November 10, 2019, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

I.
This week we focus our attention on the first few sentences of a letter of Paul to the church in Thessaloniki. After the typical start to Paul’s letter where he invokes “grace and peace” for the community he writes, “We always give thanks to God for all of you and ….”

Why? Why do Paul and Silvanus and Timothy “always” give thanks for that community?

Read over these sentences often enough so you come away with the same sense of thanksgiving that Paul and his companions had for those folks.

II.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (*New Revised Standard Version)

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

III.
So, what do you hear? What in Paul’s description of the these folk would give you cause for thankfulness?

Faith – Love – Steadfastness – Beloved and chosen by God – power in the Holy Spirit – conviction – imitators of Jesus – persecuted yet joyful – examples to others – welcoming – idols left behind – serving God – patience

Do Christian folk like this provoke you to thankfulness?

IV.
But wait – do we have to read about these kind of Christians in the first century to be provoked to thankfulness?

Where have you encountered this kind of Christ-like life style today?

In what churches, Sunday School classes, small groups, mission groups, classes, homes, workplaces … have you seen this way of being face to face?

Now – I don’t want to just ask this question, and have you read these words and then go on to ask another question or make some other statement.

I want us to stop right where we are and using Paul’s description as our template find where we have encountered this style of being Christian.

Maybe you want to get some paper and pen/pencil and write down specific places, times, people who have provoked you to this level of thankfulness and prayer.

So, who, where, when, what do you recall …. ?

We’ll talk more later.

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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