Paul Was Not a “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” Kind of Guy

Communication in the first century was not easy.  There was no internet, no email, not even snail mail.  Paper was non-existent.  Any writing materials were scarce and expensive.  Travel from place to place was difficult and often dangerous; mostly done by foot.  Despite this, we see repeatedly that Paul desired to communicate with the places and people to whom he had ministered.  We read this in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5: “Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the […]

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Paul’s Glory and Joy

Before I begin this morning I want to let you know that I will be in the Dominican Republic from February 8-17th.  I am going to attempt to continue to write a devotional each day and I expect to have good internet service but if the schedule of the trip or the internet doesn’t allow me to be consistent each day, please know why. We often see what was really important to the apostle Paul.  Paul wasn’t concerned about money or fame.  Paul was singularly focused on making disciples.   Here is what he writes as he closes out this section […]

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We’re Not All on the Same Side

I’ve mentioned before that Paul was run out of Thessalonica by unbelieving Jews in that city. It is pretty clear that these same people persecuted the church that was begun in Thessalonica.  The Thessalonian believers endured a large amount of persecution.  Paul makes mention of this in verses 14-16 of chapter 2:  “14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and […]

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The Word that Works

Paul begins a paragraph which speaks to the conversion of the Thessalonians and the “agent” of change is said to be the word of God.  Here is verse 13: “13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”   Do you understand that the word of God “works” in you?  The word of God is used by the Spirit of God to conform you to the image of […]

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When Worthiness Matters

I’ve not used this sentence in my life but I’ve certainly heard it on TV shows:  “Stop acting that way.  You are a (fill in the blank with a last name) and the (same last name) family doesn’t act that way.”  Maybe you’ve heard that same thing or even had it said about you or said it to someone else.  The idea is that a person should behave in a way that is worthy of their family name. Sometimes the same idea is used for an appointed or elected position.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is very clear that we don’t […]

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Caring Conduct

Let’s begin with Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians 2:6-11: “6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly […]

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The Gospel Doesn’t Need Our “Tricks”

The church has fallen into times of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that have attempted to “trick” people into believing it…or at least making it look like they believe it.  The temptation to produce “numbers” of salvations during Bible schools, revival meetings, mission trips, etc…have led to some pretty shady ways of presenting the gospel and calling for decisions.  Just think about this popular phrase you might hear at the end of some church services:  “With every head bowed and every eye closed, no one looking around, if you want to receive Jesus Christ as Savior look […]

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Does Conflict Keep You Quiet?

I mentioned before that Paul was run out of Thessalonica after what appears to be a short time.   What I didn’t mention is that before Paul arrived at Thessalonica he was run out of the city of Philippi.  Being run out of town was par for the course for the apostle Paul.  But it didn’t stop him.  Here is what he writes as chapter 2 begins:  “For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak […]

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Have You Been Delivered from Wrath?

Unfortunately it has become fashionable in church circles today, often in what some call the “progressive”(though I call it “regressive”) element of the church, to move away from the idea of  wrath and judgment; whether it be the wrath of God or the judgment of others.  I wonder if those people have ever read 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10?  As Paul concludes this section on the good example of the Thessalonians Paul writes this: ”9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for […]

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The Power of Example

I think we all know that our example is a powerful thing…the way that we live our lives speaks as loud or louder than our words.  Apparently the Thessalonians were a good example of the gospel of Christ. Here is what Paul writes concerning them in verses 6-8:  “6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your […]

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