Rev. Spence Laycock

Have you ever heard of the phrase 'the Passion of Christ?? Maybe you remember it from the Mel Gibson movie that had a similar title. Perhaps you've heard of the Passion Play at the Rose Bud theatre? The question that sits at the back of our minds however, is what does the Passion of Christ mean or refer to? The word ?passion? in Acts 1:3, in the King James version, is most often translated as the word 'suffering?. Its? meaning is, 'to feel, or have a sensible experience?. The term 'the Passion of Christ?, refers to the very real feelings that Jesus experienced as our Redeemer and Justifier. But it is not just the suffering of Christ that is the subject, as if the suffering were the main thing that was supposed to capture our attention, the passion of Christ refers directly to the purpose of why He was willing to undergo suffering. The Passion of Christ will refer to His perseverance, His suffering and His accomplishing the purposes of the Father in salvation. I want to lay out a few verses of scripture where this same word for passion is used, which will take us into our topic this morning.

?For just as the (PASSION) sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.?

What kind of handshake do you have, is it one that is firm but brief in duration, is it soft but hangs on, do your eyes meet their eyes, do they shake your hand or just hold it, do men and women have different kinds of handshakes? Seems like a bunch of silly questions, but when you meet a person for the first time what is it you do almost automatically?you extend your hand to them. For our culture it is the first point of connection and one that conveys more information than we realize. Just withhold your hand next time you meet someone to see the significance of that. Really what we are talking about is how we leave an impression on people, whether we wanted to or not.

In today's sermon Paul speaks at length about the impression that the Christians of Thessalonika had upon he and Timothy and Silas. He also speaks about the impression he hopes that these three have had upon the Thessalonians. The kind of impression you make upon a person comes from many things, . . .

Have you ever worried about someone, about how they were doing or how things would turn out? For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. Flipping the light on, he said, ?Am I ever glad to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you.?

We all worry over various things, over situations, over loved ones and over those things that are close to our hearts. I think the apostle Paul was a great worrier, that is he had deep concerns for the people he loved, the people of the early church. He was concerned about how they were doing, about the struggles that were coming their way and how they would handle it. Today we're going to start a series on the book of 1 Thessalonians, it's the record of a letter Paul wrote to the newly planted church of Thessalonica . But first let me give you . . .

I once had a friend named Harvey, a great big guy that worked with us in the construction and renovation of houses.   Harvey    was really valued because he was crazy with a sledge hammer. The boss could send him in ahead and set him loose to tear out walls and even floors. He was like one of those people you see on the Extreme Makeover Home Edition shows, totally eager to get in there and shatter the dismal walls of some wretched dwelling. Breaking things in this way is a really good thing, it gets rid of all kinds of deadness from old paint to unseen mould, from the walls that were too close together and doors that wouldn't close. Breaking things like this opened up the way for new construction, new coverings, new life.

Did you ever think about the things that the Bible talks about that were  also broken like this? Things like broken clay jugs in the hands of Gideons men as they attacked a force so much greater than they that night.

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