Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10

Introduction/ Background:

Written by Paul for the church at Thessalonica (modern-day Greece) in 50-51 AD. Paul with Timothy and Silas planted a church in Philippi. They were imprisoned because of some conflicts with other Jewish leaders and Gentile hearers. After their escape, they arrived in Thessalonica and started another Christian community at Jason’s household. However, the persecutors of Paul followed them there with some mob. This caused Paul to move out to Berea, Athens, and Corinth.

Paul’s aim is to give thanks and encourage the church at Thessalonica for standing firm in the gospel of Christ. Moreover, he emphasized the second coming of Christ in a later chapter of this epistle. In verse 2, the evidence is that he was continuously praying for them (Eph 1:16; Phil 1:3).

Main Idea: 

The supremacy of the gospel of Christ in the lives of the Christians in Thessalonica is known to almost entire Macedonia and other regions of Galatia. The term supremacy means a condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status; “the supremacy of the king”, in short, preeminence. What are the supremacy principles of Christian living? Five Principles of Gospel Supremacy in our passage:

Gospel Efficacy (verse 3)

  • 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
  • Efficacy means power, benefit, value

Gospel Assurance (verses 4-5)

  • The “chosenness” does not just pertain to individual salvation but speaks about God choosing his people beyond Israelites, which means, including Gentile converts.
  • The power of the gospel of Christ to convert and transform people’s hearts is not dependent on the preacher’s ability to persuade his audience but grounded in the assurance of the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who seals and illuminates the Word of God in our hearts.
    • Eph 1, “13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

Gospel Endurance (verse 6)

  • “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29-30 (cf. Acts 16)
  • “… These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” Acts 17:6-7.

Gospel Expression (verses 7-8)

  • “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year, they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26

Gospel Transformation (verses 9-10)

  • “turned from the idols”
  • “to serve the living and true God.”
  • While waiting for the return of Christ—the first among us and the One who has redeemed us from our iniquities, sin, afflictions, and the impending judgment of God. (Chapters 4-5)


Let us live out the supremacy of the gospel of Christ in our lives. There is an assurance that God would sustain us through the Holy Spirit, our Helper, and Sanctifier.


Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 24, 2022



Text: Amos 6:1-7


German Christian philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian martyr during the time of the holocaust. In his infamous work entitled The Cost of Discipleship he said, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” In a word, he called for a Christian living without complacency.


The Israelites both from the Northern and Southern kingdoms thought that they were experiencing the Golden Age of their time (780-740 BCE). This flourishing life that they have was the same terminal illness of their nation that bound them to cease to exist after several decades. They did not listen to what Amos told them. Amos proclaiming the oracles from God as a revelation was indeed true.

The fulfillment of the oracle happened when Assyrians conquered Israel in 722 BCE; “In 745 B.C. Tiglath-pileser III would ascend the throne of Assyria, and hardly more than 20 years later, in 722, the northern kingdom of Israel would cease to exist. (ESV Study Bible)”

Main Idea: What is complacency? Is it a sin?

“Merriam-Webster as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” sha̓ănān – at ease, be secure, “undisturbed, without anxiety”– sometimes “over-security” which reflects arrogance or laziness.” There is a danger that is about to come and yet you are not doing anything.

Is it a sin? Yes, the sin of pride. (This is somehow the same with the parable of the talents who just hid the master’s entrusted treasures since he thought it would be better to just secure it rather than use it.)

The dangers of complacency

  • Verse 3, Complacency is Fatalistic = “bahala na” – fine line indifference.
  • Verse 4, Complacency is Laziness = slothfulness (2 Thess. 3:10)
  • Verse 5, Complacency is Distorted Contentment = lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22)
  • Verse 6, Complacency is Entitlement, declaring that you do not need God anymore. (Rev 2:1-7)
  • Verse 7, Complacency leads you to perish, be punished, disciplined. (Read fulfillment of the oracle)

How do we overcome complacency?

  • Admit Your Mistake/ Sin (Psalm 32:5)
  • Believe in Christ (Rom 10:9)
  • Confess Your Sins (1 John 1:9)
  • Devote Yourselves in Prayer (Col. 4:2)
  • Examine Yourselves: Every so often we need to do as Paul instructed the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 13:5. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves does not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless you fail the test.” 
    • Even while being professing believers, we can’t assume we’re always in the right. We should continuously search our own hearts to make sure we’re operating from a place of faith, love, and godliness.


The Gospel (Good News) in Amos

But the same God who disciplines and warns us about our complacency is the same God who has a plan to restore, a plan to redeem and revive us. In Amos 9, “God restores” by (1) keeping those who are faithful and (2) preserving the lineage of Jesus—the incarnation, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fear not since God has a plan to restore us. However, if we are to remain complacent in our spiritual lives, then expect great trials, discipline, and emptying from God. To overcome this complacency, in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 10, 2022