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A Model Church - 2

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2021 7:00 pm

A Model Church - 2

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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March 14, 2021 7:00 pm

In this message from Pastor Greg Barkman we learn of Paul's thanksgiving for evidences of saving grace and Christian commitment among the saints at Thessalonica.

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Will return once again the first Thessalonians. After an introductory message last Lord's day to get us started in our new study through this shorter epistle of the apostle Paul. Today were going to take an overview of chapter 1 and I plan by God's grace to return to chapter 1 in future sermons and take up a few more details that we will not have time for today as we review the entire chapter. It is noticeable that Paul's epistle begins in an ordinary manner and by that I mean ordinary, according to the customs of his day, for he followed the the customs of his day in and how epistles how letters were written. The form which was followed and yet it takes a very sharp turn very quickly into the epistle so that is clearly no longer following the customs of his pagan culture but rather has been employed for a different purpose and it has gone an entirely different direction, but we learned in chapter 1 that the faith of the Thessalonian church is exemplary and encouraging and praiseworthy and what Paul reveals about them and to them since he's writing to them is instructive to them and also by the spirit of God's design instructive for us today.

We will look first of all of the customary salutation verse one.

Secondly, a customized giving of thanks, verses two and three third and assurance of divine election. Verses four through 10 customary salutation following the first century epistolary format. Paul writes Paul's savanna's and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the father of the Lord Jesus Christ Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ was customary writing letters on that date to first of all, identify the author. Secondly, the recipients third to give a short word of greeting greeting sort of a formal expectation, which was followed in in all letters in that day and Paul follows those conventions very carefully so first of all, the author and he identifies the author actually by the use of three names which is unusual for he does not identify simply himself. Paul is the author, but says Paul savanna's and Timothy but we recognize that Paul is the author in the way that we use that term. But he also included savanna sort known to us is Silas and Timothy because they were part of his missionary team.

They were close partners in the gospel. They were with him in the city of Corinth as he's writing this epistle. They were well known to the members of the church of the Thessalonica's. They they concurred with what Paul wrote, no doubt wrote read over what Paul wrote and said amen we agree with that. We believe that to.

So Paul includes all of them in this opening identification of the author which starts, of course, with himself as the primary author of the only inspired author of the one, through whom the Holy Spirit is writing his word, identifying himself as he customarily does by the name Paul that's his Greek name. We all know that his Hebrew name was Saul, probably we don't know where Paul came from exactly note when it shows up. We don't know where it came from but probably his parents gave him both names because he was born in Tarsus.

Out in the dispersion out among the Gentile nations and saw he was given a Jewish name to indicate his Jewish parentage is Jewish commitment his Jewish heritage his identification with the people of God, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendents, but also was no doubt given a Greek name so that he would relate to the community in which he lived and he was known by his Hebrew name Saul up until the time when he was out on his first missionary journey and you can trace this in the book of acts, and as he was traveling on that first journey there comes a time when Dr. Luke Newman, author of the Gossett of the book of acts simply drops the name Saul and picks up the name Paul and for thereafter, these known as Paul explanation is given several possible reasons are speculated, but there really is no reason given. Except, it seems sensible to me that because he was the apostle to the Gentiles is now going to spend his life among the Gentiles, it makes sense to start calling him by his Gentile name Paul instead of his Hebrew name Saul Paul. And then there savanna savanna's is known to us is Silas. It's interesting that Paul always calls him savanna's but Luke always calls him Silas.

And so the book of acts written by Luke, he's known Silas, but what is referred to in the epistles penned by Paul. He's known by as savanna's is longer name. It's like the difference between William and Bill savanna's was his more formal name and Silas was his shorter name and he became Paul's ministry partner at the second missionary journey, the first one. It was Paul and Barnabas. You know what happened there little falling out between them.

That's the described force of the book of acts, but call it a little falling out. I'm sure the time it seemed like a major falling out, but over time it was rectified by the end of Paul's life. We can see evidence that they had been reconciled and in that they were no longer at odds with one another, but for a while there. There was a sharp disagreement between them as to whether John Mark qualified for missionary service.

Should he go on the second journey short enough Barnabas said you ought to go. He's writing these repentant he's learned his lesson. He can be useful. Paul said he wasn't faithful. He hasn't had time to prove himself.

