The Word Is Out
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
When we encounter Jesus, the Messiah, everything changes. When our lives are transformed by the power of the Savior, people notice, the word gets out, and the good news spreads.
What does it take for the word to get out? How fast does news spread? At the speed of thought, the typing of a message, and the hitting of a send button. In a world of social media and instant global communication, the word gets out in about thirty seconds.
Good news, bad news, world updates, personal secrets, accurate or inaccurate, news spreads faster than wildfire! It has not always been this way. Just a few short decades ago, people used phones as a primary means of communication, and they would pass on information to one person at a time. Before that, they sent letters that were hand sorted and delivered days later. The word would get out, but it was much slower. If the average person wanted to get the word on newsworthy stories and topics, they had to wait until evening and turn on their television so they could hear a news anchor report on the day’s stories.
In the ancient world of the New Testament, getting the word out was very difficult. No phones, no computers, no TV, no social media. Communication happened person to person and most of it was verbal. A vast part of the population did not read, and the cost of writing materials was high. Even if a letter was written, it had to be hand carried from one place to another. In the days of the apostle Paul, news traveled exceedingly slow.
What was staggering about the church in the city of Thessalonica is that in a world with no social media, phones, or postal services, the word about their faith and love for Jesus moved faster than the apostle Paul could travel. It seemed that everywhere he went, the story of their bold and deep faith got there first.
Imagine if this were to happen to you and your church. What if the story of your church and your personal faith was spreading all over your city, county, and state? What story would be told? What themes would emerge? If someone were to post pictures and stories about how you live for Jesus, would that be a good thing? Would the world be inspired by your example? Would your life of faith draw people to Jesus and bring glory to his name?
If someone secretly followed you around for a week and took pictures of what you did and recorded what you said, what are some of the positive things they could tell others to get the word out on your life? What would they see that points to the presence, power, and beauty of Jesus?
Play the video for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts, questions, or key points that stand out to you.
- A powerful overview of the Christian journey
- 1 and 2 Thessalonians is for everyone… for both the new believer and the mature follower of Jesus
- Meeting Levi, his family, and a dog named Tabasco
- The Why: The word was out
- The Who: Paul and his ministry team
- The First Connection: Affirmation and Correction
- The Second Connection: Communication and Demonstration
- The Third Connection: Tribulation and Jubilation
- The Fourth and Final Connection: Reception and Transmission
Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts in Scripture. Use the following questions to help guide your discussion.
1. What impacted you the most as you watched Levi’s teaching on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10?
2. What are signs that we are growing in faith, love, and hope? Which of these three characteristics has been strongest in your life over the past month and how do you see this attribute growing?
What are indicators that a person’s faith, love, and hope are waning and need to be rekindled? Which of these three needs more attention in your own life and what is one step you can take to increase it?
3. Read 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7. Tell about a person in your life who has clearly communicated the message of the Bible to you. Share one lesson you have learned from this person who models what it looks like to embrace the beauty of God’s truth. How are you seeking to follow the example of this person and teach the message of the Bible to another person?
4. Describe different ways God pricks our heart, holds up a mirror for us to see something wrong, or wakes us up to an area of much needed growth. Why do you think God does this? Tell about a time God did this in the past or how he is doing it right now. What does God want to transform in you, and how can your group members be part of this journey of growth?
5. Read 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Describe, in your own words, what the people around the ancient world were saying about the Christians in the Thessalonian church. What would it mean in your community today if everyone was saying the same sorts of things about you and the members of your congregation?
6. Tell about a person who you long to come to faith in Jesus. How can your group members support you and inspire you in your journey of gospel transmission to this person?
Each session, you will be given a key verse from the passage covered in the video teaching to memorize. This week, your memory verse is 1 Thessalonians 1:3:
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have everyone recite this verse out loud. Ask for any volunteers who would like to say the verse from memory.
What will you take away from this session? What is one practical next step you can take to carry the love and truth of Jesus to the unique places you go in the flow of a normal week?
Close your group time by praying in any of the following directions:
• Thank God for the people in your life who have lived as an example of mature faith.
• Ask God to help you live in a way that communicates the love and good news of Jesus and that also demonstrates the love and grace of Jesus.
• Pray for your group members to experience deep and lasting joy, even in times of tribulation.
• Lift up a prayer for one person in your personal circle who really needs to receive the gospel of Jesus. Offer yourself to God and invite him to use you to share Jesus naturally with this person.
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Let us know your thoughts on the 1 & 2 Thessalonians study. We’d love to hear from you!