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Thursday, October 30, 2008
1) At the end of Chapter 3 Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would be able to lead a pure life. Now Paul gives them more instructions on how to do so.
4:1-2 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
After we come to faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit starts working in us to overcome sin and make us more like Christ. We are saved by God's grace alone, but the Holy Spirit leads us to live a better and more holy life. After we are saved by God's grace the rest of our lives are spent growing in faith and knowledge. This is called sanctification.
Paul urges them on in their sanctification to by telling them to live for God more and more.
Read this link for more on sanctification:
How has the Holy Spirit helped you in your struggle with sin, in your time of prayer, or any other part of your life as a Christian?
2) Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 Paul condemns sexual impurity.
Sexual sin can trap us no matter where we are in our lives. As Christians we need to be on guard against this. Watch the video below, and see how Christ can help us to overcome and how his forgiveness can heal us.
3) In the next section, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, Paul warns against gossiping. Then he encourages every one to live quiet and humble lives.
How can gossip hurt you at home, work, school, or any other place?
What are some good ways to avoid gossip?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
1) In chapter 3 Paul mentioned that he sent Timothy to the Thessalonians to strenghten and encourage them in the faith. Paul was delighted to hear that the church in Thessalonica was thriving.
Let's take a moment to get to know Timothy:
-Timothy was the son of a Greek father, and Jewish mother.
-Timothy was converted while Paul was in Lystra.
-Timothy was circumcised by Paul in order to overcome barriers to his ministry to the Jews
-Timothy became Paul's "right hand man".
-Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy to...well...Timothy.
2)Timothy was sent to encourage the Thessalonians in their time of persecution. Is there anything that we could do to strengthen other Christians who are being persecuted?
Read the article below. It is from "The Voice of the Martyrs" website, and it describes their goals for a national day of prayer.
What do you think of this?
3) Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
In verse 13 Paul wrote that it is important to be found blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why is it important to be blameless if we are saved by faith alone?
First he prays that God would strengthen their hearts. He puts the emphasis on God making them holy. He is not implying that they can make themselves holy and blameless. He petitions God to purify their hearts for them.
The heart is where all of our motivations come from. If our hearts are filled with love we will serve others joyfully, and we will be blameless.
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(I have been having problems with my other email address.)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
1) Read 1 Thess. 2:13-16
13And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. 14For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men 16in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
Paul writes about the persecution Christ and other prophets suffered. The Bible seems to show us a pattern in Acts that the apostles suffered. First they were threatened and arrested. Then they were flogged. Next, a few were murdered. Finally, it reached a full scale persecution of everyone. This happened in for the first Christians in Judea, now it was happening in Thessalonica. (Kuske, Thessalonians, Northwestern Publishing House, pg. 27.)
What would you do if you saw this pattern developing in our society?
2) How were the persecutors "heaping their sins up to the limit"?
There is a warning for all of us in Paul's words. We must take God and his Word seriously and reverently or else we will eventually despise God. Then we will be no better than the 1st Century Jewish leaders who persecuted the faithful.
Read the story from foxnews.com:
Are movies like this a form of persecution? Do you see any other forms of persecution in America?
3) Read 1 Thess. 3:5
For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
In what ways would Satan use persecution to cause Christains to fall from faith?
How are we preotected form Satan? (Hint: B_ptism)
You guessed it! In our baptism we are rescued from the devil, and made to be children of God! While we may suffer for our faith, we know that our problems are only temporary.
27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."
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Monday, October 13, 2008
So far the coat drive is going well. (This morning someone dropped off 25 coats!) However, we still have a long way to go. If you have any coats please bring them in. There are many who cannot afford a coat; or atleast, it would be a big help to them if they did not have to worry about finding a coat. We will take whatever size or shape of coat that is new or gently used.
Thank you for those who have brought in coats or who have helped in other ways. You have done a lot to provide for those who are in need!
The drive will continue through Friday 17th. If you haven't dug through your closet for a coat please do so. If you haven't told a friend about the coat drive please do so. Let's keep going to help as many as we can with a coat, and the gospel!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
In the last post we learned how Paul was a humble, but also bold pastor; claiming he was entrusted with the Gospel. He also treated the Thessalonians with the love that a parent would have for his children. Sunday, we will continue that theme of parental care, and move on to a couple of other characteristics. After that, it will be time for persecution!
1) Read chapter 2:8-12:
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
How does Paul show concern for the Thessalonians?
Paul says that he dealt with the Thessalonians as a father deals with his own children- Do you have anyone who has been a father to you in regard to your faith?
2) The first paragraph in the italicized section above describe Paul as hardworking and self-sacrificing. Paul was a tent maker by trade. He probably served as a missionary/ pastor during the day, and made tents at night.
What does this say about Paul's dedication to the Thessalonians?
What sacrifices can you make to spend more time serving God?
The link below shows us a humorous poster about sacrifice, but there is a point to it.
Paul did not always see the fruit of his efforts, and we might not either. Yet, God sees everything, and we know that he can do wonderful things through us. Plus, he gives us the Spirit to comfort us when it appears that our ministry is not getting a lot of results.
3) Persecution! In times of persecution Christians have clung to God's Word. Read 1 Thess 2:13-3:9
How would the Word of God help you if you were persecuted?
Below is a video from "Open Doors USA" I have never heard of this ministry before, but apparently they focus on sending aid to persecuted Christians. The video brings home a good point that there are many Christians who do suffer for their faith.
Please spend some time this week praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ who risk everything for their faith.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008
This week we will go more in depth into the characteristics of a pastor; as well as, how Paul's relationship with the Thessalonian church can encourage us to minister to others.
1) If you spread the Gospel you will almost inevitably encounter criticism. This will happen whether you are a pastor or a factory worker, secretary, manager, etc... Read the verses below from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4:
You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. 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 men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
How does Paul handle criticism of his ministry?
How would you handle someone who criticized your efforts to share the Word of God with others?
Click on the link below and read te article about handling criticism in ministry. It is aimed at youth ministers, but the principles apply to everyone.
How does this article change your approach to criticism?
2) Read verse 4 again:
On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
Paul claims a sacred trust with the Gospel. How would you describe this sacred trust? (Read Galatians 1:11-16)
Do Pastors today still have a sacred trust with the Word of God?
3) Read 1 Thessalonians 2:6b-9
As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
Paul had to work very hard for his churches, just as Pastors today have a much to do.
How has a Pastor's work impacted your life?
What is a Pastor's chief responsibility?
Read the article below from lcms.org on pastors:
Why do we need Pastors in the church?
Please Post any comments or questions. I am excited to hear what you think!
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