Are You Courageous to Continue? 1 Thessalonians 2 verses 1 through 4

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1 Thessalonians 2:1-4

1 For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, about our coming to you – it has not proven to be purposeless.
2 But although we suffered earlier and were mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of much opposition.
3 For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit,
4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts.

——

Phrases:

Context:  In the previous passage, Paul provided more details of how the Thessalonians changed and how that news spread everywhere.  Now Paul describes how he declared the gospel with courage despite his previous persecution and opposition.

For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, about our coming to you – it has not proven to be purposeless –

Meaning that the conversion of the Thessalonians, described in chapter one, was proof that Paul had a purpose in coming to Macedonia.  That purpose was to preach the gospel.

But although we suffered earlier and were mistreated in Philippi, as you know –

When Paul said we suffered earlier and were mistreated in Philippi, he is referring to the same event.  That is the persecution they received before coming to Thessalonica.  See how it is described below from the book of Acts.

Acts 16:11 We put out to sea from Troas and sailed a straight course to Samothrace,  the next day to Neapolis, 16:12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia, a Roman colony. We stayed in this city for some days. 16:13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had assembled there. 16:14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. he Lord opened her heart to respond  to what Paul was saying. 16:15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us.16:16 Now as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit that enabled her to foretell the future by supernatural means.  She brought her owners a great profit by fortune-telling. 16:17 She followed behind Paul and us and kept crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”  16:18 She continued to do this for many days. But Paul became greatly annoyed,  and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out of her at once. 16:19 But when her owners saw their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 16:20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion.  They are Jews 16:21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us to accept or practice, since we are Romans.”  16:22 The crowd joined the attack against them, and the magistrates tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 16:23 After they had beaten them severelythey threw them into prison and commanded the jailer to guard them securely.16:24 Receiving such orders, he threw them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,  and the rest of the prisoners were listening to them. 16:26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so thatthe foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors flew open, and the bonds of all the prisoners came loose. 16:27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison standing open,  he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, because he assumed the prisoners had escaped. 16:28 But Paul called out loudly,  Do not harm yourself,  for we are all here! 16:29 Calling for lights, the jailer rushed in and fell down trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 16:30 Then he brought them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him, along with all those who were in his house. 16:33 At that hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds;  then he and all his family were baptized right away. 16:34 The jailer brought them into his house and set food before them, and he rejoiced greatly that he had come to believe in God, together with his entire household. 16:35 At daybreak the magistrates sent their police officers, saying, “Release those men.” 16:36 The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent orders to release you. So come out now and go in peace.” 16:37 But Paul said to the police officers, “They had us beaten in public without a proper trialeven though we are Roman citizens and they threw us in prison. And now they want to send us away secretly? Absolutely not! They themselves must come and escort us out! 16:38 The police officers reported these words to the magistrates. They were frightened when they heard Paul and Silas were Roman citizens 16:39 and came and apologized to them. After they brought them out, they asked them repeatedly to leave the city. 16:40 When they came out of the prison, they entered Lydia’s house, and when they saw the brothers, they encouraged them and then departed. 17:1 After they traveled through  Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.

we had the courage in our God –

A) Courage

  • Strong’s Definitions: παῤῥησιάζομαι parrhēsiázomai, par-hray-see-ad’-zom-ahee; to be frank in utterance, or confident in spirit and demeanor.
  • Some English versions say, we were bold in our God.
  • Meaning the persecution they received did not cause them to shrink back, but they had the courage in their God to continue their ministry of speaking the gospel.
  • This courage to continue comes from fully trusting in God and His sovereign plan for our lives.  No matter what happens in life, whether good or bad, it is within God’s plan for us.  Therefore, we may have courage and be confident that we are right where he wants us to be.
  • Lost souls may get their courage in a bottle, but a Christian gets his courage in God.

Discussion Question:

  • Describe a time when you had courage to go through a difficult time knowing that you were experiencing God’s plan?
  • Can you describe areas in your life where you have shrunk back due to fear caused by suffering instead of continuing forward with courage?

to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of much opposition-

A) declare

  • Strong’s Definitions: λαλέω; laléō,lal-eh’-o; to talk, i.e. utter words.
  • They word just means to talk. But since they were bold and had courage in God, some English versions translate the word stronger, to declare.

B)  the gospel of God

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I want to make clear for youbrothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed onto you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 15:8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

C) in spite of much opposition-

  • Through their courage in God, Paul and his companions declared the gospel to the Thessalonians even after suffering in Philippi and being opposed by the Jews in Thessalonica.
  • 7:1 After they traveled through  Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica,  where there was a Jewish synagogue. 17:2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, 17:3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 17:4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few  prominent women. 17:5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.  17:6 When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too, 17:7 and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus! 17:8 They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things. 17:9 After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them17:10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 17:11 These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. 17:12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men. 17:13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea,  they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds. 17:14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 17:15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas andTimothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit-

A) appeal

  • Strong’s Definitions: παράκλησις; paráklēsis, par-ak’-lay-sis; imploration, hortation, solace

B) does not come from error

  • Meaning their gospel message was not a false teaching.

C) impurity

  • Meaning their message was not only free of complete error as mentioned above, but it was also free of any defect.  Instead, their message was perfectly pure.

D) or with deceit

  • Strong’s Definitions: δόλος; dólos, dol’-os; from an obsolete primary verb, δέλλω déllō (probably meaning to decoy; a trick (bait), i.e. (figuratively) wile.
  • Meaning Paul was declaring this pure message for their benefit and not to trick them nor take advantage of them.
  • Titus 1:10-11 (NET) 10 For there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections, 11 who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of an example from the news or from your experiences where someone knowingly deceived others for their own gain?  Do you know of an example from the Christian world?

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel-

A) have been approved by God

  • Strong’s Definitions: δοκιμάζω; dokimázō, dok-im-ad’-zo; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve.
  • Think of a product that has been tested at the manufacture and given their approval stamp.
  • Paul and his coworkers were tested or proved by trials in the gospel work to prove that they could be….

B) entrusted with the gospel

  • Strong’s Definitions: πιστεύω; pisteúō, pist-yoo’-o; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ).
  • Meaning through the testing of trials, God found them faithful to carry forth His gospel.  God trusted them.

so we declare it – not to please people but God, who examines our hearts-

a)  so we declare it – not to please people but God

  • Meaning inasmuch as God has proved and trusted Paul and his coworkers with the gospel, then they must declared the gospel with the motive to please the One who entrusted them and not to please men.
  • Paul did not please the men in Philippi by ruining their business with the healing of the slave girl, nor did Paul please the Jews in the synagogue of the Thessalonians with his gospel message of Salvation though faith and not by trusting the works of Moses’ law.
  • See a similar statement that Peter made in the book of Acts 5.
  • [Act 5:27-29 NET] When they had brought them, they stood them before the council, and the high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name. Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood on us!”  But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.

B)  who examines our hearts

  • The word, examine, is from the same Greek word above translated approved.  The word means to prove or test.  It is God who tests our hearts.  If we do not do his will because we would rather please people, then our conscience will be pricked by the Holy Spirit.  After our internal struggle, we must please God instead of man.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you describe an example where you had to displease a person or persons so you could please God by speaking His truth?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


 

Are You Courageous to Continue?

Bob,

Your small suffering is much different than the suffering of My Son for your sins or the suffering of Paul for the sake of my gospel.  You have not suffered much in life.  However, I know you have suffered a little, and those sufferings shook your faith and are still causing you to shrink back a little.

I’m glad you held onto Me through suffering, but I want you to continue onward with courage in spite of the fear.  Don’t let fear hold you back. Continue to serve me, to risk relationships, to get out and live.  Yes, more suffering is coming, but look to My Son and to Paul and how they kept going – even to death.

Continue to declare the gospel.  It is true.  It is pure.  Teach it with a pure motive.

Stand up for Me, My Son, and for righteousness.  Do not compromise My truth to please the world, friends, or even family.

