Preaching Outline for First Thessalonians, The Fifth Message

The selfless concern of the missionaries is noted by their willingness to temporarily separate from one another in order to encourage the believers in Thessalonica. They rejoiced in the faith demonstrated by these young believers, but they also knew Satan’s determination to destroy them as well as the trouble that was stirred up by their countrymen.
The missionaries could accomplish more by staying together as they continued their ministry toward the South. They understood the wisdom of Solomon’s statement –

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

– even so, they decided against that which would be convenient for them, manifesting their love and concern for those that had trusted the Lord for salvation.

Their placement of care for others above themselves leads us to –

A. Their Decision 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

The missionaries understood that the Lord would take care of His children, but He also taught them an important lesson – the Lord uses the mature believers to care for the young. The Lord works through His people!

Romans 15:1-3 (KJV) We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Based on this truth –

The missionaries determined that they needed to share what they had learned through the grace of God in their lives. Notice that each had been strengthened by the Lord as they faced dangerous, life threatening situations.

Paul –
At Damascus, escaping for his life by being lowered over the wall in a basket.
At Jerusalem, not being trusted by the brethren.
At Lystra, being dragged out of the city, stoned by the crowd, and left for dead.
At Philippi, being humiliated, beaten, and put in prison.

Silas –
At Jerusalem, suffering with the brethren as outcast from the Jews.
At Philippi, with Paul in being humiliated, beaten, and imprisoned.

Timothy –
As a resident of Lystra, observed the treatment of Paul and Barnabas.
As a partner in the work at Philippi, observed Paul and Silas suffering at the hands of the people.

These men experienced the grace and mercy of God and determined that they had to share the faithfulness of God with others. They knew the truth that Peter stated –

1 Peter 4:13-14 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

In returning to Macedonia, they would –

1. Confirm them in their walk. (Establish) 1 Thessalonians 3:1,2a

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

2. Comfort them, which involves admonition and consolation. 1 Thessalonians 3:2b

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

3. Commit themselves to the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 3:3-5 In this decision, we see –

a. The Attitude

Paul used an interesting word here when he exhorted them not “to be moved by these afflictions…”. The word ‘moved’ is a description of a dog wagging its tail. The dog wags its tail as an emotional response. Paul is reminding these believers that they do not have to respond emotionally to the afflictions they will face when they are confirmed in their way, comforted in their knowledge of the Lord and committed to His purpose for their lives.

b. The Agreement.

Because of the missionary’s knowledge of God’s working in their lives, they were agreed in sending Timothy to the Thessalonians to help them “we”, and Silas also returned to those in Macedonia to help them leaving Paul alone (“I”) in Athens and then on to Corinth.

The missionaries knew the difficulties that this decision involved, but they also knew through God’s working in their lives that it was important to slow down, separate, and help the brethren.

c. The Application. They needed to listen to their own message and apply it to their lives!

Paul revealed his emotional state to the Corinthians as he entered into the ministry to them without his companions in the work –

1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

– but was determined to listen to his own message and not be “moved” (directed by emotions) from his course. Always remember the Lord’s response to Paul’s fear –

Acts 18:9-10 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

The Lord’s promises are sure and we need to apply them to our lives –

2 Timothy 1:12-14 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words…

Learn the lesson that they learned – put others before ourselves. Step outside our areas of comfort and trust the Lord. Here, early in their ministry, the Lord taught them that they could not always do that which was convenient or comfortable. Many times they would be inconvenienced and uncomfortable, but it was necessary and, therefore, good and ultimately brought glory to God.

2 Timothy 4:16-17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

God is faithful, always! Will you trust Him today to step out and do His will for your Lives?

Advertisements
Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment

Preaching Outline for 1 Thessalonians The Fourth Message

1 Thessalonians Message Four

In the previous message we saw that being encouraged by the results of God’s Word and work, Paul summarized the missionary’s ministry and motives among the Thessalonians. He wrote of their –

A. Responsibilities in ministering the Word of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

He wrote of –

1. The Unchanging Message. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
They did not change their method, their message, or their motive.

