Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Give Thanks for the Church
1 Thess 1:1-3  NASB

NASB
1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 
3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, NAS 
 

KJV 
1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 
3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; KJV
NIV 
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. 
2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 
3 We continually 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. NIV 

Introduction
Paul in this letter writes to a local church he started; The Church at Thessalonica : The establishment of the church is recorded in Ac 17:1-9. On his second missionary journey, Paul and his companions (Silas and Timothy) had just left Philippi and passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia to arrive at Thessalonica. As was his custom,

Paul immediately located the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews for three Sabbaths concerning Jesus Christ. While some of them were persuaded, including a great number of devout Greeks and leading women, the unbelieving Jews became jealous and created an uproar in the city.

THE CITY OF THESSALONICA: It was the capital and largest city of the Roman province of Macedonia. Located on the Egnatian Way, a major road from Rome to the eastern provinces.
Today, it is known as Thessaloniki, or Salonica.

THEME OF THE EPISTLE: This book is unique in that every chapter ends with a reference to the second coming of Christ (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:23).

With his emphasis on steadfastness and holy living, an appropriate theme might be: "Holiness in View of the Coming of Christ". Paul was Thankful for the Church. I want you to follow as I emphasis Paul's thankfulness for the Peace of the Church, Prayers of the Church, and the Projects of the Church.
 
 

1.    Give Thanks for the . . Peace of the Church. v 1


1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace
 

A.    Participants in the Churches' Peace. v 1 a
            "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church. . . . "

        1.    Paul
                a.    No title after his name in this letter.
Some say because there was no major criticism of him or his authority.

AT ROBERTSON p 5 Vol.1 Paul does not here call himself "apostle" as in the later Epistles, perhaps because his position has not been so vigorously attacked as it was later.

                b.    Did you know Paul got criticized?
                c.    Did you know Jesus got criticism?
Matthew 13:58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. NAS
                d.    Preachers today get criticism.
 

        2.    Silvanus "Silas"
                a.    Silvanus mentioned 4 times in NASB.
                b.    Silas mentioned 13 times in NASB.

        3.    Timothy. Mentioned
                a.    Mentioned 24 times in NASB
                b.    Mentioned in 11 of the books Paul wrote.

        4.    The Whole Church. "In Thessalonica.
                a.    Bring out the importance of the Local Church.

B.    Place of the Churches' Peace. v 1 b
            " . . .in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:. . . "

        1.    The phrase "In God" stated 7 times in Paul's writings.
        2.    The phrase "In Christ" stated 86 times in Paul's writings.
        3.    The Lord, Jesus the Christ.

AT ROBERTSON p 6 Vol. IV ". . . here in his first Epistle there is no "reduced Christ" for Paul. He took Jesus as "Lord" when he surrendered to Jesus on the Damascus Road:

C.    Plan of the Churches' Peace. v 1 c
            ". . . Grace to you and peace.   "
        1.    Grace then Peace.
                a.    Always this way in the writing of Paul.
                b.    World shuns Grace and lacks Peace.

Illustration
Friday a lady dropped by the office who was moving from South East Missouri to Springfield. She said the Lord told her to come by and talk to the minister of this church. I am always a little skeptical of people who just pop up like that but I ask her several questions and began to sense this lady knows the Lord and I really believe she has been talking to Him.

She was leaving a very abusive marriage and going to live with a son. She was very uneasy about divorcing her husband. I showed her (Mat 19:9 NASB) "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." The lady said "but that says nothing about a woman divorcing her husband". I smiled and thought you really have been in an abusive relationship haven't you. I then told her "that refers to mankind and not just the male gender." A light seemed to go off in her spirit. She said "that's what God sent me in here for. I needed that and an obvious peace came over her.

Illustration
This week Dorothy Pierce's husband while out bow hunting fell from a tree to his death. As Bro. Phil and I went by to visit her she had an obvious presence of the peace of God. She got that from her relationship with the Lord but also as the church shared their peace and concern with her.

Application Phil. 4:7 NASB

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Thank God for the Peace the Church Shares.
 
 
 

2.    Give Thanks for the . . Prayers of the Church. v 2


2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

A.    The Direction of the Prayers. v 2 a
           "We give thanks to God. . . "

Illustration
About a year and a half ago, someone came into my office and said, "There seems to be a lot of talk in the church that I do not think is wholesome. I am concerned that there might be a split in our church. And this person went on to talk about a church experience they had where there were similar problems and many people left the church. I asked this individual, "Did that church have a prayer room ministry?" He said, "No." I said, "Did that church have a group of women meeting regularly to pray?" And he said, "No." I said, "Did that church have a group of men that meet regularly to pray." And he said, "No."

