by J. Gerald Harris

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The Kind of Church God Blesses (1 of 10)
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Selected passages from I Thessalonians

This evening we are going to begin a study of Paul's first letter to the church of Thessalonica. Tonight we're going to paint with a broad brush and get an overview of this marvelous epistle. One of the things that we will find in Paul's letter to this church is the kind of church that God really blesses.

Now, 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. Now to begin with, let me hasten to say that there is no reference to numbers in this particular epistle. It doesn't tell us how big the church was or any of their numerical objectives or goals. None of that is described. It tells us absolutely nothing about their programming. It doesn't tell us anything about the kind of sermons that were being preached, the kind of music that was done. It doesn't tell us how big their parking lot was. It doesn't tell us about their Sunday School or their worship services or their youth ministry. It doesn't tell us about any of those things.

But after Paul had preached the gospel to the church in Thessalonica, he sent Timothy back to find out what was going on. He had a great desire to find out what was going on in the congregation that he had left. Timothy came back and had this fantastic report. Look in I Thessalonians, chapter 3, verses 6 and 7 (read). In other words, Paul said, "When I got the word about you from Timothy, boy was I comforted, did I ever get good news." What Timothy told him prompted him to write this first letter to the Thessalonians.

Now, as we look at this letter and this church I pray that God will help us to know what He would have us to be as a people and as a church.


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