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When You Started Out. 1 Thes. 1:1-10 Dec. 07, 2008


Introduction

       It is good for all Christians to reflect upon their salvation experience. How far has God brought you away from your old life? The message in the scriptures promises a changed life. Let me ask you this question. Are you farther along than When You Started Out?

 

1.   Starting Out and The . . Experience Of Salvation. 1-4

       A.   Salvation Is Experienced In . . Peace.         1:1

              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.

 

       B.   Salvation Is Experienced In . . Prayers.     1:2

              2 We always thank God for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers.

 

       C.   Salvation Is Experienced In . . Participation In The Work Of The Lord. 1:3

              3 We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work of faith, labor of love, and

       endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

       D.   Salvation Is Experienced In . . Personal Knowledge. 1:4

              4 knowing your election, brothers loved by God.


       On one occasion a new Christian when asked about his experience said, “I have an unusual peace like I have never before experienced.” The experience of salvation brings peace because one receives God’s grace. The sequence is grace and peace, for if you have received the grace; peace follows. A person who did not think much about praying now desires to talk with the Lord and an eagerness to pray builds. The mature Christian may be like Paul and express a constant desire to remember others in prayer. What a joy to see new Christians participating in the work of the church as a labor of love. When a person receives salvation he knows it. We just experienced a national election. Did you vote? Do you know you voted? Does the new president know he has been elected? All saved people were elected by the Lord. We became brothers and sister in the faith of the redeemed. The apostle Paul is a brother to all of us. This is one of the experiences of salvation.


 

2.   Starting Out and The . . Evidenced Of Salvation. 5-6

       A.   Salvation Is Evidenced In . . Power.    1:5a

              5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with

       much assurance.

 

       B.   Salvation Is Evidenced In . . Patterns.        1:5b-6

              You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit, 6 and you became imitators of us

       and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with the joy from the Holy

       Spirit.


       When we are saved it is further evidenced in the power given us from the Lord. We sing “there is power, power, wonder working power.” Where does this power come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit through the saving sacrifice of Christ. The Spirit also gives all Christians the assurance of their salvation. This enables us to share with a convincing testimony. A new Christian might wonder how he should live; Paul spoke to these new Christians and told them to imitate his lifestyle and example. How could he do that? He followed Christ! Paul told them he lived like he did in order to benefit them. It benefitted him also but in the course of living the Christian life he patterned his life after Christ and others could benefit from watching him.

 

3.   Starting Out and . . Examples Of Salvation 7-10

       A.   Examples Of Salvation In . . Communication.  1:7-8

            7 As a result, you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For the

       Lord's message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith in

       God has gone out, so we don't need to say anything.

 

       B.   Examples Of Salvation In . . Character.   1:9

9 For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had from you: how you turned

       to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

 

       C.   Examples Of Salvation In . . Confidence.   1:10

10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues

       us from the coming wrath.


       Paul bragged about the church of the Thessalonians. He tells how they communicated with their words and lifestyle. Their message rang out from them in every place people talked about Christians and their faith.  These new converts demonstrated their life style in the obvious changes they made. Evidently many noticed the turning away from idols to the living God. Surely some people watched to see if this new religion caused any real evidence of character change. It became obvious to all who witnessed the difference as they desired to serve the living and true God. Their conversion further gave them a confidence in the future and the return of the Lord. These Christians would answer to the affirmative the question; Are you farther along than When You Started Out? Amen? Amen!