On Sunday evenings we are studying 1st and 2nd Thessalonians.
Written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica. Two thousand years have passed since Paul penned 1–2 Thessalonians. The Roman Empire, and the ancient city of Thessalonica, have been reduced to rubble. Meanwhile, Christianity has spread from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
So much has changed in the world since the Thessalonians assembled to hear these letters from their beloved apostle. Yet, in many ways, little has changed. Are we so different? We too need encouragement (1 Thess. 1:2–10). We too need integrity (1 Thess. 2:1–16). We too need love (1 Thess. 2:17–3:13). We too need challenge (1 Thess. 4:1–12). We too need hope (1 Thess. 4:13–5:11). We too need virtue (1 Thess. 5:12–28). We too need assurance (2 Thess. 1:1–12). We too need correction (2 Thess. 2:1–12). We too need prayer (2 Thess. 2:13–3:5). We too need prodding (2 Thess. 3:6–3:15). We too need peace (2 Thess. 3:16). And from beginning to end, we too need grace (1 Thess. 1:1; 5:28; 2 Thess. 1:2; 3:18).
Yet despite a two-millennia gap, these letters ring with meaning for today. The Thessalonians faced intense opposition for their faith (2 Thess. 1:1–12); many believers worldwide have long experienced the same, and those of us in the West are increasingly catching up. The Thessalonians had grown slack in pursuing holiness (1 Thess. 4:1–7); many of us have too. The Thessalonians were unsettled because they had misunderstood their future hope (1 Thess. 4:13–5:11; 2 Thess. 2:1–17); many of us live with similar misunderstanding. Because we are so seldom heavenly-minded, we are of little earthly good.
The world should not see its reflection when it peers into the church. Instead, it should see a kind of life available nowhere else. It should see the grace of Jesus, lavished on humble sinners, embodied in self-giving love.
First and Second Thessalonians resound with the news that salvation—deliverance from God’s wrath through the blood of his Son—is available, for free, to all who will repent, turn to, trust in, and treasure the Lord Jesus. These letters resound with the news that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the hearts of Christians, empowering us to walk in a manner worthy of God. And these letters resound with the news that this world is not the way it always will be. One day, Jesus will return for his people, establishing justice and renewing all things.
Join us Sunday nights at 6:00 pm as we study I and II Thessalonians one verse at a time