He's not qualified. I will take you Barnabas to John Mark and went one way and Paul chose Silas and went another way now in this mysterious way that God works there now to missionary teams out of the Gentile world whereas before there was only one in there. They are both being led by qualified men of God, but savanna's is with Paul and then Timothy was a young convert to apparently came to Christ. On Paul's first missionary journey or sometime subsequent to that, Paul finds him in Galatia on his second journey as he's revisiting the churches and we read about this in acts chapter 6 he came to Lister and Derby in diakonia. Many found this young man Timothy, who was saved in serving the Lord and had a good reputation with the churches there and Paul took him along and now he becomes a part of Paul's missionary team and so Paul savanna's and Timothy. That's the author about the recipients. Paul identifies the recipients, as the church of the Thessalonians.

This is the common word for church in the New Testament, the Greek word directly. See, and it is a common word in Greek in the Greek language and in Greek culture and in the Roman world of that day. It certainly is not an exclusive term that is only used by Christians to identify Christian assemblies. The word act. Lycia means an assembly of called out one that's what it means in secular Greek you can find it used a couple of times in the New Testament in that secular sense as when, for example, a delegation of citizens is called out to two business called out to the town hall to hear matter and to make a decision.

It's an assembly assembly of the citizens. The voting citizen of the city of Ephesus.

In this particular case, and so this term assembly of called out ones has both the idea of people who are gathered together, but the idea that they were called to do so. They work they were qualified to do so would be people who are authorized an assembly of of City Councilman assembly of of legislate doors and assembly of citizens who need to vote on a matter is I've already mentioned, it is people who are called to this task of coming together for a particular purpose that it's a term that wonderfully suits the. The burgeoning church that is now being established the church trails that are being established in the Roman world. And so Paul addresses this epistle to the Eckley see you of the Thessalonians.

The assembly of called out ones located in the city of Thessalonica, but to make sure that we don't confuse this with a pagan assembly like the one referred to in the city of Ephesus of the book of acts or a Jewish assembly like those that assembled in the synagogues were Paul always started his ministry. Paul add something to this designation. He calls them the church of the Thessalonians in God the father and the Lord Jesus Christ and assembly of called out ones in Thessalonica but in God the father will that eliminates all of the pagan assemblies they didn't worship God as father. They didn't worship the Christian God whom we know his father so that eliminates any possibility of confusing them with a pagan assembly and in the Lord Jesus Christ will that cancels out the Jewish assemblies once the Jews who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you didn't accept him as their Messiah. The ones who continued to worship apart from Jesus Christ and still looking for the coming of their Messiah because they had rejected Jesus, and that capacity, so Paul does a nice job very very neatly very very succinctly but nevertheless very precisely this is the kind of assembly I'm talking about the assembly of Thessalonica loan ends. That is not a pagan assembly is not a Jewish assembly. It's a unique assembly. It is a Christian assembly I'm writing this epistle to the church of the Thessalonica look Thessalonians in God the father and in the Lord Jesus Christ is the author that's the recipients. What is the greeting that would always be a greeting similar to this in a secular letter was written that day. Paul writes Grace and peace Grace to you and peace and that's a very similar type of greeting that you might find a letter written by anybody in that day grace. The Greek word Chi rain had the meat re-meaning of rejoice or greeting. It was it was used more as a as a term of greeting taking up the word that means rejoice.

That's just what they used instead of saying hello like we do.

They said, rejoice.

But it meant hello and then greetings and so Paul picks that up and he says, grace to you tiring and peace and that's the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew shy loan and again that has sort of a general meeting among Jews in that day when they said shy loan is a way of saying hello and also the use of for goodbye. It had the idea of favor, prosperity, well-being would be with you understood that, of course, God must bring the favor of the prosperity and well-being but just I wish you well, greetings and and may you have favor.

May you have prosperity.

