Faith, Hope, and Love

In AD 50, Apostle Paul planted his first church in Thessalonica. Here’s how it went (Acts 17): 1) When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas,as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the worldhave now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. It was a rough start for this church plant. Some time later, Paul sent Timothy back  to see how the church there was doing. Timothy comes back with good news: -their faith was firm -there was unity in church Think how good Paul must have felt. With that background, Paul writes 2) 1 Thessalonians It’s a letter written to a church  that’s doing well under hardships. 3) Paul, Silas and Timothy,To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:Grace and peace to you. 2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.3 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. As a church, we’ve got a lot of ministries: -Hospitality -Channels of Love -Good News Club -Inner City Ministry -Car Show Ministry -Chattanooga Church Students -Kid Zone To name a few……. I don’t know of another church that  has any higher percentage of involvement  than we do. 4) We do we do, what we do? This is a question we all need to ask. Have our motives changed? Are we burned out? Are we ministering out of compulsion? This morning, I want to look at  5) 1 Thessalonians 1 If you’ve been ministering & you’re tired, I believe this passage will speak to your heart. 6) Paul commends this church in three ways (vs. 4):     1. Work produced by faith     2. Labor prompted by love     3. Endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at these three For those on our hospitality team, Why do you get here on Sundays at 6:30 & start cooking? For those working at Hillcrest Elementary, Why do you teach loud (sometimes misbehaving) children? For those Involved with CC Inner City Ministries, Why do you cook & feed people you’ll probably never see again? For those involved with Car Show Ministry, Why do you spend months organizing & planning this event? Because of your faith. You believe that Jesus -came -died -rose on 3rd day -Coming Again You believe that eternal life  happens in Jesus. You don’t want anyone to miss this opportunity. Your faith drives you actions. You want everyone to inherit eternal life. When you see a child,  who’s never heard the Bible read,  that affects you. When you see someone outside of Christ, who’s dying (HIV, cancer) that affects you. You may not know personally know their name,  but you want to help them. WHY?    LOVE It’s labor prompted by love. You love them & value them,  as God’s creation. God honors that. 1 Cor 13:1-3 7) If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. There will be a lot of people at Judgement,  who did a lot of good deeds. -Preached -Taught SS -Led Bible Studies -Feed Homeless -Any number of great things But they did it without love. What do they gain? NOTHING (according to 1 Cor 13) If love isn’t our motive,  we shouldn’t be doing it. We have a lot of great ministries at CC. People often ask: “Which one should I sign-up for?” My answer: “Whichever one makes you cry.” Don’t sign up to help with Student Ministry, If the burden of a teenager without Christ  Doesn’t stir your heart. Don’t sing up to help with Children’s Ministry, If the importance of implanting Bible stories & songs Doesn’t stir your heart. This principle applies to  every ministry we have. We need to let LOVE be our motive. As Paul said: “Let your labor be prompted by love." Lastly, Paul commends the Thessalonican church for: 8) Endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. When you get tired (we all do), Where do you get your strength to continue? When you care for an elderly relative  who’s less than grateful…. You get tired. In those times of exhaustion (mentally, physically, spiritually) Where do you get the strength to press on? I don’t know if you noticed it,  but there’s a key word in vs. 3 9) your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Is your endurance inspired? If not, it needs to be! How is it inspired? By hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. When you examine Jesus’ life, you see someone  who was seldom thanked, but kept doing good. At the end of his life, he was: -cursed -mocked -ridiculed  by those who hated him. In the end, he died for them anyway. 10) Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Jesus came and modeled  what love looks like. When you’re exhausted & struggling to hang-on, There’s HOPE (Jesus) Let your hope be inspired by Jesus.  11) your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. These three things: Faith, Hope & Love Inspired the Thessalonican church. 12) 1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Love should be the cornerstone  of everything we do in life. From caring for that elderly relative, To mowing the neighbors yard, To teaching the Bible. If we’re doing it for any other reason, It’s the wrong reason. As we learned at the beginning of this lesson,  the non-Christians in Thessalonica,  weren’t easy to love. They were down-right mean. But faith, hope & love drove them  to model Jesus. These believers, in adverse circumstances, Had a power source. It’s a power source that is  used too-little in church today. It’s the power of Holy Spirit. Jesus’ last words on earth were: 13) Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Listen to what the Holy Spirit’s power did 14) 1 Thes 1:4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. Persecutions & hardships  were common to these folks. Yet, they had an internal power (HS) This power enabled them to have 15) 6 ….. joy given by the Holy Spirit. If you’re not finding joy in your Christian walk, You may be doing it alone (w/o HS). Don’t ignore the power source  that Jesus provides to his people. He is there for you to call upon. 16) 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. Like the Thessalonians, we wait. We wait upon the Lord to return. Until he does, we’ve got a lot of ministry to perform.