Paul continued to write of –

2. The Undaunted Courage. 1 Thessalonians 2:7,8

He then explained –

3. The Unblameable actions. 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

We see through the ministry of the Word of God how God blessed through them and what He did to them in their testimonies – The unchanging message, The undaunted courage, and their unblameable actions. We left off with this thought – how do we measure up to this work of God today? Now –

As Paul considered the pursuit of the God given responsibilities in ministry, he concluded that all was done through the power of God and to the glory of God. He then reviewed the –

B. Rewards from ministering the Word of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-18

They could identify with the grace of God bestowed on the lives of these people. They personally experienced His –

1. Salvation. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “…when you received…”

Not adopting another religion, but being born into a relationship with God. “…which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” They were both comforted and challenged by their –

a. Faith.

Colossians 2:6-10 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

And their –

b. Future

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

John 14:1-6 (KJV) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

God worked in their lives, bringing about a change – “…effectually worketh…”! He works through His Word! Be a people of the Word of God – The Bible.
They personally experienced His –

2. Security 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

a. The Persecution from the world. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16a

Spoken of as a matter of fact – to be expected:

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

b. The Promise of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:16b

1). God knows what evil is being done and He will bring judgment upon those in His time!
2). God knows those that are His and He will keep His promise to bring us unto Himself.

a). His children cannot be removed from Him!

John 10:28-30 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

b). His children will not be rejected by Him!

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

And they personally experienced –

3. Solidarity. 1 Thessalonians 2:17,18

God had established a solid relationship between them on the foundation of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. They were brothers and sisters in Christ, loving, caring, and seeking to be a blessing to one another.

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
What wonderful rewards are given by God as we serve Him!

Nothing on earth presents such great difficulties as the ministry of God’s Word, but nothing bestows such great rewards and blessings. God ministers His grace and mercy to us as we serve Him.

Our responsibilities and rewards lead us to –

C. Rejoicing resulting from ministering the Word of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:19,20

There are great Responsibilities, Rewards, and Rejoicing in our relationship with God. Notice how they build upon one another. As we faithfully serve the Lord and fulfill our Responsibilities, we are Rewarded which leads to Rejoicing in Him.

What is God trying to do in your life? He is trying to bless you and bring you to rejoicing, not by the things of the world, but through the power of the Spirit. Will you give yourself to Him today?

Salvation?
Service?

Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment

Sweethearts Forever – Message Outline, a timely warning

Sweet-Hearts forever. Genesis 2-5
Today we will examine the first marriage on Earth. The very first “sweethearts”. I pray that we may learn from them and know what we can do to remain “Sweethearts forever”.

I. The perfect couple. “They were made for each other”

A. God made a matched pair. 1:26,27; 2:18, 21-25.

1. They were made to fulfil, to complete, to do God’s will.
2. They were made with perfect attitudes. (no adjustment needed)
3. They had a perfect beginning together.

B. God gave them a perfect home. 1:28,29; 2:8-14

C. God gave them the perfect career.2:15

1. No clash of personal identities.
2. They worked together as unto the Lord.

II. The problems came. Genesis 3

A. A fourth party got involved. Vs. 1

1. We do not live in a void.
2. We are not alone, even when only the two on Earth.
Note: Now because of our sin nature, we can get into trouble even when absolutely alone!

B. The perfect couple sin against God and against each other.

1. The innocence was gone. There is a difference in the relationship.
2. The fear had entered, they were hiding and fearful in their own home.

C. The judgement came. 3:11-19 Sin always has a price to pay

1. The excuses were made. Vs. 11-13
2. The judgments were pronounced.
3. It was not my fault is not valid.

a. The serpent lent himself as an instrument of deceit.
b. The women made a decision without discussing it with her husband.
Just do it and then he will have to agree
c. The man followed the women instead of following God.
Note: The agreement to sin divided them.

III. The presence restored. (They had been divided from God and from each other)
Their lives would never be the same, but it did not mean their lives were over.

A. The fellowship restored. 3:21

1. Through the sacrifice ordained by God, their sin was covered.
2. They were not afraid to be in God’s presence.
3. They were not afraid to be with each other.

