Sermon – June 21, 2020

1-2 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 – Life in the Gospel (mp3)

Paul lived a certain kind of life. No doubt, he knew not everyone was cut out for that kind of life. He had a calling, a gifting placed upon him before he was ever born. Yet, while we might not have the same calling and gifting that Paul had, it is clear that much of the way that he lived his life was shaped and fashioned by the same thing that our should be shaped by: the gospel. Today we see something of a continuation from last week. Paul earnestly pleads with the Thessalonians that he was this, wasn’t that; today, Paul lets us know why these things were so. The gospel has changed his life, therefore

1. Paul has concrete compassion like the gospel
The gospel is different from any other religion because it is historical, grounded in what has actually happened to Jesus. This means that God’s love for us is not theoretical or abstract, but written on Jesus’ hands and feet and side. His love is made flesh. Paul’s love and compassion was likewise made real and true to the Thessalonians – 3 times in these 4 short verses he appeals to their knowledge of his actions and heart. They experienced his compassion. It was no theory; it was no abstract idea. It was real, felt, experienced. Is yours?

2. Paul unburdens unbelievers for the gospel
The gospel also sets Christianity apart from other religions in that it is wholly free from merit or work. God sent his Son to us without our asking; gave us redemption before we knew to seek it; and gave us new hearts to love him with. Paul could not possibly have burdened unbelievers and then preached a gospel that he claimed was free! Let us work hard to make sure that unbelievers are not burdened by the gospel!

3. Paul builds-up brothers and sisters in the gospel
Lastly, Paul lives the way he does because he knows the gospel; it has shaped and formed his life from the ground up. So, as a Father, he pushes the new believers to understand the gospel in the same way. He desires for them to walk in a manner that suits the call of God to be citizens of heaven. Let us continue to press one another to this end, and to be formed to be the best citizens of heaven we can be. We do this, not only because we are made for this greater kingdom, but for God’s very glory!