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The Kind of Church God Blesses (2 of 10)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
As we have indicated, in Thessalonica we have the example of a church that was basically everything God wanted the church to be. All of the basic ingredients that God wanted in a church were in the Thessalonican congregation.
I Thessalonians just lays out the pattern of the church that Christ really built. And, you know, sometimes I think we need to see the pattern and the purpose of the church. In our modern culture, I think sometimes it's easy for the purpose of the church to get obscured.
I am reminded of a recent Doonesbury comic strip. In the comic strip, the pastor of a church was standing before a group of people and making announcements about upcoming events in the life of the church. The upcoming activities included a lecture on nutrition, courses on drug addiction, a class on organic gardening, a volleyball tournament, and an aerobic class.
At the end of the announcements, the pastor said, "Now, are there any questions?"
One member of the group asked, "Is there any church service?"
And the pastor said, "Well, we had to cancel that because there was a conflict with the self esteem workshop."
I think it's wonderful for the church to provide opportunities for education and entertainment and recreation and all of the rest of it. But we must never lose sight of the purpose of the church and the pattern for the church, such as God has given us in this first chapter of I Thessalonians.
Now, if you will remember, we stated that
II. THESSALONICA WAS A SAVED CHURCH
In Thessalonica we have a church that was truly born again. And that is illustrated to us in the first four verses by the very terms that Paul uses. In fact, notice in verse 1 it says that they were "in God the Father." Then it says they were "in the Lord Jesus Christ." Verse 3 says "in our Lord Jesus Christ." Verse 5 says "in the Holy Spirit."
Paul uses the term "in Christ" 132 times ...
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