And the Gospel Rings Out

By Bobby Blakey on September 7, 2014

1 Thessalonians 1:8

And the Gospel Rings Out

By Bobby Blakey on September 7, 2014

1 Thessalonians 1:8



Who has a Bible with them?  That’s what we are about here at Compass Bible Church.  Grab your Bible and open it up to 1 Thessalonians.  On behalf of everybody who has been working to plant this church, thanks so much for being here.  This is very exciting! No matter where the Lord takes us, and I’m hoping he is eventually going to take us to a building here in Huntington Beach.  I’m ready to be here for decades.  I’m ready to die here in this city.  We will see what God has for us.  We are 100% committed.  Whether we are outside here in this bowl, or we are inside with air conditioning and comfy seats, we will preach the bible! The last thing we need is another church where some guy gets up and tells people a bunch of stories. Or tells people what they want to here.  Or picks things he wants to talk about from the bible.  We’re going to preach through every God inspired verse of Scripture! And the book we will start with is 1 Thessalonians.  Over the next seven weeks, we will go over Chapter 1. I want to read over this entire chapter right now.  I want to do an old fashion Scripture reading so stand up with your Bible and let us show our respect for the word of God.  We don’t want to hear one person’s opinion. Men don’t need to here another man telling them something. We are here to hear from God. Follow along with me; we’re going to read 1 Thessalonians 1:

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

We’re going to work on this chapter over the next seven weeks, but today I want to skip down the climax of this passage.  Because today is an exciting day, we’re going to start at verse 8.  We’re going to look at one phrase: For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you… Just by reading that chapter you get the idea that Paul came into town, he preached the gospel in the synagogue, and people started getting saved! And he knew that God had chosen some of the people because the way they responded with their lives.  Their lives were radically changed and not only were their lives changed, but it says that the word of the Lord that Paul preached to them, the gospel message, it echoed.  It reverberated.  It sounded forth from them.  They didn’t just hear the word and believe in it. It wasn’t just this personal thing. What happened with them is it kind of blew up and spread everywhere. It says “Macedonia and Achaia”.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with the biblical geography here, but Macedonia and Achaia is an area larger than the modern day country of Greece.  This is a big area!  One little church of people heard the gospel and something so powerful happened among these people that people are talking about it. Not only throughout the whole current country of Greece, but really it says this is such an overwhelming response, that your faith in Jesus is known everywhere.  And this is just a small group of people in Thessalonica!  I’ve been studying this town, reading everything I can about the city of Thessalonica. It is a coastal city.  It was off the Aegean sea in this little protected gulf there.  Also it was a major city in the area of Macedonia because it was on the Via Egnatia, which is the main east to west road in the Roman Empire.  So you’ve got a city that’s very close to the water and is also very close to a major transportation highway. I’m thinking, this is just like Huntington Beach.  We’ve got a world famous beach right here.  You go down Main Street today and start talking to people you will start meeting people from Argentina, Brazil, the Caribbean, people travel to come to this beach.  To shooby, dooby down to Ruby’s at the end of the pier.  People are coming from far and wide to visit us.  And we also just happen to have the modern Via Egnatia, the traffic debacle known as the 405 Freeway. We are in a prime position.  We are right between a happening place on the coast and a happening traffic area – that many of us have spent more time on than we had planned.  That’s how the word spread!  A small group of people got so fired up in one spot that people passing through took with them the word as they were going out traveling to other places.  What happened with this group of people, everybody was talking about it.  Everybody heard about it.  It was a powerful experience.  That’s what we want to happen here! We didn’t come here to do a little church where everybody feels good about themselves in our little holy huddle. We came here so that the word of the Lord would sound forth in Huntington Beach.  That’s why we are here!  That’s what I want to talk about today!  What does that mean? So we’re going to ask two questions:

  1. What is the word of the Lord?
  2. What does it mean to sound forth?

To understand what the word of the Lord is, we will have to get into the context.  The best way to understand the Bible is with other passages in the Bible.  We are actually going back to when the Thessalonian church got started. We have the account in Acts 17. Let’s get the context.  What was this word that Paul preached to these people that was so powerful.  That’s what we want to talk about!  Look at Acts 17:1-4.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.

