This Sunday we will begin a new series in the book of 1 Thessalonians: Keeping Faith in the Age of Unbelief. 1 Thessalonians is a letter written by the Apostle Paul (along with his ministry team) and is one of the earliest documents written in the New Testament. In Acts 17 we learn that Paul preached the Gospel in Thessalonica and some believed. This small group of believers formed the early seeds of the Thessalonian church. Well before he wanted to move on Paul was forced to leave by the intense persecution of the Jewish leaders. As we read 1 Thessalonians, we see how difficult this premature departure was for Paul. He feared that the pressures from both the Jews and idolatrous Greek’s would lead these infant believers to loose faith. It is out of this loving concern for the Thessalonian church that Paul writes this letter. We will see throughout the letter that Paul desires to strengthen and encourage them to keep the faith as they live in the last days. They will encounter persecution, conflict, discouragement, temptations, and alluring idols, but their real hope is to persevere in the faith he delivered to them. They lived in a time when the kingdom has been inaugurated but is yet to be fully realized. The difficulty they faced is the tension of living between the already but not yet.
In our day, we face the same challenges of keeping faith. Just as the Thessalonians face external temptations (both religious and idolatrous), we face the same. Both of us live in what the Bible calls the last days (the tension between the already and not-yet of the Kingdom). In our modern age of technology and progress faith is often seen as antiquated and unneeded. Along with this, many churches have become swept up in this age of unbelief and have lost their distinction from the surrounding culture. The church has often been far from what the scriptures instruct it to be. From corruption in church leadership to crazy charts about end times chaos to questioning the authority of the apostles teaching, there are many compelling reasons to doubt the Christian faith. Because of this and a variety of other reasons, many people have abandoned the Christian faith. Although the temptation is real, we believe the answer is not losing faith but rather a rediscovery of the ancient faith passed on to us through the church and in the scriptures. In this series we will dig into the this ancient letter from Paul as it helps give us clarity and courage to keep faith in Jesus. As we do we will address skeptics, sinners, and saints as we seek God’s help to keep faith in an age of unbelief.
We have several resources to help you engage this sermon series.
ESV Scripture Journal - We recommend purchasing an ESV Scripture journal to take notes, mark up, and take with you for group discussions. You can purchase them from Amazon HERE.
1 Thessalonians Prayer Guide - We want to invite you to join our leaders in praying for our church during this series. Paul’s hope for the Thessalonians to keep faith included both his instruction to them and his prayers on their behalf. This guide contains the three main prayers Paul prays for the Thessalonian church along with instructions on how you can pray for our local church. You can pickup a copy at the resource table or download the PDF HERE.
Reflection Guides - Each week we will post a reflection guide that helps us to reflect on the previous weeks sermon passage. These will typically be posted by Monday and are helpful to use with your DNA group or MC discussion.
Worship Guides - As we do with each series we will have a worship guide available to pickup at the Sunday gathering. This will give you the scriptures we are covering in advance and some of the other elements of liturgy in our gathering. We hope these help you better prepare for our time of worship together.
September 23rd - A Church to Be Thankful For - 1 Thess. 1:1-10
September 30th - Rethinking Leadership: Lessons From A Spiritual Father - 1 Thess. 2:1-12
October 7th - The Authority of the Word - 1 Thess. 2:13-20
October 14th - Pain, Suffering, and the Temptation to Lose Faith - 1 Thess. 3:1-13
October 21st - The Way of Jesus (4:1-2): Sexual Sin - 1 Thess 4:1-8
October 28th - The Way of Jesus (4:1-2): Loving Well & Working Hard - 1 Thess. 4:9-12
November 4th - Death and the Resurrection of the Body - 1 Thess. 4:13-15
November 11th - The Return of Christ - 1 Thess. 4:16-5:11
November 18th - A Community of Counsel and Care - 1 Thess. 5:13-14
November 25th - Final Instructions for Keeping the Faith - 1 Thess. 5:15-18