In AD 50, Apostle Paul planted his first church in Thessalonica. Here’s how it went (Acts 17): 1) When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas,as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the worldhave now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. It was a rough start for this church plant. Some time later, Paul sent Timothy back  to see how the church there was doing. Timothy comes back with good news: -their faith was firm -there was unity in church Think how good Paul must have felt. With that background, Paul writes 2) 1 Thessalonians It’s a letter written to a church  that’s doing well under hardships. 3) Paul, Silas and Timothy,To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.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. As a church, we’ve got a lot of ministries: -Hospitality -Channels of Love -Good News Club -Inner City Ministry -Car Show Ministry -Chattanooga Church Students -Kid Zone To name a few……. I don’t know of another church that  has any higher percentage of involvement  than we do. 4) We do we do, what we do? This is a question we all need to ask. Have our motives changed? Are we burned out? Are we ministering out of compulsion? This morning, I want to look at  5) 1 Thessalonians 1 If you’ve been ministering & you’re tired, I believe this passage will speak to your heart. 6) Paul commends this church in three ways (vs. 4):     1. Work produced by faith     2. Labor prompted by love     3. Endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at these three For those on our hospitality team, Why do you get here on Sundays at 6:30 & start cooking? For those working at Hillcrest Elementary, Why do you teach loud (sometimes misbehaving) children? For those Involved with CC Inner City Ministries, Why do you cook & feed people you’ll probably never see again? For those involved with Car Show Ministry, Why do you spend months organizing & planning this event? Because of your faith. You believe that Jesus -came -died -rose on 3rd day -Coming Again You believe that eternal life  happens in Jesus. You don’t want anyone to miss this opportunity. Your faith drives you actions. You want everyone to inherit eternal life. When you see a child,  who’s never heard the Bible read,  that affects you. When you see someone outside of Christ, who’s dying (HIV, cancer) that affects you. You may not know personally know their name,  but you want to help them. WHY?    LOVE It’s labor prompted by love. You love them & value them,  as God’s creation. God honors that. 1 Cor 13:1-3 7) If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. There will be a lot of people at Judgement,  who did a lot of good deeds. -Preached -Taught SS -Led Bible Studies -Feed Homeless -Any number of great things But they did it without love. What do they gain? NOTHING (according to 1 Cor 13) If love isn’t our motive,  we shouldn’t be doing it. We have a lot of great ministries at CC. People often ask: “Which one should I sign-up for?” My answer: “Whichever one makes you cry.” Don’t sign up to help with Student Ministry, If the burden of a teenager without Christ  Doesn’t stir your heart. Don’t sing up to help with Children’s Ministry, If the importance of implanting Bible stories & songs Doesn’t stir your heart. This principle applies to  every ministry we have. We need to let LOVE be our motive. As Paul said: “Let your labor be prompted by love." Lastly, Paul commends the Thessalonican church for: 8) Endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. When you get tired (we all do), Where do you get your strength to continue? When you care for an elderly relative  who’s less than grateful…. You get tired. In those times of exhaustion (mentally, physically, spiritually) Where do you get the strength to press on? I don’t know if you noticed it,  but there’s a key word in vs. 3 9) your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Is your endurance inspired? If not, it needs to be! How is it inspired? By hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. When you examine Jesus’ life, you see someone  who was seldom thanked, but kept doing good. At the end of his life, he was: -cursed -mocked -ridiculed  by those who hated him. In the end, he died for them anyway. 10) Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Jesus came and modeled  what love looks like. When you’re exhausted & struggling to hang-on, There’s HOPE (Jesus) Let your hope be inspired by Jesus.  11) your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. These three things: Faith, Hope & Love Inspired the Thessalonican church. 12) 1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Love should be the cornerstone  of everything we do in life. From caring for that elderly relative, To mowing the neighbors yard, To teaching the Bible. If we’re doing it for any other reason, It’s the wrong reason. As we learned at the beginning of this lesson,  the non-Christians in Thessalonica,  weren’t easy to love. They were down-right mean. But faith, hope & love drove them  to model Jesus. These believers, in adverse circumstances, Had a power source. It’s a power source that is  used too-little in church today. It’s the power of Holy Spirit. Jesus’ last words on earth were: 13) Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Listen to what the Holy Spirit’s power did 14) 1 Thes 1:4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. Persecutions & hardships  were common to these folks. Yet, they had an internal power (HS) This power enabled them to have 15) 6 ….. joy given by the Holy Spirit. If you’re not finding joy in your Christian walk, You may be doing it alone (w/o HS). Don’t ignore the power source  that Jesus provides to his people. He is there for you to call upon. 16) And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. Like the Thessalonians, we wait. We wait upon the Lord to return. Until he does, we’ve got a lot of ministry to perform.

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