1 Thessalonians – Cascading Hope

The beauty of the gospel is that it cascades with viral effect; particularly when the message lives through the lives of the teachers. Paul’s message and model to the Thessalonians spreads through them to believers in Macedonia, Achaia and other places despite severe opposition.

EVENT TIMELINE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Presentation Overview

  • Summary and Background
  • True example: chapter 1-2:7
  • Tender Relationship: chapter 2:8-3
  • Transforming Hope: chapter 4
  • Tips on Life:chapter 5
  • Discussion

 

Theme Verse

1 Thessalonians 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

Christ’s example

Paul’s example

Thessalonians’ example

Macedonian believers

Introduction

Purpose of the letter was to:

  • Cascade and spread the faith and hope
  • Encourage the afflicted new believers
  • Assure them of the hope of Christ’s coming and
  • Reuniting with loved ones in Christ.

Background - Origins of the Thessalonian Church

Acts 17:1 When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures 

Background - Origins of the Thessalonian Church (Cont’d)

Acts 17

Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.

But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea

 

Cascading Hope - True example

Pauls example (1 Thessalonians 1:2-7) demonstrates and results in:

  • Thankful prayers
  • Work of Faith
  • Labour of Love
  • Steadfastness of Hope

1 Thessalonians 1:We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

True Example

Paul preaches

  • In face of opposition
  • Pure motives
  • No trickery
  • No flattery
  • No mask to cover up greed
  • Worked day and night
  • Not looking for praise
  • Not asserting authority

But as those approved by God and entrusted with gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)

True example cont’d..

1 Thessalonians 2:For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.

True Example - Thankful prayers

Paul thanks God for their commitment.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God continually ..because, when you received the word of God…. you,  became imitators of God’s churches in Judea.. You suffered ..  the same things those churches suffered from the Jews

True Example - Work of Faith

The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God  has become known everywhere. 1 Thessalonians 1:8

True Example - Labour of Love

1 Thessalonians 1:You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

True Example - Steadfastness of Hope

1 Thessalonians 1:for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Tender relationship

Rather than asserting apostolic authority, Paul establishes a relationship (1 Thessalonians 2:7-3:13):

  • Like a nursing mother – gentle, caring
  • Like a father – Exhorting, encouraging, charging
  • Like orphans –intense longing, every effort, again and again
  • Like a brother – Strengthening, thanking, blessing

 

Tender relationship - Like a Nursing mother

1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

Tender relationship - Like a Father

1 Thessalonians 2:11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God.

Tender relationship - Like orphans

1 Thessalonians 2:17 .. we were orphaned by being separated from you.. out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again

1 Thessalonians 3:5b I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you.

Tender relationship - Like a brother

1 Thessalonians 3:Therefore, brothers and sisters…How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Transforming Hope

Paul provides the long term vision (1 Thessalonians 4) in the:

  • Life of Hope
  • Love from Hope
  • Limitless Future in Hope

 

Transforming Hope – Ch 4 Life of Hope

 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Transforming Hope -Love from Hope

1 Thessalonians 4:Now … you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia… Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more.

Transforming Hope – Ch 4 Limitless Future in Hope

1 Thessalonians  4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command..  and the dead in Christ will rise first17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever

Tips on Life – 1 Thessalonians 5

    • Alertness – be sober, breastplate of faith and love, helmet of hope
    • Attitude to peopleRespect, admonish idlers, encourage fainthearted, be at peace, be patient..

Tips on Life – 1 Thessalonians 5 (Cont’d..)

  • Attitude to self – Give thanks in all circumstances, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, test everything, hold fast to good
  • Avoid – fall asleep, evil for evil, quench spirit, despise word of prophets, evil

 

Cascading Hope - Recap

True example:

  • Thankful Prayers
  • Work of Faith
  • Labour of Love
  • Steadfastness of Hope

Tender Relationship:

  • Like a Nurse
  • Like a Father
  • Like Orphans
  • Like a Brother

Cascading Hope - Recap (Cont’d..)

Transforming Hope:

  • Life of Hope
  • Love from Hope
  • Limitless Future in Hope

Tips on Life:

  • Alertness
  • Attitude to Others
  • Attitude to Self
  • Avoid

Discussion

  • What powerful lessons did Paul communicate through His personal example? What was the impact?
  • What was special in Paul’s approach to relationships? What aspects strike you in particular?
  • What do we learn about Christ’s second coming? How can we prepare best for it?

Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us – Samuel Smiles

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