Paul prays fervently and frequently that the Thessalonian believers will grow in heartfelt love for each other and for unbelievers as well. This love will increase and overflow into generous acts of kindness and will enable them to live more holy lives until the return of Christ. Like them, may our defining characteristics be love and holiness.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8, Paul writes to a very young church that was undergoing severe persecution. Paul sent Timothy to strengthen their faith, to keep them from being unsettled by trials, and to ensure that thy tempter would not be victorious in their lives. We must remember that trials and persecutions were predicted by Jesus, and we should pray that we will be found faithful.
Jesus was deeply moved with compassion for people, knowing that they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Compassion should lead us to pray for our sin-sick world, with a willingness to be the answer to that prayer. We should also follow Christ's example by personally interacting with others and meeting them at their point of need: loving, forgiving, and caring. The cross is the ultimate expression of the compassion of Jesus.
Christ is to be first in our heart's affections, yet we are prone to become indifferent in our love for Him. Through repentance and prayer, we can remedy the forsaking of the love we once held for Jesus.
Paul deeply desired to return to the young church in Thessalonica, but he was blocked by Satan. Satan is real, he is evil, and he opposed us as individuals and as a church, but Satan is not God’s equal. If we are alert and stand firm in the Word of God and prayer, Satan can be resisted.
The disciple Thomas remained in doubt and despair for a full week after the crucifixion, unconvinced by the verbal testimony of others who had see the risen Jesus. When Christ appeared to Thomas and invited him to see and touch His wounds, Thomas proclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" Today our doubts are cured through the reading of God's Word (John 20:31). A true seeker who reads the Scriptures can find faith. Like Thomas, let us submit to the lordship of Christ.
The most exalted name or title of Jesus is Lord. Jesus, equal with God, humbled himself and came into our world to bear the punishment for our sins. Therefore, Jesus is exalted as the Lord of Glory. In Philippians 2, Paul ascribes to Jesus the title given Isaiah 42:8 (Yaweh) and the text of Isaiah 45:23 (every knee shall bow). At this moment, Jesus is supremely exalted (Philippians 2:9), and one day His Lordship will be confessed by all (Philippians 2:10-11).
God’s word is divine truth that will transform our lives and sustain us in persecution. Jesus prayed for all believers, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NIV)
Paul encourages the Thessalonians to walk in a manner worthy of God, a life that pleases God, because He calls us into His kingdom and glory. Pastor Mitchell then give us some ways from the scripture on how we can live a worthy life.
The apostle Paul was able to stay strong and joyful in the midst of difficulty through faith and hope in the reliable God, the prayers of others, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Like Paul, whose purpose for living was to honor Christ, let us respond to suffering by standing firm, sticking together, and staying confident.
God promises that all things will turn out for good for believers, but what happens when things go wrong? Is God still faithful? Join us to learn how God takes care of his suffering people.
If we are convinced that pleasing God is our supreme goal, and our holiness pleases God, what practical steps can we take in our pursuit of holiness? For answers, we not only stay in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 but also expand our search to other places in the New Testament in order to understand how it instructs us in holy living.
Silence for the sake of safety is not biblical. Have the courage to speak the Gospel in the face of opposition, relying on God’s help and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Are you convinced that God is good? Every day is filled with bad news. Every day gives us another reason to doubt that God is good and that he really cares for us. David certainly knows those feelings. Yet, he praises the Lord as his shepherd who cares deeply for his suffering people. Join us in listening to this encouraging word from Psalm 23.
As we learn about the new support structure for missionaries with the Alliance, we are encouraged by a biblical model of compassionate, mutual self-giving from missionary to local church.