1 THESSALONIANS 1:1-3 – Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
THEME OF THE DAY. A LETTER TO OUR CHURCHES. Imagine we show up to church one Sunday morning. As we engage our brothers and sisters in the spirit of unity of love and encouragement we have in Christ, our pastor stands up, asks us to take our seats and then says, “We just got a letter from the Apostle Paul. He wanted to affirm his love for us and how he longs for our fellowship.” Then he reads to us today’s scripture. How would we feel? What would be going through our hearts and minds? There are two possible responses. One is a negative. The other positive. Let’s get the negative out of the way first.
When the letter is read in our congregation and we hear the affirmation from the Apostle Paul of the testimony our church has – “work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”, would we feel “left out” because we are on the fringe of the spiritual life in our churches? Friends, the Christian life is community life. We need each other. We are commanded to invest in each other. We cannot stay on the “outside looking in” when it comes to healthy Christianity And when I write “outside looking in”, I am referring to Christians who are hit and miss in church attendance, never engage in serving in the church, and know nothing of the joy of praying with other believers. It will be true – fringe Christians will be lukewarm and worldly Christians. But now the positive . . .
When the letter is read in our congregation and we hear the affirmation from the Apostle Paul of the testimony our church has – “work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”, we humbly rejoice and praise God because He has enabled us to be an active part of establishing this testimony of our church. And if this be us, we know the joy of true Christian community and fellowship. We know the power of Christ’s love flowing in and from His people encouraging and supporting one another. We grasp the mission we are on in the world and experience the overflowing joy of being an active participant in the greatest two things in the world – God’s church and fulfilling God’s purpose for His church – the gospel.
So, think about the Apostle Paul’s letter of affirmation to the Thessalonica church. Then, pray and strive in our churches to be an active member making our churches able to receive such affirmation as well. We each have a part, and the strength, witness, and power of a local church is found in the strength, witness, and power of its individual members.
PRAYER: “Father, make me a living testimony of faith, love, and hope that the world may see You as You really are.”
QUOTE: “Our goal in life is one – glorify God by presenting the best and most accurate picture of Christ to all people.”