Bible Study for Sept. 30: Authentic Joy

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1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Daryel O’Barr, Drawng the Net Ministries
Woodstock

AUTHENIC JOY … flows from a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Genuine relationships are to be Christ-centered. The church is to be a reflection of that relationship to others.

Joy – a feeling of inner gladness, delight, or rejoicing, a deep- seated pleasure; Joy is a gift to believers. The Holy Spirit manifests this supernatural joy in His children. (Gal.5:22).

Koinonia – fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation; Relationships that focus primarily on enjoying one another eventually sour and implode. But when a key part of our relationship is being a team to serve others, this brings added dimension that we were designed to have and enjoy.

When the church has a consumer attitude about Christian fellowship (“Am I getting my needs met? / Is this meeting my expectations?”) we will inevitably be disappointed and wrongly conclude we need to “move on” (church shopping). But when we relate as team-members to give Christ’s love to others (build others up, reach-out to nonChristian friends, pray for others, serve practically together) God’s Spirit fills us, and one of His fruits is joy( Gal.5:22).

Over time, this joy deepens as we accumulate a backlog of experiences of serving together, seeing God work through us to impact others for Christ, and seeing people respond to Him.

There was something about the church at Thessalonica that set it apart from any other church. It could be witnessed through the worship they experienced (v.5) and the word they embraced (v.6).

As a result, they were fervent in their evangelism. The church of Thessalonica never lost sight of their purpose for existence. They did not exist to be keepers of the aquarium, but fishers of men. They knew they had a message they could not keep to themselves.

Thus, they were fervent in their evangelism of getting the message of the Gospel beyond their four walls. They were concerned about the condition of the lost!

Verse 8 describes the outreach program for Thessalonica: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achacia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad.”

The verb “sounded out” actually means, “to sound as a trumpet.” They were not tooting their own horns, but they were blowing the trumpet of the gospel of grace. In other words, they could not keep the message to themselves. They had to share it with everyone they came in contact with. They were not interested in promoting their own name and agenda. Rather, they picked up the gospel trumpet and faithfully echoed forth the message of salvation.

Why? Verse 9: “For they themselves show of us the manner of entering in we had unto you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living God.” In other words, they knew who they used to be and from what they had been delivered. They once served “idols,” but because of the message of salvation, they had “turned to God.”

The church at Thessalonica was surrounded by a pagan society. They were faced with idolatry and false worship of many pagan Gods. Thus, they knew firsthand the condition of the lost world that surrounded them, they were concerned about the lost condition of their community so much so that they could not keep what God had done for them to themselves. They wanted to “sound out” and get the message out to everyone they could.

In our day, many churches have become like the Dead Sea, which takes in, but having no outlet, never gives out. The Thessalonica church not only received the gospel message, they released the gospel message and “sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achacia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad.”

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