Today is day 87 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
1 Thessalonians is a very refreshing read, especially after reading 1 Corinthians a couple days ago!
1 & 2 Thessalonians were Paul’s 2nd and 3rd books written. He had visited Thesslonica on his second missionary journey, where they had seen God move so powerfully that the mob who tried to hunt them down described them this way…
“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” – Acts 17:6
What a compliment! That’s exactly what Paul had set out to do!
Speaking of compliments, Paul had a lot of great things to say about the Thessalonian church as well. They were faithful, loving, and Christ-centered in all that they did. He said that they “became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (1:7). He said they also “received the word of God…and accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (2:13). He goes so far as to say…
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
Although Paul addressed quite a few things in 1 Thessalonians, the church in Thessalonica was missing two main things:
1) Paul – he wasn’t able to be there in person, so he sent Timothy instead (3:2).
2) Hope after death. That’s a big one!
Paul addresses that issue in Chapter 4 when he writes about the Rapture and the life we live after death. We don’t sorrow like those who have no hope – Jesus overcame death! For the believer, death is the beginning of real life! What a comforting reminder!
On the flip side, however, the return of Christ will be a time of panic and terror for many who have rejected Christ. There is no encouragement for them besides committing their lives to Christ so that they’re guaranteed to have hope at the return of Christ.
One unique things about 1 Thessalonians is that it contains two of the three instances in Scripture where it specifically says “this is God’s will.” (The third is 1 Peter 2:15.)
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification:t that you abstain from sexual immorality” – 1 Thessalonians 4:3
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Make it a practice to pay attention to God’s will. Not paying attention to God’s will is like not paying attention to your GPS when trying to get to a new location. You won’t arrive safely if you’re not paying attention. God’s will is the GPS for our souls, so listen up!
1 Thessalonians is a refreshing read written to a refreshing church. It gives one of the earliest looks at the New Testament church that was forming around the world. God was doing great things, and if His people would continue to follow His will and expectantly await His return, He would continue to do amazing things! The same is true for us today.