May you have well-being and Paul combines together both what would be a common Gentile greeting in the common Jewish greeting, but he crystallizes them he infuses them with with Christian content. He's not talking about just general grace he's talking about God's unmerited favor. That's cause for rejoicing. That's the real source of blessing rejoice because of God's favor upon you grace and then peace began infusing that with Christian meaning, spiritual favor spiritual prosperity, spiritual well-being be yours. Grace and peace to you. The customary salutation, but now customized giving of thanks. We've already seen how Paul is customized even the the normal salutation quite a bit, but even more so. He does this customary giving of thanks. In verses two and three we give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God. The side of our God and father again. Roman writing and epistle anyone in the Roman world. Writing a letter would follow the same format identify the author first. Sure makes a lot of sense when you get a letter you don't know who it's from. What's the first thing you do turn it over and see who wrote it. Go to V had to go to the bottom. If you don't know it's coming from. You can't even read it with with the full comprehension of your had an anonymous letter. I'm sure you have some time or another in your reading it. It's really hard to know exactly how to understand this or take this you don't know who it came from and who it comes from is an awful lot of of the color into what you are reading. You really need to know who it's from.

So makes a whole lot more sense to just do that right up front spall the author to the church of the Thessalonians, greetings, but also this Thanksgiving and customarily in secular letters of that date. There would be a short giving of thanks customary thing. It was just a perfunctory thing you really wasn't very deep in its meaning, but it was just expected giving of thanks. If anyone was mentioned to whom the thanks were given it would be to pagan deities, usually not specific, not I give thanks to Zeus, or I give thanks to Mercury or something like that would normally be that specific, it might be, I give thanks to the gods and then on with the rest of the letter just expected throw it in. Everybody did it. Cultural religion just part of who we are and what we do.

It's just being polite in our society to give thanks to the gods, with Paul customized this Thanksgiving with Christian content of the had a whole lot more to say about to whom is giving thanks in why he's giving thanks than the than the Gentiles than the Romans of his day would've done. He directs this thanks to the Christian God, we give thanks to God the corsets is already mentioned God in the previous verse he doesn't have to spell out again which God he means he's already told us the God who is the father.

The father above the father of his people, the father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God who is known by those who worship him. His father, that would not be true as far as I know of any of the pagan deities. I don't know a single one of them work called father or for whom there was a recognized father child relationship between the God and those who worship the gods so just by saying God our father, you are identifying a particular God, the God of the Bible, the Christian God. And so Paul makes it clear he's directing thanks to the Christian God and communicating this.

Thanks in prayer, making mention of you. He says in our prayers. We thank we give thanks to God. Verse three always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. Of course that's the way you communicate to God.

That's the way you give him your thanks but he spells it out here, making mention of you in our prayers that seems to indicate that Paul and his missionary team had regular times of prayer and that they included the Thessalonians in these regular times of prayer. We give thanks, making mention of you in our prayers. Team prayer meetings.

No doubt, every day.

The missionary team at a time when they came together and had a season of prayer. They did that regularly.

We know that making mention of you in our prayers always in verse two without ceasing.

In verse three sounds like a regular pattern sounds like something they did customarily, probably every day.

Sounds like they followed a customary pattern in their praying that whether they actually had a list or not. There must've been something that kept them on track so that Paul could say we make mention of you Thessalonians in our prayers and no doubt he could have said the same thing to the church at Philippi, we make mention of you in our prayers of the church of Brea we make mention of you in our prayers and of the church of Corinth, we make mention of you in our prayers and to the churches in Galatia Lister at Derby icon in Antioch, we make mention of you in our prayers and probably a whole lot more to the had to be some system there has to be some intentionality. It's clear that Paul didn't believe in just what should I say sort of spontaneous prayer on the fly of whatever happened to pop into his mind at the moment, but he had some kind of regular system cause him to pray for who needed to be prayed for the make sure he didn't forget he had a prayer list. Years ago we had a member of our church is now long been with the Lord, and he was quite a prayer warrior. I miss that man is number of of former members that I miss because they were prayer warriors and we don't have their prayers with us any longer. I hope God has raised up others to be prayer warriors to take their place, but this depends get to kill a man confided to me one day out was that he prayed he had a different prayer list for every day of the week and I don't remember the exact details with something like this on Monday.

I pray for the missionaries Tuesday. Pray for all the members of the church may be divided that up may be a through L on Tuesday in a.m. Thursday on Wednesday or something like that but I mean he was serious about and prayed for every member of the church on a regular basis. On Thursday I do something else. I'm not sure what he prayed for them. Thursday May the his own family and lost loved ones in who knows, but he had something specific on his list that he prayed for every day of the week and he repeated that every week in a regular fashion. Now that's his way of doing it. The Bible doesn't tell us how to do it. The Bible does instruct us to do it that way. I said that before you just to give you an idea of what I think I see developing here in Paul's mention of his prayers there something regular something intentional there something organized about the prayers of Paul and his missionary team and so he directed the prayers to the Christian God. He communicated with that God in prayer and he prayed primarily about the evidences of spiritual life. That's what he was giving thanks for more than anything else. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers for what verse three remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and father.

