Thriving Christian Life (1 Thessalonians #1)

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Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4

The Thessalonian church was a model church, notice verse 7.  And a healthy church is made of healthy Christians.  In these first four verses of 1 Thessalonians part of being a healthy child of God is that you cause other disciples of Jesus Christ to be grateful to God because you’re in their life.

Paul said in verse two that they gave thanks always for the Thessalonians for several reasons.  I can imagine Paul praying along there and saying, “Lord help the Corinthians, they’re in a mess, and Lord protect the Galatian churches from being pulled back under the law, but I sure do thank you Lord for the Thessalonians!  They are such a blessing!

You ought to live in such a way so that others would be grateful to God for you being in their life.  Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  A healthy church causes that to happen.

Their faith produced tangible blessings for other believers (vs 3)

  • Work of faith
  • When Paul first came to Thessalonica, this church housed him in spite of some of the members being put in jail because of the uproar Paul had made with the Jews.  Jason’s house was where Paul stayed and Jason had to be bailed out of jail because the Jews stirred up the city officials and police to go after Paul and this church.  Notice verse 6.
  • After Jason was thrown in jail, and the local government began targeting these Christians, they helped Paul leave the city safely.
  • The Thessalonian church provided Paul with a traveling companion named Aristarchus.  He became a prisoner with Paul.
  • The Thessalonians had a faith that produced tangible blessings to other faithful Christians.
  • When is the last time someone thanked the Lord because you were in their life?  Has the Lord ever been able to do anything through you that was a blessing to someone else who was following Jesus Christ?
    • I can think of seven people this week, in this church, who I am thankful for because of specific things they’ve done to be a blessing.  And when I think about it, more folks come to mind because of what they’ve done to be a blessing.
    • The things they’ve done caused me to think about them with gratitude.  And ultimately look to the Lord with gratitude because some were specific answers to prayer that they didn’t even know about.  They were just being a blessing because of their faith in the word of God, but had no idea that God would use their work to be an answer to someone else’s prayer.  That’s why God gets the glory in the end, because He’s the one arranging the work of faith to be a blessing to whom it needs to be a blessing to.
  • Good works are what Jesus Christ saved you for
    • Salvation is not by works, but good works is why you were saved.
    • Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
    • Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
  • What is a work of faith?
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 says a work of faith brings glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Their labour was because of their love for Jesus Christ (vs 3)

  • The Thessalonians sacrificed themselves for Paul because they loved Jesus Christ first of all and then because they loved Paul.
  • This is labour because you love Jesus Christ.
  • It reminds me of Peter and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord asked Peter, Do you love me?  Feed my flock.
  • Labour of love is the goal
    • 1 Timothy 1:5-7 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned…  So that is the end of it.  Anything done out of that motive is exactly what the Lord is looking for.
    • Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
    • Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
  • If it’s a labour of love, you’ll be:
    • Kind
    • Patient
    • Charity never fails – overcoming
  • There is little expectation in a labour of love
    • There is no bribery in it, or trying to get something out of the other party.
    • There is sometimes no reward for it.
    • But, Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
  • We could really use some renewed wedding vows with the Lord Jesus Christ.

They learned what to do while they waited to see Jesus Christ (vs 3)

  • You ever watched people who were waiting and didn’t have anything particular to do?  Try children.  You ever try to wait around with kids with nothing particular to do?  They usually end up in trouble.  That’s how a congregation ends up in trouble.  They don’t know what to do while they wait.
  • Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)
    • This is the assurance of future glory.
    • It is the assurance that you will spend far more of your life at peace and rest and at home with God, no more to remember sin, than you will anywhere else.
    • It is the assurance of a changed body.
  • Hope is motivation
    • In fact without hope, there really is no motivation.  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    • Hope provides motivation by weighing the future ETERNAL glory against the present TEMPORARY suffering.
    • “Your Best Life Now” – The truth for the child of God is your best life is not now, it is in the future.  This is the most tragic part of your life, and here is how to enjoy even this temporary tragedy of foolishness.
  • Hope is joyful expectation
    • Hope is not wishful thinking.
    • Creation is waiting on the curse to be removed which coincides with the manifestation of the sons of God.
    • Acts 3:19-21 – times of refreshing, restitution of all things
    • Colossians 1:16-20 – reconcile all things to himself
    • When the Lord Jesus Christ returns at the Second Advent to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of Lords.  Isaiah 11:5-10 – creation at rest.  His rest shall be glorious.