Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26th - Service for God

Prayer Requests
3on3 Basketball Impact
Jessica's mom Michelle's surgery and recovery
Christians in Mosul, Iraq
Awtrey Middle School Message
Channing's Ankle, Taylor's Head, Mitch's Nose

Text - 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

Did anyone witness to anyone this week? Would you have been more apt to witness for $50 a person? How about $100? What if you got $100 everytime you witnessed to someone?

Lets read two passages,

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

What do you love more? Money, or God? You can't serve both. What is more important to you? Some money, or the glory of your God and the souls' of your friends?

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

There have been four major depressions in the history of America. 1720, 1790, 1868, 1929, they were all caused by the love of money through either real-estate speculation or the stock-market. These are between 60-70 years apart, if you look at 70 years after 1939 when the last depression was, you seen 2009, you see a love of money, real-estate speculation, and everyone is in the stock-market. We're in for a bumpy ride over the next several years, but this is not a bad thing, because money drives people from God; so when they lose their money, we have the perfect opportunity to see them saved in Christ.

I don't want you to think I'm prophetic or anything, this is just how history works, there is a major fall from God, then salvation, the next generation forgets the major salvation, the next generation starts to stray, they seek after wordly possessions, the next generation elevates themselves to high standing, then crash again. It happened all through Israel's history, it's happened in the history of the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, China; Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Let's read our passage,

1 Thessalonians 2:1-6 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

Remember, this letter is the first time that the Thessalonians had heard from Paul since he was kicked out of town in the middle of the night. Timothy had likely told them he was alright and that he sent his love, but they hadn't heard straight from him. He is writing to a thriving church and telling them that his coming was not in's almost silly if we didn't know how much pain and suffering Thessalonica had gone through since their conversion.

Paul was saying that the pain and suffering he had endured, that they had endured, was not on accident, but that it was for a purpose of spreading the Gospel.

Who knows what happened in Philippi? Philippi was the first place Paul took the Gospel in Europe, it's just down the road from Thessalonica. It is a major Roman colony, and while there Paul and his fellow preachers converted many people. They met a young woman who went around proclaiming their coming, saying, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." She started to annoy Paul because she was being obnoxious and he cast a demon out of her and she lost her ability to perform witchcraft, which cost her owners a lot of money.

They got mad, compounded by how mad some of them must have been at their preaching, and they stripped them and beat them thoroughly and threw them in prison. The first night in prison, they were praying and singing, and it sounds like many of their fellow prisoners were converted, when there was an earthquake and they could have escaped. Instead of escaping, which would have led to the death of the jailer for losing them, they decided to stay and preach to him, and he was saved.

The next day, the Philippian magistrates kicked Paul and his friends out of Philippi, which is how they came to Thessalonica. Remember when they first came to town they converted Jews, Gentiles, and as the Bible puts it, "not a few of the leading women." They really shook things up in Thessalonica when they came to town, and they are showing in this chapter that they didn't come for money, or for prestige, or for girlfriends, but that they had been beaten and that it had cost them alot to preach the Gospel which led to the salvation of so many.

They were preaching not to make people happy, but to see them saved so that God would be glorified. While the conversion made their earthly life considerably worse, it made their eternal life infinitely better.

verse 5-6 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

They could have gone in and said, "We're apostles, give us a dollar." Or Paul could have sought high esteem and said, "I want a big huge church in Thessalonica covered in gold, beautiful paintings, and illustrious stuff, and I want to be the Senior Pastor." Because they were evangelists, they didn't seek for people to glorify them, but they sought for people to glorify God, and in this it cost them much.

1 Corinthians 9:18-19 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.

In this passage, Paul was pretty much preaching what he had already preached to Galatia,

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 19th - Martin Luther

Prayer Requests
3 on 3 Basketball
Atlanta Evangelism Outreach

Resumed from Last Week
Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

This passage was written 700 years before the birth of Christ, I hope you can see him in this Old Testament passage. Many Rabbis today won't read Isaiah 53, skipping from chapter 52 to 54. Their reasoning is that it sounds too much like Jesus for them to read, but their hardened hearts keep them from seeing that it actually is Jesus.

