Jul. 19. Encouraging Words to A Persecuted Church

I Thes. 2:1-3:13

As he continued, Paul reminded the Thessalonians of his beaten condition when he had arrived from Philippi and first preached to them. The beating he and Silas had received did not keep them from boldly preaching the gospel to the Thessalonians. They did not claim authority from anyone but God and were as firm as a father, but gentle as a mother in their presentation of it.

Paul pointed out to the Thessalonians that they did not preach for earthly gain, but had worked in order to earn their own support. They had worked equally hard to present God’s plan of salvation to those who were willing to hear it and obey.

Words that Paul and Silas had taught the Thessalonians were not the words of man, but the word of God. Paul complemented them for their determination to obey it even in the face of severe persecution.

The church at Thessalonica was like the churches in Judea who had suffered persecution at the hands of the Jews. Those Jews had killed the Lord and their own prophets and had persecuted the apostles. They had tried, but without success to prevent Paul from preaching to the Gentiles.

Paul expressed his desire to visit the Thessalonians in person to encourage them, and how Satan had prevented this from happening. He said that this would change at the coming of the Lord.

Since Paul had been unable to personally visit the Thessalonians, he had sent Timothy from Athens to learn of their state, encourage and strengthen them. He had feared that the young church probably only six months old had possibly given up their faith because of their persecution. Paul’s fears here illustrate the fact that one can be lost even after becoming a Christian. Note that he had called them the elect.

Paul expressed his joy and comfort at hearing Timothy’s report of their faith and love. A great burden of concern had been lifted from his shoulders. He had received a positive answer to his many prayers on behalf of the Thessalonians.

A brief prayer was written along with Paul’s message to the church. In it, he asked that he would be allowed to come their way. He also prayed that they would continue to increase in love for one another and that they would be blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.