Thessalonians: A Text for Missions
“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in everyplace…”
Nothing is nearer to the heart of God than the winning of souls. Souls brought Jesus from Heaven to earth. Souls drove him toward Calvary. The command of God for the local church and the individual Christian is to take the Gospel to every creature around the world.
It is no surprise then that the mission-minded church is a blessed church. God smiles upon that place and those people who faithfully do what God has commanded them to do. In 1 Thessalonians Chapters 1 and 2, I believe we can find a good outline for a church that is concerned with and actively involved in mission work.
1. The Method of Missions!
1:8 “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.”
Notice that the Thessalonian Christians did not confine the Gospel to the four walls of their church house. They had spread the saving message of Christ in “every place.” That is our method as well. Start at home, then across the street, then around town, throughout your state and nation, and ultimately, around the world.
2. The Message of Missions!
2:1-7 “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak;..”
The message a lost and dying world needs is not the message of reform or education or humanitarian aid, but the Gospel. Only one message can save a soul from hell.
3. The Mandate of Missions!
2:9 “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail; for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”
Paul labored extensively because he understood that he was on earth to be a watchman, warning others of coming danger. He would not have the blood of others upon his hand. We must carry forth the Gospel message to those who’ve not yet heard lest they die and go to hell due to our neglect!
4. The Motivation of Missions!
2:19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
One day we will see Jesus. As believers, we’ll stand at the judgment seat of Christ. Rewards will be given according to faithfulness and service to Christ. Paul understood that each soul he won would be like a deposit into his eternal account. Heaven rejoices each time a soul is saved, and in Heaven, the soul winner will receive a crown of rejoicing to give back to Jesus.
“Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties, but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.” -David Livingston