1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (text vs. 2-3) (cf. 5:18)

     The church of the Thessalonians was only about one month old when Paul wrote this epistle to them. 
     This church has been referred to as "the model church" (1:6-7). 
     One thing that is emphasized in these epistles is Paul’s expression of thanksgiving for this young church. When Paul thought of them, he was thankful.
     New converts and new churches need the encouragement of thanksgiving.
     Thanksgiving is one of the most important attributes of a child of God. Paul instructed this new church, "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thess. 5:18).
     What Paul was thankful for in this young church should be a model for what we are thankful for in our own church.

I.    Thankful for their ACTIVITIES in the WORK of God (1 Thess. 1:2-3). I am thankful for people who want to get ACTIVE working for God!!!
       A.  "work of FAITH"– Thank God for people who have a WORKING FAITH!
            1.  True faith leads to work (Gal 5:6; James 2:18; Eph. 2:10).
            2.  This is the only kind of work that WILL work! Not gimmicks, innovative techniques, or fancy schemes.
            3.  If you don’t have the kind of faith in Christ that motivates you to work for Him, you probably don’t have the right kind of faith!
       B.  "labor of LOVE"– Not a labor of obligation. Thank God for this!!!!
            1.  If you love something, you will bestow labor for it.
            2.  Love is the fuel of labor. Galatians 5:6– " which worketh by love." 
            3.  Labor becomes drudgery and burden when love is absent. 
· Love for choir
· love for S.S. class
· love for babies (nursery)
· love for greeting people
· love for the house of God (maintenance; construction)
· love for the lost!
       C.  "patience of HOPE"– If you have hope, you will be patient in waiting for the results of your labor.

II.   Thankful for their ACCEPTANCE of the WORD of God (1 Thess. 2:13). 
       A.  I thank God for every Bible believer! They are harder and harder to find.
       B.  Thankful because I know the Bible is the only answer to real and lasting change. IT IS EFFECTUAL!
     In 1937 missionaries were forced out of Wallamo, Ethiopia, leaving the field with only 18 recently baptized converts and a few portions of Scripture in the language of the people.  These new believers were cruelly persecuted, and some were martyred.  But 5 years later, the missionaries returned to find that the 18 Christians had multiplied to 10,000!  God’s word WORKS!

III.  Thankful for their ADVANCEMENT in the WAYS of God (2 Thess 1:3-4). Any pastor is always thankful for spiritual progress.
        A.  "exceedingly"– growth exceeded all expectations.
             1.  Growth is exciting! 
             2.  Growth is the result of a proper diet (2 Pet. 2:2).
             3.  Growth is the result of exercise.
        B.  "aboundeth"– An abounding love is a love that is active and constant. This was in answer to Paul’s earlier admonition in 1 Thess. 4:9-10.
     What we see in all of these is that Paul’s thankfulness for the Thessalonians is not based on the world’s measure of success (e.g. numbers and material assets). 
     Our responsibility is to be faithful. Faithful in serving, faithful in praying, faithful in giving, faithful in witnessing. It is up to God to provide the results.
     Thus we see Paul thankful for these two: A growing faith which will enable them to continue faithfully and an abounding love for one another which will allow the power of God to work in their midst.
        C.  "endure" (v. 4)– They did not quit in the face of tribulation and persecution. Praise God for church members who will not quit!

CONCLUSION: Are you the kind of Christian God’s man can be thankful for?

Sermon by Pastor Al Hughes
Port Orchard WA