So here’s how Paul planted churches, he went in and jumped into what the Jews were doing.  They were in the Synagogue on the Sabbath.  So basically Paul went into another church, and took over what was going on there.  When it says, “he reasoned with them,” this is an interaction with the people.  He used the Old Testament Scriptures to prove to them three things we’ll see here.  He proved it was the Christ that had to suffer and then rise again.  So the word of the Lord Paul gave to these people is the gospel message. If I asked you this morning, and this is maybe the most important question that someone could ask, if I asked you, “What is the gospel?”, could you come up here right now and grab the microphone and tell us what the gospel is? Or maybe if I had given you a blank piece of paper in your bulletin, could you write down what the gospel is?  Could you tell me that information?  That is the most important thing.  This is why we did all this work to set up church at this high school this morning.  You need to know the gospel, that is the word of the Lord. I talk to many people who call themselves Christians and I say, “What is the gospel?” And they look at me like I’m saying something weird.  Like I’m speaking in a different language or something. Some people will say, “Well there is 4 of them.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.” That’s one answer I get.  Another answer I get a lot of time when I asked people is, “Well, you know….” “Uhh…  You know?” Yeah, I do know, but I’m asking you!  What is the gospel? This is the most important question anybody is going to ever ask you!  And so many people who tell me they are Christian people cannot then tell me the gospel of Jesus Christ! If you can’t tell me the gospel of Jesus Christ how can you tell me you are a Christian?  It doesn’t go together.  You have to have both of them.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved!

#1. Don’t Assume People know the Gospel

We’re going to spell it out in very vivid detail.  Don’t ever assume that because somebody is a good person and they go to church that they actually know the information that you need to know to put your faith in to be saved.  And these people, they got the gospel there in Acts 17 as Paul presented it to them.  It is so clear. There are three essential elements.

– Jesus is the Christ.

We get this from Acts 17, end of verse 3.  “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” That’s a big deal.  He would go into a Jewish synagogue and prove to a bunch of Jews that Jesus is the Christ.  People use Christ today like it is Jesus’ last name. But if you use the word Christ in this synagogue, you just said Jesus is the Messiah.  If you wanted to translate that, you would say the “Anointed One”.  That’s what it means.  Throughout the Bible, there have been prophecies; there have been symbols that one was coming who could do something once and for all to make people right with God.  There was this one who was coming.  You can go all the way back to Genesis and trace it through the Bible that this Messiah, the Anointed One is on the way. In fact, Jesus rebuked the Jews in his day.  Religious people.  In our day we would call them “Church People.”  He rebuked them because they didn’t know the facts.  Many of the most religious people, when Jesus shows up he rebuked them because they rejected him! Jesus said in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.“ Too many people are reading the Bible looking for life and they are missing the point of the Bible.  The point of the bible is Jesus and that he is the Christ.  That’s the point. He says, “Do you get the point?  I’m the guy.  I’m the one.  The One the Old Testament has been talking about, the Messiah.  The One who we will know call Savior and Lord in the New Testament.  That’s me!  I’m the guy.” Those were fighting words!  That Jesus was the Messiah.  You could not have said a more inflammatory thing in the Jewish synagogue.  You were going to raise a ruckus. The Jews all had this mindset of who the Messiah was.  We need to go to the Old Testament to see this. Let’s go Psalm 2. This is something I want to do here at Compass HB is find Jesus in the Old Testament. This is a great chapter for us to look at because this would have shaped the Jewish thinking, the people Paul began talking to there in Thessalonica.

