Temple Baptist Church - 9-11-2016
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
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.
F. The Thessalonian Churches had: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
1. A Testimony of the ever present grace of God. “The grace of God bestowed”
2. A Testimony of endurance in persecution. “How that in a great trial of affliction … and their deep poverty”
3. A Testimony of abiding joy. “Abundance of their joy”
4. A Testimony of faithfulness in tribulation. “affliction-joy, poverty-riches”
5. A Testimony of faith in God’s provision. “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.”
6. A Testimony of loving and supporting missions. “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”
7. A Testimony of loving God in spite of trials and tribulations. “but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”
Conclusion: In spite of their afflictions and poverty, they were a thriving local church! What a blessing this church was to Paul, the Corinthians, and to others such as us through the centuries.