In worship services today, Quest part 4 will take us from Hebrews all the way through Jude – a large section of scripture, to say the least. In our reading for today, we will go through the letters to the church at Thessalonica. Rather brief, but powerful books. By the way, my others reading has really taken a hit. I don’t think I have cracked another book so far this month!
These truly are books written by a friend to his friends. You can sense his compassion for and interest in their spiritual progress and development.
What could be considered a theme for the book of I Thessalonians is found in 5:11“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Paul is encouraged by them and them by him – the concept of mutual encouragement is still valid today!.
Take a look at how Paul feels about them: 2:19-20 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
You can see the heart of Paul for these guys, how we wished some many great blessings for them: 3:12-13 “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
A nice goodbye blessing: 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it”.
I will never forget, at a critical juncture in my ministry, when struggling as to whether or not I could fulfill God’s call on my life, an older brother in Christ looked me in the eye and quoted verse 24 – what a crossroads for me!
Use these words to build up others. Speak these words to the people about whom you care. Allow the Word of God to bring life to those we love.
II Thessalonians is certainly a sequel to the former book.
Paul further clarifies some of his teaching from earlier.
Chapter 2 is important teaching about the coming of Jesus Christ and the things that must happen prior to His revelation. Please notice how much of Paul’s writing covers this topic – appears as though this issue is close to the heart of God for His people.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, we see a valuable reminder. I think the reminder is based on his instruction about the coming of Christ: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” We must see the value and necessity of holding on to the integrity of God’s Word and fighting for what is right and true.
The final chapter is a reminder to his friends as to how important it is for us to continue to work hard, be diligent, earn our way and remain productive. This is no time for laziness!
One more nice “goodbye blessing”: 2:16-17 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
We start the new week off on Monday with Paul’s two letters to his protégé, Timothy. We are on the home stretch now!!!