Over the last two Sundays, I have been preaching from 1 Thessalonians, making my way through Paul’s letter by making my way through this summary sentence:
The power of the good news creates communities,
of holy people,
who flourish in the midst of loving relationships,
as they prayerfully, eagerly, and expectantly await the coming of their Master
and Messiah — Jesus.
This last Sunday, I focused in on that last section—“…as they prayerfully, eagerly, and expectantly await the coming of their Master and Messiah, Jesus.” And who are ‘they’ in that sentence?
‘They’ are a small-ish community in the Greek city of Thessalonica, experiencing the power of the good news, which is transforming them more and more into the image of God, which is creating deep bonds of family, friendship, fidelity and loyalty rooted in the love they have for one another because of Christ. They are dealing with adversity, they are overcoming threats to their love for one another. But then comes the greatest threat of all to the possibility of a life of flourishing. And what could be the greatest threat to life, but death?
This congregation of Christians needs help from their founding pastor because they are afraid of what this threat means for those they have so deeply cherished and loved, for those who once were a part of their community, but now, through death, have been separated from them. Worse, that their death may mean they are and always will be separated from Christ himself. Specifically, they need to know what will happen in the future. And they need to know that, so that it can radically impact their present.
I invite you now to watch or listen to my sermon from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (part two of two sermons). And if you’d like some additional resources on this book, head on over to the Bible Project page for this part of the Whole Story.
May God use his Word to inspire you to help just one other person move one step closer to Jesus.
In the book of James, we meet a follower of Jesus who is going to sit us down for a little chat. And fair warning here: James isn’t really too concerned about your feelings, or how comfortable you are with someone you don’t know nor have ever met getting pretty personal with you.
Sunday's Comin' (July 7, 2019)
I think all of us want to be wise. The question is, how do we get there?
Preparing For May 26, 2019
Do you know why the church exists? Do you know who formed the church, and how it was formed?
Just a brief reminder that a great way to prepare for the service this coming Sunday is to read the text we will be studying together.
Preparing For Sunday May 12, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
This last Sunday, I preached the first of two sermons on Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Here was the sentence I began unpacking, which is my summary of both letters:
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.