May 20, 2014

Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10

We live in very difficult times in our culture today. With the advances of technology we are at a time when idolatry is very prevalent. Not to say that idolatry has not always existed but availability to indulge in our idolatry is at an all time high. The Thessalonians were sort of like our modern day New York City. It was the capital of Rome and a booming center of trade. It was a melting pot of Romans, Jews, Greeks and Egyptians. With that kind of society there was a number of different religions and cults. As we look at our passage today I want to help us think about what we can learn from the Thessalonians. How did they demonstrate the gospel through their lives in a culture devoid of the gospel?

1. They demonstrated the joy of Christ in the midst of affliction.

We live in a day and time when having faith in Jesus can be seen as ignorant, closed minded and even hateful because of our the Bible’s stance on family and marriage. You will face opposition for your faith at some level if you are trying to live out a genuine faith in Jesus. How you respond will determine who is in control of your heart, yourself or Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It does not mean you have to be happy about affliction but it does mean you will have a peace and joy beyond understanding in the midst of affliction (Philippians 4:7)

2. True faith in the midst of struggle speaks volumes to those around us.

If you want to be a light in your home, your work place, in your school or wherever you go then have authentic faith. I have heard it said that, “more is caught then taught.” It is absolutely true. The Thessalonians got an opportunity to be a witness because of their actions. If you want your kids to love God then show them that God matters to you by your actions. If you want your co-workers or lost friends to give you an opportunity to share your faith then show them that your faith is real and that it matters.

What would you say that you have been communicating about your faith to others by your actions? What needs to change?

Posted: Chad Wiles

May 19, 2014

Today you should read: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

Welcome to 1 Thessalonians at Jumpstart! If you are new to us, this is a great time to join in since we are starting a new book. This is one of Paul’s many letters, and since we’ve been through a number of them already, I’ll just remind you with this simple graphic what his life journey (post-conversion) looked like:

Paul Timeline

This short letter covers much ground. Paul has a lot of major subjects that he addresses. One of the key things he was trying to accomplish was correcting and influencing the Thessalonians’ theology. He also deals with practical issues, but these are addressed largely due to theological concerns that Paul had. As you’ve heard us say many times here at CPC, “What you believe affects how you live.” That’s what this letter is all about: orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy, or at least it should.

Here’s a snapshot of the major themes of the book:

1 Thess Themes

Paul starts this letter much like he does in his other writings. He begins with telling them who it is from — Paul, Silas and Timothy — and who it is going to — the church at Thessalonica. He then gives one of his traditional greetings: grace and peace. The letter moves to a discipler-disciple relationship that should be emulated by us.

>> The discipler is grateful for his disciples (v.2)
>> The discipler prays for his disciples (v.2-3)
>> The disciples are faithful to Christ (v.3)
>> The disciples are serving with love (v.3)
>> The discipler reminds his disciples of the Gospel (v.4-5)
>> The discipler cared deeply for his disciples (v.5)

Church, my prayer for you today is similar to Paul’s for the Thessalonians. I am grateful for you, and I pray that you remember what Jesus did for you on the cross. As you remember that critical gospel truth, I pray that you let it overwhelm you to the point of changing the way you live. Soli Deo Gloria!

(Both info graphics from ESV Online)

Posted: Todd Thomas