632.) 1 Thessalonians 5

October 4, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5 (English Standard Version)

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 the apostle Paul is discussing the theological doctrine of eschatology, the doctrine of last things.  This all centers around the phrase, “The day of the Lord,” found in verse 2.  So we must have an understanding of the biblical meaning of the phrase, “the day of the Lord.”  Here we get into deep and dearly held beliefs about the end times — churches have split over these things! — none of which I am going to address in this blog.  All I will say to you, readers, is that I think “the day of the Lord” is a period of time in which many major events are going to take place — the second coming of Christ, for example, and the battle of Armageddon, the final defeat of Satan, the judgment at the great white throne, the establishing of a new heaven and new earth.  Paul tells us to be alert, to be prepared, and to be comforted; the Lord’s promise is sure!

The Day of the Lord

1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Romans 14:8 (New International Version)

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

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Music:

From Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, “In Paradisum.”  Composed in 1888, and sung here by La Chapelle Royale under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.
May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.

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11Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Final Instructions and Benediction

12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.  Be at peace among yourselves.

14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

19 Do not quench the Spirit.

Scripture also tells us not to resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:21),
not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30),
and not to insult the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29).

20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good.

22Abstain from every form of evil.

23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

There is a place where thou canst touch the eyes
Of blinded men to instant, perfect sight;
There is a place where thou canst say, “Arise”
To dying captives, bound in chains of night;
There is a place where thou canst reach the store
Of hoarded gold and free it for the Lord;
There is a place–upon some distant shore–
Where thou canst send the worker and the Word.
Where is that secret place–dost thou ask, “Where?”
O soul, it is the secret place of prayer!

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26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Like a thief in the night.     http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_fgxC7AODmrc/SucP70CqoQI/AAAAAAAAAgM/7SbZlPPSPzk/s400/Like+a+Thief+in+the+Night_T_NV.jpg
be joyful always . . .   http://api.ning.com/files/LoXmgyY-lGyXpMbRKXbjEmF1bwfKafF1lWQtaxiUaMKG2vs2PLRIWBht3oz08ctp-L7XqRJvqNsTyZ1JpwVt91zR*UBlB70g/1Thessalonians5_18.jpg
pray.     http://alittlebitdifferent.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/pray.jpg
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631.) 1 Thessalonians 4

October 3, 2011

"And the dead in Christ (including my mother) will rise first." v. 16

1 Thessalonians 4 (English Standard Version)

A Life Pleasing to God

1Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

1 Thessalonians 4:3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (Greek hagiasmos, holiness)

Way’s translation:  God’s purpose, in fact, is this, that yours be a consecrated life.

It is the common things in life — not, as we sometimes think, the exceptional things — that offer us greatest opportunity to live a consecrated life.  Zechariah foresaw the day when our dear Lord is satisfied in His people and rejoices over them, and he said:  In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.  Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 14:20-21).

The great thing is to live in the spirit of “holiness unto the Lord” in all our common things.  Is all holy in my heart?  Is all that issues forth in words and deeds stamped with the hallmark of holiness?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts.  Lead me, even me, in the way of holiness, that my life today may truly be a consecrated life.

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that you abstain from sexual immorality;

We live differently than the world when we abstain from sexual immorality. The ancient Greek word translated sexual immorality (porneia) is a broad word, referring to any sexual relationship outside of the marriage covenant.

The older King James Version translates sexual immorality as fornication. “Fornication is used here in its comprehensive meaning to denote every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” (Hiebert)

The broad nature of the word porneia shows that it isn’t enough to just say that you have not had sexual intercourse with someone who is not your spouse. All sexual behavior outside of the marriage covenant is sin.

God grants great sexual liberty in the marriage relationship (Hebrews 13:4). But Satan’s not-very-subtle strategy is often to do all he can to encourage sex outside of marriage and to discourage sex in marriage.

–David Guzik

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4that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

A marked feature of life in the first century Roman Empire, and more particularly in Greece, was the tendency to sexual license.  The ancient writer Demosthenes expressed the generally amoral view of sex in the ancient Roman Empire: “We keep prostitutes for pleasure; we keep mistresses for the day to day needs of the body; we keep wives for the faithful guardianship of our homes.”

6that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Romans 14:17 (Good News Translation)

For God’s Kingdom is . . . the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.

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9Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.  But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

“To dwell above with saints I love,
To me that will be glory.
To dwell below with saints I know . . .
Well, that’s another story!”

11and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The Coming of the Lord

President Eisenhower was asked, “How do you like growing old?”  He replied, “I prefer it to the alternative.”  But the alternative did catch up with him.  And it is going to catch up with each of us unless the Lord returns first.  Botht the Scripture and the experience of man document the fact that “it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Since this is true, every intelligent person should be vitally interested in the question, “What about the future of the dead?”  In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11 Paul addresses himself to answering this for us.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

 13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Dr. Alexander MacLaren, the famous Bible expositor, points out that sleep has two connotations in the Scripture.  First, it has the connotation of rest, and second, the connotation of a glorious awakening.   Early Christians began to call their burial places “cemeteries,” which means, “dormitories” or “sleeping places.”  Significantly, while Paul describes the Christian dead as sleeping, he nowhere uses that expression of Christ.  On the contrary, Jesus is always said to have died.  The stark truth of that statement puts the miracle of the resurrection into perspective:  only because Christ has died can we “sleep.”

