Paul writes to the Thessalonian Church, celebrating their endurance and commitment to Jesus in the midst of persecution. His letter directs the people of Thessalonica away from their present sufferings and towards the eternal hope we have in the return of King Jesus who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. Encouraging them in holiness, Paul gives the Church practical wisdom in how to maintain love, service, and purity through the counter-cultural, sacred journey of a life committed to faith in Jesus.
WEEK 1: Exemplary Faith
March 3 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
WEEK 2: Pure Motives and Hard Work
March 10 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13
Great and Mighty King | Elevation Worship | iTunes
Psalm 47:6-8 • Revelation 5:11-14 • Isaiah 6:1-3 • Daniel 11:3
Whole Again (Wondrous Cross) | Grace Church Worship | iTunes
John 6:53-54 • Mark 14:24 • Ephesians 1:7 • 1 John 1:7
Kingdom Come | Elevation Worship | iTunes
Matthew 6:7-13 • Psalm 98:4
Once For All | CityAlight | iTunes
Psalm 8 • Hebrews 10 • 1 Peter 3:18
God of the Redeemed | Bethel Music | iTunes
Psalm 10:17-18 • Ephesians 1:4-6 • Romans 8:23 • Romans 9:4
What a Savior | Hillsong Worship | iTunes
John 9:35-39 • Psalm 71:14 • Psalm 149:4
Overcome | Elevation Worship | iTunes
Romans 8 • Psalm 16:7-11 • John 16:31-33
Build My Life | Passion | iTunes
Matthew 7:24-27 • Colossians 2:6-8 • Psalm 145:3
Glory To You | Emmanuel Live | iTunes
Philippians 1:9-11 • 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 • Psalm 115:1-3
Sing to the Lord (Psalm 96) | Grace Church Worship| iTunes
Psalm 96 • Isaiah 49:13 • Revelation 7:12
O Praise the Name | Hillsong Worship | iTunes
Matthew 27-28 • 1 Corinthians 15 • Revelation 7
Give It All | Grace Church Worship | iTunes
Psalm 101:1-3 • Romans 12:1 • Psalm 119:10-12
Singing in the Victory | Austin Stone | iTunes
Philippians 4:6 • Psalm 98:1 • Exodus 15
God With Us | All Sons and Daughters | iTunes
Joshua 1:9 • John 1:14 • Psalm 68:19-20
All Creatures of Our God and King | David Crowder Band | iTunes
Psalm 66:1 • Psalm 148 • Luke 19:40
Nobody Like You | Red Rocks Worship | iTunes
Psalm 33:6-7 • Exodus 15:11 • Phil 2:5-11
Build my Life | Passion | iTunes
Matthew 7:24-27 • Colossians 2:6-8 • Psalm 145:3
WEEK 3: Persecution and Joy
We are to live as a community that is empowered by God’s Spirit. Informational truth in itself will not change your life but the Spirit will. What does it mean to be empowered by the Spirit? How do we sometimes rely on informational truth alone?
Joy in suffering is from the Spirit. Is the joy you experience because of the ease of your life circumstances, or is it because of the Spirit working in you even through hard circumstances? How do we express joy in suffering if we don’t really suffer?
God’s Word emanates out from the Thessalonian church to everyone around them. How is your living an example or not an example of God’s Word to others? How might you be experiencing the rejection and opposition that comes with obeying God’s Word?
What are some practical characteristics of a community that lives with a future hope? How does this relate to a life of repentance?
What we love the most is where we find our hearts, identity, and allegiance. What were you thinking when Robby asked, “What is it that you love the most and would you give it up for Christ?”? When are you most susceptible to losing sight of your future hope?
We are to live as a community that demonstrates faith, love, and hope; that is, work driven by faith, a labor of love, and steadfastness of hope.
If we do not have the power and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, then we are not God’s people.
God’s Word must be at the center of our lives as we understand, apply, and obey the Scripture.
The result of living empowered by the Spirit is the gospel being evident in our lives as an example to others.
Paul’s motivation for courage and boldness in the face of great struggle comes from a deep personal connection to God and settled confidence in who he is. In what circumstances have you been tempted to think that God is against you? How does Paul’s story of persecution and his fear of God (instead of fear of man) encourage you? What truths from Scripture can you preach to yourself when God feels distant to cultivate boldness and courage?
Bill describes how years ago a friend noticed unhealthy patterns in his life and challenged him. Who do you have in your life who is capable of doing this for you? Why is this so important? What actions do you need to take to ensure that you have enough accountability in your life?
Paul demonstrates that we will not be free of the need for approval and able to be used by God powerfully as an agent of change in others’ lives until we get straight that we are approved by God. How is beating ourselves up over past mistakes and sin contrary to the gospel and a hindrance to loving others? In what other ways might your need for approval be preventing you from speaking truth to someone? What steps can you take or truth do you need to believe to move away from fear of man and toward freedom and fear of God?
GROUP: Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 together and discuss Paul’s description of how he treated the people of Thessalonica while he was with them. How can this be instructive for us in how to treat our neighbors and those around us?
You will live either tyrannized by what others think or freed from that fear by a greater fear and comfort in what God thinks about you.
You can’t be free to love people that you need so your needs must be met by God to free you to love them with the truth.
There is great hope in the idea that if you will believe and receive the Word that has been given to you, it will continue to work on you and shape you even when you struggle to work at it.
Paul recognized life change among the Thessalonians as evidence of an open and receptive posture toward God's Word. What is an example of how being open to biblical truth has resulted in life change for you? Would you describe your posture toward God’s Word currently as stagnant or receptive? What evidence do you have?
Although the persecution we face as Christians today in our culture looks different than that suffered by almost all believers throughout history, it is still true that followers of Christ will suffer for his sake. How have you witnessed or experienced suffering as a result of orienting your life around the truth of Scripture? When have you been faced with a decision to stand with the Scriptures even though it may have meant negative consequences? How did (or will you) respond?
Read Romans 5:8-10. Accepting the idea of God's wrath is difficult for some believers. The root of God's anger is his holiness because it's been violated. How have you historically thought about God's righteous anger? Why is acknowledging God’s anger critical to understanding the gospel? How does that impact you personally?
The Thessalonians were an encouragement to Paul and to other believers everywhere. How we live affects other people as an encouragement or discouragement. What is your reaction to the thought that your life is no longer yours but God’s? Matt mentioned many areas that principle affects: kids, job, marriage, future, attitude, reputation, education, money, time, etc. In what area and in what practical way do you need to respond to that truth?
Paul demonstrates vulnerability in his letter. Vulnerability and emotional availability is important in order to have influence.
Life change is evidence of an open and receptive posture toward God’s Word.
If you are going to follow Christ, you are going to suffer for him.
God’s holiness is the root of his anger. That wrath was coming for me, but Jesus stepped in and absorbed it in my place.
We live in a world with an evil one who is trying to destroy us. We must acknowledge that spiritual warfare is real but stay away from the extremes of dismissing the demonic world or attributing all difficulty to it.
If you are a follower of Christ, your life is no longer yours but God’s, and how you live affects other people.