 

 

Benefits of a House Church

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Benefits of a House Church

Our church has been meeting as a house church for the last 10 years.  Our house church currently consists of 5 families.  I must say it has been the best church experience of my life.  Of course, churches meeting in homes is nothing new.  After all, meeting in homes was the primary meeting place in the New Testament (see additional references at the end of this post).  Below are the benefits I’ve experienced in the house church model.

Flexibility in Changing the Statement of Faith, Constitution, Bi-Laws, Policies and Procedures

I know its a strange thing to mention first, but our church has recently started the process of updating our church documents, including, The Statement of Faith, Constitution, Bi-Laws, Policies and Procedures, and Articles of Incorporation.  Many of these documents were created years ago to obtain 501c3 tax exempt status, but they need some refreshing.  We are already finding statements we want to add to our Statement of Faith, and I am sure we will modify some policies and procedures as the process goes forward.  The men from all the families are having input.  It’s just a great thing to see, and a great way to learn about our beliefs and the organization of the church.  I’m 50 years old, and I’ve never had this opportunity until now.  It’s a strange thing to mention as I said, but it is something we should not take for granted.  Most regular church members in traditional large churches just don’t get this kind of opportunity and exposure to the inner workings of a church.

Direct access to the Pastor

Do you know during my big church days I only had dinner with the Pastor three or four times in 20 years.  Yet in the house church we have dinner and fellowship every Sunday with our Pastor.  Not only I, but all the families and all of our children have direct access to fellowship with him.  I praise God for this wonderful opportunity to really know our Pastor, his family, and their godly example.  And when you need some counseling, it is such a blessing not to be pushed off to the counseling department, but instead to receive devoted-godly counsel from our wise Pastor and his wife.  Our Pastor is a great example because he has a full time day job, is very family focused, yet he still prepares the Word weekly for us.  If he can do it, then what is our excuse not to get into God’s Word, focus on our families, and serve our Savior.

On the flip side, a smaller group is better for the Pastor as well.  The Pastor is to tend to his flock.  It is difficult to know the spiritual condition of your members even within a small group.  In the big church, it is hard for the pastor to learn and remember everyone’s name, and it is near impossible to know the spiritual condition of a large flock.

Sharing in the Hospitality

Our house church rotates the meeting location about every 4 months throughout the year to different members’ homes.  It is a pleasure to serve the church in this way.  It takes some preparation, but to have your home filled with children, brothers and sisters, hymns, prayers, the Word of God, and godly teaching is a blessing.  At the larger churches, I only remember a few opportunities in 20 years to have groups of believers to our home.  People are just so busy, and we were busy.  The times we did have small groups at our home was a blessing, but the opportunities seemed very infrequent in my experience.

Deeper Relationships

Oh, the house church relationships are beyond compare.  I can tell many stories.  Please read my blog post link at the bottom of this paragraph for a list of highlights over the years.  There were some good relationships at the big church, but never as close as the house church.  I’ve been so blessed to really know and continue to get to know these brothers and sisters.  When you are only meeting with a few families over an extended amount of time, you have a good opportunity to really get to know them during the sharing time, the meeting discussions, the after church meals, and all the other church activities.  I’ve been blessed to sometimes be the object of their love, prayers, and even their fasting over the years.  We have been to weddings and funerals together. We have done outreach together.  We’ve encouraged each other through hard times like divorce, marriage problems, financial issues, and dealing with wayward children.  We’ve celebrated together at graduations and in new houses.  And when one has to leave for some reason, it really hurts and you really miss them.

https://robertjgood.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/why-i-go-to-a-house-church/

Knowing the Children

I’m happy to say that I know all the names of all the children in our church.  I know one young man wants to be a fireman.  I know the school subjects one daughter is taking in her homeschool and co-op program.  I know where the teens are working.  One dear girl just looks at me with fascination when I sing and play the guitar on Sunday mornings.  And the little ones love my tic-tac candies.  Sometimes it’s hard to know how much they are getting out of the meetings, but they are listening.  They hear the prayer requests for marriages and sicknesses.  They pick up on their favorite hymns, and sometimes they even request them.  One dear daughter even blew her musical instrument and blessed us with the tune Amazing Grace.  And when the church meeting is over, the rooms fill with sounds of children as they are playing and talking to their friends as we share lunch together.  I remember in my big church days the kids were separated from the congregation.  It was very difficult to learn their names and know their interests.  My son recently went to a traditional big church youth group, and he said, “Dad, I didn’t know these songs the band was playing, there was dancing up and down, and a lot of kids were on their cell phones during the message – it seemed so different.”  Well, I’m sure good is going on there, and there are godly brothers doing the Lord’s work.  But, it seems to me that with my job I already struggle to get enough time with my children, so do I want to be separated from them at church also?

The Small Group is the Primary Event

I know big churches have their small groups, and I thank God for them.  However, having experience them, I know they are not as good as the house church.  First, some meet together only monthly due to all the other church activities.  Second, in the summer, some groups will even shut down because of all the vacations going on.  Third, there are so many groups, people hop from one to the other from time to time and it’s hard to develop relationships that way.  Forth, many of the small groups are held during the week and they compete with other family activities like Scouting, sports, or school activities.  Fifth, many of the groups are divided by demographics:  age, youth, elder, career, divorce care, etc….  These types of specialized groups can be helpful, but they can also divide up the family throughout the week – mom to the womens group, dad to the mens group, kids to the youth group.  Last, the main problem is the small group in a big church is not the main event.  Obviously, the big church service is the main event.  So when families get busy, the small groups gets sacrificed.   That is the beauty of the house church.  The house church is on Sunday, and all the families come together at the same time, in same place, and they are not divided up at the door.  It is the main event.

Giving to Stuff that Really Matters

Our church is very open in giving.  We are free to give to the Pastor to honor his efforts and to give to outside missions or other organizations.  The money goes exactly where we want it.  There is no large staff, no facility water bills, no electric bills, no building mortgage or maintenance, no busses, etc…….

Accountability

When you are only meeting with a few families, you can’t help but know when someone is missing in attendance for a few weeks.  When someone typically shares something from the Word week after week during sharing time, and then suddenly stops, you notice.  And if someone is publicly living a rebellious sinful lifestyle, they will be lovingly confronted.  Of course, we are not out looking for faults with a magnifying glass, after all, we all have sins, but it’s not that easy to hide as it is in larger churches.

More Participation

I remember being in Engineering School during college. I felt free to ask questions and participate in the Engineering courses when surrounded by 12 students, but I didn’t say a word in the Economics class when surrounded by 100 students.  Participation is just better in smaller groups – no doubt about it!

Below are ways participation is increased in a house church.

A) Events – This year we are not only updating our church documents as mentioned earlier, but we are also celebrating the 500th year of the Reformation.  All the families will be involved in the celebration event and planning:  speeches, costumes, music, activity tables.  It will be a good time with full participation.

B) Music – Yours truly writing this blog post plays guitar every Sunday.  Do you know before attending this house church I’ve never played a musical instrument.  The small size of our church stretched me out of my comfort zone to pursue music.  Sometimes, sisters will sing a duet or a solo.  To my knowledge they just sing to Lord without any practice, and it is beautiful.  We’ve had one daughter play her musical instrument as I’ve mentioned earlier.  Sometimes children request the songs we sing.  Sometimes we sing Christian children’s songs.  In a way, the big church has taken away the simplicity of music from the congregation because the music is run by professional musicians and trained singers. No, the house church can’t compare to the big church in talent and musical quality, but it’s nice to hear the kids request, This is My Commandment, or Trust and Obey.

C) Prayer – Every Sunday is a prayer group because everyone has the opportunity to publicly pray before our teaching time – no prayer by one or two specified deacons here.  If something is on your heart, pray.