B. The problems in life continued

1. They had to deal with relocation.3:23,24
2. They had to deal with new vocation.
3. They had to deal with rebellion. 4:8-13

C. The marriage prospered through the mercy of God. 5:4
They were to keep the land and multiply children.
They were to be sweethearts even though in a completely different environment which could only be
achieved through the grace and mercy of God and their faith and trust in Him.

We can learn many things from this couple.
We should remember that we can have a good marriage under any conditions if God is directing it, but we can have a bad marriage even in perfect conditions if we do not listen and obey God.
Being sweethearts means the husband and the wife each put God first.
Also remember – Do not entertain sin!
Eve was caught up in this. She kept thinking about that fruit.
Adam caught up this. He followed Eve instead of calling up the Lord for help.
Cain was caught up in this – even though warned by God to turn back now- he continued in his own way. Genesis 4:7
Is sin as your door? Are you about to destroy a sweet relationship with God or with your husband or wife?

Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment

Preaching Outline for First Thessalonians The Third Message

Being encouraged by the results of God’s Word and work, Paul summarized the missionary’s ministry and motives among the Thessalonians. He wrote of their –

A. Responsibilities in ministering the Word of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 He wrote of –

1. The Unchanging Message. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

They were faithful in preaching, taking the message to the people.

a. They did not change their method. 2:1 “…our entrance in unto you…”

“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”

He knew God’s will and we are exhorted to know the same –

1 Corinthians 1:21-23 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

And so we praise the Lord also that –

b. They did not change their message 2:2

Look at the message preached – the Gospel –

1). The message that was preached to the Macedonians.

Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

After being forced out of Thessalonica and Berea, Paul arrived in Athens. Look at –

2). The message that was preached to the Athenians.

Acts 17:31-32 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

And having little influence in Athens we see –

3). The message that was preached to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

These missionaries preached the truth of God, the Gospel, to these people as though they were involved in a great contest “…contention.” The word is “agon” from which the word agony is derived. It pictures determined struggle to overcome as one engaged in an Olympic wrestling contest.

Paul described this same struggle as he was involved in a physical and a spiritual contest over the souls of the believers. He wrote to the church in Colosse –

Colossians 2:1 (KJV) For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

And he described to us that struggle which we face daily as the children of God –

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This being the case, the victory to be won is in the power of God. We cannot change the rules of engagement that God has set forth thinking that we will gain the advantage. We must trust God going forward in this battle according to His Word –

Ephesians 6:11 (KJV) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Take note that they refused to change the message –

Acts 4:12 (KJV) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

And they were faithful to the Lord –

1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Some heard and believed. Some heard and rejected. Many of those who rejected the message also rejected the messengers, persecuting them. In the face of all of this – the message was never changed to accommodate the hearers. The hearers would be changed by belief in the message.

The missionaries were true to God. Throughout the ministry –

c. They did not change their motive. 2:3-6

Some did and some still do. Remember what Paul told Timothy about Demas – “…Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world…” Demas had been a faithful labourer in the ministry with Paul, but over time he saw that Paul was not interested in gaining the things of the world while false teachers were being materially rewarded. Do you remember another who forsook the Lord for material gain? Judas lived day to day with the Lord Jesus and the other disciples for three years, but it was not enough for him. It happens, and so it is important to thank the Lord for those who serve the Lord for His glory, not for what Peter described as “filthy lucre” and the motive that Paul described as the root of evil – “the love of money…”.

Paul continued to write of –

2. The Undaunted Courage. 1 Thessalonians 2:7,8

The Lord put into the hearts of these men a love for these that had turned to Him in faith and trusted Him for salvation. Paul, Silas, and Timothy were living examples of the Lord’s words to His disciples as noted by John –

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Paul illustrated their care for them in such a way that we can all understand – a mother’s love. An applicable example of a mother’s love took place just a few years ago in India. A woman was working in a field when a leopard came from the forest and attacked her 7 year old son. As the animal dragged the boy back into the forest, the mother gave chase with only a cutting sickle in her hand. She forced the leopard to release the child and the animal escaped into the forest. The child survived because its mother was willing to lay down her life for his. This is what Paul is expressing – their devotion to these new born children of God.

