Church Planting

A New Church in Thessalonica

Book of Acts Chapter 17

We should understand in this world we live in that there are some who will go to great lengths to shut up the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

It should not be surprising when our enemies try to use lies in trying to stop the spread of the Gospel!

Thessalonica was the largest city and the capitol of Macedonia.

It was founded by Sassander, who was the top military officer of Alexander the Great, after the death of Alexander.

The Romans made Thessalonica a free city because it was loyal to Rome.

A free city was allowed to form its own government and make local laws.

Thessalonica was also a port city but the key to the importance of this city was the fact of the roads built by the Romans.

This road was called the Ignatian Way. This road was also the main street of this city.

As this city became more of a city of commerce, it also became more wicked.

It is true that money is the root of all evil!

The Gospel could still spread from such a location.

The Apostle Paul was the messenger sent from God to bring the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is said that there were twenty-two synagogues in this city at this time in Thessalonica.

*Act 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

1) The Apostle Paul set an example for all believers, but he also set an example for all future missionaries.
2) The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel despite great opposition and terrible persecution, from those who would not accept the Gospel. Paul belonged to the Lord and he had been called by the Lord to preach the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul had a personal relationship with the Lord and this is a requirement for every believer.

Even more than we, Paul knew that there were very many who had never heard the Gospel.

In fact, if everyone in this world had heard the Gospel already then the Lord would have returned to take us home.

We must keep in mind, those who have never heard the Gospel are doomed to eternal damnation and this should bother us greatly.

The Lord Jesus Christ loved this entire world and the proof is, He came to save as many who will believe Him and the work that He did, so we could be saved from the wrath of God.

All the world’s people must get this opportunity!

2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
2Co 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

3) The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel wherever he was at.

Even when Paul was just passing through, he paused long enough to preach the Gospel.

Rom 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
Rom 15:21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

Paul is our example to tell the world about the Gospel, no matter where we are located.

Paul did not miss any opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ!

We, as the Church, need to make our own plan to share the Lord Jesus Christ to all we make contact with but it must match God’s plan.

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

*Act 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Act 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

We are not all called to preach, but as the Lord’s priests, we are to be bold in our presentation of the Gospel!

We must understand that it is the things we believe that give us direction for our lives!

Where did Paul get his sermons? From the Scriptures!

The Word of God gives the source for the truth of Jesus Christ, but also gives us “the Authority to speak in His name”!

All the Word of God came from Heaven!

We should never come up with our own ideas about the Gospel, it is already written in the Blood of Jesus Christ!

1) Jesus Christ died for our sins.
2) Jesus Christ arose from that death proving that He is God.
3) The Lord Jesus is the true Messiah (the Christ) spoken of in the Old Testament.

Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Paul preached in the Jewish synagogues for three sabbaths, but he spent the remainder of those weeks witnessing to the Gentiles.

Paul remained in Thessalonica for a considerable amount of time.

1Th 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
1Th 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
1Th 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
1Th 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our example in all things, but Paul could be an example to us for his dedication to preaching the Gospel.

When people would object as Paul preached in their worship centers, Paul would go door to door and even outdoors if that was needed.

When the church would not or could not support Paul, he got a job himself. The spreading of the Gospel was just that important to him.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The results will always be that some will believe and those that believe are just one step away from salvation!

They just need to pray to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness.

Faith must always come first.

*Act 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

The Jews are some of the most biased people and they ate blinded by their prejudices of people on this earth, yet some got saved and began serving Christ.

Sin can be overcome in any life, no matter how deeply rooted it may be, but only by the power of Jesus Christ.

We must never allow the gross sin of any individual keep us from witnessing to them if we get that opportunity.

Many of the Greek men and women got saved and became devout in the worship of Jesus Christ.

Many of them were sick of idolatry.
They were sick of speaking to them and get no response.
They were even sick of dusting them off every day like a normal household chore.
They were false gods who could not possibly offer any help to them.

