The Affectionate Gospel
Sermon Series: The Affectionate Gospel
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
The gospel contains God’s affection, and so we must know, enjoy, and maintain this affection in order to succeed as a church.
We now begin a series on the letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. There is a significant theme of affection in these letters—a heartfelt fondness and devotion among God, His gospel, and His people. The affection of God by way of the gospel created the Thessalonian church, causing the church to be an influence for the gospel on surrounding communities. Today we look at how every church (whose primary purpose is to spread the gospel) has its story, its gospel, and its influence.
Point 1: Every Church Has Its Story
Paul, formerly an enemy of the church, became a zealous advocate who preached Christ and planted many congregations (Acts 16:6-10). By way of the miraculous Macedonian Call, Paul and crew spent a mere three weeks in Thessalonica preaching the gospel before fleeing to safety. Paul receives an encouraging report from Timothy on the nascent church; the letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians are his heartfelt responses to the congregation.
Sovereign Grace Church Pasadena has its own story, borne out of the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s. Through it all, God is building His church and invites us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Point 2: Every Church Has its Gospel
All Christian churches vary, but we all originate from one seed: the gospel (v. 5). Drifting from the true gospel causes the church to become ineffective, for there is no other foundation (1 Cor. 3:10-11). The Thessalonian church existed because of the word of the Lord, the power of miracles, their deep conviction, and the work of the Holy Spirit (v. 4-5). Mere assent to the gospel is not really knowingthe gospel. Every member must be changed by the gospel (1 Pet. 1:8).
Point 3: Every Church Has Its Influence
This miracle church of Thessalonica sounded forth the word of the Lord (v. 8). They loudly echoed God’s gospel to surrounding communities. Their own story created momentum to encourage others. In the same way, SGCP has its influence. We display God’s glory when we speak of how God works in our lives. And if we struggle to see Him working, we find encouragement in others and in scripture (see Hab. 3:17-19; 2:3). We rest not on the fruit of the gospel, but on the gospel itself.
We must trust God to write our story as a church. As we truly know the affectionate gospel that God has given us, we joyfully share it with others and wait for God to produce gospel fruit.