D) Free to share – Did God show you an amazing truth this week, and you just want to tell the whole world?  Did you witness to someone about Jesus’ love and want to share your experience?  Do you want to encourage the group with a passage from a Christian book you’ve been reading?  Every Sunday before our Pastor’s interactive teaching time, everyone has an opportunity to share what God is doing in their lives.  Everyone.  You know, in a big church, people are afraid to share in a big group, and it is not practical to have a hundred people share.  In many ways, the big church has created spectators instead of participants.

E) Interaction with the teaching – Back in the big church, I always wanted to say, hey I have a question about that, or I have an insight into that as well.  But of course, when your are surrounded by lots of people, you tend to keep quite.  And if you don’t, I’m sure the ushers will come have a whisper with you.   I love that the house church model naturally encourages interaction during the teaching time.  The group is just the right size that people feel more safe to speak up.  Everyone knows that education is better when you are able to interact.

F) More free to serve – Oh the bureaucracy of some larger churches!  We can all think of stories when a brother wanted to do something, but it was shut down because it needed to be reviewed at the Elders meeting or such and such committee which will be held in the 2nd quarter of the year.  One time my brother wanted to do some service through his large church to help tornado victims, but unfortunately his idea was squashed and it deeply affected his ideas about the church.  Yet in a house church, there is still oversight, but things are much easier to get going and get done.  Now don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to just speak your idea and let someone else do the work –  because there is nobody else to do the work.  But if you feel lead of the Lord to pursue it, and you are willing to lead it and work at it, then most likely it’s a go.

Our Future

Well, I don’t know how the Lord will lead us into the future.  Will we grow into another house church, will we grow into a rented space, a building, or stay as we are?  I don’t know. However, if we grow into a size where the things above are becoming difficult to do, then I think we are too big.

God Bless you, and thank you for reading.

Bob

References:

It is clear in the New Testament that believers met together primarily in individual’s homes. See below…

  • Acts 2:46 (NET) 46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,
  • Acts 12:12 (NET)
    When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying.
  • Romans 16
    3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
    4 who risked their own necks for my life. Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
    5 Also greet the church in their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
  • Romans 16:23 (NET)
    Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19 (NET) 19 The churches in the province of Asia send greetings to you. Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, with the church that meets in their house.
  • Philemon 1:2 (NET) 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your house.
  • Colossians 4:15 (NET) 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters who are in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

Is the Gospel Echoed Forth by Your Faith? 1 Thessalonians 1 verses 7 through 10

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1 Thessalonians 1:7-10

7 As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
8 For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, so that we do not need to say anything.
9 For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.

—–
Phrases:

As a result –

  • The previous verses showed the evidences of the Thessalonians’ election. These next verses tell how they became an example to others, and the verses show more details of how the Thessalonians dramatically changed.

you became an example to all the believers –

A) example

  • Strong’s Definitions: τύπος; týpos, too’-pos; a die (as struck).
  • Their work of faith, labor of love, endurance of hope, and changed life mentioned in the previous passage became a model for others.
  • They imitated Paul and the Lord, but now others are imitating them.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you name Godly brothers or sisters in your life that are models for your Christian life?

in Macedonia –

  • Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    In New Testament times, was a Roman province lying north of Greece. It was governed by a propraetor with the title of proconsul. Paul was summoned by the vision of the “man of Macedonia” to preach the gospel there (Act 16:9). Frequent allusion is made to this event (18:5; 19:21; Rom 15:26; 2Cr 1:16; 11:9; Phl 4:15). The history of Paul’s first journey through Macedonia is given in detail in Act 16:10-17:15. At the close of this journey he returned from Corinth to Syria. He again passed through this country (Act 20:1-6), although the details of the route are not given. After many years he probably visited it for a third time (Phl 2:24; 1Ti 1:3). The first convert made by Paul in Europe was (Act 16:13-15) Lydia (q.v.), a “seller of purple,” residing in Philippi, the chief city of the eastern division of Macedonia.

and in Achaia –

  • Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    The name originally of a narrow strip of territory in Greece, on the north-west of the Peloponnesus. Subsequently it was applied by the Romans to the whole Peloponnesus, now called the Morea, and the south of Greece. It was then one of the two provinces (Macedonia being the other) into which they divided the country when it fell under their dominion. It is in this latter enlarged meaning that the name is always used in the New Testament (Act 18:12,27; 19:21; Rom 15:26; 16:5, etc.). It was at the time when Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles under the proconsular form of government; hence the appropriate title given to Gallio as the “deputy,” i.e., proconsul, of Achaia (Act 18:12).

For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread –

  • By the changed life of the Thessalonians, the Lord’s message, meaning the gospel message, resounded forth to…
  • ‘Every place’ is a hyperbolic statement meaning that the news of the gospel and their faith spread to many places and had a great impression on others.

A) Echoed

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἐξηχέομαι; exēchéomai, ex-ay-kheh’-om-ahee; to “echo” forth, i.e. to resound (be generally reported):
  • Webster defines, resound, as to become filled with sound; to make a loud, deep sound; to make a strong impression or have a great effect on people

B) Spread

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἐξέρχομαι; exérchomai, ex-er’-khom-ahee; to issue (literally or figuratively).

so that we do not need to say anything. For people everywhere report –

  • Again, “everywhere” is a hyperbolic statement meaning that most people where Paul traveled already heard the news about the Thessalonians.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you name the strongest Christian in your extended family, at your job, or in your school whose faith has resounded to many? If their faith has resounded to you in that you know their testimony, do you think your faith has resounded to them?
  • For fun, can you name the person that is the farthest place away from you that know’s of your faith in Jesus?

how you welcomed us –

  • The first part of the report their heard was how they welcomed Paul as mentioned in the previous passage, verse 5-6. Paul’s words were received in great joy, in power, in the Holy Spirit, in deep conviction, and how they became imitators of Paul and the Lord.

and how you turned to God from idols –

  • The second part of the report they heard was how the Thessalonian turned away from idols.
  • This is amazing that they were willing to forsake idols that may have been worshipped for years or even generations.

A) Idols

  • Strong’s Definitions: εἴδωλον; eídōlon, i’-do-lon; an image (i.e. for worship); by implication, a heathen god, or (plural) the worship of such.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of a Christian whose sinful strongholds were defeated at the time of their conversion? How about your own strongholds at your conversion?

to serve the living and true God –

  • Third, they heard how the Thessalonians now served the living and true God.
  • The idols are lifeless and false, but our God is living and true.

Discussion Question:

  • Do you know personally of other Christians who began to serve God after their conversion? Can you name ways that you began to serve God after your conversion?

and to wait for his Son from heaven –

  • Forth, they heard how the Thessalonians were waiting for God’s Son from heaven.
  • It appears the teaching of the second coming of Jesus had already been taught there, and the Thessalonians already accepted the doctrine.
  • The doctrine of the second coming should motivate us to live a life that would please Jesus at his coming.

A) Wait

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἀναμένω; anaménō, an-am-en’-o; to await.
  • Titus 2:13 (NET) 13 as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Hebrews 9:28 (NET) 28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.

whom he raised from the dead –

  • Meaning God raised his Son, Jesus, from the dead.

Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath –

  • Meaning Jesus will deliver us from God’s wrath at the end of the age at the judgement.

A) Wrath

  • Strong’s Definitions: ὀργή; orgḗ, or-gay’; properly, desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), i.e. (by analogy), violent passion (ire, or (justifiable) abhorrence); by implication punishment.
  • Webster defines, Ire, as intense anger.
  • Most English translations say, wrath or judgement, Young’s literal translation says, anger that is coming.
  • Romans 2:5 (NET) But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed!

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Is the Gospel Echoed Forth by Your Faith?

Bob,

Be grateful for those good examples in My scriptures and in your life.
Live a life that will be a good example to others.

Is news spreading to others that your life has changed because My grace has transformed you?

Continue to truly believe My message.  Read it.  Study it.  Live it.

Fight against sinful strongholds.  Resist those sins that pull you.  Don’t ever be comfortable with sins.

