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Friday, 28 September 2018

1 Thessalonians 1 : 1-10

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 … who believe. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)

Writing to the young church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul himself had established, Paul’s heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving for the brethren who were excelling in their character and conduct, living holy lives united in Christ. Paul emphasizes unique traits the church at Thessalonica modelled, that we as the corporate Body of Christ and as disciples can follow. 

Receptive to the Gospel (1Thess 1:6): The Thessalonians had received the ‘Good News’  ministered to them in faith and joy (Acts 17:2-3). Despite the persecution this infant church faced, they received the Word and became imitators of Christ. The Good News is that Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, came to earth as man, took the punishment  for our sins – suffered and died on the cross and rose again the third day. He is seated with the Father in heaven interceding for us and will return soon to gather all believers to Himself. All who by faith confess that Lord Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection are redeemed and reinstated to God. Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). With a receptive heart, dear child, receive the Gospel into your life and be saved!

Obedient to the Call (1Thess 1: 9): When the Gospel message is received with the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit, lives are transformed. The changed lives of the Thessalonians was evident for all to see in that they repented of former ways of life, left their idols to lead a holy life in obedience to Christ. Our genuine conversion is evidenced by our changed character and conduct. Our inner transformation is reflected in our outward behavior. 
Faith resulting in works (1Thess 1:3): ‘Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’ (James 2:14-17). The genuine faith and true repentance of the brethren at Thessalonica resulted in good works. Their actions were a visible product of their faith in God. Our lives and actions set in holiness and humility will demonstrate our allegiance to Christ and obedience to God. 

Love that Labors (1Thess 1:3): Paul commends the church for their ‘labor of love’. Only when we experience the agape love of God, can our labour be joyful. When we help the needy or encourage and build up the broken hearted, may it overflow from the love of God that has been poured into our lives. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name….” (Heb. 6:10)

Hope that Endures (1Thess 1:3): The church in Thessalonica faced severe persecution, but they persisted in patient hope, expectantly awaiting the Lord’s second coming. Despite the reproach and trials the world imposes on a believer, our hope should be anchored in Christ alone. The hope of being united with our Lord, enables us to endure all the present afflictions. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles. (2 Cor. 4:17)

Assurance of Election (1Thess 1:4): Having received the gospel message with the power of the Holy Spirit, the brethren were assured of their election by God and living holy and blameless lives in accordance to God’s will. If you have truly believed in Jesus Christ and live a life of obedience to God, you can be assured of your election.   God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Witnessing (1Thess 1:7-8): The transformed lives of the brethren at Thessalonica made such an impact that they became examples to believers in Macedonia, Achaia and further. Our lives and message should proclaim Christ to a world that is yet in darkness and under the sway of the evil one. As the coming of the Lord is imminent, we ought to labour with much urgency in witnessing the Lord.

Let us earnestly strive to be exemplary models of Christ, rooted in faith, love and hope, drawing many to the Lord.

To Pray: And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to

one another and to all, just as we do to you,  

so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness

before our God and Father at the coming of our

Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

(1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

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