1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The Thessalonica church was established by the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey, where it became an exemplary church. Paul mentioned this characteristic in 1 Thessalonians 1:7 when he said: “so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.”
This church was a testimony all throughout that region (modern day Greece), and even beyond, to the point that even the apostle Paul used them to be an example to teach a great truth to the believers of Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8.
Before it was called Thessalonica, this city had been called Terma, because of the thermal waters that existed in that area. But in 316 BC, Cassander, one of the four great generals of Alexander the Great who divided the empire, seized Macedonia and made it his base of operations. He renamed the city, giving it the name of his wife, Thessalonike, who was Alexander's half-sister. The city still exists today and is currently known as Salonika.
Of course, when we talked about what a great church this was, we see that it was because of her example. It was a great church thanks to the responsibility that each of its members fulfilled as children of God.
•They lived life in such a way that it would bring honor and glory to God.
•They were a living witness of Christ in that region.
That is the key for a church to be great. Each member must understand the responsibility they have before God in their personal life to be an obedient child. Then we must understand that we are in this world to be an example of the living God.
2 Corinthians 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
As Christians we are commanded by God to be the same in this wicked world. We are to be an example not only to the believer but also to the non-believer.
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Philippians 2:13-15 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
I want you to see three examples in which the church of Thessalonica had become an example.
1.They were an example during tribulation.
1Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
Today, we need mature Christians—Christians with character, Christians who understand that trials are part of the Christian life.
2. They were an example in their enthusiasm.
I Thessalonians 1:8-9 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
Definition of enthusiasm: intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.
The joy of being saved and serving God was spreading all over Macedonia, Achaia, and everywhere.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again, I say, Rejoice.
Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
3. They had their hope in God.
I Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
This church lived with the end in mind. They lived understanding that every day was an opportunity to serve God.
2 Peter 3:12-14 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Life is not made up of the things which we possess, it is made up of the eternal relationship which we have with Christ.
As a Christian you must, on purpose, do what we can to allow good things into our hearts.