Oct 8, 2017 – A Living Faith, Love and Hope
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: 1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (ESV)
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, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Turning to the living God (v9) makes our faith, love and hope (v3) alive and productive.
I) Work of Faith
- belief in Jesus is fundamentally trust (knowledge/assent/trust)
- this faith produces good deeds
II) Labor of Love
- love is what makes a person do good even when it is hard and sacrificial
- love for Christ (expressed by those loved by Christ) fuels the difficult but important work of loving others
III) Steadfastness of Hope
- hope is needed when we are in need – who or what do you hope will deliver you?
- v10 “wait for his Son from heaven… who will deliver us…”
Questions for Reflection
- What are your most important beliefs? Who or what do you trust (think of foundational things that direct your decision making, drive your actions, etc.)?
- Who or what do you love? What would you say you are most devoted to? Who or what brings you delight, do you make sacrifices for, can you not do without?
- What is your ultimate hope? When you are overwhelmed, what keeps you going?
- Are there any contradictions? Do you trust, love and hope in the same being (God), person or thing, or do you believe in one thing and love a different thing? Does anything need to change?
- The gospel is news of God’s love for us, the good work of Christ that is a sacrificial labor of love. How does receiving this bring new life? How does turning to the “living and true God” start a transformation?
- How do you remain steadfast? How do you continue on the path Jesus calls us to even during periods of discouragement, doubt, fear, opposition?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, each of us lives a contradiction. We desire to do what is right, but we don’t do it. We profess faith in you, but we set our hearts on created things. We claim to hope in you, but upon examination we find that deep down we hope in other things. In our confusion and in the challenges that arise from these internal divisions, we complain against you, failing to see that you have called us to faith, love and hope, and have provided the means of attaining them through Christ. Our faith is weak, our love luke-warm, and our hope short sighted. Yet you are strong, your love is profound, and your promises sure. Forgive us and renew us, uniting our hearts and minds in faith, love and hope. Amen.