Aug 1, 2021. I Thessalonians 2:13-16

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WITNESS, WORD, & WORLD.  I Thessalonians 2:13-16.  8/1/2021.  #04.

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 [New King James Version]

13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are [a]contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

  1. Word from God
    1. Paul taught that the foundation of the gospel witness is the belief in the evidence that scripture is God’s word
      1.  The Thessalonians did not receive the words as from Paul
      1.  They responded to the message as from God
    1. Once scripture is accepted as from God, then belief in whatever scripture teaches should follow
      1.  I Peter 4:7-19 the Word of God is self-authenticating & authoritative (Hebrews 4:12, II Timothy 3:16-17)
      1.  Isaiah 55:8-11 the Word is separated from all man’s philosophies & reasoning (Psalm 14:12; 16:25)
    1. Paul’s defense of the Word would have included evidence of its authenticity and authority
      1.  Luke 24:25-27 Jesus expounded upon all the prophesies concerning himself
      1.  Hundreds of years before the coming of Christ, the Bible prophesied his purpose (Gen. 3:15), his birth (Isaiah 7:14; Mic. 5:2), his nature (Isaiah 9:6-7), his vicarious atonement (Isaiah 53), his means of execution (Psalm 22), his resurrection (Psalm 16:10), his rule (Psalm 110:1), position (Psalm 110:4), his return (Isaiah 61:2)
      1.  Hebrews 4:12 the Word of God knows what is in the hearts of men & critiques + judges their thoughts
      1.  Psalm 119 the Word is instructive on living
      1.  James 1:22-25 the Word is a mirror to the soul
      1.  Ephesians 6:17 the Word is a sword to fight Satan
      1.  Romans 10:17 the Word is necessary to produce faith
    1. The Spirit convicted the sinner, convinced of truthfulness of the Word, drew the sinner to repentance in Christ
      1.  Paul did not convince the Thessalonians that his words were from God—the Spirit did    
      1.  Believers carry the message & the Spirit does the work (effective spiritual work)
  2. Heritage of the Church
    1. One of the odd confirmations of conversion is persecution for faith in Christ
      1.  Just as the Jewish churches were persecuted by Jews for leaving Judaism, Gentile churches were persecuted for leaving paganism
      1.  Persecution does not guarantee true faith, for people are attacked for various reasons (under Nazism, communism, tyranny, provincialism…), but persecution for faith is a hallmark of belief
    1. Men love darkness rather than light (John 3:19), so anything that convicts them of sin, they hate & attack
    1. Paul said Jews forbade him to witness to the Gentiles (they rather see them remain pagans than come to Christ)
      1.  Like killing the prophets of old, killing the messenger did not eliminate the message
      1.  Judgment can’t be avoided via silencing the witness (ignoring the Gospel = still responsible)
  3. Debt of Wrath
    1. Persecution adds to the judgment of the persecutor
      1.  Hebrews 9:27 judgment is certain & not delayed
      1.  Galatians 6:7 men reap in full measure what they sow
    1. Revelation 20:11-15 our brief discomfort is minor compared to the eternal agony of the lost & the wicked (II Corinthians 4:17)