While under siege by the Assyrians, God calls Micah to proclaim to Israel a message of judgment and hope. God is punishing Israel for their wicked idolatry and greed, yet, God's judgment will not be the final word. He will send them a deliverer, a shepherd King who will gather together again what has been scattered and restore them to an even greater peace in Israel and not just Israel, but to the entire world.
Paul continues instructing the Thessalonians in how to conduct themselves when they come together to worship the Lord. And he encourages them with the wonderful truth that God is working in and through them to sanctify them. Their growth in holiness is sure for God is faithful.
We see in Galatians that racism divided the early church. And by God's grace, Paul confronted the sin of racism that was committed by Peter and others. Paul eloquently taught that no one is justified by works of the law and that there is neither Jew nor Greek, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.
This morning is Missions Sunday, a Sunday in which we emphasize the call of Christ to proclaim the gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation on earth.Throughout the Bible, God intends to use his people as vessels to carry the message of God's glory and salvation to the nations. And today, the mission of the church is to bring glory to God by inviting and urging everyone to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, making disciples of all nations.
In their exchange of letters, the Thessalonians ask the Apostle Paul the question we all want an answer to, when will the Lord return? Paul teaches them that the Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and that for Christians, our focus needs to be on making ourselves ready for his appearing, not on dates. He further encourages them that they need not fear the Day of the Lord. For some it will lead to judgment, but for them, it will lead to their full salvation and even greater union with Christ.
Paul seeks to comfort the Thessalonians as they grieve the loss of loved ones. Paul shepherds them to allow their faith to inform their grief. Loved ones who trusted in Christ will be raised when Jesus returns in glory.
Paul, knowing the church in Thessalonica was experiencing affliction and persecution, sends Timothy to exhort and encourage them so that they are unmoved in their faith. Both Paul and the church were experiencing the effects of spiritual warfare such that Paul attributes their tribulation to satan. Upon Timothy's return to Paul in Corinth, he shares the good news that the Thessalonians have remained steadfast in their faith.
Paul begins chapter 2 by reminding the Thessalonians of how he and his companions came to them. They came boldly yet gently, faithfully not with error and eager to share the hope of salvation not selfishly. When among them, Paul lived above reproach and as such, the Thessalonians began to follow his example. He now urges them to walk in a manner worthy of God.
This week we begin a new sermon series in the book of 1 Thessalonians. In chapter 1, we learn how the gospel created the church in Thessalonica, we see the church spread the gospel and how the gospel shapes the church.
This morning we conclude our series in Deuteronomy. In the last chapter, we read the last recorded words God spoke to Moses. Moses was a prophet unlike any other in the Old Testament. He was a flawed, sinful man yet, God worked mightily through him. And though God denied him entry into the promise land, we learn God brought him into an even greater promise land.