A Suffering Church (4 of 10) by J. Gerald Harris

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A Suffering Church (4 of 10)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
I Thessalonians 2:13-20

It was not easy to be a Christian in Thessalonica. They were having to face persecution and suffering. Their situation explains Paul's choice of words. Notice the word "affliction" in chapter one and verse 6. Notice the word "suffered" in chapter two and verse 14, and then the word "persecuted" in verse 15, and the word "contrary" in verse 15. In verse 18 notice the word "hindered." These are terms which signify pressure and persecution.

Yet, in the midst of suffering, the Thessalonian Christians experienced joy. They received Paul's ministry of the word according to verse 6 of chapter one "in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit."

Now, what I would like for us to do in our study tonight is to consider the cause, the character, and the cure for a suffering church. First of all, let us consider

The church of Thessalonica had been founded upon the word of God. But you know, the same word that brings us salvation and enables us to live for Christ and helps us to endure suffering for His sake sometimes is the cause of suffering. The word of God will call you to a higher standard. The word of God will set you apart from others. The word of God makes a clear distinction between light and darkness.

Let me tell you how the word of God brought suffering upon the church in Thessalonica. If you look in verse 13 of our text, you will discover that this church was marked by the recognition of the truth. Paul says, "ye welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God." Here we have the recognition of the truth. We must never treat this Book as any other book, for the Bible is different in origin, character, content, and cost. The Bible is the word of God. It was inspired by the Spirit of God and written by men of God who were used by the Spirit. God's word is holy, pure, and without error.

This does not mean the Bible i ...

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