The Lord has prepared me to share on the journey of Christians through the understandings of the Apostle Paul from letters he wrote to the Thessalonians church. Since the church is made up of people, the application of these instructions and revelations must be a personal one. In these letters, we have certain things which display the character of these believers.
A Real Change
The believers in this Church were born again and had a change of heart. This is the first step in the Christian journey. This is where everything starts in the life of a believer.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.
This depicts the reason and purpose of their confidence in Christ. A denial of their false gods and a deep acceptance the true and living God. This Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, has liberated His Church from the wrath to come. God raised Him from the dead, and He has now become their life and position in heavenly places.
When the Lord changed my heart by His grace, a deep cleansing process began in my life. To some, the change is radical and instant, and to others, it may be a process of purification and cleansing. I had to renew my mind daily to understand the change that had taken effect in my life. The turn to the Lord meant a thorough repentance – a change in mindset, a change in kingdom, and a death to Adam.
An Impacting Example
These believers became an impacting example to all in their testimony and life. They declared the word of the Lord with the power and life of the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 1:7-8
As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, so that we do not need to say anything.
Their testimony of faith was enough evidence that they had turned unto the true and living God. These are traits of a genuine conversion to Christ. It also shows us the true faith of an assembly in its source and also the nature of the church in its infancy, moving on in her journey with broad impact, widespread testimony and powerful expressions of the spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
Now on the topic of brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.
And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters in all of Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more.
2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith flourishes more and more and the love of each one of you all for one another is ever greater.
The verses above speak for themselves. There was a vibrant growing love for each other and their Lord. God desired that the Church from her inception was to never forget her first love. His Church must not forget her initial passion and zeal for the Lord, her one and only love.
Christ wants His people to be identified by these qualities, and to bear true fruit. He desires an intense commitment to the spiritual concerns of one another. This is very simple but completely essential in our journey.
Persecutions and the Enemy
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
For you became imitators, brothers and sisters, of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, because you too suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they in fact did from the Jews,
who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us severely. They are displeasing to God and are opposed to all people,
because they hinder us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they constantly fill up their measure of sins, but wrath has come upon them completely.
The enemy of the Cross who was displeasing to God were the Jews of that world. These were the religious folk. The ones seated on Moses’ seat. Paul emphasises the fact that they killed the Lord Jesus, and His prophets and were now persecuting the church. He urges the faithful saints to be walking in truth without fear in spite of the persecution they face daily. This is the spirit of the world empowered by the spirit of religion.
Union with Christ
What pleases the Lord may usually become a challenge for us to do. Are we being built on this foundation? So be it, and if it is not so, may we be disciplined in Him that we may be revived with His life, energy and love.
It is the ‘abiding’ in the Word which is the secret place of the highest. Christ is the “Gate” through which we enter, and He is the “Path” on which we continue. This is the union with Christ.