True Gospel Trailblazers
God, may Your Word come to me today “with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” (5).
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10
Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.
Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
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.
ReflectWhen do you “turn… serve… wait…” (9,10)?
Paul’s opening greetings and thanksgiving are warm and sincere—he clearly loved these Greek brothers and sisters. But it’s easy to overlook the circumstances behind its writing. For in Acts 17:1–10, Luke describes Paul and his friends’ visit to Thessalonica. It was nothing if not traumatic. After only two or three weeks they were
forced to leave under cover of night by riots and mob violence. All for preaching about Jesus. What a disaster!
But that’s not how Paul sees it. Look at all the things he is grateful to God for: Even after this difficult start, there’s a church there (1–3)! Notice the three evidences of God’s work in individuals (3). God was calling people and using preaching (5); the preachers modeled a consistent message, even as they suffered (6).
News then traveled fast across the region (7,8), not because of the violence but because of the personal revolutions: notice the verbs in verses 9 and 10! When Jesus rescues people from the coming wrath, they “turn… serve… wait…” too. Paul never expects perfection in believers. But the Thessalonians had made an authentic start in the faith, and they were seeking to live it out in tough circumstances.
The way Paul describes the Thessalonians here applies to every single believer. Pray for courage to follow their lead.
Lord, may I be an imitator of You whether in trial or in ease; may I live in Your joy given by the Holy Spirit (6).
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