3 November 2019
We were joined by Mattie Steel who preached on 2 Thessalonians chapter 1
He shared his experience of being at Stockton sixth form college he took chemistry but he struggled about pulling together ingredients to make the final product. Other things in life are not as difficult. Fish and chips, visiting the lakes and good weather, Middlesbrough and a win makes a happy Matty.
The opening of the letter shows Paul in a good mood . Persecution is on the increase but this church in Thessaloniki is increasing.
Matty can see a similar spirit here at West View Baptist Church. But Paul’s letter shifts to those who don’t accept god. It gives Paul no joy to say this. Jesus will return and there will be a judgement. Paul shows that he knows God’s heart is that none should perish.
Our Godmay make you worthy of his calling. Paul expands on this in chapter 8 of Romans. God has chosen called or invited people to come into a relationship with him. He also provides the way for us to be made right with God.
What Paul is not saying is that there is some sort of level that people need to achieve.
In Christ you get a new identity. You are different and this is described right through the New Testament. Different audiences are called to this change, from say a little Corsa to a powerful Ferrari for Christ. Whenever there is a command you will receive the power and grace of the Holy Spirit to live up to the call as a child of god set free from the bondage of sin. You are free. Paul wrestled with this in Romans 10. We live a new life as the old self was crucified with him. Alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Paul prayed that God may make you worthy of his calling. Theologian Don Carson says we are to grow up into Christian maturity.
If there is any struggle you feel in bondage to, Jesus will set you free. Matt offered to pray for any one who needs this freeing from struggle.
Paul prays for fruit from this group of believers in Christ. He recognised the deeds coming from faith, but there is a need for prayer as well. We will only see new kingdom fruit with prayer behind it. Falling to the extremes of either of these camps makes it easy for the external world to dismiss us. Holy huddles, or Christians doing nice things is what we will be dismissed as.
Always offer to pray when out on the streets. Matty gave example of an addict they prayed for who felt sober for the first time in a number of years.
Take the risk and see what happens. Nothing that you can do that can put people off God’s love.
Matty related the story of the time that he was down in Brighton and there was a Zombie festival that weekend. He found himself alone in a railway station at midnight being prompted by God to go and speak to someone. That someone was dressed as a Zombie… at midnight! Matty offered help. Found out the man in the costume had been suicidal previously and following chats then and later he came to Christ and was baptised.
He also shared that our hospitality does not have to be perfect. He once offered a meal to two people down on their luck. He only had beans and bread in to offer. The two young people wanted to cook the meal and sadly they burnt the toast and were that keen on stirring the beans so they wouldn’t stick, they reduced them to mush. It didn’t matter. God still used burnt bread and bean purée to enable someone to be led to Jesus.