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, The word “Anointed” there is what you could translate Messiah. “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

This is what the Jews wanted.  They wanted a Messiah who would overthrow the Romans. Some kind of political Savior.  Some kind of national leader. He would be this mighty one everyone else would bow down and fear, while the Jews would rise back to the top of the ladder of the nations on planet earth. And now you are saying this humble guy who died on a cross is the Messiah? That’s controversial right there! Let me just tell you this Compass Bible Church Huntington Beach, anytime you’re going to talk about the real Jesus Christ, it is going to be controversial.  There’s never been anyone more controversial in the history of planet earth than Jesus.  Don’t accept the PC version of Jesus who is just some good teacher. Here’s what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.” I think part of the reason the Thessalonians had such an amazing response to the gospel is the boldness of Paul and his team.  They walked into a group of Jewish people and said to them, “This guy is the Messiah.”  And the Jews think, “He didn’t overthrow the Romans. Where is he treading down the nations?  Where is his rod of iron?  I didn’t see that.” And now Paul has to prove to them Jesus is the Christ using the Old Testament. Back in Acts 17, you’ll see the second part here. The main point he has to make to the Jews is that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One.  They were familiar with this.  Their prophets were anointed.  Their priests were anointed.  Their kings were anointed.  And Jesus was the only one who was all of those.  A lot more we could say about Jesus being the Messiah, but now we get to what Jesus did.  We started with who he is, and now we get to what he did. In verse 3 Paul is explaining and proving.  This took a lot of work from Paul here.  Explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ, remember they are thinking, big, powerful, leader…well he’s got to suffer and rise from the dead.  When you see that in the NT, when it says that Jesus needs to suffer, we would say it today as:

– Jesus Died for Our Sins.

The essential facts of the gospel.  One, Jesus is the Christ. Two, he died for our sins. Three:

