East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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June 10, 2012
"Persevering Through Affliction"
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12.

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate, in his book, "No Greater Power," writes: "Crush marbles and you get fragments, disintegration - hard, sharp pieces. You can get hurt if you're not careful. Crush grapes and you get fragrant, refreshing wine. Some people are like marbles; they shatter when crushed, and hurt others. Some people relate like grapes; when crushed, they bring blessing."

The church at Thessalonica was like a cluster of grapes which was caught in the winepress of persecution and affliction. Yielding to God, these people exuded a juice full of faith and fragrant with love, whose bouquet spread to all the churches in Asia Minor. Paul, in his letter, does not focus on the winepress as much as he does the wine: "Your FAITH is growing more and more, and the LOVE every one of you has for each other is increasing, ...we boast about your PERSEVERENCE and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring." (1:3-4).

The first spiritual principle: Persevering (enduring) through affliction develops MATURITY. In the painful experiences of life, our trust in God lets us see God's hand at work for our good. Read Romans 8:28. Joseph said to his brothers who were responsible for much of the suffering in his life, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." (Genesis 50:20). We seek to avoid suffering but the Bible teaches that it is the CHARACTER BUILDING cost of following Christ.

The second spiritual principle: God gets the last word (1:5-10). Paul asks us to view our pain in the broader context of a purposeful eternity. The Bible teaches that God is GOOD and that He is ALL POWERFUL (omnipotent).

May God fulfill every good purpose that He has placed within us and may we have the faith, love and endurance so that the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in us. (1:11-12).

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