Leaving Thessalonica

Tomorrow morning, we work our way through our final passage in 1 Thessalonians.  After spending more than a year in a book that is only 5 chapters, I’m sure the audience will be relieved that “the end is nigh” (pun intended).  Truth be told, I’m going to miss this place and people, a lot.  Our series title was: Local Church, Global Repercussions, and I can say that this first of Paul’s epistles really helped to solidify for me at least,  the dual call of the Christian that we see laid out in God’s word.  First, to be part of a body, or family of covenant believers, and secondly, to translate the strength of that family into the proclamation of the good news to those who have not heard it, all to bring glory to God and make known the fame of His Name.

There are a few takeaways from this book that will stay with me always:

1.  Jesus is coming back as King…..mentioned in every chapter.  Be ready, live with one eye on the game clock.

2.  We are called to be messengers and heralds, not authors of the Word of God, which is at work in the hearts of all believers.

3.  We are called to be blameless in holiness, to live out a profession that matches our confession.

4.  The purpose of Christ’s death – it seems so redundant, yet it bears repeating again and again, that Christ died with us so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live in Him.

5.  The good news of the gospel, or evangel, is a message that is radically counter cultural.  Expect to suffer for it.  Present suffering is nothing in light of eternal glory.  Live it. Believe it.   Share it..

6.   Like all the Pauline letters, 1 Thessalonians ends with a blessing of grace: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you  The apostle does not simply wish strength or prosperity on the readers but rather invokes a blessing on them for what they needed most: the grace that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. This letter began with this desire for grace, plus that for peace (1.1), and here, as there, it summarizes the essence of the faith the Thessalonians have received. The person of Jesus, the Lord and Christ, is the fountain from which the grace of God flows out to them. This benediction is far from being a formality tacked to the end of the letter. The blessing of grace from the Lord Jesus Christ embraces the fullness of the salvation that comes from the one who is the sole Sovereign and Savior.  For that grace, I am eternally grateful.

If you’ve been present for some or more of these, I’d be interested to know what you learned as we walked through this study. Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you!

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