Life was designed to be lived in community.

04/27/14 Get the Picture!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Under: Sermon

“BE OF GOOD CHEER!” Series: Week 1 – (2 Thessalonians 1:1-5)

Text: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 (NKJV)

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8

Intro: This is a picture, or a scene of the perfect church in the midst of the perfect storm. What is THE POTENTIAL OF TRIAL: When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery. Lord Kelvin

The believers in the church at Thessalonica got the picture. This series in 2 Thessalonians is based around the precept that the believer needs to continue to be of good cheer especially with the understanding of the coming of the Lord. It is my prayer by the end of this verse by verse study in the book of 2 Thessalonians that you will: “Get the Picture.” And be of good cheer!

Application: The coming of the LORD is near!

HOW DO YOU GET THE PICTURE? 1st of all you need to have a foundation.

1. The Believers Have: Foundation vs. 1

The Thessalonian believers stand as a model church for all other churches: they are a picture of what a church should be when it is being attacked and persecuted. ‘Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, these pastors are examples of men of God who are faithful to the church and our encouraging the believers to stand on the foundation of their faith: for the “Day of the Lord is near!”

The beginning of 2 Thessalonians starts out much like 1 Thessalonians – the importance of the minister of the church having a firm foundation in Jesus Christ: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” 1 John 4:15

A BAD DAY WHEN . . . You know it's going to be a bad day when you wake up in a hospital all bound up and your insurance agent tells you that your accident policy covers falling off the roof, but not hitting the ground.

The believers had a firm foundation in Christ AND THEY experienced the GRACE and PEACE from their Lord. The Thessalonica Church was being savagely attacked and persecuted by both the world and the religionists, they were being, ridiculed, mocked, cursed, ostracized, threatened and rejected. Some in the church were confused about the return of the Lord and the great day of the Lord, and about the awful day of His wrath. They needed the help of their ministers; they needed to be taught the truth about the coming again of Jesus Christ.

‘Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

HOW DO YOU GET THE PICTURE? Secondly you need to incorporate Fellowship.

2. The Believers Have: Fellowship vs. 2-3

Picture this: a church with a body of believers who knew what grace was and experienced it, they also had peace and a growing faith: “faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love!” says the scriptures and they had it.

Imagine a church full of believers whose faith in Christ Jesus grows explosively - beyond measure - beyond what we could ever imagine. (Maybe they were all in, experiencing authentic community) And remember: the church was growing in faith while they were in the midst of savage persecution.

A church full of Christians who were growing, what a picture! A faith that allowed these believers to simply trust the Lord WITH EVERYTHING! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 “Depend not.”

A person who grows in faith is a person who learns to depend upon Christ more and more in every area of life - What a glorious testimony to have a faith that grows exceedingly! Too many believers have their minds upon growing and increasing in the comfort and possessions of this world. They think little, if any, about growing in faith. They are satisfied with just enough faith to lotion their conscience. Growth in faith and Christ are of little concern to them.

By the way this trust and faith and love created a perfect environment for Fellowship. There was a love of believer for believer. In the letter of 1 Thessalonians, Paul had exhorted the church to grow more and more in love for one another. They had needed the message because there was some tension in the church surrounding the Lord's return. Paul's exhortation had worked: the church had straightened out the differences and the differing parties were now walking hand in hand with one another, overflowing and growing in love for one another.

This is a fellowship that binds: individuals together as a family - as the family of God.

  • that binds individuals in an unbreakable union.
  • that holds individuals with the deepest affection.
  • that nourishes and nurtures one another.
  • that shows concern and looks after the welfare of one another.
  • that always cherishes one another and comforts, supports, and encourages one another regardless of differences or circumstances.

This was the kind of love that the model church at Thessalonica had. This is what an abounding love is. This is the kind of love every single believer is to have for all other believers.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

HOW DO YOU GET THE PICTURE? Finally you need to have Faith.

3. The Believers Have: Faith vs. 4-5

The picture now turns to a scene of strong endurance and a continue faith through trials. The believers have a strong patience and faith in facing persecution and tribulation.

We are reminded that “patience” means to be steadfast, to endure, and to persevere. The Thessalonian believers were persevering and holding fast to their faith through all the trials of life: temptations, peer pressure, disease, accident, loss of job, death - whatever the trial was, they remained faithful to Christ. They did not buckle under and give in to the crowd nor to discouragement and despair. They held on to their faith in Christ. Their endurance and faith was a strong testimony to others.

Their endurance and faith was a sign of God's coming judgment upon unbelievers. The believers received a supernatural strength - God's strength - when they were persecuted. Their strength was so forceful that it was clear that it was being given by God. The believers were not becoming hysterical, they were not retaliating, were not accepting the persecution like passive sheep.

This is the picture: the presence of God and His glory in the believer is a clear sign that God exists and is going to vindicate his dear believer. He is going to judge and take vengeance upon the persecutors of His dear people. Persecution is a clear sign of God's coming judgment.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

CONCLUSION: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Illustration: TESTING THE STABILITY- In order to realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm. The growing church will feel the stress!

The believers for the most part at the First Baptist Church in the community of Thessalonica Got the PICTURE: The believers HAD a – Foundation, Fellowship & Faith. They continued to “be of good cheer!” Could you imagine a church in today’s world getting the big PICTURE?

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