What are we most inclined to give thanks for in prayer. I hope that this is a big part of it that what were most grateful for his evidences of grace at work.

Evidences of spiritual life, evidences of advancements in the kingdom of Christ evidences of the gospel going forth evidences that relate to eternity. Of course we should give thanks for all of the blessings of life and so we thank God for our food. Every time we eat.

I'm sure and other times as well. We thank God for the other provisions of life. We thank God for his protection for the health that is given us these things are not incidental, they are important part of our lives, they ought to renders thanks to God we ought to render thanks to God for those but Paul doesn't mention any of that here. What he is most thankful all has to do with the evidences of the work of the Spirit of God in the hearts of these people.

Three manifestations of grace your work of faith, your labor of love, your steadfastness of hope. This trio of Christian virtues that shows up in the New Testament. A number of time. Most of us are familiar with the closing verse of first Corinthians 13 that great love chapter, and when we get to the end of it. It says what now abided these three faith, hope and love the greatest of these is love. Why is love greater than faith and hope. I think probably because it's the one that abides faith. We must exercise now that we will need that we get to heaven will no longer live by faith will live by sight.

Hope has to do primarily with getting to heaven and realizing the ultimate whole, that God has set before us, and the culmination salvation, and so when we get to heaven were not going to still be cultivating an entertaining hope are hopeful all be realized. But when we get to heaven. Love isn't finished.

Love is just beginning. Were going to grow and develop and and experience greater and greater love for God. Others all throughout eternity. It's the one that abides so there are these three faith, hope and love and the greatest is love. Here Paul puts them in a different order he puts it, faith, love and hope. A trio of Christian virtues and all of these are evidences of genuine faith. He says I thank God for your faith that produces good works, faith that produces good works, your work of faith, it's not as you all know that faith saves us, but James makes very clear a faith that doesn't have works, is not a living faith. It's not a genuine faith.

It's a dead faith, living faith always produces good works and Paul saw that he saw that in the Thessalonians. And so we thank the Lord for a faith that produces good works. He thanked the Lord for a love that motivates good deeds again and James tells us.

James is very helpful about these things. James tells us if our love is only words it's worthless.

See our Christian brother who is hungry and cold and need we say God bless you.

May God be true need. We don't do anything to help him even when were full able to do so. What is that hypocrisy that's not love.

That's empty words. That's worthless but real love acts according to the needs. Paul said, I see that the saints at Thessalonica love the motivates good deeds and he says I see a hope that produces endurance, patience of love in our Lord Jesus Christ will patience of hope rather patience of hope work endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God and our father. This seems to be in, in response to the persecutions was they were facing and he says that your Christian hope that energizes you to keep the person there to enjoy knowing that you've got something so much better coming that all of these trials and difficulties will seem like nothing when your hope is fully realized when you're with the Lord in heaven. It will be worth it all. When we see Jesus, there's the hope that produces endurance. So Paul is giving thanks for the evidences of living faith that we come to the last larger section of chapter 1 and assurance of divine election in verses four through two knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. What can we say about election where we can say first of all, that this is something that is known that is specifically you can know whether or not you are elect. You can know with pretty good certainty about others, whether or not they are elect lighting think you could know that will Paul did well Howdy, how did he know that he was impossible. Did they get that by divine revelation, did God send Gabriel down to him one day and say no Paul I want you to know that these people here in the church of Thessalonica are the elect of God, and Paul said oh I'm sure glad to know that I would've known that any other way. No no no no that's not what Paul says he indicates something entirely different. He tells us that this is something that he knew but it has to do with the evidences that were in their lives they were recipients of the new birth. That's what he calls a brother. They were objects of God's love.

That's what he calls a beloved and they were included in God's choice.

