1 Thes 2:19-20 Christian Converts CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The average price of a ticket to the Super Bowl resold on the internet is $3,400. Do you know why a person would pay that kind of money for a ticket? The answer is simple. He pays that much because that’s what makes him happy. You say, “That’s extreme!” Not really – if you want to watch the Super Bowl live and that’s what makes you happy, then you would probably be willing to pay even more than that to go.
Do you know what made Paul happy? Paul rejoiced at the thought of seeing his converts in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know what leading souls to Jesus Christ cost him? It cost him his health, his status, his friends, and his very life. You say, “That’s extreme!” Not really – he could have wished himself accursed for his kinsmen! In his mind he didn’t do enough.
So, what is it about Christian converts that got Paul so excited? Well, that’s the topic of today’s study.
First of all, Christian converts will be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming [v.19] – Jesus is coming for us at the rapture – 1 Thes 4:16-17 shows us that the bodies of all the saved both dead and alive will meet the Lord in the air at the rapture [more on this when we get to that passage in our studies] – imagine Paul’s excitement at seeing all the saved who came to Jesus through his efforts nearly 2,000 years ago and through the epistles that he wrote back then – imagine our excitement at seeing folks that we led to the Lord along the way [particularly loved ones] – what a reunion! – But Jesus is also coming to the earth following the tribulation in order to reign on the earth for a thousand years – Rev 19:11-14 shows us that the saints will return with the Lord at his Second Coming [Jude 14] – imagine the excitement of returning to the earth with those you led to the Lord in order to take over and eliminate the adversaries [Rev 11:15] – so we and our converts will be in his presence both at the rapture and at his return and those will be glorious times
Now as a result of them being in the presence of the Lord when he returns, Christian converts are:
Our hope – v.19 – we know that getting saved gives people hope [Rom 8:24, Eph 2:12] – but the soul winner also has hope – Paul preached Jesus everywhere he went with the hope and expectation that people would get saved [Phil 1:20, 1 Cor 9:10] and so he preached with boldness – also, according to 1 Thes 4:13, the hope of seeing our converts with the Lord is what keeps us from sorrowing so much when they die – we often hear saved people who have lost a loved one say, “I just don’t know how lost people go through something like this without the Lord.” As such, these Thessalonian converts were his hope. They “kept him going.”
Our joy – v.19-20 – Lk 15:7, 10 – joy in the presence of the angles of God over one sinner that repenteth – Phil 4:1 my dearly beloved … my joy – there is no joy in Christianity to compare with the joy of leading souls to Jesus – in Acts 15:3 hearing about converts was a joy to the church – in 1 Thes 1:6 getting saved was a joy to the convert
Our crown of rejoicing – v.19 – there is a crown at the JSC for leading souls to Jesus – it is the soul winner’s crown called the crown of rejoicing – there are 4 others – in Zech 9:16, converts are like the stones of a crown – and in 1 Pet 2:5 these stones are lively stones
Our glory – v. 20 – when we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together with him [Rom 8:17-18] – our glory is affected by souls that we win – it is a reward for what we suffer to bring others to Christ – Jesus suffered to save them – naturally, mothers suffer to bring forth children – in 1 Pet 4:12-16 [13-14] we see this relationship between suffering now and glory that follows