Friday, December 18, 2009

1 Thessalonians: How To Wait For Christ

Background:

Paul, Silas, and Timothy came to Thessalonica after being persecuted in Philippi (Acts 16; 17:1ff). On three Sabbaths, Paul reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue, 1) that the OT predicted a Messiah who would suffer, die, and rise again, and 2) that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies (17:3). Many Jews, and some wives of Gentile authorities, believed (17:4). The missionary team was forced to leave the city prematurely, however, when some jealous and angry Jews hired a  mob and put the city in an uproar (5). They finally sent Timothy back to encourage them in their affliction, and find out about their faith (3:1-5). When Timothy returned with a good report, Paul sent this letter (3:6-10).

Content:

Chapter 1 expresses thankfulness for their faith, hope, and love.  2:1-12 recounts the blameless character of their teachers, and 2:13 - 3:10 the persecution they endured for their faith. 3:11 - 5:28 gives practical instructions about excelling in love. Each chapter relates its contents to the return of Christ for the church (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23). 

Purpose:

To encourage them to wait for Christ's return (1:1-10), by respecting their teachers (2:1-12), enduring opposition (2:13 - 3:10), and abounding in love (3:11 - 5:28).  

Theme: Wait for Christ

Outline:

Introduction (1:1-10)

1. By respecting godly teachers (2:1-12)

2. By enduring opposition (2:1 - 3-10)

3. By abounding in love (3:11 - 5:28)

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The Gospel


Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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