Thursday in the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 1:1-3

The Power of the Gospel

We now turn to Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica.  We learn that Paul traveled west from Philippi to that city and planted this church there from Acts 17:1-10.  It appears that though his time in Thessalonica was brief, reasoning in the synagogue for only three Sabbath days, many Jews were persuaded along with “a great many devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.”  However, it wasn’t long before some Jews out of jealousy created an uproar among the people, and the believers there immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night for their safety.  I note two things from this: first, the passage tells us that Paul “reasoned” from the Scriptures (and likewise in Berea, 17:10-11).  The Bible is not a book of religious lore and spiritual fluff but one of reasonable assertions and historical accounts written under the inspiration of the Spirit of the Second Person of our Triune God who is called, “the Word,” in Greek, “logos” (λογος), from which we derive the word, “logic.”  And second, that God’s Spirit does not move according to a clock or calendar.  In some cases, it takes seven years to see someone come to saving faith, as with William Carey in India; here, the Spirit took only a few weeks.  Our Lord said, “The wind blows where it wishes”; such is the way of the Spirit (John 3:8). 

So preach Paul did and believers were called out of this world into the Kingdom in Thessalonica and were gathered together into an infant church.  Paul was then run out of Berea and then scorned in Athens before winding up in Corinth (Acts 17:10-18:5).  Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia perhaps with good news that the brethren in Thessalonica were well.  So Paul dashed off this joyous letter grateful that God had preserved them from the hatred of their compatriots and for the purpose of encouraging them and filling in some gaps in their understanding of the gospel which he might not have had time enough while there to teach fully, for instance the relationship of the Second Coming with the resurrection (Leon Morris, NICNT, 1-11).

With the short space I have left, I refer to 1:3 where Paul remembers their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  These believers were not hearers only but doers of the word (James 1:22).  Faith expresses itself through love, and hope expresses itself as we “wait for his Son from heaven” (1:10).  Persecuted though these Thessalonians were, they blessed those who cursed them through the name of the one Paul preached to them and in whom they believed.  Three Sabbaths is plenty of time for God to recreate a new people after His Son.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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