15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.

I love how J.B. Phillips translates this verse:

One word of command, one shout from the archangel, one blast from the trumpet of God and the Lord himself will come down from Heaven!

And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Queen Victoria’s chaplain preached a moving sermon about Jesus’ second coming.  He noticed tears in her eyes.  She said to him, “I was thrilled by your message.  But I was weeping because I feared I might not live until my Lord comes.”

The chaplain comforted her with the promise of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  When he finished, she explained, “I want to live until He comes in order that I may take the crown of England from my head and place it at his feet, for He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords.”

–quoted in Growing Into your Crown, by Randall Earl Denny

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Music:

“One day He’s coming — O Glorious Day!”  Updated by Casting Crowns.  I learned the chorus to this hymn when I was a child and I cannot tell you how many times I have sung it to myself, with much joy, through the years!

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
consecration.   http://barefootrunner.org/reflections/consecration_120609.jpg
Why bother with sexual purity.    http://cdn.theresurgence.com/files/2011/06/17/20110617_why-bother-with-sexual-purity_medium_img.jpg
righteousness, peace, joy.   http://www.12accede.org/accede_right-peace-joy_2.gif
1 Thessalonians 4:16.    http://www.gracemedia.co.za/downloads/back011.jpg
Queen Victoria.  http://blog.londonconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/425px-Queen_Victoria_by_Bassano.jpg

630.) 1 Thessalonians 3

September 30, 2011

I never promised you a rose garden.

1 Thessalonians 3 (English Standard Version)

Paul loved the Thessalonian Christians.  After all, he had been instrumental in leading most of them to Christ.  He and Silas and Timothy had organized them into a church.  They were Paul’s spiritual children.  Naturally he was concerned about their well-being.

While he was away from them he began to think about them.  He decided that he just had to know their true condition, so he deputized Timothy to visit Thessalonica and learn firsthand what their situation was.  He also wanted him to encourage the Thessalonian Christians to remain faithful in serving the Master.

When Timothy returned with the word that they were remaining firm, that they were faithful, and that they wanted a reunion with him, Paul was filled with happiness.  He realized that his labor among them had not been in vain, that it had paid dividends the value of which only eternity would reveal.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

1 Thessalonians 3:3 — That none of you might be unnerved by your present trials: for you yourselves knows that they are our appointed lot.

Have you difficulties?  They are our appointed lot.  Have you trials?  They are our appointed lot.

These five words were written to people who might any day find themselves in prison, tortured, lonely, oppressed.  Here if we have to have a tooth out, we have an injection.  There was no injection for the Christians of Thessalonica.  Let us not forget that when we are tempted to fuss over trifles, and call things trials which are mere nothings.

Still, there are trials sometimes, and they may look very big.  But they are our appointed lot — we were never promised ease.  The early Christians were not taught to expect it.  Don’t let us slip into the expectation of the easy.  It isn’t our appointed lot.

But for us there is always another word (2 Corinthians 12:9):  My grace is sufficient for thee.

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4For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (New International Version)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

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Timothy’s Encouraging Report

6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

11Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

A little boy was once asked what a saint was.  Thinking about the stained glass windows in his church, he replied, “A saint is someone the light shines through.”

Matthew 5:16 (New International Version)

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

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Music:

“Hear the Call of the Kingdom” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  I do like this song!

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Rose garden.  http://soochasfineart.com/graphic%20redo/GARDENS%20convert1/TheRoseGarden.jpg
big girl panties.    http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/b/0/0/5e/0/AAAAC7rzyhsAAAAAAF4L5g.jpg?v=1248246390000
roaring lion.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_RxNIzzbK15o/TIcqTBPbmaI/AAAAAAAAA0g/euudBHVcmq0/s1600/roaring-lion.jpg
stained glass window.    http://www.religiousintelligence.org/churchnewspaper/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/stained_glass_window470_470x353.jpg

629.) 1 Thessalonians 2

September 29, 2011

1 Thessalonians 2 (English Standard Version)

Criticism is a fact of life with which every Christian has to contend.  We are never far from it.  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the only perfect person who ever lived, continually faced verbal barrages which ultimately led to his crucifixion.  God’s choicest servants have through the years been objects of ridicule and slander.  The apostle Paul was no exception.  In chapter 2 he answers several implied criticisms leveled at him by the enemies of Christ.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians

1For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.

Our message and our time among you was not worthless or irrelevant.

2But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,

We were not trying to spread crazy talk, corrupt you, lie to you, or lead you astray.

4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

We were not trying to get ahead in this world.

5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

We were not trying to be the big cheese and lord it over you.

8So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

We were not trying to get rich at your expense.