John 10:9-10 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The implication of this verse is that if Christ came to give us life, and an abundance of it, then we must have had death before and not only so, but an overabundance of death. This is exactly what Ephesians 2:1 says, that we were dead in our sins and trespasses. Christ won't make your life peachy, you aren't promised money, possesssions, or popularity, you are actually promised trials and tribulations, but we know that if we are raised with Christ then we have eternal life, and once Christ purges the universe of sin, then we will have perpetual happiness and peace.

Reformation Day
I had a very busy week with evangelism and school so didn't prepare a lesson for 1 Thessalonians 2. This lesson is about Reformation Day, which is October 31st. When most people are saying, "Happy Halloween," I say, "Happy Reformation Day!" The reason it is called this is because this was the day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg. Today I want to share with you why that was important, and so you'll be ready to celebrate Reformation Day this year.

The Six Solas of the Reformation
There are several Solas of the Reformation, some churches claim there were only two, others five, but I maintain that there are six. These weren't written down by Luther or Calvin or Zwingli, but these encompass beautifully what their philosophy based on the Bible taught them.

Sola Gratia - You are saved by grace alone. (Ephesians 2:5)
Sola Fide - Your faith alone is your application for grace. (Romans 5:2)
Solus Christus - We are redeemed by the work of Christ alone. (Galatians 1:3-5)
Sola Scriptura - We know these things through scripture alone. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
Soli Deo Gloria - These are all for the glory of God. (Galatians 1:3-5)
Sola Sacerdos - The result is one priesthood of believers, we bring our sins before the throne of Grace and our Great High Priest Jesus Christ is our mediator with God. (1 Timothy 2:5) We all stand in equal standing. (2 Peter 1:1)

In conclusion, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ known by the Bible for the glory of God resulting in one church.

The Bible teaches these six things very clearly, but people always want to do something to go to Heaven. In the Fifth Century, an Emperor named Constantine realized that he had to do something about Christianity because it was hurting his empire by making people too moral. He had a vision that he would win a great victory under the symbol of Christianity, which at the time was the Chi-Rho symbol, which in English is X-R which is the first two letters of Christ. The problem was that his enemy, Maximillian, had the same vision, so this vision probably was not from God. I believe the devil did a great work to defeat the current church under its own symbol by paganizing it.

Constantine won, and legalized Christianity. It was the worst thing that ever happened to the world and the church. Instead of tearing down the pagan temples, Constantine just built churches next to them. He paid his soldiers the equivilent of $20 to convert to Christianity and effectively killed the church through false converts.

During the 1100 years that the Roman Catholic Church reigned, history has dubbed this the "Dark Ages", because there was not much of a Christian presence. The Donatists, Waldensians, and Lombards were a few real churches, but they were not active in evangelism. The Hussites were the last before Martin Luther, they get their name from the town they lived in, Hussinic, which means Goose Lake. Many of them were burnt at the stake because they were more evangelistic and against the Catholic Church. This is where we get the term, "Your goose is cooked."

One of the reasons the church faired so poorly was because they were deprived of the Bible. They spoke English, French, German, Italian, and the Bible was in Latin, so they couldn't understand it. You have to know that without the Bible, the church will die. There are few things I would die for, one of course is Christ, second is my brothers and sisters in Christ, including you guys, and third is the right to own and read a Bible. Within our lifetimes I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see them try to outlaw first purchasing Bibles, and then owning or giving Bibles.

In the 15th Century, Constantinople was sacked by the Muslims, and Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible flooded into Europe. I believe this was divine, in that Constantine killed the church, and then the city that bore his name fell and the church was revived.

Martin Luther started his life as a lawyer, but then became a Monk. He earned his doctorate by 23, and we see this a lot in the Reformation and amongst godly Christians. Education is not a mark of intelligence or ability, but people with a motivated character often end up with high educations.

