Our Gospel Came to You
1 Thessalonians 1
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is one of the earliest writings in the New Testament and, as such, gives us great insight into the early church. Paul gives thanks to God for the church in Thessalonica because they are loved by God and chosen by God, as evidenced by their reception of the gospel in the midst of much affliction. Despite such a difficult beginning, the church continued to labor in the gospel by imitating the apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ. They also advanced the gospel by living out what it means to be Christian—namely, turning to God from idols, serving God instead of self, and waiting for the return of Jesus without becoming idle. The gospel that came to them is the same gospel that has come to us; therefore, their example of gospel living in light of the Lord’s return is a good model for us as well.
01. The gospel that came to us is the same gospel that came from the apostles; it has the same content, requires the same commitment, produces the same change of character, and provides the same change of status.
02. The gospel that came to us is the same gospel that should go forth from us; we should share the gospel message without fear, live the Christian life with consistency, serve the Lord while time remains, and wait on the Lord until time remains no more.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Read Acts 17:1-9. What was Paul’s strategy in spreading the gospel among the Jews? Where did he meet with them? What did he point out from the Scriptures about Jesus? What were the results of his preaching? How did the Jews respond in light of the success of Paul’s preaching? What does this event suggest about people who are offended by the preaching of the gospel? Does it diminish the truth of the gospel in any way? See 1 Thessalonians 2 for further insight.
2. What specific areas does Paul give thanks to God for the church in Thessalonica? What examples of works of faith, steadfastness of hope, and labors of love do you find evident in the lives of people at Northpoint? Have you thanked such people for their continued contributions to the life and health of the church? See Ephesians 6:21-24 for an additional example of public prayer and thanksgiving for those who serve the Lord together.
3. What does Paul mean when he says, “our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1:4)? Why is the work of the Holy Spirit necessary for the Word to be proclaimed with power and received with full conviction? Can hearts truly be changed apart from the presentation of the gospel or the presence of the Spirit? Pray that the Lord will accompany your witnessing efforts and the preaching of the Word with power and conviction.
4. How did the Thessalonians respond to affliction (1:6)? How did the news of their response to the gospel in the midst of affliction begin to spread to other areas of the world (1:7-8)? What does their response suggest about the supernatural power of the gospel? See Philippians 1:12-18 for another example of the gospel spreading in strange but supernatural ways.
5. Using 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, outline the gospel. What does it mean to turn to God from idols? What idols do people value today? What does it mean to serve the living and true God? Are there any other gods? What does it mean to wait for Jesus to return and to be saved from the wrath to come? Using this outline, pray that the Lord will lead you to share the same gospel with someone who is not a Christian.