Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
God, in His infinite wisdom, has a plan and a purpose that you are to fulfill with, and as, the Church. That plan is uniquely yours, but it has to start with your becoming and being a Christ follower, a believer, a Christian, a member of the Church. This comes by grace through faith at your salvation, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10) His plan and purpose is our future and our hope, IF we live out that grace given to us.
As you know grace is the unmerited favor, mercy, compassion, and divine assistance of God. Grace is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, grace is the power and ability of God that is available to all believers that enables, strengthens, and gifts us for ministry and our sanctification.
1 Thessalonians was written after their first visit to Thessalonica in Acts 17. History of 2 Thessalonians…
What are they thanking God for? For what He had done in answering their prayers from the last letter. This congregation(s) in Thessalonica are seeing great growth in their faith and their love is increasing for one another. With God’s help they are doing as they were instructed, living to please God and increasing in their love for one another.
Paul, Silas, and Timothy not only prayed and gave thanks for what was happening with this church, but they motivated them, encouraged them, and helped them to stay the course in the midst of their trials, troubles, and tribulations.
We too NEED to be motivated, provoked, and encouraged so that we can stay the course. This comes about in many ways: God encourages and provokes us through the Word and we, when we are obedient to the Word, provoke one another (See Hebrews 10).
We motivate, provoke, and encourage one another when we do not neglect gathering with one another as the Church to worship. But also, if not more so, when we come together to learn and grow, when we go into our communities, and/or when we stay and do our best to build relationships with fellowship meals and over a cookie and some coffee.
No one here has arrived. We need one another to reach the goal to be encouraged while encouraging others, learning and growing and taking our Next Step as individuals together. Listen to what Paul wrote, and remember his past; taught by the best of his time, educated as a roman citizen, and then after his experience on the road to Damascus, taught by Jesus Himself for three years.
The question we need to understand that is not asked here but is answered: Why persevere? Why did Paul stay the course, give everything up? Why did the Thessalonians? Why remain steadfast in the faith with all that is coming against them? Why stay the course? You stay the course to reach the destination. You remain steadfast in the faith knowing God and His Love will see you through, you persevere knowing that what awaits is better. That is faith…
We must stay the course in order to reach our goal, the destination of the journey we as the local church are on: our future home in heaven.
Perseverance, staying the course through the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life means that if you falter, fail, or fall, you get back on the journey, back on course. If you fall forty times, get up forty one! That is perseverance, that is being steadfast in the faith, that is staying the course!
In this flesh, while we walk this earth, we are prone to wander and make mistakes. As the bible tells us, we are living in a fallen world, we will suffer, we have an enemy, an adversary, and each of us will be tempted.
If you are following Christ you will end up with Christ, if you are following the world, you will end up where those of the world will end up. That decision is made in the steps you take each day. Each of us are all on this journey called life and once we have received new life in Christ we must stay the course. We stay the course by, and in, the grace, love, and mercy of God!
- Are you staying the course (steadfast) in your walk with God?
- Are there priorities that push you away from the course God has set for you?
- What is God’s ultimate plan for you?
Further Reading: Acts 17:1-9, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, 1 Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 4:6, James 1:12, 2 Peter 3:9, Jude 1:24, Revelation 21:1-27, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 8:28-29, Romans 12:2
Devotion – The Preparation of Paul