1 Thessalonians: What Makes Christians Different?

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the second sermon in our series looking at 1 Thessalonians. Preacher: The Rev’d David Browne. Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Download the Small Group Questions, Going Deeper, and Sermon Transcript (PDF).

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed —God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS

Download in PDF format.

CONNECT: How can you embody and proclaim the Gospel more this week?

WARM-UP Questions

  1. Has anyone ever tried to peddle a product or idea to you with selfish motives? What was the result?

  2. Has someone ever tried to attack your character and integrity? How did you respond?

READ 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4

  1. What is Paul trying to do in these four verses? Why does he keep recalling past experiences?

  2. In v.5 Paul mentions his suffering in Philippi (you can read about it in Acts 16:11-40). What does his willingness to endure suffering, in order to evangelise, tell us about his message?

  3. What sort of doubts about his ministry might Paul be responding to here?

  4. In v.4 Paul writes that he and his fellow apostles were ‘entrusted with the Gospel’. What does he mean? 

  5. What are our responsibilities as stewards or caretakers, entrusted with the gospel message?

READ 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8

  1. How does Paul describe the manner in which missionaries to Thessalonica shared the gospel?

  2. Can you think of examples of where people use flattery, masks, or people pleasing in order to sell their ideas? How should ministers of the Gospel share their message?

  3. What kind of relationships were formed during Paul’s time in Thessalonica? 

  4. What do you think Paul means when he writes in v.8 that they shared their ‘whole lives’ with them?

  5. How does the love Paul has for the Thessalonians mirror God’s love for us?

  6. What is St Bart’s doing to create a sincere, loving, and supportive community? How could we improve?

READ 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

  1. Paul worked part-time as a tent-maker to support his ministry in Thessalonica. What does this tell us about the Gospel and Paul’s motives? How do Christians follow this example today?

  2. Is Paul bragging about his own conduct in these verses? Why/why not?

  3. Make a list of the characteristics of a minister of the Gospel vs. religious salesmen from v.1-12.

  4. What metaphors and analogies does Paul use to describe his relationships in the early church?

  5. What sacrifices have you made in order to follow Jesus? What have you gained in the process?

  6. What do you think Paul means when he writes: we encouraged you to ‘live a life worthy of God’?

APPLY (this week): How can we encourage each other to ‘live a life worthy of God’ today?

PRAYER

Loving Father God, we thank you for your Word written for us. Thank you for your church which has preserved it for us. Thank you for Jesus who gave up his life, so that our relationships with you might be restored and that we might be welcomed into your kingdom and glory. Help us to be faithful ministers of your gospel of grace to our family, friends, and neighbours. In Jesus name. Amen!

GOING DEEPER

WITH CHILDREN

A great video to watch with your children and grandchildren.