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Sermon Quotes: "The Ground of Our Gratefulness"

“For its proper interpretation it must be read in the light of the historical circumstances that evoked its composition. In the study of no other form of literature is it more important to know something of the life-situation amid which it was produced than in the study of a letter.” Edmond Hiebert

“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love…For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” 1 Thess. 3:6,8

“Paul mentions the subject of thanksgiving in his letters more often, line for line than any other Hellenistic author, pagan or Christian.” Dictionary of Paul and His Letters; A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship

“Paul’s introductory thanksgivings were not meaningless devices but were integral parts of the letters, setting the tone and themes of what was to follow.” Peter O’ Brien

“There is no reason to suppose that the Thessalonian church consisted of any less odd a collection of characters than the average congregation today.” Edmund Hiebert

“Who was the typical Christian in Thessalonica at the time of 1 Thessalonians? He or she was from a pagan background, spoke Greek as a first language, could not read or write, kept house or was a manual laborer or a slave, had never set foot inside a synagogue, had newly pledged to an ethic that was sharply different from that of the local environment, shared his or her faith with unbelievers, experienced serious harassment from family and society, and knew someone who had been physically punished, imprisoned, or maybe killed for the faith.” Gary Shogren

“Most Christians do not give the doctrine of election sufficient thought.” Gary Shogren

“The famous American Bible teacher Donald Grey Barnhouse often used an illustration to help people make sense of election. He asked them to imagine a cross like the one on which Jesus died, only so large that it had a door in it. Over the door were these words from Revelation: ‘Whosoever will may come.’ These words represent the free and universal offer of the gospel. By God’s grace, the message of salvation is for everyone. Every man, woman and child who will come to the cross is invited to believe in Jesus Christ and enter eternal life. On the other side of the door a happy surprise awaits the one who believes and enters. From the inside, anyone glancing back can see these words from Ephesians written above the door: ‘Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.’ Election is best understood in hindsight, for it is only after coming to Christ that one can know whether one has been chosen in Christ. Those who make a decision for Christ find that God made a decision for them in eternity past.” Phil Ryken

“It is staggering that God should love sinners; yet it is true. God loves creatures who have become unlovely and (one would have thought) unlovable. There was nothing whatever in the objects of his love to call it forth; nothing in us could attract or prompt it. Love among persons is awakened by something in the beloved, but the love of God is free, spontaneous, unevoked, uncaused. God loves people because he has chosen to love them…and no reason for his love can be given except his own sovereign good pleasure.” J.I. Packer