We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.  Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (ESV)
2 Thessalonians 1:3–4
Paul was thankful – v. 3
- For whom they were.
- For how they lived
- Paul was writing from Corinth, very troubled church… SO HE WAS SO THANKFUL TO SEE THIS CHURCH REALLY GETTING IT!
They were Brothers – v. 3
- Born Again
- They were believers in and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 3:3 – Unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
What needs to be growing in our Christian life? It has to be more than just “believing” there should be a change/bearing fruit… but what should it look like?
Faith is growing abundantly – v. 3
- Justification – SAVED. CONVERSION
- Sanctification – SET APART. GROWING IN HOLINESS
- Progressive, On-going, Never complete
- Glorification – When all things are made new.
Sanctification is the focus here.
- REAL FAITH
- REAL GROWTH
- More than just understanding facts, but let those facts change your life.
- Following Christ
- Living/Doing/Trusting – As I live out my faith I will learn to trust the Lord and His promises and truths.
The love of every one of you for one another is increasing – v. 3
- Of everyone
- For everyone
- Is increasing
Boast about you in the churches of God – v. 4
IMPACT (testimony, influence, effectiveness)
- Individual believers
- Local congregation
- Fellowship with other congregations
- Not just everyone, but true biblical churches
- “Back to the way it used to be” – N.T. Church
The church in Thessalonica was a church on display
- Their testimony
- Their influence
They were having an impact in the city and in the surrounding area.
Your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions
and in the afflictions that you are enduring – v. 4
Steadfastness – patient and courageous.
- Joyful Hoping
- Stayed on course. Did not waiver when things go outside their control.
In the midst of Persecutions
- Hostility due to the Gospel. (their faith)
- The difficulties brought on by the persecutions
James 1:2–8 –  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (ESV)
What we believe determines how we respond!