Many of them now saw hope for the first time and that hope was in the Word of God!

You see there is a truth of eternal life, but it comes from God through His Son Jesus!

There will also be those who reject the Word of God and Satan causes them to turn to hatred toward those who do believe.

*Act 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

Envy leads to strife, division, and hatred.

Paul preached against these things many times having seen them firsthand on his journeys.

1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and
hating one another.

We must understand that the world is going to react to the Gospel and not always in a good way!

Satan will do his best to stop the preaching of the Gospel but it is impossible for him to do so!

Notice these unbelievers were not brave enough to stand against the Christians themselves, but they hired wicked people to confront those new believers. That word “baser” gives us the meaning of our word “wickedness”.

This is exactly what is going on in America today and around the world, as most of the governments in this world are behind this push of the wickedness of the gay world to confront the Church for them. God always knows what is going on!

Antifa, the BLM, and yes even Soros and many others receive money and encouragement to go after the Church and they receive this money from the government.

These people are always ready to stir up trouble for the Church and the governments are most always behind it!

It is our own government who are trying to shut the mouths of the Christians who take a stand on the Word of God.

These sorts of people are a dangerous threat to all believers and also to themselves.

Throughout history, these sorts of people have been used time after time to try to oppose any movement of God.

We are blind if we do not see this today!

We sometimes ignore what the carnal governments are doing, so they enlist the help of these baser sort today when they would normally not get involved and stay behind closed doors.

These were men with selfish motives.
They spread rumors as they talked against Church leaders.
They aroused those who were ill-informed.
It was religious leaders who were speaking against the Church.

It was the religious leaders who brought those false charges against the Lord Jesus.
It was religious leaders who convinced the government to kill the Lord Jesus.

Religionist (Jews) are people who were moved with “envy” against Paul and the Gospel.

Envy can also mean jealousy.

Many Jews and Greeks were turning to Christ.

They were jealous because another preacher was getting the attention and recognition, following, and loyalty of the people!

These Jewish elders could not stand this!

They assaulted the house of Jason which had become a church in a home.

*Act 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
Act 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

The important thing that we should notice is, that in these three weeks a Church had been formed.

It is true that Paul had been staying at this home of Jason, but he and Barnabas were out spreading the Gospel, they were not hiding.

Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel!

Going against the law, these wicked men had dragged Jason and other believers out of his house and presented them to the rulers of the city.

They wanted Jason and these men along with Paul and those with him, charged with insurrection.

Yes, the Gospel does change lives!

Yes, the Gospel does turn men and women and children from sin and shame to God and from immorality to purity by the blood of Jesus.

Of course this charge was false!

Christians are some of the most civil people in every nation.

They are diligent workers, causing no trouble and paying their taxes because this is what the Word of God teaches.

Yes, Christians will take a stand on the Word of God, but God does not expect us to start trouble or break laws.

Does the Gospel cause a disturbance in a community? Not in the way these men described. Christian communities are orderly.

Many things have been done in the name of Christianity, but it was not Christians that did these things.

Not every building with a cross upon it is a true house of God!

Not everyone who name the Lord Jesus their Lord are God’s children!

Christians will never threaten public peace!

The Gospel will never put people in an uproar!

The Gospel does not ever infringe on the rights of others!

These charges were false in the sense these accusers meant.

These same charges are made against Christians even today, but it is only because the world has made itself self-righteous.

One charge stated that Christians claim a new King.

What the Bible teaches is the Lord Jesus Christ will return as King. He is our High priest at this time.

So this charge was also false!

Those who do not have the Holy Spirit within them, will never understand the preaching of the Gospel nor the Word of God!

What did Paul preach?

1Th 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
1Th 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Yes, the Lord Jesus is King but he is King of Heaven and King in my heart and in every heart of the Christian.

Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

The Lord Jesus rules and reigns in the hearts of each believer!