Of course, there are those who would ask “Why did you all leave when the trouble started? He then explained –

3. The Unblameable actions. 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Paul told the brethren to remember how He, Silas, and Timothy had behaved while ministering the Word of God to them. The Thessalonian believers should rebuke those that brought accusations against them and remind the accusers how these men –

a. Worked from dawn to dusk to supply their needs. 2:9a
b. Witnessed to them faithfully through the preaching of the gospel. 2:b
c. Walked among them reflecting the holy life of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2:10
d. Watched over them as a father. 2:11,12

Paul not only emotionally cared for them as a mother loves her children, he also emphatically challenged them as a father would to stand up for the Lord, as David stood up to the evil Goliath, challenging his own brothers and countrymen “Is there not a cause”! or as Joshua set forth the challenge to the world “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

We see through the ministry of the Word of God how God blessed through them and what He did to them in their testimonies – The unchanging message, The undaunted courage, and their unblameable actions. How do we measure up to this work of God today? Would those who know us be able to defend us of accusations from others by telling them “they never changed the message, they love us and will lay down their lives for us, and they glorify the Lord through their lives”?

What does the Holy Spirit reveal to you today? Where is the praise unto God deserved or the prayer unto God demanded? Will you obey the Lord’s direction today?

Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment

Preaching Outline for First Thessalonians, the Second Message

Remember in Chapter One we noted –
A. The Message manifested by the missionary’s lives 1 Thessalonians 1:1-6
1. They were caring – for the saints. Love that remembers. 1:1
2. They were committed – to the saints. 1:2-4 “…remembering…” to have on their minds
3. They were consistent – for the saints. 1:5,6 “as ye know what manner of men we were”

They were developing a lifelong practice of ministry in carrying out the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ. They gave the church a pattern to follow until the Lord returns.
They were able to praise the Lord for His working in their lives. They saw that He had brought them through it and not only this, they saw HOW He has used them for His honour and glory. He had made them leaders because they were faithful followers.

We asked last week –

Are you following the Lord in such a way that He would want someone to follow you?

This morning we continue to look at their ministry and see –

B. The Movement of God through His Word is recorded by the missionaries. 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10

This is, of course, the plan of God as noted in His Command –

Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy noted the change God wrought in the lives of these people by their –

1. Public Testimony 1:7,8

The testimony of this church gave joy and encouragement to the missionaries. Note the Apostle John’s response to the faithfulness of those he had brought to the Lord for salvation –

3 John 4 (KJV) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

The Lord blesses us through the actions of those we have the opportunity to minister His Word to. Paul experienced this throughout his ministry. Note his statement to the saints in Philippi –

Philippians 2:1-2 (KJV) If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Some believe that their actions should not have any affect on others. They dismiss the importance of doctrine. They declare that God will, and should, accept their lives and worship according to their definition of truth, not necessarily His. We are to be single minded with God and one another. This is only accomplished when our lives are based on His Word. We must then study to know what God is telling us. Many claim that this is not important, but it means everything because this is how God identifies us with Himself!

God changes us. He prepares us to work out our salvation for His glory –

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

– and those around us are aware of that change. Our prayer is that they will want to trust God as their Saviour, but, sad to say, often, they reject God and us, becoming angry with us.

1 Peter 4:4 (KJV) Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

We can thank the Lord that while those that we were with before may reject us, we have a new family that loves us and are encouraged by our testimony in the Lord!

By their –

2. Personal devotion to God. 1:9 “…turned to God from Idols to serve the living and true God.”
And by their –

3. Positive expectation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to take them unto Himself. 1:10

The hearers were changed by belief in the message. When people believed, the missionaries rejoiced over those that trusted in God and were encouraged that they were leaving behind a testimony for those that did not believe yet. Maybe they would in time!
The missionaries rejoiced in the work of God. They anticipated that what the Lord had done, He would continue to do. He increased both their faith and their expectations.

Again – As He did something through them, He did something to them!

Is God working through you today? Do you want Him to?

