"Became imitators of the churches of God..."
Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:14
THE GROWTH OF A CHURCH
It is always fascinating to study the growth and development of a church. How did the Thessalonian church know how to grow and develop? The following text gives us a glimpse of how it grew.
“For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches
of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you
also suffered the same things from your own countrymen,
just as they did from the Judeans.”
1 Thessalonians 2:14
1. “For you, brethren, became imitators”
a) The word “imitators” is not used negatively.
b) The Thessalonian church decided that they would “mimic” the example of good churches.
i) They learned about how other churches grew.
ii) They did not have the benefit of Paul’s apostolic ministry beyond the initial few weeks.
c) These words were said in commendation of the Thessalonian church.
2. “The churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus”
a) Geographical location
i) Certainly the church in Jerusalem.
ii) Other churches that were planted in Judea.
iii) This is to be expected though this was not recorded in the Book of Acts.
b) Spiritual dimension
i) These were indeed “churches of God”.
ii) They were founded “in Christ Jesus”.
iii) The Jerusalem church provided a very significant model for all churches (Acts 2:42-47).
3. “You also suffered”
a) The Thessalonians were persecuted for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
b) Nevertheless they stood resolute in their faith.
4. “The same things”
a) The Judean churches suffered.
b) The Thessalonian church entered into the fellowship of suffering too.
c) But true faith would never be afraid of suffering!
The Thessalonian church thrived despite the persecution that had to be endured.