Serve Me with your time, talents, and treasure.  Stop waisting so much precious time.

Just don’t pass the time aimlessly waiting for Jesus, but live a life set apart for Me as you wait for My Son to return from heaven.

I am angry because of sin!  My wrath is coming! Rejoice and tremble that you will be delivered from the day of wrath through my Son.

 

Is There Evidence of Your Election? 1 Thessalonians 1 verses 4 through 6

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1 Thessalonians 1 verses 4 -6

4 We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,
5 in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you).
6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction.
——

Phrases:

We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you-

  • Paul knows that the Thessalonian saints were loved and chosen by God based on the evidence he states in the following verses in this passage. 

However, below are other verses regarding believers being chosen by God.

  • John 6:44 (NET) 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • Romans 9 (NET)
    10 Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our ancestor Isaac –
    11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works but by his calling) –
    12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”
    13 just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
    14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
    15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
    16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.
    17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
    18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?”
    20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
    21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?
    22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?
    23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory –
    24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
    25 As he also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved,’My beloved.'”
    26 “And in the very placewhere it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”
    27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved,
    28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.”
  • Ephesians 1:4 (NET) 4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.
  • Ephesians 2:4,5 (NET)
    4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! –
  • Colossians 3:12 (NET)
    12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NET)
    13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
  • 2 Timothy 1:9,10 (NET)
    9 He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!
  • Titus 1:1 (NET) 1 From Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness,
  •  1 Peter 1:1-2 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!
  • Revelation 17:8 (NET)
    8 The beast you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up from the abyss and then go to destruction. The inhabitants of the earth – all those whose names have not been written in the book of life since the foundation of the world – will be astounded when they see that the beast was, and is not, but is to come.

Discussion Question:

  • In Acts 16 Paul wanted to go to Asia, but God called him to Macedonia where the Thessalonians were located. Express how you feel knowing that God has chosen you and brought you the gospel message?

in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction –

  • The first proof of their election is the profound affect the gospel message had on the Thessalonians.
  • Paul taught the Thessalonians with the same words and in the same way that he has done with many others, but with these Thessalonians the gospel came to them in …

A) Power

  • Strong’s Definitions: δύναμις; dýnamis, doo’-nam-is; force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself).
  • The English derivative is dynamite.

B) Holy Spirit

  • Meaning the Third person of the Trinity had influenced their understanding and their will.

C) Deep conviction

  • Strong’s Definitions: πληροφορία; plērophoría, play-rof-or-ee’-ah; means entire confidence.
  • Meaning the Thessalonians had a life changing confidence, assurance, and conviction in the gospel message.

Discussion Questions:

  • How would you describe how the gospel message made an explosion in your heart and understanding?
  • How did you perceive the Holy Spirit’s work in your life when the gospel came to you?
  • How would you describe the sense of confidence you had in the truth of the gospel message?

(surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you) –

  • Paul mentions the character of himself and his team which they displayed to the Thessalonians to emphasize the following verse …

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, –

  • The second evidence of their election is how their character changed to imitate the character of the Lord, Paul, and Paul’s coworkers.

A) Imitators

  • Strong’s Definitions: μιμητής; mimētḗs, mim-ay-tace’; an imitator.
  • English derivative is mimic.

Discussion Question:

  • How would you describe how your character was transformed after receiving the gospel?

when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction-

A) Message

  • This is referring to the gospel message mentioned in v 5.
  • Paul defines the gospel message in 1 Corinthian 15 as…
  • 1 Corinthians 15
    1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand,
    2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
    4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures,
    5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
    6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
    7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
    8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

B) Joy

  • Their third evidence of their election was their joy.
  • Strong’s Definitions: χαρά; chará, khar-ah’; from cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight

C). that comes from the Holy Spirit

  • Galatians 5:22-23 (NET) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Discussion Question:

  • How would you describe the calm delight you felt after receiving the gospel?

D) even in great affliction

  • The forth evidence of their election was not only their general joy but also their joy during suffering.
  • Below shows the violent start against the church in Thessalonica. Imagine what it must have been like to live there as a Christian.
  • Acts 17
    1 After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
    2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures,
    3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”
    4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
    5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.
    6 When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too,
    7 and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!”
    8 They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things.
    9 After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them.
    10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
  • James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials,
    3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.

Discussion Question:

  • Although you may not have been persecuted as the Thessalonians, you may have experienced great suffering. Can you describe the inner joy you felt when you were in that time of suffering?
  • Can you describe how you were influenced by the joy displayed by a brother or sister during their time of suffering?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


 

Is There Evidence of Your Election?

Bob,

You should feel awe and great gratitude that the gospel came to you.  I chose you in My Son before the world began.  Nothing is by accident:  your birth, house, friends, circumstances, mental health, ability to hearing and understanding, church, preachers, Bible, repentance, and faith – it all came from Me for your salvation.  Do not take it for granted because not all will be saved.

Go, tell the world, you may be the agent that I use to call My loved ones to My side.

Don’t forget how the power of the gospel affected your heart, thinking, and purpose in life.

Don’t forget how the Holy Spirit convicted you of sin and pursued you to come.

Don’t forget how you were persuaded to that the gospel was so true that you chose to change your whole life because of it.

Don’t forget the drastic changes that you made in your life by thinking different, talking different, and having a different purpose in life.  Don’t forget how you wanted to be holy in character and imitate My Son.

Don’t forget how the Holy Spirit placed His fruit within and how He challenges you even today to live with love, joy and peace.

And when the suffering came into your life, don’t forget the joy I gave you by close fellowship with Me, by knowing that I was perfecting your character, by trusting in My sovereign will.

Don’t forget.  Continue to show evidence of your election.

 

Are You Grateful for All of God’s People? 1 Thessalonians 1 verses 2 to 3

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1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

2 We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers,
3 because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

——–

Phrases:

We thank God always –

Meaning Paul, Silas, and Timothy gave thanks persistently.

A) Thanks

  • Strong’s Definitions: εὐχαριστέω eucharistéō, yoo-khar-is-teh’-o;  to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal
  • The English derivative is Eucharist.

Discussion Questions:

  • This type of prayer is Thanksgiving. Can you name different types of prayers?
  • Can you name practical ways we can be reminded to persistently be grateful to God for others in our prayers?

for all of you –

  • Meaning they gave thanks not only for the leaders or  those close to Paul, but they gave thanks for each person in their church including Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, men and women, rich and poor.

Discussion Question:

  • Other than our church leaders, can you think of other groups of people in our church body that we may thank God for in our prayers?

as we mention you constantly in our prayers –

  • Meaning Paul, Silas, and Timothy prayed for them either individually or as a group or both.
  • By expressing this, Paul let the Thessalonians know that they were constantly in his prayers.

Discussion Questions:

  • Paul let them know they were being prayed for; can you share an example when someone prayed for you and then let you know?
  • How did you feel when you learned someone had prayed for you?
  • How does today’s technology make it easier to tell others they were prayed for?

Rabbit trail on private and public prayer…

  • In Mathew 6:5-6, Jesus says to pray in secret, yet Jesus and Paul both also teach to pray publicly. And in this passage, Paul writes to the Thessalonians to let them know they are being prayed for; how should we understand the good and bad motives when praying in public.
  • Mathew 6
    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
  • John Gill commentary on Mathew 6 says, “they loved “standing” in prayer, rather than any other posture, because they could be better seen; and they loved to be in the synagogues and streets, rather than in their closets; they liked public better than private prayer, because it gained them applause among men.”
    Gill continues, “Our Lord does not mean to exclude and condemn public prayer, in joining with few, or more persons, in such service; for he himself directs to it, and approves of it, Matt 18:19 but his view is to instruct persons that they should not only pray in public, but in private also; and especially the latter, which is more suitable and fitting for their particular cases, and less liable to pride, hypocrisy, and vanity.”

because we recall –

  • Meaning they remembered.

in the presence of our God and Father –

A) presence

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἔμπροσθεν; émprosthen, em’-pros-then; in front of (in place (literally or figuratively).
  • Meaning Paul, Silas, and Timothy remembered while being before the Father, possibly while in prayer or in a general sense.
  • Some interpret this phrase not to mean that Paul prayed in the presence of God, but to mean the Thessalonians had faith, love, and hope before the presence of the Lord.

your work of faith –

A) work

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἔργον érgon, er’-gon; from ἔργω érgō (to work); toil (as an effort or occupation).
  • Meaning their faith has motivated them to do good works.
  • James 2:14 (NET) 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him?