Colossians 3:1-3,17 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In school, it is not so important what you are learning, but that you are learning to the best of your abilities. Working on things you don't like is a great way to build character, for example, if you don't like math, then work extra hard to do well in it so that you discipline yourself to complete hard tasks. Long before I was a Christian, someone told me, Anything worth doing is worth doing well. and this advice has served me well. It similarly served Martin Luther well to do everything he did, well.

As a monk, Luther was exceedingly sensitive to his sins. He used to bore the priests that heard his confession by telling them what they thought were mundane and boring sins. They enjoyed hearing about people's sinfulness, but not Luther's list of sins. Luther recognized this and became annoyed with the church, then he heard a priest, when he was supposed to be "Horpus Corpus"ing the communion bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ say, "Bread thou is, and bread thou shalt remain." Luther was aghast that they would take their religious duties so flippantly, and he dove into the Bible.

He was reading through Romans and came to Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. He realized that faith came externally, that it didn't come from the heart, but that it came from the Word of God. He restarted Romans reading it with this hermeneutic, which is the way you read the Bible.

He got to verse 17, For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." He said the "light broke over him" and he was saved, the external gift of faith from God resulted in his salvation. He thought he had found what other Catholics had but that he had been missing for so long. His conscience was cleansed, he realized that all of his sins were paid for on Calvary's cross and that he didn't need to, and couldn't, ever pay God for his sins, but that they were already paid for.

He wanted to reform the Catholic Church at first, which is the biblical model, telling someone they are against God first and trying to get them to change, and then if they won't change, then excommunication or other measures. A man named Tetzel came to Wittenburg, Luther's town, to solicit money for a new church in Rome, he did this by selling indulgences, which is a ticket to sin. This outraged Luther.

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 grievances against the Catholic Church to the bulletin board, which was the door of the church, in hopes that they would reform. Within a matter of weeks this list had been published and sent all over Europe. Some of these were things like saying, "If the Pope had the authority to forgive sins, he ought to forgive them all out of the goodness of his heart instead of having people pay for them." He also wrote a lot about how sins were paid for in the blood of Christ and not through money.

The Roman Catholic Church didn't like that and summonsed Luther to Worms (Pronounced Vorms) and held a meeting, called a Diet, to see if he was a heretic. Luther went to this fully expecting to die. He was a great preacher though and God was on his side. They asked him, "Do you renounce the things you have written?" And he said that much of what he had written was in allignment with the RCC and so to renounce it would be to renounce good doctrine. They asked him about the things he had written against the RCC, and since the crowd was pretty small he asked to be given another day to think about it, but he was really hoping for a bigger crowd to preach to the next day. Someone asked him if he agreed with the Hussites and he had never heard about them.

He read all night about John of Hussinic, the leader of the Hussites, and the next day stated, "I am a Hussite." To a much larger crowd, gathered to see him executed, he then stated his most famous line, "Here I stand, I can do no other, God help me." You are always right if you are standing with the Bible, even in the early 1900's when science had claimed to have proved evolution and there was almost no evidence for creation, you would have been right to have stood on the Bible that God created the universe only a few thousand years ago. Now we know through evidence that the Bible is right, but the lack of evidence 100 years ago didn't make the Bible less right. Stand with the Bible and you'll never be wrong, no matter if an entire Roman Catholic Church stands against you, like it did with Luther.

Luther left Worms and undoubtedly would have been killed if King Frederick of Germany had not sided with him, having likely been converted, and he changed Luther's name to George, knighted him, and hid him in a castle called the "Kingdom of the Birds", which is so named because it was built on top of a mountain. Here Luther studied his Bible and translated it into German, he also wrote his famous song, "A Mighty Fortress is our God."

Once the Bible was translated, the Reformation was unstoppable.

