Today's Chapter: 1 Thessalonians 1
NOT AFRAID OF A LITTLE HARD WORK: The Thessalonians are our kind of people - they like to stay busy and work hard, especially since they knew they were not just working for themselves, but for the Lord. Paul famously notes in 1 Cor. 13:13 the three most important attributes of a Christian: faith, hope and love. What's cool here in 1 Thessalonians is that those things aren't just the lofty goals of the Christian life, they're the foundation for a tangible life of blessing. Look how Paul puts it in v3:
Faith produces work
Hope inspires endurance
Love prompts labor
WITNESSING IS MORE THAN JUST SAYING WORDS: We can not understate the importance of being able to clearly communicate what we believe and why we believe it, but although being a faithful witness of the gospel involves words, it begins with the way we conduct our lives. The Christian lifestyle that the Thessalonians lived "became a model" to other people throughout the entire region (v7), so much so that their "faith in God has become known everywhere (v8)."
SALVATION FROM WHAT WE JUST GOT FINISHED READING ABOUT: We're beginning this letter after just finishing reading about the coming wrath of God. The details of this wrath given to John in the book of Revelation came several decades after Paul wrote this letter, but even though Paul doesn't have all of the details of God's wrath, he knows for certain that it's something that we need to be rescued from, and that the only possible rescue comes from Jesus (v10).
WORK AND WAIT: Working hard for the Lord is certainly an admirable trait we should all have, but it's not the only aspect of being a Christian. There is a danger in working too hard for the Lord: it becomes so consuming that we no longer spend any energy on waiting for Jesus to return. Verse 9-10 tell us to both "serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven." In what ways to you need to spend more energy waiting for Jesus to return?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The living and true God (v9) who is our Father (v1)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God gives you energy to serve Him and also energy to wait for Jesus' return (v9-10)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: