Intersections: A Sermon Series on I Thessalonians

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This sermon series is built on a single message for each of the five chapters in the Book of I Thessalonians.  The theme is focused on the development of Kingdom citizens who are fully aware of God’s love both in the world today and in the world to come.

The series is titled “Intersections” based on the cultural intersections that are created when the ancient culture of first century Thessalonica bumps up against our modern thinking and systems.

The five part series is organized in the following way:

Part 1 – The Faith of God ~ I Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul and Silas trusted God by remaining in the prison cell even though the doors had been broken open by an earthquake (Acts 16-17). As a result, God blessed them with fruitful ministry that paved the way to their entry into Thessalonica.  From there God demonstrated a deep and lasting faith in the people of God.  God has trusted us with the Word of God, with the life of the church, and with the message and mission of Jesus in the world.  God has faith in people who live their lives on behalf of the Kingdom.

Part 2 – The Love of God ~ I Thessalonians 2:1-8

The love of God becomes the central message of Good News that people need to hear today.  The same was true for the people who lived throughout the ancient world.  People long for Good News!  The Apostle Paul knew that when he wrote to the Ephesian people (3:7-21) to remind them of the height, width and depth of God’s love that was theirs through Jesus Christ.  The world today needs people of courage, authenticity, deep faith, and strong relationships to remind them of the validity of God’s love for this day.

Part 3 – The Blessing of God ~ I Thessalonians 3:6-13

There is a deep need for people (ancient and modern) to experience the blessing of God as a word of encouragement and hope.  The Bible is filled with blessings.  Psalm 67 adds the blessing of God’s face shining on his people.  Genesis 12 reminds us that Abraham was blessed to be a blessing to others. Jesus himself starts his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) with words of deep blessings.  Paul builds on this reality by adding three blessings in 3:6-13:  1) That God would direct your journey and guide your path.  2) That your love would increase for one another and for others.  3) That your hearts would be blameless with a spirit of holiness.  The invitation is, “Come, be blessed to be a blessing.”

Part 4 – The Trumpet of God ~ I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Ancient and modern people have always had questions about the intent of Jesus to return for his church.  Clarity is always needed but arrives in limited supply.  One thing we know for sure: if Jesus returned today our whole point of view would change drastically.  The things we worry about today would be insignificant! Even though we will never know the details, we can be sure of three things:  1) Jesus will return in all his personal glory.  2) His return will be accompanied by events that will wake the dead!  3) The dead in Christ will rise.  The Apostle Paul says, “encourage one another with these words,” not scare the children with these words.  Live your faith as a daily citizen of the Kingdom and God will take care of the rest.

Part 5 – I Thessalonians 5:12-28 ~ The Call of God

The term “call” is often heard and applied only to the life of a missionary or a pastor.  However, the general call of God comes to all Christians through the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:35-40).  The call is clarified in chapter five with three ingredients:  1) We are all called to ‘encourage the fainthearted and help the weak’ in our daily lives (v.14). 2) We are all called to ‘pray without ceasing’ as God’s Kingdom citizens. 3) The call of God reminds us to ‘Do not quench the Spirit’ of God.  Those three invitations lead to a common Kingdom level goal that is found in verse 23.  “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely.”  So the call of God is a gift of sanctification, wholeness, unity, and hope.

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Randy Jessen is the Senior Pastor at Parker United Methodist Church in Colorado. Together with his wife Sue, they founded a ministry to abandoned and orphaned children called Global Hope in Romania, Kenya, and India globalhope.org. They love the church, enjoy mission ministry, and spend most of their free time with the rest of their extended family.

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