BEING AN EXAMPLE
Friday, 3 January 2020
1 Thessalonians 1 : 1-10
“…so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” –1Thessalonians 1:7
Thessalonica was one of the first cities to be evangelized by Paul and Silas when they landed on the continent of Europe. Later, concerned about the welfare of the Thessalonian converts, Paul sent his emissary Timothy back to Thessalonica to see how the believers were doing, who brought a good report of the Thessalonians even under persecution. The first Epistle to Thessalonians was written by Paul to give answers to the questions of the young church. The book also gives an intimate introduction of how Paul mentored young believers – his teaching for young believers was rich in doctrine and application, accurately describing salvation in its full dimensions. [NKJV Study Bible]
The key verse gives an evaluation of the current status of the new church – they became examples!! Going through our reading gives us a few insights into their beginning, which resulted in their growth! The planting of the church at Thessalonica is given in Acts 17:1-9. Paul went into their synagogue and ‘for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”’ (Acts 17:2-3) It is written there that a few the listeners were persuaded and a great multitude of devout Greeks joined Paul and Silas.
It is very important to note that the church was planted when the pure gospel and the doctrine of Christ was planted in the hearts of people. The word of God which is alive and active did its work!! As Paul explains in verse 5: “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” The first thing to note is that the preacher showed integrity and he spoke the word with full conviction. Naturally that was accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit. We see an immediate replica of this in the new believers! They became examples (1Thes.1:7), and “the word of God sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia (part of Greece), but also in every place your faith had gone forth..” 1 Thes.1:8
What a testimony!! When we look into Acts 17:5-9 it describes the commotion and the persecution that followed the preaching of the word in Thessalonica. 1Thes.1:6: "You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with joy of the Holy Spirit...” Such was the fire in them that even the persecution at that time could not quench that fire!!
Fire kindles fire!! Here is Paul and his team full of the power of the Holy Spirit ministering to people and they saw the dedication and the character and experienced the power of the Spirit. The word preached by them was surely carried by the Spirit of God and it penetrated the minds of the people, demolishing the strongholds in their minds and convicting and convincing them about the deity of Christ and His saving power!! We need to be such ministers of the gospel that the new believers must be able to imitate us!
To seasoned Christians, I would like to ask this question: Can our Lord Jesus count you as a minister of integrity? To the new believers: Have you received the gospel “with the joy of the Holy Spirit”(1:6), so that you will produce lasting fruit?
Food for thought:
“To call yourself a child of God is one thing. To be called a child of God by those who watch your life is another thing altogether.”
– Max Lucado
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