Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Importance of Grace and Peace

Temple Baptist Church - 9-4-2016
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2

A.  Last week, we looked at importance of keeping the “church of God” in God while keeping the “church not of God” out of the “church of God.”  This is tough because of the downward trend in religion in general.  People affected by apostasy come to good churches and bring “spiritual baggage” with them.  We looked at the battle for
B.  The Church of Thessalonica knew what it was to suffer persecution and great affliction which culminated in deep poverty.  God’s grace was sufficient and His peace available.  As Paul begins this second epistle to the Church of Thessalonica, he begins by both commending them and thanking God for them.
C.  Paul started this church in Acts, chapter 17, and won people to Christ through his reasoning with them from the Scriptures.  He was quickly run out of town but this little nucleus of believers where the beginning of a new church. 
D.  The persecution did not stop after Paul left but the church stood firm in the midst of trials and tribulation.  They were not only physically and spiritually persecuted, they also suffer financially as well.  Paul used this little church as an example of faith and durability when writing to the Corinthian Church.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  (3)  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;  (4)  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  (5)  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
E.  Paul mentioned “the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia” in this epistle. 
1.  In our text, Paul mentions both the grace of God along with the peace of God.  These two things, grace and peace, are important and should be found together because you can have the grace of God to endure a trial but lack the peace of God to accept His will in your life.
2.  The Church of Thessalonica not only endured a “great trial of affliction” but also flourished in the midst of it.  This show a church of great faith!  Their “great trial of affliction” turned into “the abundance of their joy!”  Their “deep poverty” abounded unto “the riches of their liberality!”
3.  Now, here is the key: they FIRST “gave themselves to the Lord.”  This was because of the peace of God that allowed a sovereign God to put their faith to the test of physical, spiritual, and financial persecution.
1.  The grace of God is something that God Bestows.  2 Corinthians 8:1-2  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
a.  The grace of God is always available - 1 Peter 4:10  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
b.  The grace of God is purposed - 2 Corinthians 4:15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
c.  The grace of God is sufficient - 2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
d.  The grace of God makes it bearable - 1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
2.  The peace of God is something that Man Believes.  John 14:25-27  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  (26)  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (27)  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
a.  The peace of God believes that God is Sovereign and, therefore, in control.  Job 23:1-10  Then Job answered and said,  (2)  Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.  (3)  Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!  (4)  I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.  (5)  I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.  (6)  Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.  (7)  There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.  (8)  Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:  (9)  On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:  (10)  But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.  (We often do not understand why things happen the way that they happen but we can understand that God lives on both sides of eternity, the past as well as the future.  Therefore, this same God also lives in our present.  This is the foundation of the peace of God.)
b.  The peace of God believes that loves us unconditionally.  Romans 8:37-39  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  (38)  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  (39)  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Trials have nothing to do with God’s love or lack of love for us.  He loves each of us as if we were His only child.)
c.  The peace of God believes that persecution is certain.  1 Peter 4:16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  (Live godly, pay a price!  It is as simple as that.)
d.  The peace of God believes that all situations are conquerable.  Romans 8:35-37  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  (36)  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  (37)  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  (We can come forth as gold.)

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