God’s Word Goes Forth: Encourage One Another in Faith
1 Thessalonians 2:1-16: Paul claims that his message came straight from God, and that his actions are honest and pure. Others may have tried to teach another message in order to make money or to get a reputation, but Paul is motivated by a desire to share God’s love.
Today's Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:13b
When we brought you God’s message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God’s message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe.
1 Our friends, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 You know how we had already been mistreated and insulted in Philippi before we came to you in Thessalonica. And even though there was much opposition, our God gave us courage to tell you the Good News that comes from him. 3 Our appeal to you is not based on error or impure motives, nor do we try to trick anyone. 4 Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives. 5 You know very well that we did not come to you with flattering talk, nor did we use words to cover up greed—God is our witness! 6 We did not try to get praise from anyone, either from you or from others, 7 even though as apostles of Christ we could have made demands on you. But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother taking care of her children. 8 Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us! 9 Surely you remember, our friends, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God. 10 You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct toward you who believe was pure, right, and without fault. 11 You know that we treated each one of you just as parents treat their own children. 12 We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory. 13 And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God's message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God's message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe. 14 Our friends, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews, 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone! 16 They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God's anger has at last come down on them!
When the Thessalonians listened to Paul’s teachings and began to follow Jesus, others in the community made trouble for them (see Acts 17:5). What kinds of troubles do Christians in other countries face today? How can Christians in the United States support them?
Holy God, Christians in many parts of the world face serious persecution for their faith. Grant your faithful followers peace and mercy, and empower Christians here to advocate for religious freedom. Amen.
Christians facing government persecution