10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11For you know how, like a father with his children, 12we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

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Music:

“how like a father with his children . . “

“I want to be just like you”  by Phillips, Craig and Dean.

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13And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

We did encourage you to be transformed by Christ!

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (New International Version)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

14For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind

We did warn you that you would face opposition as you follow the Lord Jesus!

John 16:33 (New Living Translation)

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!

Paul’s Longing to See Them Again

17But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy.

We did invest our lives in you, for the sake of God’s eternal kingdom!

Proverbs 11:30 (King James Version)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
and he that winneth souls is wise.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Actions speak louder . . .    http://zachkvet.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/actions-words-1.png

628.) 1 Thessalonians 1

September 28, 2011

Ruins of the ancient marketplace (agora) of Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 1 (English Standard Version)

(To subscribers who have trouble getting the links to work or who do not see the pictures, here is a suggestion.  When you open your new email of DWELLING, click on the top line, which is the number and text of the day’s posting — today’s is  628.) 1 Thessalonians 1.  It will take you to the DWELLING site.  You will find the page looks better, all the links work, and you can make and read comments!)

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The story of Paul’s visit to Thessalonica is recorded in Acts 17:1-10 (DWELLINGintheWord #452).  Even though his stay there was probably no more than three to four weeks (see Acts 17:2), his efforts were crowned with success.  Many people turned to Christ as Saviour and Lord; the Thessalonican Church was organized and despite the opposition from the pagan culture around them, the members of this church continued the ministry for the Saviour in the city.  Both 1 and 2 Thessalonians were addressed to them.

Naturally Paul was concerned about the well-being of this infant church.  After leaving the area, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to investigate what was taking place there.  The news that Timothy brought back was most encouraging and heart warming.  Paul’s response was to write the church a letter of encouragement and praise.

But along with the encouraging news there were some disturbing facts brought to light.  So along with Paul’s praise he answered questions which were disturbing them and admonished them to correct the evil trends which were apparently developing.

–Harold L. Fickett, Jr.

Greeting

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

They were a faithful and loving and hopeful church!

1 Corinthians 13:13 (New International Version)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Genuine love is so contrary to human nature that its presence bears witness to an extraordinary power.

–John Piper

 

4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord,

They were an imitating church!

1 Peter 2:21 (New International Version)

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Martin Luther asked:  “If Christ wore a crown of thorns, why should His followers expect only a crown of roses?”

for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

They were a joyful church!

Romans 14:17 (Good News Translation)

For God’s Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of the righteousness, peace, and joy which the Holy Spirit gives.

A poster that was popular during my college days:  Let nothing so fill you with sorrow that you forget the joy of Christ risen!

7so that you became an example to all the believers

They were an exemplary church!

Titus 2:7 (New International Version)

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

A little boy’s over-protective mother went with him on the first day of school, and she insisted that she speak with her little boy’s teacher before she left.  His mother told the teacher that if her son misbehaved, the teacher should punish the boy next to him.  The teacher asked why.  And the mother replied, “My little boy learns by example.

in Macedonia and in Achaia.

Thessalonica (modern Thessaloniki, also called Salonika) is located about 190 mi. north of Athens.  In the days of the apostle Paul it was the capital of the province of Macedonia and was a “free city.”  Today Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece (750,000).  Most of the remains from the New Testament era are either destroyed or covered over by the modern city.  However, recent excavations in the center of the city have revealed the remains of an ancient forum (agora).

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8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.

They were an evangelizing church!

Acts 1:8 (New Living Translation)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.

— Count Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf (founder of Daily Texts in 1731)

9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you,

They were a welcoming church!

Romans 12:13 (New International Version)

Practice hospitality.

Here are some examples:

  • Take food to someone you don’t know.
  • Invite someone to our home that you don’t know very well — maybe someone who just moved to town, your neighborhood, or who may be new to the church.
  • Visit the hospital or nursing home and talk to patients you don’t know.
  • Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant.
  • Help provide food or clothing for the homeless.

and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

They were a waiting church!

Acts 1:10-11 (New Living Translation)

As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

The ancient confession of faith:  Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

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Music:

As I read the compliments Paul bestows on the church at Thessalonica, I wonder how well I am doing in those very departments.  How faithful, hopeful, and loving am I — to my family, to strangers, to those who annoy me?  How diligently do I imitate Christ — or do I just fall back on the same old tired excuses for my poor witness?  How joyful am I — especially when my circumstances are not what I wish they were?  Am I asking the Lord to put people in my path so I can tell them about him and his wonderful salvation?  Is my house an open house to those who need help or a hot meal?  Am I living in expectation that “Christ will come again”?

Help me, Lord, to live for you in every detail of my life!

“I Offer My Life” by Don Moen.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
agora of ancient Thessalonica.   http://justinimel.com/1thessalonians/800px-Thessaloniki-Ancient_Agora.jpg
thumbs up.   http://www.openclipart.org/image/250px/svg_to_png/skotan_Thumbs_up_smiley.png
ap showing Thessalonica.    http://holylandarchive.com/section_images/283_ThessalonicaMap4.jpg