A Letter to the Believers in Thessalonica
NOVEMBER 6 - Nº 310 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5
When Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth (see #309 - November 5), they brought good news from the cities that Paul had visited on his way through Macedonia. Paul was particularly pleased with the news they brought from Thessalonica. He had only spent three weeks there before he was driven out of town, but the believers in that city had become very dear to him. He was concerned that they would abandon their new faith because of the persecution they were experiencing. So, when he heard that they were doing well and continuing to grow, he was excited and sat down to write them a letter. Paul started the letter by telling the young Thessalonian believers how much he thanked God for them and prayed for them constantly. “Everyone talks about you,” he said, “and mentions how well you treated us, and how quickly you turned from worshiping idols to serve the living and true God.” He mentioned how evident the power of the Holy Spirit was in their lives, and how everyone knew they were eagerly waiting for Jesus to return from heaven to rescue the believers. Paul went on to remind them, “We shared with you honestly and openly. We did not use flattery to try to gain your favor or look for praise to gain status. Like a caring mother we watched over you and loved you. And like a devoted father we encouraged you and helped you learn to walk with God. You accepted the Gospel you heard from us—and now you are suffering because of it.” “Unfortunately, we are separated from you,” Paul continued to write. “We have tried many times come to you, but Satan has not allowed that to happen. Now we can rejoice because the reports Timothy has brought us are filled with good news! You have hung in there and become our hope and joy—and a reason for us to boast when we see Jesus! Timothy has told us of your faith and love and how much you long to see us. We pray every day that we will see you again and be able to teach you more. Meanwhile, keep growing in your love for each other and live holy lives.” Timothy had reported that some of the new believers in Thessalonica were concerned about members who had recently died. They were afraid that the deceased might miss out on going to heaven since they would not be alive when Jesus returned. So, Paul reminded them that Jesus had also died, but God had raised him from the dead. Certainly, God would do the same for them! Paul described death as “falling asleep.” He explained that when Jesus returned, the believers who had already died would be “awakened” by the voice of an archangel and the sound of a trumpet. They would rise first, then the believers who were still alive would catch up to them in the clouds. Together they would meet Jesus and be with him forever! “Of course, we don’t have a schedule for this,” Paul wrote, “so prepare yourselves as if it will happen today!” He told them to encourage each other and to live peacefully; to do what was good for each other and not to seek revenge. He instructed them, “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in every circumstance.” Paul promised the Thessalonian believers that God would remain faithful until the end. With His help, they should live blameless lives until then.
If Jesus came back today, would you be ready? Is there someone you love who would not be ready? Don’t wait until it is too late to share what Jesus did for them on the cross. Let them know how you can spend eternity together in heaven.