“Thessalonica, Macedonia’s largest and most important city, was a wealthy commercial center at the intersection of major transportation routes. Religiously, the traditional Greek cults and philosophies and various Egyptian and mystery religions were well represented, and there was Jewish community and synagogue, in the city. In addition, city leaders fostered local devotion to the imperial cult in order to solidify good relations with Rome and to the local Cabirus cult to foster civic unity. To attack either cult was virtually to attack the city itself. In such an environment, preaching the gospel (which proclaimed allegiance to Jesus as Lord and King) was tantamount to treason. Together, the two letters suggest that one of Paul’s major challenges was resocialization—helping new believers to learn, understand, and live by the very different social and ethical code of early Christianity.” (HCSB)

1 Th 1:5 and 2:4: “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts.” The truth is sometimes not always easy to hear or speak for that matter. We naturally want people to like us so we both keep quiet on questionable or even forbidden acts and follow the flow of others. We are given guidance in the following verses of 1 Th 2:7, 11-12: “Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” You can close your eyes to things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to things you don’t want to feel.

1 Th 3:7-8, 12-13: “Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your faith. For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord. And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.” As long as we continue growing and standing firm in our faith in the Lord, we will be able to be encouraged and give confidence to others through any malice that turns up in life.

1 Th 4:3-5: “For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, so that each of you knows how to possess his own container in sanctification and honor, not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God.” We have been commanded to love one another as well as what we find in 1 Th 4:11-12: “to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.”

1 Th 4:16-18: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive 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. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” This is part of the hope all believers in Christ have. One day, we will be reunited with our loved ones who have passed away. One day, we will live forever in God’s glory with Jesus Christ. The assurance of this is only found through the sovereignty of Christ. Because of this assurance, we are considered to be light of the world. We are instructed in 1 Th 5:4-5, 11: “But you, brothers, are not in the dark, so that this day would overtake you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We’re not of the night or of darkness. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.”

1 Th 5:14-22: “And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are lazy, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil.” Here we discover that boredom should not be in a Christian’s dictionary. There is always something to be done. When in doubt, pray. 1 Th 5:23-24: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

2 Th 1:4-8: “Therefore we ourselves boast about you among God’s churches—about your endurance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you endure. It is clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels.” Whenever a trial comes our way, it is important to hold on to God’s promises, including the fact that He will provide us with rest. I recently came across the following quote from an unknown author: “Someday everything will all make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.”

2 Th 2:15-17: “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, either by our message or by our letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.” We find more support in 2 Th 3:3, 5: “But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one. May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.”

2 Th 3:13-15: “Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. Yet don’t treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” Essentially, hell is separation from God’s presence. For those who refuse God’s grace and influence in their lives, He gives them what they want—no experience of God. Without experiencing God, a person will not fully appreciate His attributes such as love, joy, and peace. As Christians, it is our duty to show other believers as well as non-believers God in us so that any wrong that is currently being done will be corrected.

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