Doug Schorle 10-10-2021 // 1 Thessalonians 1; The Heart of a Father
The book of Acts records for us the rise of the church in Thessalonica. Seeking to spread the Word of the Lord in Asia Minor during his second missionary journey, the Holy Spirit made other plans, guiding Paul and Silas, along with Timothy, into Greece. In Greece, after preaching in Philippi and travelling through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to the capital city of the Macedonian province, Thessalonica.
In Acts 17, we read how, over three Sabbaths in the Jewish synagogue, Paul reasoned with them from the Scriptures, "explaining and giving evidence that the Chris had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.'" (Acts 17:3 NASB). The result is that many believed, both of the Jews and the God fearing Greeks. Filled with jealousy, the Jews stirred up the city, effectively driving Paul and his companions away from Thessalonica.
Given these circumstances, Paul sent Timothy from Athens back to Thessalonica to see how the church fared and to encourage them. His greatest fear was that the "tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain." (1 Thessalonians 3:5b NASB). But when Timothy returned, the news gave great joy to Paul. For instead of returning to the former ways of idolatry, the church in Thessalonica stood firm in their faith, becoming an example to the other churches in all of Greece, as well as spreading the Word of God wherever they went.
The result of this report was the letters from Paul to the church of the Thessalonians. A letter in which Paul, like a concerned father, pours out his heart to this body of believers; expressing both his deep love and concern for, was well as his great joy in, this local church.
Thank you for listening to today's lesson. May you be encouraged through Paul's letter to the church in Thessalonica.