"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us…" -Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Thessalonians 3

Elder Jonathan Cook, then presented a teaching sermon using 1st Thessalonians 3:1-8 for his primary text, with support from Acts 17:9-15, Revelation 12, Hebrews 2:7-10 and 5:8, Matthew 13:18-23 and 1:21, Philippians 2:12-15, 1st John 1:3-7, and various other scriptures. Elder Cook began by emphasizing just how great the opposition that the Apostle Paul and others faced as they went about sharing the gospel. Elder Cook taught that we too should expect to face varying degrees of affliction and persecution whenever we share the gospel and/or live according to it. He further emphasized our need, in like manner, to stand fast in our afflictions as the Apostle Paul and others often were called upon to do. For this reason, it was extremely important that Paul and the various other preachers continually supported, comforted, and encouraged one another. Elder Cook also taught that Paul had a deep and abiding love for these brethern that God had placed in his heart. Elder Cook also reflected on our sinful human nature and the death that is a consequence of our fallen condition. However, he also fervently proclaimed that Jesus Christ, who was made lower than the angels, obediently suffered greatly to bear those consequences for us and has fully paid our sin debt – – He not only conquered death and the grave, but is the captain of our salvation. Elder Cook also taught that by sincerely walking according to the Word of God does not enable a person to become born again, but rather demonstrates that one is already born of the Spirit of God. Elder Cook also strongly emphasized that if we sin or are disobedient it does not cause us to lose our eternal salvation, but it most certainly can cause us to lose the joy of our salvation. Elder Cook further taught that we need to have well established roots which are deep in the Word of God, for these roots will serve us well in times of persecution and trial. In that we do not want our labors to be in vain, Elder Cook also taught that there is a salvation here in time that we must work out without murmuring or complaining, for such gives us a living testimony, showing that we are the blameless and harmless sons of God. He further declared the good news that as we walk in obedience here, we not only have fellowship one with one another, but we have fellowship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) – – and God will never leave us nor forsake us. Lastly, Elder Cook reminded us that as we face the trials and tribulations of this world, we all should be encouraged for we have a living Savior that loves us, that has secured our eternal salvation, and who understands everything we are dealing with – – thus we ought to comfort each other with the knowledge of these things.

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