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of specific examples of good works that are motivated by our faith?

and labor of love –

A) labor

  • Strong’s Definitions: κόπος kópos, kop’-os; a cut, i.e. (by analogy) toil (as reducing the strength), literally or figuratively; by implication, pains.
  • This word is a stronger word than ergon above. The sense of this word means the work is tiring and painful.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of good works motivated by love that are tiring and painful in your Christian walk?

and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ –

A) endurance

  • Strong’s Definitions: ὑπομονή, hypomonḗ, hoop-om-on-ay’; means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy.
  • Meaning that the hope the Thessalonians had in the Lord strengthened them to have endurance and constancy to continue in their faith and tiring labor of love.

Discussion Question:

  • What motivates an athlete to endure all their hard training?
  • In like manner, how does hope in Christ cause us to endure?

References:

Below are other verses that refer to faith, love, hope, and work, labor, and endurance.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NET) 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NET) 8 But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation.
  • Colossians 1:5 (NET) 5 Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel
  • Revelation 2:2 (NET) 2 ‘I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have even put to the test those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false.

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Are You Grateful for All of God’s People?

Bob,

You do well in giving thanks to Me as Paul did for the Thessalonians.  Continue to grow in your commitment to pray persistently for those in your own church and other Christians that I have brought into your life. You also do well in confessing your sins and making supplication for others. You do lack in expressing your adoration toward Me. Express adoring words toward Me – not for My sake but for your own.  Pray for all those in your church: the leaders, the men and fathers, the women and mothers, and don’t neglect the children.

Be careful not to brag to others about your prayers to receive their admiration, but at the same time don’t neglect letting people know you are praying for them – this will bring them much comfort.

Continue to express your faith through good works and resisting sin.
Don’t be afraid to feel some pain and discomfort in laboring for others.  Where there is love there will be a little pain and discomfort.

Keep enduring in this life. I know it is hard because the world, your bodies, and relationships are all harmed by sin. Yet keep persevering until you are with Me. I am your prize. Once you are with Me, you will soon forget the pain caused by the corruption in this world.

Do You Savor Servants Like Silvanus? Thessalonians 1 verse 1

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1 Thessalonians 1:1 (NET) 1

From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you!

——–
Phrases:

From Paul –

  • Meaning the Apostle Paul.

and Silvanus –

  • Many believe Silas is the shortened name for Silvanus and that these are the same person in the New Testament.
  • Easton’s Bible Dictionary says, Silas – wood, a prominent member of the church at Jerusalem; also called Silvanus…There is no record of the time or place of his death.
  • Below are serval passages that piece together the life of Silas.

Silas was chosen by the church to accompany Paul and Barnabas on their return to Antioch after the Jerusalem elder meeting.

  • Acts 15
    24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said,
    25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul,
    26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person.

Discussion Questions:

  • Would your church or employer have confidence in you to be their messenger? If not, why? How can you begin to become that person?
  • Think of character qualities that Silas had to be trusted with this mission?

Silas is called a prophet

  • Acts 15
    30 So when they were dismissed, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the entire group together, they delivered the letter.
    31 When they read it aloud, the people rejoiced at its encouragement.
    32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.
    33 After they had spent some time there, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.

Discussion Questions:

  • What was a primary role of prophets in the New Testament?
  • What would you have said to encourage and strengthen the Gentile church in Antioch at that time knowing that they were dealing with the issue of Moses’ law?
  • What would you say to encourage and strengthen our church knowing what we are dealing with?

Paul chooses Silas after Paul’s disagreement with Barnabas.

  • Acts 15
    39 They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,
    40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters.
    41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Silas was Persecuted with Paul in Philippi

  • Acts 16:19 (NET) 19 But when her owners saw their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion. They are Jews…22 The crowd joined the attack against them, and the magistrates tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be beaten with rods.

Discussion Question:

  • What do you think your response would have been after being beaten for the Gospel?

Silas sings in his cell.

  • Acts 16
    23 After they had beaten them severely, they threw them into prison and commanded the jailer to guard them securely.
    24 Receiving such orders, he threw them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
    25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the rest of the prisoners were listening to them.
    26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors flew open, and the bonds of all the prisoners came loose.

Discussion Questions:

  • Have you ever sang to God when suffering?  How does it seem different singing during suffering than singing when all is going well?
  • Have you ever written a song or poem when suffering?

Silas was a Roman Citizen

  • Acts 16:38 (NET) 38 The police officers reported these words to the magistrates. They were frightened when they heard Paul and Silas were Roman citizens

Silas helps start a church among the Thessalonians.

  • Acts 17:4 (NET) 4 Some of them (Thessalonians) were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.

Paul and Silas flee to Barea from persecution from the other Thessalonians. They start a church in Barea.

  • Acts 17
    10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
    11 These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.
    12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.

Silvanus proclaimed Christ with Paul in Corinth.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:19 (NET)
    For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us – by me and Silvanus and Timothy – was not “Yes” and “No,” but it has always been “Yes” in him.

Silvanus, a faithful brother, delivered Peter’s epistle from the church in Babylon.

  • 1 Peter 5:12 (NET)
    Through Silvanus, whom I know to be a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, in order to encourage you and testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

and Timothy-

  • There are too many references of Timothy to list here, but below are a few important references to learn about him.

Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He was well spoken of. He was Circumcised by Paul. He Served with Paul.

  • Acts 16
    1 He also came to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy was there, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but whose father was a Greek.
    2 The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
    3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
    4 As they went through the towns, they passed on the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the Gentile believers to obey.
    5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number every day.

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think were character qualities of Timothy that made his brothers speak well of him in Lystra and Iconium?
  • What good qualities would we mention for various brothers and sisters in our church?

He was a genuine believer. He stayed in Paul’s stead in Ephesus.

  • 1 Timothy 1
    1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
    2 to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!
    3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings,

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think Paul seen in Timothy to say he was a genuine child in the faith?
  • What must have Paul seen in Timothy to trust to leave him behind to instruct others to not spread false teachings?

Faith and names of Timothy’s mother and grandmother.

  • 2 Timothy 1:5 (NET) 5 I recall your sincere faith that was alive first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am sure is in you.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you name a multi-generational family that served the Lord?

to the church of the Thessalonians-

A) Church

  • Strong’s definition: ἐκκλησία, ek-klay-see’-ah; a compound word meaning a calling out.

Below shows how the church was started and the environment in which it had to survive.

  • Acts 17
    1 After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
    2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures,
    3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”
    4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.

The Jewish Thessalonians persecuted Paul and Silas.

  • Acts 17
    5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.
  • Acts 17
    13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds.
    14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea.
    15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

Discussion Question:

  • What do you think it must have been like to be a believer living among these zealous Thessalonians?

in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ-

  • The church is ‘called out’ of the world but abides ‘in God the Father’.
  • The church is ‘called out’ of the world but ‘abides in the Lord’.

A) Lord

  • Strong’s Definition: κύριος, koo’-ree-os; from κῦρος kŷros (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title).

