Thursday, February 9, 2012

7 Things

I have been reading Paul's Epistles lately -

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Church around A.D. 51. The Church in Thessalonica was very young - about 1-3 years old. Paul had to leave early (because his life was threatened) before the Believers were firmly established in the faith but these Christians proved to be strong and faithful. After Timothy reported back to Paul that the Christians were doing well, Paul wrote this book to encourage their faith and help them on a few theological issues. Here is how Paul described these believers:

1Thessalonians 1:3-7
remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love,and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power,
and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance,
as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
And you became followers of us and of the Lord,
having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

Here is a list of 7 attributes found in the Thessalonian Church:

• They were faithful in their Christian walk

• They worked at being loving towards one another

• They had a patient hope in Christ - especially as they looked for His return

• They imitated and closely followed the example of the Lord and of Paul

• They received the word of God even though they suffered persecution

• They lived with joy in the midst of suffering

• They became examples of faith to Christians throughout Macedonia and Achaia (Greece)

Message Version3as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love,and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father.4It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very muchbut also has put his hand on you for something special.5When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn't just words.Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.6and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master.Although great trouble accompanied the Word,you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit! -taking the trouble with the joy, The joy with the trouble.7Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaiabelievers look up to you?

This is a great list to ponder today. As true Believers, we would do well to imitate these very young Christians from Thessalonica. They did not have the benefit of Bibles, books or any other tools to strengthen their faith - even the Internet. They simply had to obey the words of Paul who had briefly visited them a year or two before. It is remarkable that such faith was found in these young Christians!