What do you say to a group of brand new disciples to keep them faithful and growing. This was the challenge and the worry of the apostle Paul. If you look at Acts 17 you see the circumstance Paul was faced with. He had left the Thessalonian church when it was a mere three weeks or so old in an unstable situation of persecution. Imagine Paul’s relief when he found out that they were doing not just OK but really well. But now what could Paul say to shore them up, encourage them, and make sure they stayed on the right path? That’s the essence of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.
Faith, hope, and love – 1 Thess. 1:3
Early Christianity held that there were three main pillars of discipleship to Jesus – faith, hope, and love. And so Paul comments on how well they had been doing using these three pillars. Their good works coming from their faith in Jesus was great, but even more, they’d actually labored (there’s a special Greek word for strenuous work, the kind that makes you sweat profusely) because of their love for the Lord. And they had continued steadfast in this work and labor motivated by their hope in the Lord. No wonder their influence in that region had spread so far! There’s a great lesson here for us 21 centuries later about the place of these things in our own walk of life. How far and wide would the Gospel be spread in our own region, if we let our faith in the Lord, our love for the Lord, and our hope in the Lord really motivate us?
Accepted as the word of God — 1 Thess. 2:13
How do you see the Bible? Just another book (I hope not)? Something to big to read? Something that you can take or leave as you wish? Or something to really sit up and take notice of and obey? How you see it will determine whether you’ll succeed as a Christian (like the Thessalonians) or fail, like Paul was afraid of. Take God’s word seriously, don’t try to avoid it or brush it off, it is God’s word and God is not to be trifled with.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.
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