– Jesus Rose Again

He rose again in a triumphant act over Satan, over death to offer everyone new life.  That even if you die, you can live.  Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  Everyone who believers in me, even though you die, you will still live.” He rolls into town and he says, “Let me tell you something that you aren’t going to like.  ‘Jesus is the Messiah.’  Let me tell you another thing you won’t like, ‘The Messiah died.’ No self-respecting Jew had their Messiah dying on a wooden cross!  Nobody liked that. And he said, he suffered and he died and something else that you probably won’t believe: He rose from the dead. That is the message we’ve got right there!  If we’re going to make a difference for Jesus Christ here in Huntington Beach, we have to bring that message and find the way to say it.  Paul knew how say it to the Jewish audience.  We’ve got to find a way to say it to the Huntington Beach audience.  And we’ve got to find a way to say these three things over and over and over.  This is the hill we are going to die on, Jesus Christ he is God and he died for your sins and he rose again. Go to Zechariah 12.  I’m taking you way into the clean pages of your bible: The Minor Prophets.  These pages might still be stuck together from when your Bible was brand new and you haven’t used them yet. We could turn to Isaiah 53. If you’re familiar with that prophesy, a familiar passage about the death and even the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There were many prophecies that proved the Messiah wasn’t just going to be this conqueror of nations, but that he was going to be a humble servant, who would bear our sins, would be crushed for our iniquities, and would be pierced for our transgressions. Look at what it says in Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” Here’s a prophecy that is yet to happen.  This is talking about the future nation of Israel.  We see them re-gathered together in modern times. Someday the Messiah is going to come to rule over the world and they will see Jesus as he is.    When he comes to conquer nations and to rule over the world, they will see him and look on this one and realize, he was pierced for them. The most important thing you could ever learn in your entire life is that Jesus Christ died for your sin. What this is saying, what Paul is going into Thessalonica and saying is “someone died for you.” You can’t blow that off.  That’s serious news.  Somebody you don’t even know.  You didn’t even know you needed somebody to die for you.  But that’s the message of the gospel.  You did need someone to die for you.  Because God is perfect.  God is holy and we are not. I meet a lot of good people.  There are a lot of good people here in Huntington Beach.  I bet you’re a good person. Aren’t you? We all watch the commercial for the channel 4 news at 11, and think, “I’m not like that guy.  Look at that guy on the 405.  The cops are going to get him.  How long is this going to take?  Will I need Cheetos?  Glad I’m not this guy!  How bad does it get for this guy to start driving down the freeway?”  And we feel pretty good about ourselves as we recline in our lazy boy chairs. You think you are a good person.  You probably are a good person by our standards. But are you a perfect person?  Would you consider yourself a holy person here today? That’s who God is.  God is set apart, there is no one like him.  He dwells in an unapproachable light. If we saw God the Father in all of his glory today, the Bible says we would fall down like dead people. That’s who God is. I’m not that. You’re not that. That’s the standard.  I’m not ever going to live up to God’s standard no matter how much I might try, no matter what I might to do improve myself, no matter what kind of diet I go on or how many hours of sleep I get.  I’m not going to be perfect and you aren’t either. Jesus Christ died for your sin.  He lived the righteous life that you could not live and then he took your place on that cross.  And I cannot think of something that could be more defining for who you are as a person than somebody that took your punishment of death.  That somebody is Jesus Christ!  He died for your sin and then, he rose again.  Not just so you could be forgiven, but to give you a new life. So now in his power, and in his name, you can say no to sin.  You can say no to the wrong things that used to define you and you can live now a brand new way in Jesus Christ. This is the gospel message. And he’s saying, someday people’s minds are going to change about Jesus.  Instead of seeing some historical figure or some guy that the Jews rejected because they didn’t think he was the Messiah so they shouted, “Crucify him!” Someday they will see him for who he is.  The one who was pierced for them. And they will weep.  They will mourn.  Grown men crying when they realize what Jesus Christ did for them. This is a prophecy that is yet in the future, but this is what we want to see in Huntington Beach right now.  People convicted about their sin and seeing the answer if Jesus Christ on the cross, and turning from sin to follow him.  That’s why we are here. Here’s the problem, the biggest problem we will have in telling people about Jesus in Huntington Beach.  It is old news to them. “I’ve been there and done that.  I’ve prayed a prayer when I was a kid.  I’ve been to a service like this before – well it was inside and air conditioned – I walked down an aisle and I talked to somebody.” Here’s the thing, if you can’t tell me the gospel, these three essential facts we explained, then what were you putting your trust in to be saved? If you didn’t know this gospel message walking in here today, then what specifically have you put your trust in? People are using the word faith for all kinds of things.  Everybody has got faith these days. Oprah’s got faith. Joel Osteen’s got faith. We’ve got faith here at Compass Bible Church. What are we putting our faith in?  That’s what matters! We do not just believe that God is out there; that he exists.  That God loves us. We believe something very specific.  If you have not put your trust in this very specific piece of information that we call the gospel, if you didn’t understand these 3 things at the moment that you think you got saved, then I’m here to ask you today, “How could you have been saved if you didn’t know the information that you put your trust in to save you?” I’m concerned a lot of people are putting their trust in the fact that they prayed that prayer.  They are trusting in the fact they walked that aisle. When you stand before the gates of heaven and you’re finding out whether you go in or not, it’s not going to matter anything you did in this life. Jesus Christ died for your sin and rose again. That’s what’s going to matter. If you’re faith is not in the gospel specifically, then you can’t be saved here today.  That’s going to be our biggest problem in trying to win people for Jesus Christ. They will tell us they are already there when they are not.  That might be our biggest problem in this group right here.  You’ve got some past experience where you felt good about Jesus Christ, but I’ve got to ask you, because this is God wants me to do.  This is why the Thessalonian church “sounded forth,” because they understood this word of the Lord. If we don’t start with the right foundation of the gospel of Jesus, our church will go nowhere. If you haven’t started with the right foundation, that Jesus is the Christ who died for you and rose again, than your Christian life won’t be able to move forward.   It doesn’t have a building block, the foundation. The second part of our phrase we are looking at here today is “sounded forth.”  That’s really the Greek word we get our word “echo” from. So I get this idea of the gospel coming to them and it feels like some kind of explosion.  It is a loud sound and it just starts reverberating from there.  If we could see a loud sound, then there are these waves coming off. That’s the picture here.  That something happened when the word of the Lord came to these people that it echoed. It sounded forth. It was so powerful what happened there that the waves, the ripple effects are still going out from that gospel.  When people are really putting their trust in Jesus Christ.  BOOM and it goes out from there. This is exactly what Jesus promised.  We shouldn’t really be surprised when we see a church with the reputation of the Thessalonian church.  We should be surprised when we see churches that don’t go anywhere, because Jesus Christ promised what would happen to his church. Turn with me to Matthew 16:13-18.  This passage starts with Jesus up in Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi is way up to the north of Jerusalem.  So if you are the Messiah, you should be rolling into Jerusalem, you should be taking over. You would be expecting Jesus to go straight to Jerusalem if he was the Messiah, but he was up at Caesarea Philippi. What’s going on here, this is not the Messiah that they expected.