That's why he says your election by God or as another Bible translation puts it, God's choice of you gnawing beloved brethren. God's choice of you not your choice of God. Paul didn't say knowing brethren. Your choice of God, or your choice of Jesus Christ or knowing your decision for Jesus Christ not he could've said those things. All of that would've been true but the way Paul puts it, what is teaching is here is that all of those things flow as a result of divine election divine election produces a choice for Christ.

A decision for Christ. It produces faith in our hearts toward Christ. But it's not our choice decision our faith that makes us elect. It is God's choice to view God's election brings forth the decision of faith with everyone to call it of our hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ. God's choice of you. I know that simple. He doesn't say God's ratification of your choice. That's the way some people view it. God look down through the corridors of time, he saw ahead of time because he knows everything he saw ahead of time who would believe, given the opportunity. So God said, I know that person will believe, therefore I choose him. So in other words, this is in God's choice. This is God's ratification of your choice is that with the Bible says that would teachers know doesn't teach the doctrine of divine ratification teaches the doctrine of divine election. God choosing God's choice of you. It is not a some people terribly mangle it that God cast one vote. The devil casts another vote you cast the deciding vote if you're that one.

That's what it means election to vote God cast a vote for you, the devil casts a vote against you and you cast the deciding vote.

That's what the doctor election is all about. But if that's what it was, which it obviously isn't then talking about the Thessalonians. And knowing God's choice of them is absolute eating was because in that misconstruction of things, God cast the same choice. God made the same choice for everybody and Thessalonica. Everybody in all the world, all of them have had God vote for them and all of them have had the devil vote against them in now. It all hangs on what that's not what the Bible teaches. It's a terrible mischaracterization of what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of election know this divine election is something that is manifested in throughout the remainder of the chapter, Paul lists at least six evidences of how he knows that they are the elect of God, knowing, beloved brother and your election by God.

Verse 54 because for this reason, now for the rest of the chapter he starts listing reasons how he knows that they are in fact the elect of God, what are they number one gospel reception verse five number two change lives. Verse six number three.

They were examples to others. Verse seven, number four, they had an effective testimony.

Verse eight number five, they have rejected false religion. Verse nine, number six. They had a second coming expectation. Verse 10 six evidences of their election. You probably could pull a few more out of there as well will look at the six. First of all, reception, gospel reception verse five knowing, beloved your election of God for. Here's how I know our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance. As you know the kind of men we were among you for your sake. The first and most important evidence of election is faith. The gospel came to you not in word only, that is, it didn't come in my proclamation without your response. Obviously, everybody Paul preached you didn't respond in some places he preached and hardly anybody responded to Thessalonica, he preached and not everybody responded that we read in acts about some did not believe in even persecuted him, but there were some who believed in his writings of those who believed and he said this is how I know your election of God. When I preach the gospel to all who I had opportunity to preach it to. I preached in the synagogue. I preached it in general. I preached it to whosoever will buddy said there were some who believed you.

Thessalonians believed in a way the others did not.

You you received that gospel in power and in the Holy Spirit came to you with special power came to you with the work of the Holy Spirit.

It brought conviction to your hearts and brought face to your soul and that's how I know you are the elect of God, because the gospel came to you in the effect true old way that it did not come to others.

In some cases, those who were sitting on the seat right beside you while I was preaching and it came to you in power and it didn't come to them. To them it would just so many words and word only to you came with convicting power gospel reception number one number two change lives and here's another reason I know and you became followers of of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction.

That's why I linked their hope, their their hope in the Lord Jesus Christ with perseverance and affliction you received the word in much affliction would join the Holy Spirit when they embraced Christ. There was a cost attached. They were just chewing there bubblegum and walking down the aisle to make a little decision for Jesus didn't cost them anything that was expected of them and everybody there applauded and padded them on the back and said no it's wonderful that you're going to heaven when they identified themselves with Jesus Christ. They knew that they were getting a target painted on their back and that the Jews, the unbelieving Jews and Thessalonica and the hostile Gentiles and Thessalonica were going to make life very, very, very difficult for them if they dared to identify themselves as Christians if they dared to say I'm a believer in Jesus Christ. If they dared to be baptized as a public testimony, their faith in Christ, but they did it and they became followers of Paul and of the others and then became followers of Christ.

Is that really how it works particularly among new converts or don't have it didn't grow up in a Christian home and don't have a Christian background on the first trust Christ and they got this new life.

