Title: A CHURCH WITH THE RIGHT STUFF
Text: 1 Thess. 1:1-10
In Thessalonica lived a dynamic body of believers who were models of authentic Christianity. They made Christianity contagious to many in their day. As a result, they have left us with a worthy example for us to follow.
Paul’s labors as a spiritual parent to the growing church were richly rewarded, and his affection is visible in every line of this letter. Paul encourages them to excel in their new found faith, to increase in their love for one another, and to rejoice, pray, and give thanks always.
Let’s examine this book with the intent that what we find in the Christians at Thessalonica, we want implanted in ourselves. Read Text!
Our theme for chapter one is: BALANCE: THE SECRET OF A COMMITTED CONGREGATION. As we move through this letter, it will quickly become apparent that this church was not given to extremes - they managed to maintain balance in their spiritual walk with God.
1. What are some tangents the church can get off-track on?
2. Who wrote this letter? Why do you think the letter was from several authors? Acts 17:1-4; 1 Thess. 3:1-2
3. Note the letter was written “to” the church at Thessalonica, not from it. Where did the truth contained in the letter come from? Does the church dictate truth or does it receive truth? Explain.
4. When the Scriptures are taught, what is the church to do?
5. How are the marks of grace and peace different from that which people see in the lives of non-Christians?
6. 1:2 How easy and enjoyable is it to pray for people who give us reason to be grateful? What do others do for you that cause you to be grateful to God in prayer? How can we express to someone that we are grateful for their lives?
7. What three specific things was Paul remembering about them in prayer? Explain each of these.
8. Do you get the feeling that these first-century believers hid their Christianity or tried to live in isolation from one another? Why or why not?
9. In verse 4 Paul says they produced works of faith, labors of love, and were steadfast in hope because they knew they were loved by God and He had chosen them. On what basis does God choose us?
10. According to verse 5, how are we to spread the Gospel? What part does God have in spreading the Gospel?
11. Specifically, how had the Thessalonians imitated Paul and his companions? How can you face tribulation with joy? Ja. 1:2-4
12. How much of an impact had the faith of the Thessalonican church made in their area? How far away from Vacaville do you think people have heard about our church and our faith?
Note: First Thessalonians was written approximately three months after the church was started!
13. Why was Paul so proud of these Thessalonican Christians? How important are each of these functions in our lives?
14. How good of a job do you think the Thessalonican church did in their witnessing? Do you think one preacher could have accomplished all this? What does that say about the rest of the church?
15. What kind of report did Paul receive from others about the Thessalonican church?
16. Did the early church live daily with the expectation of Jesus’ return in their lifetime? Should we? Does it disturb your faith that the promise is nearly 2,000 years old and He still hasn’t come back? Why do you think Jesus is holding back from coming? Matt. 24:14; 2 Pet. 3:9
17. Who delivers us from the wrath to come? Can someone expect to escape the wrath of God if they do not have Jesus as their Savior? John 14:6; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 20:11-15
The Thessalonican church had the right stuff. They modeled balanced commitment tempered by realism in their spiritual lives. We, too, can have what they had, but it cannot be achieved without commitment. A good place to start is to make the same commitments they clearly made.
1. Commit yourself to Christians by standing ready to accept and support them.
2. Commit yourself to non-Christians by remaining available to meet their needs with your words and your life.
3. Commit yourself to Christ by staying free of any entanglements that keep you from living each day as if it were your last.