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi,  he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

And then Jesus makes it personal as he always does:

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

He’s saying to Peter, “Right answer and on this rock, what you just said about me that God the Father revealed to you, I’m going to build my church.  And on this rock death will not be able to overcome my church. On this rock, Satan will not be able to overcome my church.  I’m going to build something that will echo for all of eternity.  I’m going to do something right here and the ripple effects will just go on and on and on.  On this rock… I will build my church.” He is not referring to Peter the man, he’s referring to the answer that Peter just gave.  The most important thing: Jesus is the Christ! The right answer to “Who is Jesus?”  That’s the foundation of the church! I think that it is such a great picture; because that is something I can see.  I can’t see the sound waves.  You can hear my voice, you can kind of even hear it echoing, but here’s what we can see:  when I throw a rock on water, when I skip a rock, every time that rock hits the water, what happens?  A ripple effect. Do you know what we are doing here in Huntington Beach, we are dropping a big ole Jesus rock! And the ripple effects, I’m praying are going to go for decades!  Because Jesus Christ said when you drop the rock of who I am, on that rock I will build my church.  “Sorry Satan, but I’m taking ground in Huntington Beach.”  That’s what he says.  “Sorry natural process of people dying, those people are still going to live!  Because I will build my church.”  That’s the promise of Jesus Christ.  That’s what we should expect to happen here at Compass HB. Pray not only we will show up every week for church, but that Jesus Christ will show up here at this church.  And he is going to build it and no one can stop Jesus.  Is that getting anybody pumped up here?  The gospel is going to go out and it is going to be glorious to see what Jesus Christ does!

#2. Pray for a comeback of Jesus conversations.

We want to do what Paul did and talk to as many people as we can, “Who is Jesus?”  We want to tell them who he is and that he died and rose again.  There’s been times in America, even times in Huntington Beach, where people talked about Jesus. Surely during the early church, this “word” of Jesus Christ was spreading everywhere.  We need to talk to more people about Jesus Christ.  We’re going to do that here when we gather together, we’re going to do it in our homes as we gather together for our home fellowship groups.  We’re going to drive an ice cream truck down the street and give away free ice cream and talk to as many people about Jesus as we can.  Because every time we drop the rock of Jesus Christ the ripple effects go out. That’s how we will think here at this church.  When it says the “Word of the Lord sounded forth” that is what I want, more conversation about who Jesus is, and what he did.  And I want it to echo and reverberate and go all over.  That’s the story of the church! The main thing Paul uses to describe this church is “the word of the Lord sounding forth.” He talks about “the word of the Lord” again in 2 Thessalonians.  This was the picture Paul had in his mind for the Thessalonian church.  Look at 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you

Here’s a good picture of the word, running ahead.  “Hey guys, I’m still out here, dropping the rock of Jesus Christ.  I’m still here preaching who he is and what he did.  I need you guys to pray with me that the word of the Lord will run swiftly ahead.” In the Bible, the word of the Lord, the word of God, starts to become it’s own thing.  It starts getting out there and doing work, and spreading and you can’t stop the word of God.  That’s how the Bible talks about it.  That’s really the story of the book of Acts.  You could summarize the book of Acts as “the word of the Lord did this, the word of the Lord did that”. Turn to Acts with me.  We’re going to be working in our bibles here.  Start with me in Acts 6.  Let’s trace through the book of Acts the word of the Lord sounding forth.  If we could just have more small groups, more conversations about Jesus Christ every single time we get it out there, it will have a ripple effect and it will run swiftly ahead.

