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1 Thessalonians 2:1-20

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” -1 Thessalonians 2:19

This epistle to the Thessalonians addresses the end times with regard to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus while this fledgling church was going through afflictions, persecutions and tribulations. Apostle Paul ends each of the five chapters by reminding them about the bright hope of the Lord’s return. Paul knew that this understanding was a necessity to help them to stand strong in the faith till the end; so he encourages them by writing that they were his joy/ crown of rejoicing.

The Lord is coming to gather His people to Himself. That is when all our struggles on this earth will cease. We are all looking forward with joy to this day. But will we rejoice on that day or will we stand empty-handed before Him?

Luke 15:5 records what the Lord rejoices in. It says “And when he has found the one lost sheep, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” (paraphrased). Again in Luke 15:7,10 we read, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance..” In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Paul understood the heart of God, hence the ultimate reward for Paul was not power or money or other worldly rewards but the lives of those who were changed by the preaching of the gospel. This was the crown he was aiming for. The same reason Paul writes in Galatians 4:19: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” He encouraged the Thessalonians (as seen in the key verse) of the hope they have in all of them rejoicing together in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Will we also have souls along with whom we can rejoice in His presence is the question…

Jesus spoke to us about the parable of a man that went on a journey who gave his servants each according to his ability, a measure of money to be multiplied while he was away so that he could gather the increase on his return(Matt.25:14-30). Likewise, Christ before His ascension (Matt.28:19&20) entrusted us with the Gospel to increase His flock. We are given a measure of time on this earth to work by sowing the seed and watering it. Have we shared the gospel to the lost or have we hidden it like the lazy and idle servant?

Just think of the joy that will be ours on that day when we are all together with the Lord and we see the people in whom we had sowed the seed of God’s Word and watered it. Paul reiterates this joy in 2 Corinthians 1:14 "as you also have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as you also are ours in the Day of the Lord Jesus." and in Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.”

Brethren, what is our crown of rejoicing? Is it the lives of those we have invested for His Kingdom? Let us together work towards increasing the flock of our Heavenly Father. All we have to do is to boldly preach the Gospel (1Thes.2:2) for it is God who gives the increase (1Cor. 3:7).

Think on it: "We have all eternity to celebrate the victories but only a few hours before sunset to win them." —Amy Carmichael

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