Christianity 101: To the Church, With Love (2 of 20) by Jerry Vines

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Christianity 101 (2 of 20)
To the Church, With Love
Jerry Vines
I Thessalonians 1:1-5
6/4/03

I introduced our study of I Thessalonians last Wednesday night, going back into the book of Acts 17, which records Paul's second missionary journey where he went to the city of Thessalonica and preached the Gospel and won people to faith in the Lord.
We are calling this series of studies, Christianity 101. Tonight we are going to talk about, to the Church With Love.
The question comes, to whom was Paul writing these words? To the church of the Thessalonians. We believe, of course, that the Holy Spirit takes these particular letters of Paul to the various churches and applies or speaks them to you and me today. So when the Bible says, to the church of the Thessalonians, we could say, to the church at Jacksonville, Florida. But who is intended when it says to the church? What is the church of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida? Is he writing to this building? This carpet? These walls? This brick? These lights? These television cameras? Is that that who he is writing to?
When I was a little boy they taught us to say, "This is the church, this is the steeple, open the door and there are all the people." Really what we have here is the Holy Spirit taking the roof off the church and showing us who the church really is. The church is not this building. This is where we meet. The church is people. When Paul said, to the church of the Thessalonians, he is writing to people in Thessalonica who had heard the Gospel, repented of their sins, and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They became a part of the church.
It's really a miracle when you study what Paul did in Thessalonica. We are told that he reasoned in the synagogue for three Sabbaths. We don't know exactly how long he was there but he couldn't have been there a great length of time. Yet, when you read this letter which Paul wrote later on to them, you will find an amazing church. You see an ev ...


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