Acts 6:7 – And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Can we just change the language putting it into our situation?  And the word of God continued to increase and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Huntington Beach and a great many of the surfers became obedient to the faith.  A great many people in north Orange County, all kinds of different people of different shapes and sizes, different ethnicities.  They became obedient because they put their trust in the only thing that has hope for anybody: Jesus is the Christ, he died for your sin and he rose again. I would love to see the people in this place multiply!  I’m already thinking, ‘How many people would it take to fill up this entire amphitheater? Why are we just doing it over here on one side?”  That’s going to take a lot of Jesus’ conversations.  A lot of ripple effects out in the community.  It’s going to take every one of us talking about the gospel of Jesus.. The best way we will spread Jesus in HB is word of mouth. The best mouth it is going to spread with is your mouth! As you open up and you say, ‘I’m ready to be more bold for Jesus Christ than I’ve every been!  I’m ready to get out there right now and start talking to people in a way that I’ve never done before!”  That’s what it’s going to take to see the full explosion of the gospel here in Huntington Beach.

Acts 12:24 – But the word of God increased and multiplied.

Not just added, that’s how it started out.  In Acts 2 souls were being added.  Now it is bigger than added, it is multiplied.  We’re working up to more serious math here.

Acts 13:49 – And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.

Here’s something that you should know about the Thessalonians: how long did it say in chapter 17 Paul was there teaching the people?  Did you see that?  It says he was there for three Sabbaths and then he’s run out of town. As we study 1 Thessalonians, Paul describes such a tight relationship with these people it seems like he was there much longer than three weeks.  Maybe he spent more time there before he wrote this letter.  But either way the truth is these weren’t people who were going to church since day one.  These weren’t people who had years and years of church experience.  These were new believers who were just getting out there.  They were kind of foolish like new believers often are.  They think you are just supposed to tell everybody about Jesus.  They don’t know like some of us people who have been going to church for years. You guys don’t tell anybody about Jesus, because that’s not what mature Christians do right?  We do bible study.  We do it at home.  We don’t advertise them, because you couldn’t understand what we were saying if you haven’t gone to church for at least five years.  We’re throwing out all these –ologies and big words and people can’t really track with what we are saying. That wasn’t the Thessalonian church.  They were fresh. They were new.  They were rookies. They were like, “put me in the game coach! I want to play!” They hadn’t been beaten down yet. They were new Christians who thought it was as simple as going out and telling somebody about Jesus Christ every single day! We’ve been talking about starting this new church for a long time.  And a lot of people have said, “Yeah, I’m glad you’re going to Huntington Beach, there’s a lot of churches there… but they really need Jesus.” And I’m like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” I keep hearing people say that over and over and over.  And finally I decide I don’t like that statement very much.  If there is a lot of churches somewhere, then there should be a lot of Jesus somewhere. So the average church-goer, the person who calls himself a Christian, would you think of that person as someone who goes around telling people about Jesus Christ?  Does the average person who goes to church go out and tell people who Jesus is? That he is God, that he died and rose again?  Is that what you think?  Is that what the average church person is doing these days? See our idea of what church is flawed. Because we have based our idea of church on our own experience.  That’s why we’re going to study the Thessalonians.  We are going to see what church is really supposed to be like.  Where everybody who got the gospel, spread the gospel. And maybe that’s why some of you guys are here because somebody knocked on your door and you got some free ice cream and someone invited you to come today.  We are so glad you are here.  We tried to get out there and invite as many people as we could in the surrounding community. We’ve started trying to spread the word, and that’s not going to stop!  That’s not just something we did before the 1st service to let everybody know we are here, that’s going to be how our church is!  