Holiness in the Midst of Struggle

SERMON NOTES 
June 21, 2015
Rev. Dr. Jim Toole
1 Thessalonians 3
Strengthening our Foundation

Theme: As Christians live out their faith in the midst of struggle and suffering it is an encouragement to others.

According to Open Doors Watch List there are 100 million Christians in 2015 in over 60 countries that are persecuted for their faith. In the West where we have religious freedom sometimes we can forget that we have brothers and sisters whose belief in Christ comes at a great risk. Paul, when he was writing this letter, was deeply concerned for this brand new church that was suffering for their newfound faith.

Faith + Struggle/Persecution = Encouragement

Paul, Timothy, and Silas are encouraged in their suffering by watching the faith of the Thessalonians in their suffering. We need each other. We can encourage each other.

Faith + Holiness = Encouragement

Paul is shifting the conversation towards Christian Living, towards holiness. It is usually through crisis and struggle our true colors begin to show. We need to work on our foundations now and not wait until something bursts. Paul wanted the Thessalonica church and us to be strengthened in Holiness.

The Greek word here for holiness is ethical dedication, to be set apart in conduct.

Do we set ourselves apart at work?

Do we set ourselves apart in our relationships?

Do we set ourselves apart with our morality?

Regardless of how you answered, all of us need God’s help in this area. We are all works in progress. Allow this series in Thessalonians to challenge you to raise the bar.