Gospel Family Love
Take some time to thank God for the people who introduced you to Jesus and poured into your spiritual life.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1–16
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWho have been the most influential people in your Christian walk? See how Paul describes the impact of his team’s visit here.
Once the intensity of Paul’s visit has long passed, the Thessalonians might easily have looked back on it as if it was all a bit unreal or even a con. Yet the trip was no failure (1–6). For starters, Paul and the team spoke out. That in itself is an achievement when violence is in the air. But their motivations meant it was all done with integrity. They weren’t after cash or celebrity status (unlike others on the ancient speaking circuits). They were there because they were doing it all for God.
If you’ve ever thought of Paul as driven and cold, then the next paragraph will set you right! They slogged to love the Thessalonians. They came as children (7a), as nursing mothers (7b) and as inspiring fathers (11). All of this was for the sake of drawing people into God’s kingdom.
But Paul knows where all the credit ought to lie. God is at work in people’s lives, which is why they responded as they did to his Word (13). So their suffering is not in itself a cause for alarm (14–16). God is still in control, and he will bring justice.
When bad things happen, do you think that God is not there for you? As you read this week, write down assurances of God’s care.
Gracious God, may I know that You are at work in and through me. May my impact on others honor You.