They say no. How does a Christian act. Look around and look at other Christians. They look to Paul. He looked at silently looked at Timothy and they watch them in the observed them and they followed them and they let them be there. Examples of what Christians are supposed to be like and that's the way you get started.

Let's be sure because people are watching us. Let's be sure that were giving a good example 20 of those who are watching us in this way as they grow in grace they get beyond watching man and they start focusing more upon Christ. The became followers of Christ and that's the goal of Christian maturity first to become followers of us and then of the Lord change lives. What else example to others. Verse seven so you became examples to all in Macedonia and Acadia who believe, like Paul, Silas, and Timothy had been initially examples to them. So now as they grow in grace, they became examples to others. Paul said that gives me a pretty good clue that you are the elect of God, knowing your election of God beloved brethren, what else effective testimony. Verse eight for from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Acadia but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything there testimony and spread wider even than the whole land of Greece the whole peninsula grease which Macedonia and Acadia word I take it had reached the church in Rome that God had done a powerful work of grace and Thessalonica, where it had reached the church in Jerusalem where it had reached the church in Antioch Syria word and reach the churches of Galatia word had reached other places that a great work of God's powerful grace had taken place and Thessalonica and they were proclaiming the gospel in this way throughout the world there is this effective testimony number five there is rejection of false religion number not verse nine, for they themselves declare the people that your testimonies come to they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, they can testify of the effectiveness of our preaching to you and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.

There faith resulted in rejection of their former false religion as they embrace the one living and true God. Sometimes we hear reports of people may be particularly on mission fields where I've heard this kind of report before know these people are believing in Jesus, but there still worshiping their their traditional gods in week will we want to see them grow out of that. I would suggest to you that that's not people who believed in Jesus, they may have have liked the message of salvation in Christ and thought that was beautiful and charming but this hasn't been a real new birth experience in their soul because when somebody comes to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior comes to believe in Jesus as the only hope for salvation as the only savior for sin, then they immediately recognized the falsity of all other religion all that they used to put their hopes on. They realize is false. It's wrong.

It's God I can't believe that anymore because now I've come to believe that salvation is in Christ and him alone. You can't really put faith in Jesus.

If you are also putting faith in something else.

If your faith isn't in Jesus and him alone then it's not really saving faith in Jesus Christ is what you doing hedging your bets.

I keep offering sacrifices to my traditional gods, hoping that they'll continue to help make and I also tip my hat to Jesus Christ. I've added one more God to my to my God, family, will not these folks, not the Thessalonians. Paul said when you receive the gospel you turned from your former gods you turned from your idols, you turned from your traditional religion. You turned from the religion of your family and community, is what brought on a lot of the suffering and persecution, but they had to do it. They knew they had to do it and Paul said now I know you are indeed the elect of God. If you had kept going to those pagan temples and offering sacrifices to those falls were false gods.

I know good and well that a work of grace is not yet been done in your soul still work to do and keep praying for your salvation that she would really come to see the truth of salvation in Christ alone. But look, here's evidence she was sick and that you have renounced your former religion. You've turned from. And finally looking for Christ to come there looking for the second coming in to wait for his son from heaven, verse 10, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Every chapter in first Thessalonians ends with a reference to the second coming here is another evidence of salvation. Another evidence of their election elect people are looking for the return of Jesus Christ. That's all I know your election of God. Let me talk a little bit more and by way of application about this challenging doctrine of election that is challenging, but I assure you that it is taught in Scripture all throughout Scripture, Old Testament, New Testament, it is amazing how how often it is taught. Many of you when you first finally came to see it for the first time you start seeing it everywhere I said before it's almost like you got the other half in your Bible happy didn't thought you had been somehow work getting and now suddenly there it is, and it's everywhere. I mean, Old Testament and New Testament everywhere wanted God say to Moses about who he was.

He said I will have mercy on whom I will have whom I will I heart is that in the Bible it is still all throughout Scripture the doctrine of election is God's sovereign choice of his people. It is his choice has nothing to do with our choice. It's his choice is not ratifying what we did or would do is his choice sovereign choice of his people apart from human merit or forcing faith. The reasons for his choice are unknown to us. He did not reveal them there hidden in the councils of God. He doesn't choose to tell us how he decided to make his choices. He just tells us he did this doctrine of election is openly declared by Christ and his apostles to both saints and sinners. It's not a secret. It's not a family secret of some of told me it is openly declared Christ declared it to sinners. You don't come to me you don't believe in me because you're not of my shoe.