Grace and peace to you-

A) Grace

  • Strong’s Definitions: χάρις, khar’-ece; from graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act

B) Peace

  • Strong’s Definition: εἰρήνη, i-ray’-nay; probably from a primary verb εἴρω eírō (to join); peace (literally or figuratively).
  • English derivative is the name, Irene.
  • International standard Bible and Encyclopedia
    So “grace be with you” closes the Epistles as a sufficient summary of all the blessings that can be wished Christian readers. At the beginning of the Epistles the words “and peace” are usually added, but this is due only to the influence of the Jewish greeting “peace be with you” (Lu 10:5, etc.), and not to any reflection on “grace” and “peace” as separate things.

Discussion Question:

  • Explain in detail How God’s graciousness and peacefulness is in your physical and spiritual life?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Do You Savor Servants Like Silvanus?

Bob,

Of course Paul is to be admired, but also admire My servants Silas and Timothy.  They are faithful to Me and to others.  They are dependable.  They are solid in the scriptures. They are gifted to speak encouraging and strengthening words.  They are hard working and endure hard lives with courage.  Silas is victorious in suffering by singing.  They are obedient to leadership.  They are versatile and adaptable to various duties and circumstances.  Be like them.  Sovor their character.

Be grateful to express your faith without persecution. Enjoy My graciousness and peace in all circumstances.

Have You Given to Apollos? Titus 3 verses 13 through 15

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Titus 3:13-15

13 Make every effort to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; make sure they have what they need.

14 Here is another way that our people can learn to engage in good works to meet pressing needs and so not be unfruitful.

15 Everyone with me greets you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

———–

Phrases:

Context: In the previous verse Paul asks Titus to meet him in Nicopolis. Now Paul asks for help to send off Zenas and Apollos.

Make every effort to help –

A) every effort

  • spou-da-íōs means earnestly or promptly.
  • Some English versions translate it as ‘effort to help’ while others translate it as ‘speedily help’.

B) help

  • prop-ém-pō means to send forward, i.e. escort or aid in travel.

Zenas the lawyer –

  • This is the only place Zenas is mentioned.
  • His name means Jupiter.
  • It is unknown if he was a lawyer of the Jewish law or a civilian lawyer.
  • Hippolytus numbers him among the seventy disciples, and relates how in after years he was Bishop of Diospolis. (Ellicott Commentary)
  • Hippolytus of Rome was a disciple of Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of Apostle John.

and Apollos on their way –

  • This could mean that Zenas and Apollos were to travel with Titus to Nicopolis, or they were to travel to some other location.
  • See more about the life of Apollos below.
  • Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says, Apollos means ” given by Apollo”; A learned Jew from Alexandria and mighty in the scriptures who became a Christian and a teacher of Christianity.
  • Apollo was the son of Zeus in Greek mythology.

Below are other references in the New Testament regarding Apollos.

He Learned the Way of God More Accurately

  • Acts 18:24 (NET) 24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak out fearlessly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. 27 When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed by grace, 28 for he refuted the Jews vigorously in public debate, demonstrating from the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

He was Christ’s Servant in Corinth

  • Acts 19:1 (NET) 1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the inland regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples there
  • 1 Corinthians 3:4 (NET) 4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human? 5 What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.

His Desire was to Visit Corinth again in the Future

  • 1 Corinthians 16:12 (NET) 12 With regard to our brother Apollos: I strongly encouraged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was simply not his intention to come now. He will come when he has the opportunity.

make sure they have what they need. Here is another way that our people can learn to engage in good works to meet pressing needs –

  • Meaning the Cretan believers were to give aid to Zenas and Apollos for their travels.
  • Below are other verses where churches gave to missionary work.
  • Philippians 4:14 Nevertheless, you did well to share with me in my trouble. 4:15 And as you Philippians know, at the beginning of my gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in this matter of giving and receiving except you alone.4:16 For even in Thessalonica on more than one occasion you sent something for my need. 4:17 I do not say this because I am seeking a gift. Rather, I seek the credit that abounds to your account. 4:18 For I have received everything, and I have plenty. I have all I need because I received from Epaphroditus what you sent – a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, very pleasing to God. 4:19 And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

and so not be unfruitful –

  • Unfruitful means Christians that do not have good works.
  • ak’-ar-pos means barren (literally or figuratively).

Discussion Questions:

  • What holds us back from supporting missionaries?
  • Would you rather give to a missions organization or directly to a missionary? Why?
  • Can you name some missions organizations?
  • Do you personally know of missionaries who have visited your church like Zenas and Apollos had visited Crete? What are their names of the missionaries you personally have met?
  • Are you in contact monthly, weekly, or daily with an active missionary?

Everyone with me greets you. Greet those who love us in the faith. –

It is unknown who was with Paul when he wrote this to Titus.

Do not greet all in Crete, but greet those who love us in the faith.

A) Greet

  • as-pad’-zom-ahee means to enfold in the arms, i.e. (by implication) to salute, (figuratively) to welcome.

B) love

  • phil-é-ō – to be a friend to, i.e. have affection for.

Grace be with you all –

  • chár-is means graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act. (Strongs).
  • Gratifying – Webster defines as giving pleasure or satisfaction
  • For example, she was a gracious host, or she speaks in a gracious manner.
  • So “grace be with you” closes the Epistles as a sufficient summary of all the blessings that can be wished Christian readers. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, grace, section 4).
  • The sense is Paul wished the Cretans pleasure and satisfaction physically and spiritually.
  • As the letter started, so it ends.  Titus 1:4 (NET) 4 To Titus, my genuine son in a common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior!

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Have You Given to Apollos?

Bob,

Help My messengers!  They have a desire to go and teach My gospel, to assist other Christians, and to refute false teaching.  Help them with their travels from place to place. Support them with the costs of their missions and activities.

I have blessed you by bringing dedicated missionaries into your life.  They are not unknown persons from a large missions organizations, but you know them well.  They have visited your church.  They have shared lunch with you.  They write to you often while on their mission.  They request your prayers, and they pray for you.  You are blessed to have the opportunity to know and support my workers.

As you have helped them along, I will also help your every need.  Your gifts to them are really fragrant offerings and acceptable sacrifices to Me.  The work they accomplish by your giving are credits abounding to your account.  You and they will both be rewarded at the judgement.

Do We Admire God’s Messengers? Titus 3:12

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Titus 3:12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.


Phrases:

When I send-

  • Paul was a leader of a missionary team.  There are many other examples of him sending and calling others for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.

Discussion Question:

Can you think of possible reasons why Paul rotated messengers / missionaries from one place to another?

  • See below for various verses of Paul’s laborers being sent to various places for specific reasons.
  • Timothy was sent to the Thessalonians to strengthen, encourage, and learn of their faith. 
  • 1 Thes. 3:2 We sent Timothy, our brother and fellow worker for God in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen you and encourage you about your faith,
  • 1 Thes. 3:16 But now Timothy has come to us from you and given us the good news of your faith and love and that you always think of us with affection and long to see us just as we also long to see you!
  • Timothy sent to Corinth to remind them of Paul’s ways in Christ. 
  • 1 Corinthians 4:17 (NET) 17 For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
  • The brothers were sent as messengers. 
  • 2 Corinthians 8:23 (NET) 23 If there is any question about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; if there is any question about our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.
  • Sent to make everything known to you.
  • Ephesians 6:21 (NET) 21 Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing.
  • Sent to hear news about you. 
  • Philippians 2:19-25 (NET) 19 Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be encouraged by hearing news about you. 20 For there is no one here like him who will readily demonstrate his deep concern for you. 21 Others are busy with their own concerns, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know his qualifications, that like a son working with his father, he served with me in advancing the gospel. 23 So I hope to send him as soon as I know more about my situation, 24 though I am confident in the Lord that I too will be coming to see you soon. 25 But for now I have considered it necessary to send Epaphroditus to you. For he is my brother, coworker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to me in my need.
  • Sent so they will tell you about everything here. 
  • Colossians 4:9,12 (NET) 9 I sent him with Onesimus, the faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.
  • Sent, not forced.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:12 (NET)
    With regard to our brother Apollos: I strongly encouraged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was simply not his intention to come now. He will come when he has the opportunity.

