Sunday, December 20, 2009

1 Thessalonians 2: How To Wait For Christ (Enduring Opposition)

Theme: Wait for Christ

1) By respecting godly teachers (2:1-12)
2) By enduring opposition (2:13 - 3:10)

By Respecting Godly Teachers (2:1-12)

The way these verses recount and defend the ministry of the missionary team at Thessalonica, seems to suggest that someone was discrediting their reputation. To discredit the messengers  is to discredit their message, which was the Word of God. Since faith in God's Word is crucial to waiting for Christ, this passage shows why the Thessalonians should respect godly teachers, and thus hold faith in their message.

To show their sincere motives in preaching the gospel, Paul recalls how the team came and taught after much mistreatment and opposition in Philippi (2). They had never sought to please or glorify men, but only God (3-6). They treated the Thessalonians gently, as a nursing mother cares for her children (7-8). Further, they had worked day and night to support themselves (9), and charged the Thessalonians nothing.  They behaved devoutly, blamelessly, and uprightly (10), and exhorted them in God's ways, like a Father does his own children (11-12). Such a ministry is sincere. It calls for respect (cf. 5:12-13), and continued faith in God's Word.

By enduring opposition (2:13 - 3:10)

The missionary team constantly thanked God because the Thessalonians received their message as the Word of God (13). Also, they had imitated the faith of other churches by enduring the opposition of unbelieving Jews, as had Christ (15), and the missionary team (16; cf. Acts 16:22 - 17:15). The statement that such persecutors always fill up the measure of their sins, may mean that they reach the limit of sin which God will allow before He brings wrath upon them (cf. Genesis 15:16; Dan. 8:23). The wrath which is come upon them may refer to the coming tribulation, when Israel will be especially tried by judgments from heaven (cf. 1:10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10), or the eternal destruction of unbelievers in the lake of fire (Rev. 20), which follows. Paul was eager to return to them, because they were his joy and crown (17-20).  Sometimes, waiting for Christ means enduring opposition.

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The Gospel


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