IT HAD BEEN A LITTLE WHILE SINCE I READ PAUL’S LETTER CALLED 1 THESSALONIANS; SO I SAT DOWN TO READ IT. OH WOW….THE FIRST 3 CHAPTERS HIT ME RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES. THOSE CHAPTERS ARE A LOVE LETTER BETWEEN GOD’S PEOPLE OF MACEDONIA AND ACHAIA AND PAUL, SILAS, AND TIMOTHY. IT IS THE INSPIRING ACCOUNT OF THE GOSPEL BEING TAUGHT TO THEM, THEY RECEIVING IT AS THE WORD OF GOD, AND REMAINING FAITHFUL THROUGH TIMES OF TROUBLES. IT IS ABOUT HOW THE APOSTLES LOVED THEM WITH TRUE DEEP GODLY LOVE, AND HOW THEY WORKED [SECULARLY AND SPIRITUALLY] AMONG THEM TO BRING THEM THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
AS YOU READ THIS, GO SLOWLY, LET THE WORDS SINK DEEP WITHIN YOU; BE INSPIRED BY IT ALL, FOR IT IS INDEED VERY HEART-FELT AND INSPIRING - Keith Hunt
THE BEAUTIFUL RESULTS OF THE WORK OF GOD
FROM THE NEW LIVING TRANSLATION
This letter is from Paul, Silas,* and Timothy. It is written to the church in Thessalonica, you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
May his grace and peace be yours.
2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.3 As we talk to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and your continual anticipation of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4We know that God loves you, dear brothers and sisters, and that he chose you to be his own people. 5For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know that the way we lived among you was further proof of the truth of our message. 6So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. 7As a result, you yourselves became an example to all the Christians in Greece.* 8And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Greece, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it, 9for they themselves keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the true and living God. 10And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
Paul Remembers His Visit
You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, even though we were surrounded by many who opposed us. 3So you can see that we were not preaching with any deceit or impure purposes or trickery.
4 For we speak as messengers who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts. 5Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money! 6As for praise, we have never asked for it from you or anyone else. 7As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but we were as gentle among you as a mother* feeding and caring for her own children. 8We loved
1:1 Greek Silvanus. 1:7 Greek Macedonia and Achaia, the northern and southern regions of Greece; also in 1:8. 2:7 Some manuscripts read we were as infants among you; we were as a mother.
you so much that we gave you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too.
9 Don't you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that our expenses would not be a burden to anyone there as we preached God's Good News among you. 10You yourselves are our witnesses—and so is God— that we were pure and honest and faultless toward all of you believers. 11And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you into his Kingdom to share his glory.
13And we will never stop thanking God that when we preached his message to you, you didn't think of the words we spoke as being just our own. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it was. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
14And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God's churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews.
[15For some of the Jews had killed their own prophets, and some even killed the Lord Jesus. Now they have persecuted us and driven us out. They displease God and oppose everyone 16by trying to keep us from preaching the Good News to the Gentiles, for fear some might be saved. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last.]
Timothy's Good Report about the Church
17Dear friends,* after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. 18We wanted very much to come, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but
2:17 Greek Brothers. 3:7 Greek brothers.
Satan prevented us. 19After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what is our proud reward and crown? It is you! Yes, you will bring us much joy as we stand together before our Lord Jesus when he comes back again. 20For you are our pride and joy.
Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided that I should stay alone in Athens, 2and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our co-worker for God and our brother in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, 3and to keep you from becoming disturbed by the troubles you were going through. But, of course, you know that such troubles are going to happen to us Christians. 4Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know.
5That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the Tempter had gotten the best of you and that all our work had been useless. 6Now Timothy has just returned, bringing the good news that your faith and love are as strong as ever. He reports that you remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us just as much as we want to see you. 7 So we have been greatly comforted, dear friends,* in all of our own crushing troubles and suffering, because you have remained strong in your faith. 8It gives us new life, knowing you remain strong in the Lord.
9 How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy in the presence of God. 10Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill up anything that may still be missing in your faith.
11 May God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus make it possible for us to come to you very soon. 12And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you. 13As a result, Christ will make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy when you stand before God our Father on that day when our Lord Jesus comes with all those who belong to him.