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Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-8
The Pattern of a Faithful Church
1. Remember silly putty or play doo? Stamp impressions into it.
2. NT word for this: typos: “a die (as struck), i.e. (by impl.) a stamp or scar; by anal. a shape, i.e. a statue, (fig.) style or resemblance; spec. a sampler (“type”), i.e. a model (for imitation) or instance (for warning): --en- (ex-) ample, fashion, figure, form, matter, pattern, print.” (Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Testament, #5179, I:73).
a. Form of doctrine to obey from the heart, Rom. 6:17.
b. Pattern to follow, Phil. 3:17.
c. Authoritative example to follow, 2 Thess. 3:9.
d. Elders set an example for the flock, 1 Pet. 5:3.
3. Thessalonian church a model for believers to imitate, 1 Thess. 1:7. (Not exhaustive treatment; it is a look at this church from 1 Thess.)
I. THEY FOLLOWED THE APOSTLES, 1 Thess. 1:5-6.
A. Received “Our” Gospel (gospel of God, 2:9).
1. Word of God, 1 Thess. 2:13. Persuaded, Acts 17:2-4.
2. Cannot follow Jesus, but refuse His apostles, Jno. 13:20.
a. cf. Believe only (Jno. 3:16); Refuse be baptized (Acts 2:38).
b. “Core gospel” (L-D-B-R-A of Jesus), Dilute secondary “doctrine”, Matt. 28:19-20.
3. This model church respected Christ’s authority by being “followers” (imitators) of the apostles, 1 Thess. 1:6.
4. We must do the same as they, 2 Thess. 2:15; 3:1-4.
II. THE PATTERN OF THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA, 1 Thess. 1:3.
A. Their Work of Faith, 1:3.
1. Christians were living by faith, Jno. 6:29; Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:7.
a. In the face of persecutions (Acts 17:5-9), 1 Thess. 3:1-10.
b. Faith can be encouraged (3:2), be known (3:5), reported (3:6), comfort and strengthen others (3:7-8), bring joy (3:9), be completed (3:10).
2. The congregation’s work of faith:
a. Evangelism: They were spreading the word of Lord, 1 Thess. 1:8; Likely that they supported Paul to preach, Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 11:8.
b. Edification: Worshiping, teaching, growing, 2:9-12; 5:11.
3. We must fervently do these works of faith as a local church; without adding to them.
B. Their Labor of Love, 1:3.
1. Loved each other (sincerely, without hypocrisy, Rom. 12:9).
a. Benevolence, 1 Thess. 4:9-10; Later, 2 Cor. 8:1-5.
b. Pursuing what was good for each other, and all, 5:15.
2. Growing in love, 3:11-13; 2 Thess. 1:3.
3. Our treatment of each other identifies us as disciples of Jesus, Jno. 13:34-35.
-Prayers, assistance, caring, encouragement, teaching, etc.
C. Their Patience of Hope, 1:3 (steadfast endurance).
1. In the face of persecutions, 2:14-16.
a. Standing fast, 3:8.
b. Living quiet lives, 4:11-12.
2. For the return of Jesus, 1:9-10 (faithful service, waiting…).
a. Remain blameless and holy, 3:12-13 (sanctification, 4:1-8).
b. Joyful anticipation and comfort, 1 Thess. 4:13-18.
c. Watchful living, 1 Thess. 5:1-11 (ready, sober, self-controlled).
d. Trusting God’s final, righteous judgment, 2 Thess. 1:5-10.
3. We must remain steadfast in the face of opposition to truth, as we look for the return of Jesus, 5:23-24.
III. THIS FAITHFUL CHURCH HAD ITS PROBLEMS (2 Thess.).
A. Constant Work of Warning, Exhorting, Comforting, Patiently Holding Up Some, 1 Thess. 5:12-14.
-A church without problems is usually a church that is not working.
B. Some became Disorderly, and Needed Discipline, 2 Thess. 3:6.
-Goal was their salvation, not extinguishing them.
1. God’s election assures us and emboldens our faithfulness, 1:4.
2. May this church imitate the God-approved patterns the Thessalonian church set for us.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: November 13, 2017