And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit….”
1 Thessalonians 1:6
The vision was still vivid in his mind’s eye. A man standing with the sea behind him, beckoning to him.
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
And so Paul, Silas and Timothy had set sail from Troas and headed west.
They had met Lydia in the city of Philippi.
They had been jailed soon after for exercising a demon from a slave girl.
They then were miraculously released from jail and shared the Gospel with their jailer.
They headed to Berea and did the same. But Paul continued on his own to Athens.
Timothy headed back to Thessalonica and the new Christian church there. He caught up with Paul in Athens and gave him a report.
Paul responded to this report by writing a letter to the church back in Thessalonica.
We know this letter today as 1 Thessalonians.
This letter is bursting with encouragement for us as much as it was for the 1st Century Thessalonians!
They heard the Gospel from Paul. They then put that Gospel into practice.
Paul says they “imitated” him and Silas and Timothy.
They pray. They display the power of the Holy Spirit, which is showing love for all people.
Love that was first displayed by Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection to save all sinners.
They also were persecuted for their faith. Paul says that they “received the word in much affliction.”
But for someone who knows the love of Christ in their heart and soul, persecution and affliction do not matter!
They still love their fellow townsmen. They still pray for them. They live the new life they have in Christ Jesus.
This life isn’t easy or soft. It is a hard life because the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature declare unrestricted warfare on us when the Holy Spirit converts us to faith in Jesus Christ!
But Christ is stronger than all three combined! And victory is ours through Jesus Christ!
As Paul encourages the Thessalonians, so we are encouraged to be imitators of Christ and his faithful followers.
We love one another and never shy away from proclaiming the love of Christ to the people around us.
When you do this, don’t be surprised that it makes the news!
Paul lets the Thessalonians know that news of their love and life has spread throughout Greece!
This will be used by the Holy Spirit to bring more people to us to love and pray for and share the Gospel with!
©2017 True Men Ministries