We begin looking into Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica. This is a church he planted on his second missionary journey with Silas. They were chased out of Phillipe because of casting out a demon of a girl who predicted the future. Paul and his group were then chased out of Thessalonica but the church started there survived. Now he writes to them a letter of encouragement and guidance.
My bible helps tells me that this letter was written following a visit by Timothy to the church and based on his report. It also says that this letter was written not too many months after the planting of the church. I am no scholar but from what I have read from those who are, it appears that Paul only went to Thessalonica once personally.
Today we look at Paul extolling the Thessalonian church for its grasping of the gospel in the beginning. Paul also tells them that he is always praying for them. His prayers must have been VERY long with the list of churches he included in them. That must be why he “prayed without ceasing.”
Paul didn’t get to stay long in Thessalonica but those who accepted the word did so with gusto! They drank in the word like a thirsty sponge. Their thirst was wetted by the acts of the Holy Spirit that were done for them. Also Paul and his group’s walk matching their talk proved them to be real in their beliefs.
The Thessalonian church was born in adversity. Paul says they “received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (verse 6b). And as a result of their joy they gladly shared with those around them. Jesus said he who is forgiven much, loves much but he who is forgiven little, loves little. Their love for their neighbors seems to illustrate Jesus’ words and illuminate their changed lives.
The church body was so reflective of Paul’s teaching that they were a witness for him all on their own. They abandoned their idols to serve the one and only true God. They were what would be known as a “bible with skin on.” That was joy to Paul’s heart but more than that, was joy to Jesus’ heart.
Lord Jesus, thank You for such a faithful witness in this group of people. I wonder what miracles the Holy Spirit brought to convince these people so fully. Today, so many people try and “debunk” any miracles that they actually see. Maybe that is why we don’t see them as often as this body of believers did. We have stopped being excited by the miracles and “want to see the man behind the curtain.” YOU are the Man behind the curtain but it is NO trick. It is Your power at work in our lives.
I wonder what would happen today if the miracles found in Acts happened today. Would it set our world on end? Would they be dismissed? Would people turn to You in mass? Probably not. That is why God picked that time frame to reach down personally. He knew EXACTLY when to have You step on the scene. He knows exactly when to bring You back too. I’m looking forward to that day!
I just heard in my spirit; “Get excited for today too.” There is much work to do. Be like these charged up Thessalonians! Share with excitement and joy! Your word is as relevant today as it was the day it was penned! “Get all excited; go tell everybody that Jesus Christ is King!”