became a model to all believeers in Macedonia and Achaia"
b. "model" in Greek is "tupos". Literally refers to the impression made by metal when pressed into clay.

C. Speaking the Word
1. Thessalonians weren't just living the word, their actions were also speaking the word and spreading it throughout the land.

V. Three Tenses of the Christian Life

A. The Past
1. Old Testament - two words for repentance
a. "nacham" - turn around or change the mind
b. "sub" - used 600 times in OT, means "turn", "return", "seek", or "restore"
2. New Testament - "metanoia", "meta" means to change the mind

B. The Present
1. Change means serving a new God
2. Giving up old gods and serving Living God

C. The Future
1. Wait for Jesus to return

VI. Summary
A. God Calls
B. We respond
C. We turn
D. We serve
E. We wait



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