September 6, 2021
- By Ed Powell
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"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
The testimony of these believers in the Thessalonian church was incredible! These were new Christians who were experiencing severe persecution for their faith. Paul is overwhelmed with joy when Timothy returns from being with these believers and tells him how their "faith groweth exceedingly...their love abounds to one another." He tells "of their patience in all the persecutions and tribulations, that they became imitators of us and the Lord, and became a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia."
Paul having experienced many persecutions was deeply concerned for these new believers, knowing the persecutions which they experienced from their own countrymen were of the most cruel and bitter kind. He could feel the "beat of their heart" and appreciate the commitment of their faith. But why was all this taking place and having such tremendous results among these believers?
They had been transformed by the supernatural power of God who had invaded the whole of their lives. They were standing true, not in their strength, but in the source of their strength...Jesus Christ. They had been drawn to Christ by the supernatural grace of God, who was now being their sufficiency against the powers of darkness.
The reality of their faith was being demonstrated by the virtues of Christ that dwelled within them. Thus, the supernatural power that indwelled them responds "naturally"...HIS life flowing through them, which works out in the practical encounters of our life every day.
It was the persecution and tribulations they faced that proved the reality of their faith. The more severe the trials, the more they were driven to Christ and to one another. They knew the meaning of true prayer and the "power of prayer." Their faith was real...their devotion was unwavering...their love to God and one another ever increasing. The stakes of their faith were continually being driven deeper into their commitment to God.
Their testimony was spread throughout all the churches of Asia Minor. Paul did not need to teach them faith, love, and patience. He only encouraged them to continue steadfastly in their faith they had been taught by God. They were a model to all the other churches. The word had spread throughout all of Macadonia and Achaia. Wow! What a demonstration of the transforming power of God. They were steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord.
What does all of this say to us today? Should we be intimidated by those who oppose us? Should we hesitate in any way who we should obey? Jesus said, "IF" any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it" (Luke 9:23-24).
The demands of discipleship are simple, yet profound. Paul says "to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God...this is your spiritual act of worship...then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:1-2). The extent of our commitment will be in direct relation to our love and devotion to Jesus Christ.
May our faith grow exceedingly, our love abound to all, and our hope be securely anchored in Jesus Christ our Lord!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php=1&row=&date=2021-09-06
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