Two last things, Luther married a nun named Katy. When the new Protestants were reading their Bibles, they realized they should be married, so they paired up nuns with monks and they got married without dating or anything. Luther was matched with Katy, who was a few years older than him, and he did the biblical thing, which was to love her because he loved her, not because of anything she did for him or because she was extra beautiful or anything, and by all accounts they had a wonderful marriage.

The final thing, you've probably heard that America is dying. That is incorrect, America is dead. But remember, we serve a God who rose from the grave and raises from the dead. When Luther started the Reformation, the entire world was dead spiritually, and God revived it. God can save the United States, if we preach, people will be saved, and so will the nation.

Witness to one person by Sunday, October 26th, and receive $5.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 12th - The Gospel

Prayer Requests
- Aaron and Moireen and Chaneille
- Abbie’s Wrist
- Hannah Singing
- From Saturday - Amy's Salvation
- Matthew's friend John

Text – 1 Thessalonians 1:10

I want to make sure we’re absolutely clear on something I said last week, I’m not sure I said it right and it’s so important that I want to make sure everyone understands.

Repentance and Faith don’t save, they are the applications to God for salvation, at which point he chooses to save. Jesus Christ is the one who is actually doing the saving. If someone repents and believes, they do not have a 100% chance of being saved, we see this evidenced by millions of people who have “accepted Jesus” or “prayed a prayer” who are not saved, who show no fruit, and who live like the world. God is faithful that if you seek him, you will find him, and if you confess your sins, he will cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

The key here is that God is doing the saving, and the choosing, and the cleansing, we’re only making application for him to do these things. Like if you went down to Lockheed Martin where I work and said, “I choose Lockheed Martin as my employer and my paycheck giver.” Is that going to work? No, you have to apply, and if Lockheed Martin chooses you, then they’ll become your employer and paycheck giver.

Repentance + Faith ≠ Salvation

Repentance + Faith = Christ will grant you salvation

It’s a very minor difference, but a very important distinction to make, that Christ is our mediator, advocate, and high priest pleading our case and making us righteous in the eyes of God based on Christ’s atonement on the cross.

Make sense?

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Before we jump into what the Gospel is, I want to define some terms.

Gospel-Good News, it comes from the Greek Euangelion which is separated into two words, Eu – Good, and Angelion – Message, it is the good message. The bad news is that we’re all sinners condemned to die and be punished by God for eternity because we’ve broken the law. The bad news is as infinitely bad as the Good News is infinitely good.

Atonement-Restoration of Relationship, Atonement is a BIG concept which can’t be easily defined. It is a covering of sin, an appeasement of wrath, a reconciliation, a repairing of something that was broken, of resurrecting something that was dead, of lifting up something that was fallen. It is a big word and concept.

Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Propitiation-A Source of Atonement, usually substitutionary, specifically between God and men.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Ransom/Expiation-The payment for sin. The Bible says we are sold under sin, our sin has earned us a debt to God that there is no way we can pay, that even an eternity in Hell will never pay for, which is why it will go on forever.

Here is where I am probably going to make some of you mad. Who likes the Chronicles of Narnia? Remember when Aslan the Lion goes to the altar as the ransom to the queen? He was paying a ransom to evil. While I really like C.S. Lewis, he is terribly mistaken in this point, our ransom was not paid to Satan or to evil, our debt was against God and Christ paid the price to redeem us.

1 Peter 1:18-19 …knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Justification-Your legal standing in the eyes of God. You were guilty, but now you are seen as innocent and righteous in the substitutionary death of Christ in which he took all of your sins and gave you his righteousness. It is important to remember though, that while justified, we are not yet perfect.

Romans 4:24-25 [Righteousness] will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Sanctification-The work of holiness of the Holy Spirit in your life, conforming you closer and closer to an image of the Living Christ. This is the process of making someone clean in order that they can enter into the presence of God. It is a process and sometimes you see very little positive movement and sometimes you’ll grow by leaps and bounds. When Pastor Aaron gave me the title Pastor of Evangelism was probably my biggest spurt of sanctification, but since I’ve started working with our students I have also seen a very steady progression in holiness.

Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Glorification-When we are called home and made pure as Christ is pure. Your sanctification process may last 85 years like it did for a man in the Second Century named Chrysotum, or it may last for two hours like it did for the thief on the Cross, but we know that when we step out of this world as justified, redeemed children of God, we will be glorified when we enter Heaven.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Now lets look at why this is important.

Attributes of God


These stand trillions of miles apart, they are entirely contradictory. A just God cannot just randomly forgive someone. A vengeful God is not interested in patience…he cannot just let lawbreakers go, there is a debt against him, justice is due, his perfect goodness requires his perfect hatred of wickedness and sin.

But our God is genius, he is the most loving, patient, merciful, and kind God you can imagine, because he couldn’t compromise his justice, wrath, and hatred, he willingly sent his Son Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for them, to atone for our sins so that Christ got everything on the left and we get everything on the right. This is the Gospel, the bad news of our lostness is on the left, and the Good News of our salvation is on the right. We are redeemed in the cross of Christ.

Lets look again at our verse, to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

God’s wrath, his hatred in action, was pointed at us, but Christ took that wrath on his own body and paid our fine in his own life’s blood, the infinite wrath of God was poured out upon him. The Paschal lamb of the Exodus died a painless death, but God's wrath was demonstrated against Christ, in order to redeem us he could have died a painless death, but then we wouldn't appreciate what we are saved from. Our ransom was complete in his death, our reconciliation is complete in his life.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

See if you can pick out the Gospel in this long wrathful passage, this is Nahum 1.

2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. 5 The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. 7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. 8But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

The Gospel is that the LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Here is the clearest Gospel presentation in the Bible, I think, because Paul was specifically writing to Galatia who had abandoned the Gospel:

Galatians 1:4-5 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Lets look at the verse one last time to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

If it wasn’t good enough news that we’ve been reconciled to God, there is even more, on the third day after his death, Christ rose from the grave and defeated death. Death is dead to the saint, "Oh death, where is thy victory? Oh death, where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55-56) and even more good news is that this present evil age will not last forever, but that Christ will come back and purge death and sin from the universe.

When giving the Gospel to people, it is imperative that we include the bad news in order that they know what they are being saved from. Alistair Begg puts it beautifully, Unless you have a real wrath, a real anger, the biblical concepts of long- suffering, of mercy, and of grace, are robbed of their meaning.

God’s justice magnifies his forgiveness by paying the price himself. He is exalted and glorified in the Gospel just as we are saved in the Gospel.


We missed four verses I want you to know, so we will look at them first thing next week. In preparation for Reformation Day (October 31st) we will skip a week of 1 Thessalonians and learn about Martin Luther, I'm doing this early for a few reasons, partly because I have lots to do this week and don't think I could do 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 justice in the time I'm going to have to prepare this week. I already have a lesson prepared on Luther.

If, before October 26, you witness to one person, I will pay you $5. If you need tracts, I have lots, if you don't know how, just read them a tract letting them answer the questions. Time will be alotted on October 19th and 26th for reports if you'd like to recount what happened or have any questions. Don't forget to talk to God about people before you talk to people about God!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5th - Personal Responsibility

Please listen to this audio if you get a chance, it is 3 minutes 21 seconds long:

Prayer Requests
- Devotions at Middle Schools
- Kirsten Preaching at Fireproof
- Abbie's Wrist Injury

Do Animals Go to Heaven? Maybe~Maybe Not
Why do people in the Bible have their names changed? To show an outward sign of inward change. We take on a new name after we're saved, we become Christians and thus have the duty to represent Christ rightly. To get back into last weeks lesson, one way is not to misrepresent the nature of our will and God's will.

The Bible says that God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18); he is bound to righteousness and goodness, where-as we learned last week that we are bound to unrighteousness and badness. If God doesn't have a free-will, why should we assume that we do? I want to show you another reason why it is so important to read everything in context, one of the favorite proof texts of the free-will believer, who wants to have something to do with his or her salvation.