Artemas or Tychicus to you –

a)  Artemas is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. 

  • In 2 Timothy 4:12, Tychicus was sent to Ephesus. Therefore, it is likely that Artimas was sent to Crete. 

b)  See blog post about Tychicus at the following link:

do your best to come to me at Nicopolis –

  • Commentaries do not agree on which Nicopolis this is referring.
  • Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
  • Nicopolis meaning “city of victory”
  • There were many cities by this name, — in Armenia, Pontus, Cilicia, Epirus, Thrace — which were generally built or had there name changed, by some conqueror to commemorate a victory. The one in Titus 3:12 seems to refer to the city was built by Augustus in memory of the battle of Actium on a promontory of Epirius. The one in the subscription of Titus seems to refer to Thracian Nicopolis, founded by Trojan on the river Nestus, since he calls it the city of Macedonia.
  • http://biblemapper.com/web/

for I have decided to spend the winter there –

  • It seems winter was a time when sea travel was avoided. Therefore, Titus, being on the island of Crete, needed to travel before winter. 
  • Below are verses about traveling in the winter. 
  • Acts 28:11 (NET) 11 After three months we put out to sea in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island and had the “Heavenly Twins” as its figurehead.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:6 (NET) 6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you can send me on my journey, wherever I go.

Discussion Question:

How do seasons influence modern day missions?

Benson’s commentary notes the following observation regarding Paul telling Titus to come to Nicopolis before winter.   “This manner of speaking shows that the apostle was at liberty when he wrote this epistle (Titus), and consequently that it was written in the interval between his first and second imprisonment. ”

The possibility that Paul experienced two Roman imprisonments is not known to many Christians.  Below I have pieced together evidence for the possibility.

Paul’s Two Roman Imprisonments:

1. Paul’s First Roman imprisonment was at least 2 years long mentioned in the book of Acts right before the book abruptly ends. 

Acts 28:16 (NET) 16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

Acts 28:20 (NET) 20 So for this reason I have asked to see you and speak with you, for I am bound with this chain because of the hope of Israel.”

Acts 28:30 (NET) 30 Paul lived there two whole years in his own rented quarters and welcomed all who came to him,

We have seen that Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner in the beginning of A.D.61; and at this time his confinement continued only two years, he must have been liberated in the early part of A.D.63. Nero had not then commenced his memorable persecution of the Church; for the burning of the city (Rome) took place in the summer of A.D.64. (William Dool Killen, the ancient church, Paul’s second imprisonment.)

2. Extra-Biblical Evidence that Paul traveled to Spain though there was no record in the book of ACTS.  Also Evidence that Paul planned to go to Spain found in the Book to the Romans.

….there is evidence that he actually preached the gospel in that country; for Clemens Romanus, who was his contemporary and fellow-labourer, positively affirms that he travelled “to the extremity of the west.” (William Dool Killen, the ancient church, Paul’s second imprisonment. )

Romans 15:28 (NET) 
Therefore after I have completed this and have safely delivered this bounty to them (Jerusalem), I will set out for Spain by way of you (Rome),

3. 2 Timothy is believed to be Paul’s last book written because he says, “the time for me to depart is at hand”. 

2 Timothy 4

6 For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand. 7 I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith!

4. Although Paul was captured at the time he wrote 2 Timothy, there is evidence within the same letter that he was recently free.  

A)  Paul seems to have recently been in Troas and Miletus. 

2 Timothy 4:13 (NET) 
When you come, bring with you the cloak I left in Troas with Carpas and the scrolls, especially the parchments.

2 Timothy 4:20 (NET) 
Erastus stayed in Corinth. Trophimus I left ill in Miletus.

B)  There is evidence Paul was in Crete although it was never mentioned in the Book of Acts. Also, the content of Titus and 1 Tim is similar, so the letters were probably written around the same time. 

Titus 1:5 (NET) 5 The reason I left you in Crete was to set in order the remaining matters and to appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

C). Evidence in book of Titus that Paul was going to Nicopolis thus showing he was free at the time he wrote to Titus. 

Titus 3:12 (NET) 12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

D). Evidence in 2 Timothy that Titus had already been to see Paul. Therefore, this proved Titus was written before 2 Timothy. Thus combined with above Verse in Titus, it appears Paul was free before 2 Timothy was written. But then he was imprisoned again when 2 Timothy was written since he says, my departure is at hand, as mentioned earlier.

2 Timothy 4:10 (NET) 10 For Demas deserted me, since he loved the present age, and he went to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia.

E). Evidence that Paul was sure he would be released, but he left open the possibility that he would not. 

Philippians 1:13 (NET) 13 The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ,
Philippians 1:19 (NET) 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:25 (NET) 25 And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that what you can be proud of may increase because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you. 27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that – whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent – I should hear that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel,

5. Evidence that Paul was Beheaded in Rome, so his second imprisonment must have been in Rome. 

  • Paul was martyred perhaps about A.D.66. Tradition reports that he was beheaded…(William Dool Killen, the ancient church, Paul’s second imprisonment.)
  • ….Apostle Paul, who was martyred in Rome at the conclusion of what most believe was a second imprisonment postdating the book of Acts, between which he traveled to Spain and Crete (Titus 1:5). Of this period, the 3rd century church historian Eusebius wrote: After defending himself the Apostle was again set on the ministry of preaching…coming a second time to the same city [Paul] suffered martyrdom under Nero. During this imprisonment he wrote the second Epistle to Timothy. (Eccl Hist. 2.22.2) ….Eusebius goes on to report “that in his [Nero’s] time Paul was beheaded in Rome itself and that Peter was likewise crucified. (Eccl Hist. 2.25.5) Paul’s execution took place at the end of Nero’s reign, c. A.D. 65-68. His legal status as a Roman citizen protected him from the ignominious sentence of crucifixion suffered by Peter.  The traditional spot for the beheading is known as the Abbey of the Three Fountains (the head reputedly bounced three times before coming to rest), which is south of the modern center of Rome. (http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/10/08/New-Discoveries-Relating-to-the-Apostle-Paul.aspx#Article)
  • Extra biblically, there is evidence from 1 Clement 5:5-7 (c. AD 95-96) where the writer describes Paul as suffering tremendously for his faith and then being “set free from this world and transported up to the holy place, having become the greatest example of endurance.” While details regarding the manner of his fate are lacking, the immediate context strongly implies that Clement was setting up Paul as an example of martyrdom. Other early evidences for the martyrdom of Paul can be found in Ignatius (Letter to the Ephesians 12:2), Polycarp (Letter to the Philippians 9:1-2), Dionysius of Corinth (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2.25.4), Irenaeus (Against Heresies 3.1.1), The Acts of Paul, and Tertullian (Scorpiace15:5-6).  (http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/was-paul-beheaded-in-rome)

Discussion Question:

If Paul was free to travel to Spain and Crete between two Roman imprisonments, what lessons can we learn from his story?


Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Do We Admire God’s Messengers?

Bob,

Pray and admire those who serve as missionaries for My Kingdom’s sake.  It is a hard life.  Money is always in short supply.  Financial and family sacrifices are made.   The travel to and fro is exhausting.  Persecutions can be close by.  The seasons can become times of refreshment, and they can also become obstacles to getting My work completed.

Give to them.  It is a privilege to give to them.  I will reward you, and can you imagine seeing the souls in heaven that came to Me by My work on the cross, by that missionaries work of proclaiming My message, and by your giving to advance the reach of the Gospel.

Romans 10 (NET)

10:14 How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them?  10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news.”


