We left the Apostle Paul in Corinth after he had fled persecution in Thessalonica where he had spent just 3 weeks. That was long enough to start a church. As we will see, Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica and Tim came back with a not-so-favorable report.
Apparently, some false teachers had infiltrated the church, once Paul left. They were preaching that Jesus would return really soon — within their lifetimes. Think about that. If you were told that Jesus would come for His church next week — the rapture, what would you do? Would you bother going to work? How about going to that doctor’s appointment? Would you bother taking care of your home?
Well, that’s what happened to the people in Thessalonica. They were thinking that Jesus was coming very soon and they got lazy. They stopped working. Stopped earning money. The poor became poorer and depended more on the generosity of the church. Some even stopped eating and died. And those that were still alive were worried about those who died in Christ. Would they go to heaven? They were confused.
Knowing the Future
Something about humans — we love to see into the future! When I was in high school and college I was into astrology, and I even dabbled a bit with a Ouija Board. Just for fun. I met with fortune tellers. I had no idea that I was playing with matches in a dry haystack. God spared me for a purpose.
What’s cool about biblical prophecy is that it comes from God. The problem is man’s interpretations can be misleading. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to me when I read the Bible. That’s His job.
Living in the End Times
I believe we’re living in the last days. The ones Jesus preached about during Holy Week. They are found in Matthew 24, Luke 17 and 21 and Mark 13. As we study Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, we’ll uncover more details on the Rapture, the Antichrist, and what will happen to all believers — dead and alive.
The Bible tells us to be ready. We can’t wake up each day in our bedrooms saying, “Oh, man! He didn’t come yet!” That’s the wrong attitude. That will lead us into depression.
Paul’s letters will guide us. Let’s dig into the first chapter…
1 Thessalonians Chapter 1
This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
May God give you grace and peace.
The Faith of the Thessalonian Believers
2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 3 As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. 5 For 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 of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. 6 So 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. 7 As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.
8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And 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.1 Thessalonians 1 NLT
In his opening, Paul is praising the faith of Thessalonian church members. They had turned from their pagan lifestyle of worshiping idols — which God hates, by the way — and turned to Jesus, the living and true God, who was raised from the dead. Paul is also affirming that because of Jesus, we believers will be spared the coming judgement. Most importantly, they were spreading the good news in their area.
Seeking the Truth
Verse 5 is important: “…for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true.”
What are you waiting for! Invite Jesus into your heart now!
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!