Further Study: The Apostolic Example
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“No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellow men is not a true disciple of Christ. . . . He might display great liberality; but should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the act would not commend him to the favor of God.”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 318, 319.

“While Paul was careful to set before his [...]

Inside Story: The Lost Boy
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Image © John Baker from GoodSalt.com

Du and Zho are a Global Mission pioneer couple who are planting a church in a city in China. They sell products from door to door in order to meet people and make friends for Christ. They focus on helping people with special needs such as the sick, the elderly, and the needy. Then they introduce their new friends to their Savior.

Image © John Baker from GoodSalt.com

Most of the people living in the region worship idols, so Du and [...]

Thursday: To Not Be a Burden (1 Thess. 2:9-12)
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

While Paul was in Thessalonica, what other things did he do in addition to preaching the gospel, and why? See 1 Thess. 2:9, 10.

The idea that Paul was working “night and day” would be a huge exaggeration if taken literally. The Greek, however, expresses a qualitative idea rather than the actual amount of time spent. In other words, Paul was saying that he worked beyond the call of duty in order not to burden them; Paul did not want anything to stand in the [...]

Wednesday: Caring Deeply (1 Thess. 2:7, 8)
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In 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul’s primary motivation for ministry is to please God. What additional motivation does Paul bring up in the verses that follow? See 1 Thess. 2:6-8.

In today’s world, money, sex, and power are often considered the primary motivations for human behavior, at least for those consumed by self-interest. In 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6, Paul uses a number of different words to rule out similar motivations in relation to his ministry. Greed, immorality, deception, and flattery have no place in Christian life and [...]

Tuesday: Pleasing God (1 Thess. 2:4-6)
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Read 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6. Describe the contrast between Paul’s motivation for ministry and the worldly alternatives he mentions. Why is it not always so easy to see the differences; that is, how can people deceive themselves regarding the purity of their own motives? Why is that so easy to do?

The word often translated “approved” (1 Thess. 2:4) reflects the idea of testing or examination. The apostles allowed God to test the integrity of their lives and intentions. The purpose of that testing was [...]

Monday: The Character of the Apostles (1 Thess. 2:3)
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:3. What key point is he making there about motives?

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

It was widely known in the ancient world that there were three keys to persuading people to change their ideas or practices. People judge the power of an argument on the character of the speaker (in Greek: ethos), the quality or logic of the argument itself (logos), and the power of the speaker’s appeal to the hearer’s emotions or self-interest (pathos). In 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 Paul [...]

Sunday: Boldness in Suffering (1 Thess. 2:1, 2)
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1, 2 in light of Acts 16. What connection does Paul draw between his earlier ministry in Philippi and his ministry in Thessalonica?

First Thessalonians 2:1 picks up on the themes of the first chapter. The “you yourselves know” (NKJV) of this verse recalls the same language in 1 Thessalonians 1:5. And Paul’s reference to “coming” or gaining “entrance” with the church recalls 1 Thessalonians 1:9. So, Paul is continuing the themes that he raised in the opening chapter of the letter. The end of the [...]

Sabbath: The Apostolic Example
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Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 2:1-12, Acts 16:1-40, Deut. 10:16, Ps. 51:1-10, 2 Cor. 8:1-5, Luke 11:11-13.

Memory Text: “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV).

Key Thought: By revealing what the true motive in ministry must be, Paul can help us all examine our hearts and lives in light of the gospel.

This week’s lesson marks a major transition from the [...]

Further Study: Joyous and Thankful
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“The arrival of Silas and Timothy from Macedonia, during Paul’s sojourn in Corinth, had greatly cheered the apostle. They brought him ‘good tidings’ of the ‘faith and charity’ of those who had accepted the truth during the first visit of the gospel messengers to Thessalonica. Paul’s heart went out in tender sympathy toward these believers, who, in the midst of trial and adversity, had remained true to God. He longed to visit them in person, but as this was not [...]

Inside Story: Talking Hands
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Six children of the Jacksonville Southpoint Adventist Church in Florida wanted to share their faith with others. They attended a weekend training program for kids called “Go Fish!” and learned several fun ways to tell others about Jesus. They learned to tell stories, lead singing, and use puppets. They returned home excited about what they had learned.

“So,” their pastor asked with a smile, “How are you going to tell others about Jesus?”

The children loved learning to work with puppets, making [...]