That's why my sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me reason you not believe in. The reason you're not coming is because you're not in that category you know one of my sheep boy that's pretty plain. Christ isn't holding back telling the truth.

Evidently this is part of the gospel. Evidently Paul considered part of the gospel. Evidently when Paul made reference to it here. He didn't apologize for saying I know this is good to be real difficult for you but I need to mentioned anyway. It clearly is something that he had talked to them before.

He just mentions in passing he goes right on knowing, beloved brother and your election of God. The challenging doctrine of election does not conquer did the responsibility of men to believe in Christ, nor their guilt for refusing to believe in Christ. That's the problem you got these two straight she got divine sovereignty and you got human responsibility in his very difficult for us to get these two things together in our minds. The doctrine of election does not contradict the responsibility of men to believe in Christ. The doctor election does not absolve Christians of responsibility proclaiming the gospel to the world though difficult to reconcile and impossible to fully understand. Nevertheless, it is in God's word and must be accepted by faith.

If you refuse to believe anything and everything in the Bible that you could not fully understand. Then you would refuse the doctrine of the Trinity, because you don't fully understand. You would reject the doctrine of the you ready for this big word.

The hypostatic union of Christ that the combination of his divine nature and is human nature combined into one person in the way that we can't fully understand if you have to fully understand it to believe it.

You'd reject that doctrine.

If you only believe what you fully understand then you don't really have trouble with the Bible account of creation help, God brought this world into being you'll you have questions and doubts about that because you can understand that you probably like many others question the miracles of Christ and other miracles in the Bible because you can understand that. In fact, I could if I wanted to I could make a pretty good list of things that you would have to reject if this standard is I've got to be able to understand this before I can know you don't you must believe would God declares you must.

That's what faith is believing the revelation of God with the understand it or not, there is something about this particular doctrine that is particularly difficult for many, even those who will gladly accept the Trinity, by faith, though they don't understand and all the other things I mentioned, they'll accept all those other things by faith as the Bible declares that something about this one that seems harder for some people and I think it's wrapped up in our human pride. This is a tough one on the human pride.

What was it tough.

It really takes everything out of our hands.

It puts it all in the hands of a sovereign God. But that's the way it's supposed to be. We don't get even distance mention of glory for salvation. We can't even take credit for believing our faith came to us by the work of God within us, not by anything that we came up with on our own. It just leaves us humbled in the dust, whom I how can it be, how can it be the God should love a soul like me.

How can it be, it leaves us in the dust. Something about man's pride mixes a particularly difficult and there's something challenging about what this tells us about God that is difficult, particularly if for a long time. We've had lower views of God and erroneous views of God. We recognize if this is true, then God is not exactly the way I thought he was. My concept of God is wrong. It's defective. That's pretty hard to swallow, particularly if you been a Christian for a while that the God I believing it is is actually not quite the God of the Bible not saying you weren't saved before draw that conclusion. No but I'm saying you won't really understand God as he is revealed himself to us until you say I healed. I surrender. I accept I believe I don't understand it's a test of faith to a test of submission. It's a test of teachable news. Are you teachable and can you be taught things from Scripture that you didn't know before. It's a test of obedience and it is vitally important to your understanding of God your understanding your proper understanding of salvation.

Your ability to grow in grace and knowledge is if you don't get to be an obstacle in a kind of via vary across your path.

You can't get past this going to be an obstacle to your full spiritual health is going to be an obstacle to your ability to bring the full honor and glory to Christ with your life that otherwise you so you just need to say like a little child. Lord, I believe, like that man in the Bible, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief but I because you set that's all it takes. Jesus loves me this I know why, for the Bible tells me so. God has chosen me amazing amazing but I see evidences of my life I've come to faith. I've come to want to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

God has chosen me this I know why, for the Bible tells so it's all is needed, shall we pray father. Indeed, long before creation, you have chosen us in love though we do not fully understand this doctrine and never will.

Until we get to heaven and maybe not even fully than we believe it because you said it. We, as humble children before a mighty sovereign God to accept and believe what you have revealed help. So Lord, we pray in Jesus name


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