1 Thes 1:7 The Right Church CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When we lead people to Christ, we often refer our new converts to 1 Thessalonians to read first because every chapter has to do with the second coming of Christ. The second coming of Christ is a great doctrine to get people busy for Jesus. When Paul starts his letter to the Thessalonians, he returns to some familiar themes that are in most of his letters.
He wants them to receive two things from God: Grace and Peace. And he offers two things to God on their behalf: Thanks and Prayer. These four things characterize Paul’s life; his is a life of grace, peace, thanksgiving and prayer.
Following his introduction, he talks about things that he remembers in the Church. Those things define The Right Church. I would say that those things are another good reason to refer new converts to this letter. After a person gets saved, he needs a good Church; he needs the right Church, one that is a good ensample to other churches (verse 7).
The Right Church has:
1. The Right Faith, verse 3. The kind of faith that gets them working – Titus said you should do “good works”, 1:16; 2:7; 2:14; 3:1; 3:8; 3:14. When you get saved, you want to do something for God.
2. The Right Love, verse 3 (a labor of love). This is the kind of love that doesn’t just talk about love but it is the kind of love that is the motive for everything you do, 1 Cor. 13. You labor because you love the Lord and those to who you minister.
3. The Right Hope, verse 3. This is the kind of hope that produces patience and it is that kind of hope that is the product of patience, Rom. 5:3-5 and Galatians 6:9. This is the kind of hope that reminds you that “it’s not all down here.”
4. The Right Election, verse 4. We Baptists have election! But Paul says, “knowing … your election.” This election is not predestination to salvation; rather it is election
to reign. We are going to reign with Jesus during the millennium. Therefore since it is about a reign, it keeps the people in the Church:
- Working in faith
- Laboring in love
- Patient in hope
You’ve got to get that straight!
5. The Right Gospel, verse 5. His gospel was not only in word (2 Corinthians 11:4). But it was also in power, the power to save and the power to change lives, 2 Corinthians 5:17. The power was in the Holy Ghost, not in another spirit, Galatians 1:6-8. And this gospel produced much assurance, 1 John 5:13. One of the characteristics of the wrong gospel is “no assurance of salvation.”
6. The Right Preacher, verse 6. One that is a preacher you can follow (Philippians 4:9). The right preacher will turn you to the Lord Jesus Christ (the right Lord) and not to himself (1 Peter 5:3).
7. The Right Joy, verse 6. This is joy that comes from the Holy Ghost (Galatians 5:22). This is a joy that can hold up under affliction (compare Matthew 13:20-21 with 2 Corinthians 8:1-2). When your Church has the right joy people are not so easily offended. It is a church that can take trouble.
Now, these seven characteristics of “The Right Church” ought to be characteristics of your Church.