We want to get out there and tell people about Jesus Christ, and if you’re here today and you don’t have confidence that you have been saved by the gospel, if you haven’t seen this rock kind of drop in your own life and felt the ripple effects of Jesus Christ dying for you and rising again, today could be the day of your salvation! That’s what we’re here to do!  We’re here to see Jesus Christ save people starting right now! And if you want to talk to people, all the people who stood up earlier, myself, we are hungry to talk to people about the gospel.  That’s what we want to do! That’s what I live for as a pastor, “When am I going to talk to the next person about Jesus Christ?”  When will I sit down with somebody and explain to them because of what Jesus did, their life could radically change and they could be a new person right now?  The gospel is such good news, it should never become old news to us.  It should get better and better and we should grow in our excitement to share the good news with others. I want to have these conversations not just because I am a pastor but because I am a Christian. One group of people that I try to have this conversation with all the time with is my children.  I don’t know how many people talk about the gospel with their children these days.  That’s something that always concerns me.  I want to talk about the gospel with my wife.  I want to talk about the gospel with children. We do this thing at our house, it’s called the gospel chart, and we go over it together. You could ask my oldest son, “What are the three things you’ve got to know?”  And he will tell you, “Jesus is the Christ, he died for our sins & rose again.”  Now I’ve started doing the gospel chart with my daughter who is five years old. That’s why we are here, because your father in heaven wants you to know 3 very important things!  Because your father in Heaven loves the word so much he gave his one and only Son and he wants his Son to save you! God wants to save souls here in Huntington Beach! That’s what we are here to see him do! We are going to spread the name of Jesus Christ, that God the Father loves you through his Son, that his Son would die and rise again.  And I pray you have that relationship with the Father, through Jesus Christ. So if you flip your handout over, we’ve got a couple of gospel resources here.  If you’ve never heard of these things, this is a great day in your life.  We’ve got some things that will help you understand the gospel.  You can get them at the bookstore over here, we’ve got Partners which is a one-on-one discipleship program where you can go through and learn what the gospel is and how to tell other people the gospel.  Anyone ever ready this book called Getting It Right by our old pastor Mike Fabarez, the pastor down in Aliso Viejo?  He wrote a book to help people get the gospel. It’s called Getting It Right.  You can pick up a copy today after the service. God, we thank you so much for this good news of the gospel we can let ring out here in this bowl. It is so great even how it echoes a little here today, to think about the word of the Lord coming to this small group of people in this coastal town, right on a main transportation way and the word came to them with such power, that it just echoed, rang out, like a trumpet sound.  Like a clap of thunder! So loud and powerful!  God, we’re just a humble group of people here setting up EZ Ups.  But we want you to drop that rock of who Jesus Christ is here today.  And we want Jesus Christ to build his church on the revelation that he died for our sins and he rose again.  God I just pray if there’s somebody sitting here this morning and they realize that they didn’t know the gospel walking in here. They realize they couldn’t have said those 3 things if somebody asks them what the gospel is.  That they would realize that is their only hope right there!  That is their one ticket!  Because you’ve got to put your trust in Jesus Chris!.  Who else would you want to put your trust in than the one who died for you?  The one who was pierced through for us, for our sin.  That he took the punishment that we deserve so we get the life, that he perfectly lived.  We praise Jesus Christ that he has the power to rise from the dead, the power to make dead people today rise to new life in their souls.  That Jesus Christ is the name above all names and God we pray that you will use our church to lift the name of Jesus higher than maybe it’s every been lifted before, especially here in HB.  We pray many will see his glory, that their eyes will be opened and they will see him for who he is, standing right now at your right hand ready to return: the Messiah, the Anointed One!  God, let the name of Jesus Christ be known and let the gospel ring out, we pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.