Joshua 24:15-19 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Then the people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God." But Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

Two terms you should know are Monergism and Synergism.
Synergism - The Free-Will view, men are sick in their sins and initiate salvation by believing.
Monergism - The Biblical view, men are dead in their sins (Eph 2:1) and cannot do anything to revive themselves, salvation comes by the work of God as initiated by the preaching of his word.

So to jump off of last week, we know that God chose the church at Thessalonica and is still choosing the church today. This class is both in a very privileged position and a VERY dangerous position. It is privileged because you get to hear the word of God from a young age, it is dangerous because you might not realize that you have to repent and believe for yourself. It is both our job as a church to be godly and preach the whole counsel of God and be obedient, and your job to make your calling and election sure.

It is one thing if you go to Hell because I, Jenny, or Dave tell you wrong things; but is another if you hear the Word of God, refuse to forsake your sins, and then are rightly thrown into Hell. All we can do is give you an appreciation for the holiness of God, the sinfulness of sin, a love of the Bible, and a hatred of sin, but we can't go to the cross with you, you have to do that on your own.

It took a whole class period, but now we're on verse 5.

v5 "...because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake."

Remember that faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

The church at Thessalonica was saved because the Gospel was preached to them, but not just the words, but because the Holy Spirit was actively convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:8) I can preach until I’m blue in the face and it do nothing, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t move, because I am nothing but a vessel and without cooperation of the Holy Spirit, my ministry is nothing but the vain ramblings of a sinner.

There is nothing we can do to manipulate God. He isn’t a machine that if you push the right button or give the right command or pray the right prayer, he will do anything for you. Don’t send someone a dollar so that they will pray for you so that God will give you ten dollars. It doesn’t work that way, God’s ways are above our ways, and he will not be bribed or manipulated. However, if we are obedient to his commands to strive for holiness, to preach the Gospel, and continue to pray, we can be confident that he will work through us for his glory, and through this we will be blessed because our goal should be the glory of God.

Paul continues on this thought by saying, “You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (v5) Their godliness facilitated the movement of the Holy Spirit to convert the Thessalonians. Personal responsibility follows, for James says that you see that a person is saved by their works, not by their (profession of) faith.(James 2:24)

If these workings of God have occurred in you, you will instantly start following Christ and be an imitator of him and godly Christians. Check out verses six, seven, and eight, what a compliment!

v6-8 "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.”

This area is roughly the sprawl of Georgia and South Carolina put together. Imagine how incredible it would be if someone told us, “Summit has become an example to all the believers in Georgia and South Carolina!” We should strive for that, we should be known as an evangelistic church, a ministering church, a steadfast church, especially a loving church, but it can only be this way if each member takes part in the responsibility of telling people about Christ and volunteering time for ministry, as well as striving for holiness and purity.

Not to mention that Thessalonica had earned this reputation in less than a year! One of the reasons they were so well known is because they were outright pagans before they got saved, and they forsook all of their gods in order to follow Christ.

v9 "For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,"

In America people don't realize they are worshipping false idols because we rarely see little statues that represent gods, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worshipping them. Four major gods that we still see worshipped today under different names are:

Mammon - Money
Dionysius - Alchohol
Diana - Nature
Aphrodite - Sex

Paul ends the chapter with the Gospel; we should never talk to someone about God or faith or anything without including that Christ died for their sins, was raised from the dead, and requires obedience and faith as the response in order to be saved.

Don’t be shy about mentioning the wrath of God; that God hates sin, is angry with the sinner everyday, and that the only salvation from the wrath to come is seeking refuge in the Son of God.

For next week please read 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and meditate on what the Gospel is; two good places to see the Gospel clearly are Galatians 1 and Romans 5, and the entire next class will be spent looking at Gospel presentations, and what the Gospel is and isn't.