1. Concern for the Christian Church
Paul writes to the young, suffering church in Thessalonica to express his concern that they keep striving to build upon the Gospel foundation he set when he was with them. His greatest concern is that they remain faithful until Christ returns.
“1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,” – I Thessalonians 1:1-4
I. A Concern for the Churches Location v 1a
II. A Concern for the Churches Foundation 1b
III. A Concern for the Churches Orientation vv 2-3
IV. A Concern for the Churches Identification v 4
Life Group Questions
1. In what ways should we be concerned and encouraged about the church’s state in Finland and the world?
2. Try to summarise the main message of the sermon in 1-2 sentences. What points impacted you most?
Into the Text
1. What is the distinctive point about the identity of the Thessalonian church in verse 1?
2. Why does Paul always start and end his letters with references to God’s grace?
3. What does verse 2 tell us about Paul’s relationship to the church?
4. What evidence does verse three give that these people in Thessalonica are genuine believers.
Applying the Text
1. The church in Thessalonica was facing opposition. Given this, why would it have been beneficial to refer to the church as “in God” and in Christ” as Paul did in verse 1? How can this truth serve us during times of difficulty?
2. How should hope play more of a part in the way we live our Christian lives?
3. How should the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ affect us now? Give concrete examples.
4. In what ways could the Thessalonian’s faith, hope, and love be an example for you? What would that look like right now at UCC?
5. If UCC were to pack up and leave its communities next week, do you think we would be missed? Would there be a tangible absence of faith, hope, and love?
To the extent that we might not be missed, what might we start praying and doing to change that?