Will we be like the servants the Psalmist spoke of –

Psalm 123:1-4 (KJV) A Song of degrees. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.
Are our eyes directed by our hearts upward to the Lord, seeking His leadership, watching for His direction, needing the guidance of His hands in our lives. Will you look to Him today?

Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment

Forgiveness, the misunderstood blessing from God

Paul had begun writing 2 Corinthians in order to defend himself from false accusations. We have seen that he has declared his love and care for the people and that he has a clear conscience in his testimony to them and before all people. We want to look today at the issue of forgiveness as it is imperative to the message Paul is sending. He had been accused of things that he has not done – he is writing to defend himself, explaining his feelings and actions. One thing that he wants these people to know – he has forgiven them for their actions and he desires their repentance and restoration.

Text: Matthew 18:21,22

Forgiveness is an important part of the relationship between God and man – as a matter of fact, it is an imperative! To be related to God, one must be forgiven. We meet God as offenders – at odds with Him – enmity, the enemies of God. We must receive forgiveness from God in order to have the relationship that will save us from our sin.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Most people do not want to be involved in forgiving – either asking for it or giving it. We take it lightly, saying “Never mind”, No need”, “think nothing of it”. The problem is that the issue is never settled! We do not want to be bothered with the issues of forgiveness with those around us and this leads to the difficulty in asking forgiveness of God.

Matthew recorded the Lord Jesus teaching’s about humility, forgiveness, and restoration. These truths were not unknown, but were very limited in their scope as we will see.
We will see two aspects of forgiveness this morning: As related to man and as related to God.
Note: The religions of the world do not deal with forgiveness

I. As related to man.

A. Forgiveness has synonyms such as pardon, let pass. FORGIVE implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings; Merriam-Webster dictionary.

B. Forgiveness, is a verb. It requires action!

C. Forgiveness is intellectual and emotional. (Genuine forgiveness!)

1. Have you forgiven someone?
2. Have you been forgiven by someone?
3. You must determine to forgive and then follow through with your whole being. Too many times our forgiveness is like this –

a. “I will forgive them but I will not like it”. This is not forgiveness!
b. The offender is restored to position but not to fellowship.

4. What happened to the relationship?

a. Was everything returned to normal or better?
b. Did the relationship improve?
c. Did the relationship worsen?

D. Forgiveness must include forgetfulness.

A story is told of a husband and wife beginning a counseling session. The counsellor asked the husband why he thought it was so difficult to communicate freely with the wife. The husband replied “Every time we begin to disagree, she gets historical”! The counsellor replied “You mean hysterical”. “No, I mean historical. She brings up everything I have ever done wrong”!
The wife had not forgiven, she had just set aside her anger to be used in the future as she thought necessary.

1. You may say “I cannot forget”!
2. You must then choose not to remember!

E. Forgiveness results in an improved relationship.

1. The fellowship has been fully restored.
2. The relationship is stronger because of better communication and knowledge.
3. The things that have divided have been resolved and will not be faced again.
4. The realization of the consequences of sin and the desire to repair the damage for the honour and glory of God will help one grow stronger in the Lord.

F. Forgiveness and the three views noted in Matthew 18:21

1. The Jews had a custom that a person should be forgiven up to 3 times.
2. Peter was trying to be spiritual in suggesting forgiving up to 7 times.
3. Jesus said, in effect, if you are counting – you are not forgiving!

II. As related to God.

A. Forgiveness is given by God and is a result of His perfect nature.

1. He is holy and righteous. He never needs to be forgiven!
2. He is love, mercy, and grace. He is willing to forgive.
3. He is perfect and His forgiving is based on His sovereign choice. He can never be compelled to forgive. (See illustration in Matthew 18:23-35) Man should forgive because he is forgiven. God has no such reason. He forgives simply because He wants to!
4. He is just.

a. He has declared the penalty for sin – death.
b. He paid the penalty for sin – death.
c. He forgives based on the satisfaction of the judgment.

