The Christians Hope
To show that caring Christians live not for themselves but for the Lord and those who have come to Christ through their ministry.
Paul calls the Thessalonian Church to remember how it was when he came to them. He reminds them how he worked and labored; howhe had suffered persecution, realizing they were suffering persecution as well.
The concern Paul had, as any man of God does, is that the people be strong in the faith. There were and are temptations which lure God’s children off the path of living the Christian life. It is especially so in the time of Paul’s letters to them, and as the time of the return of Christ draws nearer.
What joy there is for a mother and father who raise their children in the precepts, statutes, judgments, and commandments of the Lord when their child gives their life to Him. When a father teaches his son how to safely operate the farm tractor, and that boy takes it up like he was born on it, and almost may have been. The joy, the hope of the Christian (The active Christian) is when he/she sees one they have taught living according to God’s Word. What joy Paul must have felt and received when word came to him how these had grown in the faith.
Looking at Verses 1 – 2 —
“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: but even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.” 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (KJV)
There is great assurance in these verses. The work of God is never in vain. If oneperson comes to Christ as a result of our presence it is not in vain. This Church was a very active Church, and very much alive. They were not in the least way in danger of losing their candlestick.
Even though persecution arises we are to continue to be bold with the message and gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are persecutied for our faith, and because of our boldness of speech we should approach it just like Peter and John, and all the Apostles did in Acts chapter four. They were commanded not to speak in that Name (The name of Jesus) anymore. They went and told the others, and they all just prayed for more boldness.
Verses 3 – 12 —
“For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12
The concern of a parent is noticed in these verses. Paul, having been gone for several days, maybe weeks or months, shows his concern for their growth. He reminds them of his work and faithfulness, and the things whichhe taught them the three weeks he was with them.
- v. 5 – “A flaterer can use either truth or lies to achieve his unholy purpose, which is to control your cecisions for his profit.” Warren Wiersbe. Paul did not use flattery, or manipulation. He was not in it to please Paul or any other human being.
- v. 6 – If a Christian is to lead he must be sure of his motive. If it is to receive glory from man he will be bought off. The man of God does not seek to please anyone, but God, and His Son Jesus Christ.
- vv. 7 – 9 – There has been much said about expectant mothers and their drinking of alcoholic beverages. It is because the alcohol gets into the bloodstream from which the baby is sustained, and can cause awful deformities.
The loving, caring mother will not eat or drink anything that would bring harm to her baby, either before or after it is born. She feeds, and cares for that child holding it close to here heart.
We are to be as caring and nourishing to the unborn-again, and the new born again as an expectant and nursing mother – just like Paul.
- vv. 8 – 12 – Servants of God see themselves not as dominant leaders, but as servants to the people, whicle remaining faithful to God.
Verse 13 —
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Thessalonian Church had received God’s Word, not as some new philosophy, but as the word of truth. They received it as it was a living word from the Living God.
They realized the philosophy and teachings of man has no power, no life, and often leads to guilt with no answer, no way out. They, even more, realized the Word of God offered hope for the hopeless man and woman.
The Word of God to the Thessalonian Church was life changing, “Effectively works in you who believe.” There is great thanksgiving for the people who are in such a case.
Verses 14 – 16 —
“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
These people were standing for Christ at the peril of their lives. It is Jesus who does the changing in our lives, so it is also He who empowers us to stand in tribulation.
Paul likens the Thessalonians to the Judean Christians who were persecuted for their faith.
No religion is persecuted so harshly as ones personal relationship with Jesus Christ is when it is lived in His presence and power.
The religious establishment are the ones’ who killed Jesus. This by no means is saying that He did not die for our sins. They are also the ones’ who “Do not please God, and are hostile to all men.” This religion also allowed no room for different groups of people, and allowed no one but themselves to be saved. They just keep on heaping their sins, piling them up one upon another, condemning themselves. They bring God’s wrath upon themselves, because they will not accept the salvation God offers to all. “God patiently waits as sinners rebel against Him and He watches as their measure of sin and judgment fills up. When the time is up, God’s patience will end and judgment will fall.” Warren Wiersbe.
Verses 17 -18 —
“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18
Many times there are hindrances which come into our lives and ministries. Paul experienced this. He says the hindering was by Satan, for only he would hinder the work of the gospel, but I am sure Paul realized that Satancannot do any more than God will allow him to.
The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, is not absolutely false. In Paul’s case especially, he longed to be with them, to teach, and guide them in God’s program for their lives.
While we look at this andknow that Satan was hindering Paul from coming to Thessalonica; we can also know that while he was in Corinth writing this letter, Paul was doing a great work there. We can learn a great lesson here. While Satan may be hindering in one place we need to be at work where he is not. Satan can be in only one place at a time.
Verses 19 – 20 —
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 19-20
Giving of gifts can be a very joyous occasion. The giving of a gift should be as joyous to the giver as it is to the receiver.
What a joy it is to see people come to faith in Christ, especially those where you have been used by the Lord to help that person come to Jesus.
The hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing of a soul-winner will be to see all those he has had a part, “In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming.” That is our glory and joy. What do you have to give to the Lord when you appear before Him at His throne?