Reading Romans Series, Closing Message
There is never a famine on wickedness. At every turn we are able to hear reports of bad things being perpetrated by bad people. Most of us have even been victimized, even if in a small way, by someone. We have been yelled at, gossiped about, or worse. The young Christians of Thessalonica were no exception. They had ridicule and persecution at times leading to their deaths. Paul when teaching this infant church, warned them against many things, taught them about the power of the Lord in their lives to rest and overcome even when the circumstances of life never changed. One of these teachings centers on the fact that evil people do evil things and that while the natural response is to fight back, as Christians, we are no longer bound as slaves to evil. Therefore we can love our enemies. This message talks to that point. I pray it will be a blessing to you.
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 ESV)
The church is called to be pure but how is that possible when we are still in our flesh? Scripture teaches that purity is the work of God and that even the striving toward righteousness is the work of Christ so that all who are in Him are driven to such lives. Make no mistake, those who love sin should check their faith.
1 Thessalonians 3:6–10 (ESV)
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
The prequel to this text seen in verse 6 gives us a certainty of Paul’s knowledge of the faith of the church. The short of it goes as follows:
BUT NOW – We were concerned and wanted to LEARN and know for certain of your faith.
TIMOTHY has brought us good news: OF YOUR FAITH, OF YOUR LOVE, OF YOUR KIND REMEMBRANCE OF US, OF YOUR LONGING TO SEE US. For this reason; we know your election is sure. For this reason; we are comforted because of your faith (through your faith)
In today’s message we see the reality of God’s power and are shown that there is certainty and hope in the lives of the Thessalonian Church because God has saved them in power and that their faith wasn’t an emotional man-centered response to the preached word.
This series contemplates the reality that in so many circumstances, the people of God act and live as though the Gospel has no power in their lives and in as much, the Gospel must not work. Over eight weeks in preparation for the “Horrors of Christmas” (wrath, judgement, horror and hell) series, we have discovered that the Gospel IS power in the life of the church and when we fail to rest by faith in the gospel of Christ, we are the problem, not Christ. Worship with us through this look and pray as God prepares us to move into Titus in January.
Part I – Differing Conceptions
THE SUBJECT to which our attention is to be directed in this series of lectures is ordinarily spoken of as “The Plan of Salvation.” Its more technical designation is, “The Order of Decrees.” And this technical designation has the advantage over the more popular one, of more accurately defining the scope of the subject matter. This is not commonly confined to the process of salvation itself but is generally made to include the entire course of the divine dealing with man which ends in his salvation. Creation is not uncommonly comprehended in it, and of course the fall, and the condition of man brought about by the fall. This portion of the subject matter may, however, certainly with some propriety, be looked upon as rather of the nature of a presupposition, than as a substantive part of the subject matter itself; and no great harm will be done if we abide by the more popular designation. Its greater concreteness gives it an advantage which should not be accounted small; and above all it has the merit of throwing into emphasis the main matter, salvation. The series of the divine activities which are brought into consideration are in any event supposed to circle around as their center, and to have as their proximate goal, the salvation of sinful man. When the implications of this are fairly considered it may not seem to require much argument to justify the designation of the whole by the term, “The Plan of Salvation.”