08/08/2021 Joy in affliction

Joy in affliction

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; BCBC/IOUC; 8/8/2021; Rev. Paul Wang

Introduction

Today we begin to talk about 1 Thessalonians, which is a book of Paul’s letter written earlier in the New Testament (52AC?). I believe it should be the place where the apostle Paul reached during his second missionary journey. The focus is on where there is a synagogue. This is one of the main tribulations suffered by early Christians, and this is an important background for understanding this book. Thessalonica is located in the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea in Greece, with a population of one million, making it the second largest city in Greece.但是, However, at that time Thessalonica still belonged to Macedonia, and even the capital of Macedonia. Paul and Barnabas had a vision of God when they were in Troas (Acts 16:8), and God called them through a Macedonian: During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, Come over to Macedonia and help us. (Acts 16:9) Let’s see the first point:

The style of being chosen

The signature of this letter is not Paul alone, but Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Explain that God’s election is on them, and it also allows us to see the style of God’s work. First of all, Paul’s leadership. Although the signature of three people, but the core figure of the team is still Paul. Paul is not on the list of the Twelve Apostles, but he met the resurrected Lord on the Damascus Road in 35 AD, at the same time was called by God. and This time, it was Paul’s second missionary journey. The characteristic was to travel by land when he went, and by sea when he returned. Thessalonica was just in the middle of the round trip, and the stay should be more than three weeks. Silas and Timothy were both spiritual children that Paul “picked back” on the missionary road and cultivated them into chosen successors. Therefore, the elect must choose a successor who conforms to God’s will.

Second, the role of Silas. Silas’ entry into Paul’s mission team began after the famous Jerusalem conference. At this conference, the Jerusalem church decided to preach the gospel to Gentiles, which was a major change in church ministry. Peter should be the person responsible for sending by the church, and Barnabas and Paul were accepted as missionaries by the church. At the same time, the church also matched Paul with Judas and Silas as co-workers. Please note that Silas is not an ordinary person, but “who were leaders among the believers. (Acts 15:22)” And the bible records: Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets. (Acts 15:32) To explain, the prophet mentioned here especially refers to the gift of the prophet to preach. However, Silas was willing to be a follower, partner, like an unknown preacher. If you go to search for Syrah on the Internet, you may not find it.

Finally, Timothy’s inheritance. If it is strictly said that Silas was brought by Paul from Jerusalem, then Timothy was “picked back” from Turkey. Timothy’s father was Greek, his mother Eugene and his grandmother Lois were both Jewish. According to Jewish tradition, because he did not live in a Jewish environment, Timothy can only be regarded as a Greek. Timothy joined Paul’s team, probably during Paul’s second missionary journey in 50 AD. Timothy’s mother, Eugene, and grandmother, Lois, should have led the Christian faith on Paul’s first missionary journey. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5) Let’s see the second point:

Follow the example of the Lord

At this moment, we are speaking so plainly. In fact, Paul’s team has been living in affliction and has never stopped. However, affliction did not hinder the joy of Paul’s team. Not only have they fulfilled the mission of “the elect must choose the successor who conforms to God’s heart”, they still have room for growth to follow the example of the Lord. First of all, be grateful often. A person who is always grateful is a person who overcomes suffering, agree? It is not difficult to agree, but it is difficult to find no reason to be grateful, will it? In fact, it is because the world’s hard work, sorrow, glory, and lusts cover our eyes and block our ears. So that we can’t hear, and cannot see clearly, and cannot understand, and become fools in the eyes of God. The world and all things are created by God, shouldn’t we be grateful? Shouldn’t you be grateful for Christ who gave his life to cross for you and accomplishes salvation for you? The Holy Spirit dwells in your heart and is your help at any time. Shouldn’t you be grateful? The church is the body of Christ. It provides you with fellowship, worship, prayer, and gospel mission. Don’t you feel it? On the contrary, if we are immersed in sorrow and pain, frowning, bitter resentment, cursing and complaining every day. May I ask where the heavenly principle exists?

Secondly, mention the church body. Paul says, We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. (1 Thessalonians 1:2) Please note that Paul’s writing is on “mention youThey are the brothers and sisters of the church. What is mentioned? The Paul team went on to say 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. (1 Thessalonians 1:3) The work of faith, the labor of love, and the hope we have, these three things are what we need to mention when we pray for brothers and sisters. Okay, let’s start today and change the structure of our prayers. Don’t just ask for something, but renew our prayers in the structure of faith, hope, and love!

Finally, inheritance and selection. The first point above talked about Paul, Silas, and Timothy. The three of them were chosen by God. Obviously, God did not stop them, but continued to take one more step. God wants to inherit God’s election through the election of the three of them. Paul continued: For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, (1 Thessalonians 1:4) God used Paul’s team to announce the election of the brothers and sisters in Thessalonica! God said through Paul: “I know!” Dear brothers and sisters, are you the generation chosen by God? Let’s look at the third point:

Living testimony

What did Paul and his co-workers go to Thessalonica for? Just to preach the gospel, right? So, how should we preach the gospel? First, rely on the Holy Spirit. Since it is evangelism, words are of course inseparable. But sometimes words are the weakest, especially in front of family members, right? At least the language is not the only one, agree? In addition to words, Paul mentioned power and the Holy Spirit. Mentioning power alone reminds people of miracles, but only speaking of the Holy Spirit, also causes people to speak in tongues and so on. Paul put the two together to emphasize the coming of the age, the age of the Holy Spirit! The Father designed salvation, and the Son executed salvation. Next, it is the Holy Spirit to complete the plan of the gospel! Therefore, the protagonist of evangelism is the Holy Spirit, and we are just co-workers.

Second, full of faith. What is faith? Have you thought about it? The Bible says: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) You preach the gospel to people and tell them to believe in Jesus and have eternal life. But how can you convince people if you don’t have faith, don’t live faith, and are full of worries? You attended church gathering for many years, and have listened to more than 500-1000 sermons. But it is still difficult to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and cannot connect Christ with your life on the cross. Always feel that Christ is very far away from yourself, not even related! Paul and his co-workers’ exhortation to the brothers and sisters is to have “sufficient faith!” Do you have it?

Finally, imitate Christ. We all know that parents are role models for children, and children are models for parents. Those who preach the gospel must also be role models for gospel friends. The so-called example is more important than words and teachings, this is the truth! If you have an example, you must imitate the Lord! You cannot see the Lord, but you can see those who imitate the Lord! And, you can take one step further and become a role model for others! In fact, faith is very simple, it is to imitate the Lord! What the Lord thinks, I think the same; how the Lord acts, I will behave accordingly. The Bible is the yardstick and guide of my life, and I do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Do you want to?

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters, Paul and his party are living in tribulation every day, but they have not hindered them from living in the manner of being called, following the example of Christ, and living testimony of life! Isn’t this also the life we should have?

Let’s pray together……

 

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