Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica, encouraging them in their faith and walking in holiness.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. 11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Which words speak to you in this passage? May be you caught the words such as joy, prayer, faith, presence of God, love, strengthen your hearts and holy in the presence of God.
Apostle Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians and also the 2 Thessalonians to the Christians at the church at Thessalonica. Paul established this church during his second missionary journey (about AD 51).
In Acts, Luke mentioned how Paul and Silas came to Thessalonica, and founded the church. They led to the Thessalonians’ conversion to Christ (Acts 17:1-15). Thessalonica is a city that still exists today but it is now called Thessaloniki. It was one of the very few cities that survived from the New Testament era. Today, it is still an important industrial and commercial city in the modern day Greece.
Paul wrote this letter to encourage these young Christians to reassure them of God’s love for them. In this letter, Paul thanked God for their strong faith and their good reputations (1:1-10). Paul mentioned that it was him and his companions who brought the Gospel to them (2:1-12) and they were responsive to the Gospel (2:13-16).Paul longed to see them again (2:17-20). Since he was not able to see them that soon, he had sent Timothy to encourage them in their faith (3:1-13).
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul talked about a few things, about our conduct and the life we have as:
- Live holy lives by avoiding sexual immorality (4:1-8)
- Love each other (4:9-10)
- Live as good citizens in this world (4:11,12)
- Comfort of the hope we have in Christ (4:13-18)
- New life in Christ (5:1-11)
1 Thessalonians was also a letter that talked about the second coming of Jesus. We had to prepare for the second coming: warn the idle (5:14), encourage the timid (5:14), be patient with everyone (5:14), be kind to everyone (5:15), be joyful always (5:16), pray continually (5:17), give thanks (5:18), test everything that is taught (5:20,21) and avoid evil (5:22).
The Love of Christ is in us
Paul was thankful for these new believers in Thessalonica. At the same time, Paul and his co-workers prayed night and day earnestly for them.
“10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.”
Three things he prayed:
(1) Their faith might mature (verse 10)
We can never be perfect in our faith. Until the day we meet Jesus face to face, we would not be perfect in our faith. There is always room for growth. We go “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17).
(2) Their love will increase and overflow for each other (verse 12)
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.”
During times of distress and sufferings, people’s ugly side is revealed. People can be selfish and demanding, or shutting off people. But some people will use this time to draw closer to God and to reach out to those in need. Christian love is not only limited to Christians, but to everyone else. Who can you share the love of Christ with this advent season?
(3) Their holiness of life (verse 13)
“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” (verse 13)
Jesus Christ had come and He will return again. When Jesus Christ comes again the second time, He would not return as a baby again, but He would be the glorious Victor, who had victory over sin and death. Let us remember, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to holiness.
Prayers make a difference in our lives. In tough times, the Thessalonians remained firm in the Lord. They continued their relationships with Paul, and they with them. It is relationship with other brothers and sisters in Christ that helped us through tough times. We know that we are keeping one another in our prayers.
Light of Christ has shine among us
Christmas is to celebrate that the love of God has come from Heaven to Earth and dwelled among us. Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s love. Without Jesus Christ coming to save us, we will all perish. We will die not only physically where our bodies will decay, but we will also die spiritually—perish in God’s wrath for our sins forever.
God sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to us so that those who believe in Him and call upon Him will be saved from God’s wrath and eternal damnation. Jesus Christ came as flesh and blood. He lived among us so that through Him, we could experience God’s great love for us. In Jesus Christ, we experience the peace of God. Peace that is deep within us. We experience God’s love. We experience hope. Hope that one day, Jesus Christ will come again for us.
2,000 years ago, Jesus had come. Light has shone in the dark. Today, the light of Christ is still shining. May it shine brightly in our lives. Let us live a life of thanksgiving for the goodness of God in our lives, for all the blessings we receive. Because all that we have comes from God. Let us live prayerful lives: praying and let us live a life that matures in faith and live a holy life. While we were still in the dark, Christ’s light shone in us. May we carry His light wherever we go.