A church focused on Christ and thriving over threats and fear

I Thess. 1:5-10

The church at Thessalonica was a focus church during a time of great persecution

Paul planted this church on his second missionary journey but was only able to stay in Thessalonica for a month because of the threats and violence from the religious Jews

The church was planted in a pandemic of fear and danger from the enemies of Christ

To be focused on Christ during a pandemic of fear and threats is to pay more attention to God than the present threat and fear

To be more focused on God rather than the present fear and danger

The church of the Thessalonians thrived over threats and fear because they were focused on God

Greater Hopewell, I have never been more proud of you all as a church than the last two years or so

Greater Hopewell you have not just survived you have thrived through this pandemic, the threat and fear of sickness and death did not stop you from serving and giving to the Lord our God

I salute and celebrate you for your faithfulness to God for a hundred and sixteen years here on “Tucker Hill”

And I as a student of the Word of God I find this text to be applicable to the Greater Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church!

Vs. 6-7, “And ye became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia”


 
A church focused on Christ and thriving over threats and fear
I Thess. 1:5-10

 
I.     Focused on Christ helps us to receive the word of God in power and in the Holy Ghost- vs. 5

II.    Focused on Christ makes us followers of God even in a pandemic- vs. 6

III.   Focused on Christ helps us to evangelize our world- vs. 8

IV.    Focused on Christ helps us to trust and wait on Jesus return to get us- vs. 10


I thoroughly understand that we are where we are by the grace of God

But Greater Hopewell you could have stayed home and stopped doing anything for the Lord through his church

But your faith and commitment to God was too strong to allow fear to conquer your faith

So as it was with the church of the Thessalonians

This is how they and we thrived over threats and fear!


I.     Focused on Christ helps us to receive the word of God in power and in the Holy Ghost- vs. 5

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance…”

a.  The gospel is the message of overcoming power
b.  When we hear and received the word of God it gives us power to thrive over everything
c.  The word of God mingled with the Spirit of God overcomes fear and builds faith
  • Those of you who were on zoom listening and believing the word was building faith over fear
  • The word of God gives us Esther’s kind of courage, “If I perish let me perish”
  • The word of God gives us Daniel’s kind of courage (Not to stop worshipping)
d.  The Thessalonians faith was too strong to let fear win


II.    Focused on Christ makes us followers of God even in an pandemic- vs. 6

“And ye became followers of us and of the Lord having received the word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost”

a.  The word of God produces followers of God
b.  Followers are disciples of Christ, becoming like Christ
c.  They were followers of Christ even in a pandemic
  • Affliction here is persecution, tribulations, and trouble
  • Affliction could have caused them their life
d.  The pandemic could not kill their joy for serving the Lord through his church
  • Their work of faith
  • Their labor of love
  • Their patience of hope

III.   Focused on Christ helps us to evangelize our world- vs. 8

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad so that we need not to speak anything”

a.  To focus on Christ is to focus on what Christ is focused on
b.  Christ is focused on souls being saved
c.  When we hear the word of God we have a desire to share the word of God
d.  They sounded out the word of the Lord
  • They verbally sounded the word out
  • They practically lived the word out
e.  The threat and fear of death did not stop them from sharing their faith through evangelism


IV.    Focused on Christ helps us to trust and wait on Jesus’ return to get us- vs. 10

“And to wait for his son from heaven whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come”
a.  The word of God turn the Thessalonians from idols to serve the living and true God
b.  Focused on Christ caused them to trust Christ even in a pandemic
c.  Focused on Christ caused them to wait patiently for Jesus to come back
d.  They focused on Christ not on their crisis

They knew since God saved us from the wrath to come, they were persuaded that Jesus was coming back to get them out of the mess they were in

Greater Hopewell let our focus be on Jesus and not any other distraction to draw us away from God’s plan for our lives