I further emphasized, I said, "You know our prayer meeting time gives a lot of time to prayer. And I want to emphasis to you that in the midst of any kind of turmoil, the answer is not man the answer is God and I am confident that the prayers of the church are going to see the church through this time of difficulty. And I really believe now, a year and a half later that the church has benefitted from the prayers of God's people.
 

B.    The Dependability of the Prayers. v 2 b
        ". . . always for all of you. . . "
 

C.    The Distinctiveness of the Prayers. v 2 c
        ". . . making mention of you in our prayers; . . . "

Illustration Creative Love
The Quaker philosopher Rufus Jones, in his autobiography, relates a childhood incident that seems trivial in itself, but, seen in the light of what he eventually became, it was probably the turning point in his life that made him the great man he was. One day his parents told him to stay home and weed the turnip patch while they were gone. He had just begun when some friends came along and persuaded him to go fishing with them, promising to help him weed the garden when they got back.

But, as every fisherman knows, it's practically impossible to keep track of the time when your fishing--especially if the fish are biting!

When young Rufus finally returned home after dark, his mother was waiting for him. Silently, she led him to his room. He knew what he deserved, so he offered not a word of excuse. "But then," he writes, "a miracle happened instead. Mother put me in a chair, kneeled down, put her hands on me, and told God all about me.

She interpreted her dream of what my life was to be. She portrayed the boy and the man of her hopes. She told God what she always expected me to be, and then how I had disappointed her hope. 'O God!' she prayed. 'take this boy of mine and make him the boy and man he is divinely designed to be.' Then she bent over and kissed me and went out and left me alone in the silence with God." James A. Carpenter, The Minister's Manual: 1985, New York: Harper & Row, 1984, 238.

Application

Rev 8:3 NASB
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
 
 

3.    Give Thanks for the . . Projects of the Church. v 3


3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

FAITH, LOVE, HOPE The three Cardinal Virtues

A.    Their Projects In Work. v 3 a
            "constantly bearing in mind your work of faith . . . "

NT:2041
ergon (er'-gon); from a primary (but obsolete) ergo (to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication, an act: KJV-deed, doing, labour, work.

        1.    This would be their Vocation.
 

B.    Their Projects In Labor. v 3 b
            ". . . and labor of love . . . "

NT:2873
kopos (kop'-os); from NT:2875; a cut, i.e. (by analogy) toil (as reducing the strength), literally or figuratively; by implication, pains: KJV-labour, + trouble, weariness.

This is the kind of labor they put into their Vocation.

Humor, a wealthy man ask his wife if she would love him if he lost all of his wealth. She said yes I would still love you, and probably miss you a lot.
 

C.    Their Projects In Hope.. v 3 c
            ". . . steadfastness of hope. . . "

Steadfast.
NT:5281
hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay');from NT:5278; cheerful (or hopeful)
endurance, constancy: KJV-enduring, patience, patient

Hope.
NT:1680
elpis (el-pece'); from a primary elpo (to anticipate, ususally with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence:
KJV-faith, hope.
 

D,    Their Projects In Presence. v 3 c
            ". . . in the presence of our God and Father,

NT:1715
emprosthen (em'-pros-then); from NT:1722 and NT:4314; in front of (in place [literally or figuratively] or time): KJV (in presence, sight)

Illustration
Watchman Nee tells the story about a Christian rice farmer who had his rice farm at a very high plateau. Every morning he would have to go down to the lowest level and pump water up to his rice farm. He had to open certain locks and close others and shut the dam on his property in order to keep the water on his land.

Several mornings he went down early and pumped the water up to his rice field only to find when he got back up to his land his neighbor had opened his dam so the water would flow on to his rice field. This happened over and over again and nothing he said changed his neighbors actions.

This man prayed earnestly for his neighbor and for God to give him wisdom. The answer came and he got up earlier the next morning and pumped his neighbors field full before he pumped water on his own field.

His neighbor could not believe what was being done and began to inquire about the man's faith. He then made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, the Christ.

Application

You see like the Christians in Thessalonica the Chinese man had a Vocation (work) of Faith, A labor of Love, and a steadfast Hope. He believed his witness could influence the man for Christ.

Conclusion

Give Thanks for the Church




Give Thanks for the Peace of the Church.
 

Give Thanks for the Prayers of the Church.
 

Give Thanks for the Projects of the Church.