Nimuel Chattria Missions Report from February through April 2017

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To, Our Dear Prayer Partners ,Loving greetings from India ,
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM MINISTRY FIELD !
1, Reporting Time Period , Feb to April ,2017 ,
2,Donation Received this Period through foreign contributions account , Nil 
    Received some Funds Through Western Union Money Transfer ,
3, Donation Spent this Period , Spent all ,
4, Account balance end of this Period  – Bank Account statement available upon request. 
5, List of People Served This Period ,Total ,76 people professed to Jesus as their personal Saviour and God ,
6, List Places Visited this Period , Around 16 Hindus Villages reached already in this Period ,
7,SPECIAL Events This Period ,
 a , We have been conducted Open air gospel meetings in three different places ,
  b, Follow up work among the people ,
c, Follow up among the outcast people ( Leprosy)
d, Follow up work among the Children’s

 

e, Vocational Bible School among the Children ,VBS among Leprosy camp children ,
f, ORIYA BAPTIST BIBLE SCHOOL ,
HERE MENTIONING SOME REPORT OF Pr,Biskot Sika ,
g,Three youth meetings in different places , total 90 youths participated ,
h,Two Women meetings in different places ,50 participated ,
i, Four open gospel meetings in different places ,500 people attended and 130 professed to Jesus and 100 of people rededicated , their lives to God to live a Godly life as well as example of others ,
j,During this three months , each month of second week our Church youths uses to go for outreach program to distributes gospel tracts , Door to Door and preaching the word of God ,
k ,Regular Church Activities as usual , Fasting prayers , Cottage meetings ,House visiting ,Sunday service , Sunday School ,  
8, PRAISE FROM THIS PERIOD ,
God is so faithful in His work using us to extended His Kingdom among the Poor ,Needy and Outcast ( Leprosy ) people

Praise GOD during February to April ,2017 ,I could able to conducted some special programs ,
Praise God for His gracious hands as many people are praying for this glorious work and supplying little funds ,Absolutely it’s praiseworthy those who are praying for this work ,
9, PRAYER REQUEST ,

a, pray for the new souls , for their Spiritual growth ,
b,Pray for our follow up work among the people ,Children ,
c, Pray for the new location ,may God open the door to reach out ,
d, Pray for community Tribal people living under poverty reason is lack of unawareness and non literature ,
e, Pray for Leprosy Camp people are living very pathetic condition , most of them are handicaps , work is begging ,
f ,Pray for the future of Orphan Children in Leprosy Camp ,their Parents dead already due to disease ,
g,Pray for God’s future plan to keep these children in a separate place and give them better educations so they can be used for the glory of God , Some of the Children’s are having Parents but parents are fully affected by disease , they cant do any thing for them ,Suppose if this children will stay long time with their parents there is possible to effect the same disease ,
h, Pray for a Church building at Raipur City ( Agape Baptist Church ) where we can have Sunday worship service because GOD is multiplying His work and people .
i , Pray for Church requirements like some Chairs , Carpets and sound system ,
j, Pray for our missionaries funds ,
k ,In order to do the gospel team work we have been praying for a Four Wheeler because it will be helpful for Summer and Rainy Season time ,
10, NOTEWORTHY FUTURE PLANS OR EVENTS ,

a, As God has led me a burden to reaching to unreached areas ,Visiting Door to Door ,distributing gospel TRACTS ,NT , sharing the gospel we must need a Four Wheeler and earnestly praying to use it for His Kingdom and glory ,
b, Praying and planing to arrange the open air gospel meetings among Hindus people twice in a Month ,
c, Children’s Bible classes ,
d,Follow up work among our people ,
e, ORIYA BAPTIST BIBLE SCHOOL to be continued once in a month ,
f, My prayer and desire in His work that I may train up some laborer and send out to the field whereby they may do the evangelism work among Hindus people ,

g, We have been praying to win 100 souls every months but we need to train up and build them such a hard ,faithful laborer ,
h, I prefer much to see the fruitful gospel work , who will go ? Reaching out for the lost one ? 
God bless you all ,

Regards ,in His Vineyard 

Rev, Nimuel Chhatria ,

President ,

NEW LIFE MOVEMENT,

Cell, +91 94377 39404    

The Story of Wellspring Fellowship

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History

Wellspring fellowship began with the purpose to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, and today our desire is still to glorify Him.

Wellspring Fellowship began with Brad and Jamie Parrish who both attended Calvary Bible College in Kansas City.  At the time, Brad was a Police Officer for the city of Lee’s Summit, and Brad and Jamie were attending Liberty Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit, MO.  During this time Brad was called to teach.  Brad’s spiritual gift is teaching, and this is very evident when you hear him teach God’s Word.  Liberty Baptist Church ordained Brad and he was sent out to start a church plant.

Wellspring Fellowship, named after the gospel story of the Woman at the Well, started in a Blue Springs indoor soccer facility as an Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) church plant.  Brad’s vision was to serve in a God-honoring multigenerational-family-integrated congregation.  He was greatly discouraged by the decay of the modern American family, and he could no longer practice “dividing up” the family at the front door of the church.  Therefore, most of the activities of the church were designed to include the entire family together.  Wellspring Fellowship eventually moved to Legacy Park Community Center in Lee’s Summit, and the church moved again to the home of Brad and Jamie.

I was a member of the Kansas City Baptist Temple.  I experienced small group life for the first time in their cell group ministry.  The experience was so impactful, I started reading books on cell groups which led me to books about house churches.  I later moved to a mid-size church in Lee’s Summit to be closer to my home.  My family and I attended Lee’s Summit Baptist Temple. I enjoyed their small Sunday School group and Saturday evangelism team, but I had a strong-abiding desire to be part of a house church.

Through internet searches in 2007, I eventually found Brad and Jamie’s house church through a family integrated church website.   Four more families have joined us.  They either found us through a family integrated church website, a house church directory website, or through friendships and family relationships.

I have been with this body for 10 years.  It has been one of the best experiences of my life.  I have so much more to say about it, so please read more about my house church journey at the following link:  https://robertjgood.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/why-i-go-to-a-house-church/

Practice

There are many advantages to a house church, but the two advantages that stand out the most are:  1) the participation during the church meeting, and 2) the many opportunities for Christian fellowship.

Our participation and fellowship are manifested in the below activities. 

For Sunday morning meetings, we always start the meeting with prayer requests and prayer to our Father.  This is an important time of sharing with each other and the Lord. 

Then we sing unto the Lord.  We sing mainly traditional protestant hymns, but we also include many children’s Christian songs, and even a few contemporary Christian songs.  The children are welcome to request the songs.  Between the songs, we have opportunities for all to share what God is doing in our lives, to share a verse each  has studied, or to share a witnessing opportunity we recently had.

Brad then has an interactive verse-by-verse Bible teaching time.  Over several years, we have studied Genesis, John, Ephesians, and 1 Timothy verse by verse.  Brad is very diligent in his studies and in his practice to ask for others’ comments as he proceeds through his well prepared outlines.

After we close in prayer, we then share lunch together every Sunday.  This is a great time to get to know what’s going on in each other’s lives.  After practicing these after-meeting-meals, I can’t even imagine going to a church that doesn’t have them – it would just seem so impersonal.

Additionally, fellowship is continued at the women’s weekly Bible Study, the men’s monthly breakfast, family game nights, and many other activities.

We have completed many service projects and outreaches over the years, again, see my link for a list:  https://robertjgood.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/why-i-go-to-a-house-church/

Future

Where are we headed for the future?  Our desire is to glorify God, and we pray to see the salvation and spiritual growth of our children.

Will we stay in a house church?  Will we grow into 2 or 3 house churches?  Will we grow into a rented space or into a building?  I don’t know.  Our desire is to trust God and follow His lead.

Invitation

Are you looking for Christian family fellowship?  Do you want to go to a church where you actually know the names of the children from the other families?  Do you want to participate during the church meetings, and not be just a passive spectator?  If so, then Wellspring Fellowship may be the place for you.

You are invited to come and visit.  Our house church currently rotates homes every quarter year, so please call or email for our current location.

God Bless,

Bob

Contact Info

Brad Parrish (Pastor-Teacher at Wellspring Fellowship, Lee’s Summit, MO) – wbradp@hotmail.com

Bob Good – bobgood76@gmail.com

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/pg/wellspringfellowship/