by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2 March 16, 2014 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(027)Thesis:When "imitation" becomes a "type", the progress of the Gospel is the sub-focus of one's life.
Introduction:The progress of the Gospel in Thessalonica resulted from what many of us call "the Macedonian Call" from Acts 16:9. What happened in Thessalonica was remarkable above the norm so that Paul says the "imitation" process resulted in the creation of what he calls in our text for this evening a "type". Our study tonight is going to focus upon what Paul considered to be the main sub-motivation of "Christianity". This primary sub-focus is stated in 1:8 in the words, "for from you sounded forth the Word of the Lord...". I have called this the primary sub-focus because of Mark 8:35 which is a record of Jesus' succinct declaration of the main motivations of the "type" called "a Christian". In that text He said, " For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it." This is the umbrella of the "type" called "Christian" in that it sets forth the "first love" and the "second love" as the primary motivations no matter what one's particular "gift" is, or what one's circumstances in life happen to be. Technically, this is what "the work of the faith", "the labor of the love", and "the endurance of the hope" are all about. This evening we are going to look into this "type".
I. Paul's use of "Type".
A. Has its background in the use of the word by others.
1. Thomas used it when he described the extent of his unbelief and said that it would only change if he could place his finger into the "print" of the nails in Jesus' hands.
a. This is a classic declaration that "types" are the lingering impact/result of the activity of one who is the object of "imitation" (the nails were the "form" and the lingering scars are the "form of the form").
b. Acts 7:43-44 and 23:25 tell us that a "type" is an "exact" copy of an original.
2. Paul used this word accordingly to communicate the idea that the Thessalonians were to those in Macedonia and Achaia what Jesus was to Paul and what Paul was to the Thessalonians as "the standard to be imitated".
B. Has its focus upon the ministry in Macedonia.
1. According to Acts 16 Paul's preaching was being directed by both "the Spirit" and "the Lord" so that some regions were by-passed and Macedonia became the place for the preaching.
a. This is significant, first of all, because of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:5.
1) The "call" was to severe difficulty.
2) This is a direct echo of Mark 8:35 and the requirement that one's "soul" not be the focus of "preservation" while it continues to be that very focus (one is not going to give up his/her "soul" in order to "save" it unless that is a major issue).
b. It is also significant in view of 2 Corinthians 7:4.
1) This is the underlying issue of the "type": exceeding joy in all our tribulation.
2) This is the bottom line because if our "theology" does not settle us in "joy" we have nothing to offer others.
c. Furthermore, this is significant in view of 2 Corinthians 8:1 in context along with Romans 15:26.
1) The ungodly focus of the "soul" is the acquisition of material gain.
2) Giving the gain to others in need is precisely what "saving the soul" is all about.
3) This reality is why 2 Corinthians 11:9 is in the Bible.
2. The Thessalonians "set the standard" as "types" which others should copy.
C. Is extended by Paul unto Achaia, the larger Roman territory that included Thessalonica.
D. Is further extended to include "in every place" beyond Achaia.
II. Paul's "Focus" For All "Christians".
A. Is given in the fact that the Thessalonians became vocal instruments for the progress of the Gospel.
1. The term for "sounded forth" is a word that means "a very loud sound".
2. The outcome is "everyone heard the noise".
B. This does not overrule what we saw in our last study: everyone's "gift" will be useful if the person is willing to follow the "type".
1. As a cultural indicator, we have gone from parents and grandparents praying that God will send their kids out as missionaries to parents and grandparents being the primary obstacle to such.
2. Another indicator is the use of money by churches to fulfill their own desires rather than to send people out to meet the needs of others.
3. Being committed to God, His Word, and His promise of the return of His Son to earth will show up in every aspect of the person in whom that commitment rests.