JohnSWilson3 Blog

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…”
August 24, 2009, 1:16 am
Filed under: H First Letter to the Thessalonians

I spent this weekend reading and re-reading with prayers the First Letter to the Thessalonians by Paul. What an incredible letter of encouragement! The Lord impressed upon me the devotion that Paul not only had for Jesus but also for His Body! In fact can we really love Jesus without loving His Body?

After Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke and perhaps some others with them left Philippi they journeyed to Thessalonica and spent roughly three weeks their “explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead” and “some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.” Paul and Silas left to Berea due to a riot in the city and then to Athens and finally on to Corinth. Based on the letter that Paul sent from Corinth to the church at Thessalonica, having only known them for about three weeks, Paul could write to them with such brotherly love! Because Paul and Silas had to leave only after three weeks of being with the church he felt necessary to send Timothy, his church planting assistant, back to Thessalonica to find out how they were doing because of the trouble that had occured in the city. When Timothy returned and Timothy shared with Paul how the church was doing, Paul was overwhelmed at what God had done in the church’s life! Paul felt compelled to write a letter to them and share his joy for them!

A year or so earlier he had written to the churches in Galatia about the importance of knowing their freedom in Christ and focusing on loving one another as demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In this letter to the church in Thessalonica Paul focuses his desire for “the Lord (to) make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” This family of believers got it! They followed the instruction and example Paul set for them on “how to live in order to please God” and urged them “in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” I think of Jesus saying His new commandment which was to love one another as He had loved them, and that “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

By focusing on Jesus, being devoted to applying the teachings of Jesus together in their lives, devoted to sharing life together, praising God and sharing this good news of salvation by faith in Jesus to others this church “suffered from (their) own countrymen.” Paul told them that as followers of Jesus “we were destined for” trials. Paul was confident that God was at work in their lives because of how they were living for Christ! Paul told them that God had “chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” Man, what an experience Paul and his group had when bringing the gospel to them!

Jesus desires that His Body “encourage one another and build each other up” and that can’t happen if I’m a solo Christian. I need a small group of brothers and sisters who are free to speak truth to one another, to me and vice versa, who can enjoy Jesus together, everyone participating in each others lives to let our “love increase and overflow for each other!”

Is it possible that when a body of believers meet together, whether in a home or office, or where they can meet in life, that when they make Christ the Head of their time together, with no one being a leader, except Christ, sharing His love towards one another, that the body can experience the gospel “not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” “in spite of severe suffering”? Can I let “the word of God” when shared with one another “work in” me? Lord work in me, work in Your Body! You are “faithful and” You “will do it”! Amen!

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