No earthly power need be concerned about Christ seizing power upon this earth because this is the period of Grace and the opportunity for whosoever will to be saved!

What the job of the Church is to start is a “spiritual revolution” and a revival of God’s people.

Godly men and women and even children become more loyal and more responsible citizens because this is what God demands of us.

It is the ungodly who cause most all the problems in this world!

It is the ungodly who cause the collapse of governments!

It is the ungodly who are dishonest and corrupt!

Pro 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Until they knew the truth this government was concerned.

*Act 17:8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
Act 17:9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

During elections those in office have a fear that they could lose their positions.

This scenario is not much different.

If the news of another King reached Caesar in Rome, they were afraid it could affect their livelihood and their positions.

They placed Jason under bond much like those are released from jail on bond today probably for a pledge of his good conduct and should commit no treason, but the other brethren were released without such a bond.

Paul and Silas chose to leave the city for a time.

1Th 2:17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
1Th 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

Why do most sinners reject the Lord Jesus Christ? Because of what it might cost them!

As Christians we are to deny this world.

We must die to our own desires and ambitions and serve the cause of Christ.

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

By the lead of the Holy Spirit, Paul just moved to the next city.

*Act 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

We should notice how brave Christian believers become after knowing the truth of the Gospel.

Jason could no longer allow Paul and Barnabas and those with him to stay in his home, not because he was afraid for himself. He did this for their own safety.

Jason was not about to turn them in to the authorities!

So they escaped under the cover of darkness.

Every believer must have such courage especially in our day and times.

The day is coming that we might have to risk imprisonment just because we claim the Lord Jesus Christ, especially our Pastors and Preachers.

Berea was a pleasant out of the way place located at the eastern slope of the Olympian Mountains about 50 miles from Thessalonica.

Berea was not located on the Ignatian Way the main road running through that country of Macedonia.

Yes, the message of the Gospel is intended to turn this world upside down!

Yes, we must do what it takes to save the lives of our true preachers!

No, we are not afraid of death, but let’s leave this in God’s hands and be about the business of spreading the Gospel.

As soon as Paul reached Berea he found a synagogue of the Jews and he went in to share the Gospel.

Paul found something was different in this city.

*Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

A noble people are more concerned about what is going on in the world around them.

A noble people will have a greater concern about God and the things of God.

These people knew what was going on in the big cities like Thessalonica, just as we can see what is going on in New York City and Washington DC and California, and they did not like it.

They knew that God alone was the answer to this world’s problems.

Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him

These people were receptive to the Word of God.

These people had a well-balanced temperament.

These people had a healthy attitude toward other people.

These people showed concern about the welfare of others.

These people showed concern for the truth.

Most of this world shows no concern for the truth!

We would be in shock to know all the truths of corruption in our own government.

It is the truth that makes us free!

The natural man shows “bias” and “prejudice” against the truth of the Word of God, which is all truth when rightly divided.

It is because the Word of God is the truth that we must surrender to it!

We must never surrender to the lies and corruptness of this world we live in, which has truly little truth in it!

The only answer for this world is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This truth is never going to change!

Paul Preached:

1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

A noble people will investigate, study, and seek to verify the truth!

A noble people do not just shut their minds or hearts to the things that are going on around them and just accept it as reality, as our own government encourages us to do.

A noble people do not just accept and swallow all the things that are said in this world.

How does anyone just do this?

Our own government speaks to us as we are just ignorant people not knowing anything.

Our own government speaks down to us.

Noble people do not accept these things.

A noble people trust God!

Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Isa 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Therefore many of them believed the preaching of the “Gospel”.

*Act 17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

Most noble people know the truth when they hear it.

They find out that God will reward every diligent search for the truth.

They find out that God will reveal the truth to the human heart by the Holy Spirit.

We see that the Gentiles in Berea were just as noble as these Jews in the synagogue.

There is something to said of honorable people.

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The Gospel is for all men, women, and children!

Even a child can know the truth just by hearing the Word of God!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.