B. Forgiveness is required for salvation.

1. Forgiveness removes one from being condemned.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2. Forgiveness places one in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Forgiveness gives one joy in the Lord.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

C. Forgiveness is extended in salvation.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now to the main question for the day – vs. 21 “Then came Peter to Him and said Lord…”
Peter had a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It was real and vital. What about you? All of these truths mean nothing except that you are a child of God. Do you have religion or do you have a relationship with God? Is He your Saviour? Today is the day of salvation.

Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment

First Thessalonians Message One

The experiences and growth of a New Testament Church as recorded by Paul, an Apostle and a missionary in training.
Paul had been saved, educated, and preaching for about 20 years before being sent out by the church in Antioch. If we consider his missions ministry as most do – referring to his first, second, and third missionary journeys, he had only been involved in these works for about 4 years when he wrote this letter to the Thessalonians, taking the Word to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46,47). We can take from this that he was an experienced preacher but was being educated in the ministry of missions. This is a wonderful thought because we realize that we are learning from him as he learned from the Lord – real time!

Chapter One

A. The Message manifested by the missionary’s lives 1 Thessalonians 1:1-6

1. They were caring – for the saints. Love that remembers. 1:1
The Lord had begun to transform these men, (the missionaries) renewing their minds (which Paul later charged the Romans to do) through their ministry of the Gospel to these gentiles.

Note the –

a. Animosity that existed between the Jews and the Gentiles –

Acts 11:1-3 (KJV) And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

That animosity was changed by the Lord into –

b. Acceptance that is noted in their care for one another.

1). Paul’s words to them – “…Grace be unto you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
2). Paul’s thanks to them –

Philippians 4:18 (KJV) But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

They had become likeminded in the Lord and now they stood before the Lord on equal footing.

Romans 10:12-15 (KJV) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

As God worked through them, we can see what He did to them! They had become one in the Lord and would be witnesses together for Him to a world that was dead in sin and in need of the Saviour. They could all boldly go together into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature!
We are truly “…new creatures in Christ Jesus…”

Yet, God’s work in their lives certainly did not stop here. We also find that whey were not only caring, –

2. They were committed – to the saints. 1:2-4 “…remembering…” to have on their minds
These men developed a pattern of life which they followed throughout their ministries and encouraged others to participate in! They regularly met to discuss the church in Thessalonica: the people “…you all…”, the accomplishments, the needs, and the future.

They set forth a pattern of –

a. Corporate prayer. 1:2

b. Informed prayer. 1:3

As they remembered the people and reviewed their works, they were led naturally to –

c. Encouraging prayer and praise. 1:4

As they remembered what God had done through them, they began to realize what God was doing to them.
He was filling them with joy and praise through the work He was accomplishing in these believer’s lives.

Can you imagine how glad they were that they had not quit following –

the difficulty of discerning God’s will in where to go (Acts 16 , this must have been particularly difficult on Paul as the leader. Would Silas and Timothy continue to have confidence in his leadership if he did not know where they were to go?)

the beating and imprisonment in Philippi
the mob chasing them from Thessalonica and Berea

They could have decided that this was not what they had agreed to and spoke the words which Peter spoke in a time of discouragement – “I go a-fishing…” (I do not want to do this any more, I am going home)

But they did not! Their care led them to commitment and because of this –

3. They were consistent – for the saints. 1:5,6 “as ye know what manner of men we were”

They were developing a lifelong practice of ministry in carrying out the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ. They gave the church a pattern to follow until the Lord returns.
They were able to praise the Lord for His working in their lives. They saw that He had brought them through it and not only this, they saw HOW He has used them for His honour and glory. He had made them leaders because they were faithful followers.

I ask you today – are you caring, committed, and consistent?

Are you following the Lord in such a way that He would want someone to follow you?
Can you thank the Lord today for the times that He has worked through you, and in that, how He has brought joy and praise to you? We have a wonderful account of the Lord’s working in the lives of the church at Thessalonica, but there was also a wonderful work going on in His servants lives that we sometimes overlook. What is God doing in your life today?
Are you saved? Have you turned to God through His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, for salvation? He died for you that you might have life through Him.

Posted in Lesson outlines | Leave a comment