PROCLAIMING WITH THE NATIONS
Pictured above is a shot I took from my computer during a Zoom call to interact with national leaders involved in the Divine Expedition training in their countries. Two were in Ethiopia, two in Nepal, two in Brazil, one in Atlanta (lives in Brazil), one in Alaska, and four of us in California, including Stan Gerlach who spearheads our training in El Salvador.
A late arrival to our call was Moses in Uganda in the photo below. Can you pick him out?
I am filled with gratitude and love as I look at each of these people. I am excited to be co-laboring together with them. Here is our mission:
To equip others to multiply churches that reach people for Christ, make disciples, develop leaders, and plant more churches that impact the nations and the world.
PROCLAIMING TOGETHER “JESUS IS THE CHRIST”
1 Thessalonians was the first letter he wrote to a church in Europe. In Acts 17:1-5 we read that Paul, along with Silas (and probably Timothy) spent three Sabbaths days in the synagogue there.
Paul reasoned with the people in Thessaloniki from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead, proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 17:3).
Paul and Silas didn’t stay long as a jealous mob forced them to escape town. They continued on to Berea, then to Athens, and then to Corinth, where Paul wrote back to the new church he left behind in Thessaloniki. Among other things, he commends this young congregation for welcoming with joy the gospel message and spreading the message themselves.
PROCLAIMING TOGETHER “THE GREATEST RESCUE”
Paul ends the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians with the declaration:
“Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (v. 10).
This is the greatest rescue of all time. In his letter to the Galatians Paul writes,
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:3-4).
This is the message we proclaim in our Divine Expedition training:
“I was lost, Jesus rescued me, and he can rescue you too.”
Through Jesus, we can be rescued.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13)
PROCLAIMING TOGETHER “JESUS IS COMING BACK”
Paul’s passion was to spread the good news that Jesus is the Christ who came to rescue us—but it is also good news that he will return. Every chapter in 1 Thessalonians mentions the return of Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
“They tell how you 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—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.”
1 Thessalonians 3:13
“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
So in the midst of our crazy and broken world, it is our joy and privilege to proclaim the good news that Jesus is the Christ—and He’s coming back. As Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:4:
“…we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.”
Thank you for co-laboring with us too.
Linus and Sharon for the Global Training Network Divine Expedition team