April 26 2016

The Model Church

Sometimes…..there are issues in churches.  Sometimes there are politics between members,or scandals, or a number of other things. Awhile back we studied 1 Corinthians---and we saw a church that wasfilled with EVERYTHING that could go wrong with a church…it was anything BUTthe model church

Today….we’re going to look at different type of church.     The church in Thessalonica…was known for alot of good things.   They didn’t haveTHOSE issues that Corinth had.   

If we’re going to emulate one of them…..It would not beCorinth—it would be Thessalonica.  Today…we’re going to see a bit of WHY that is.

The church in Thessalonica was special.  They were on Paul’s heart.   He loved them and he cared for themdeeply.    In his 1st Letterto the Thessalonians, we see him describe the church that he left there. 

Background:  Thessalonica:  It was a city inMacedonia   -- it was named after the wife of a greatGeneral.   

Thessalonica was a somewhat important city – it was a capitalof the 4 districts of Macedonia.   Sothis wasn’t a SMALL city.    This citywas on a famous highway called the Egnatian Way.   This wasn’t just some backwater town.  

The church in Thessalonica saw trouble and hardship from thebeginning.   They had persecution fromthe get-go.   Paul saw some conversions –some people came to believe in Christ right away – in the first few weeks.    But then…..the trouble started.     He started to have some problems.   People didn’t like what he was preaching,and they started to cause problems for him. 

Paul and Silas, after planting the church there….had tosneak away from town at night to escape the angry hoard of people.  

NOW…..Paul is writing them a letter.  

He has some encouragement to give them – and some furtherinstructions in the faith.   

So…let’s read on to see what Paul has to say:   

1 Thess 1:1-10

There are a few things that jump out at us here.  This letter was written to a church foundedin strife and turmoil.   Life hasprobably not been wonderful in Thessalonica for this fledgling church. 

But look what he has to say to them:    

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April 10 2016

Jesus is our Great High Priest

Jesus is our great High Priest….

What EXACTLY  do we mean by that?   What does a priest do?    What is the purpose of a priest?  Why do we NEED one?   

Unless one is Roman Catholic, you might not really even understand what a priest does – or why we have one.    A Priest…..is one who intercedes…who goes between us and God.      In the Roman Catholic Church, the priest is a man who presents a sacrifice every Sunday in the Mass in order to cleanse the people.     But in Protestant, or Evangelical churches we do not have this concept.    We say that our High Priest…..is Jesus.    

Why do we say that?    

To answer that…we need to go back and look at the Old Testament a bit.  

I once had a friend that told me that he is a “New Testament Christian” – he meant that he didn’t think the Old Testament is really of any value today---and there is no reason to look to it.  

I disagree …. In today’s text, God’s Word specifically goes back and references an Old Testament concept – the priest.    

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April 3 2016

Jesus is our Rest

Rest.     Rest is a GOOD thing.   

Americans tend to work many more hours a year than in other countries.   Did you know that?     I know that’s hard to believe.   We may THINK of ourselves as lazy…but truth be told we WORK more hours than any other country.  Most of us….don’t stop working when we leave the job…but we even take it home with us. 

It’s logical that we would carry that mindset into our religion, as well.    We’re often told that there is “no such thing as a free lunch”…right?    There’s the idea that even in religion…..God will only bless us if we FIRST do good to earn that blessing….

Or how about the phrase “God helps those who helps themselves”.     Have you ever found yourself using that phrase?    Have you heard someone else use that phrase?    

To be honest….that phrase does not exist ANYWHERE in the Bible.    God never said that.  

Believe it or not….God WANTS us to rest.   God WANTS US to STOP working.   God WANTS us to realize that life, and relationship with him is not all about WORK.  In today’s text, we see that. 

Let’s open God’s Word to Hebrews 4 today and see what he has to say about work…..and more importantly….rest.  

Look at the types of “Rest” mentioned in God’s Word:  

The first 2 are examples from the past – from how God has worked in the past – and they have direct correlations to our present circumstances, and the future   

Let's open our Bibles to Hebrews 4 and see what God's Word says.  

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