2016-08-26 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ The Caring Believer: Introduction
Many years ago, we had a community group program that stressed the need for evangelism, among a number things we did. We were all required to do some kind of outreach project. Since I was leading, I couldn't avoid it myself. One thing everyone was to do was to go through the “Four Spiritual Laws” with someone. Now neither then, nor now, am I ecstatic about that approach to witnessing. Nevertheless, since it was required, I approached a young woman at my office with the request that she go through it with me, as it was a “homework” assignment I had. Needless to say, the Lord working in ways we often don't think He should, caused her to accept Him.
What was the major frustration for me, aside from the fact the “The Four Spiritual Laws” was used in the process, is that shortly after this time, she and her husband moved to Oregon, and I was not able to follow up with them. Since I was involved in the process of her coming to accept Christ, she had a special place in my heart, and I really wanted to be involved with her growth. This was not to be.
Introduction: Paul often faced this same problem with those he had been blessed with having seen saved. He had invested a great deal of love and concern into the lives of the Thessalonians. He had seen them come to accept the reality of God's word and to become believers. He had observed them grow through following the examples of Christ and his missionary group. He had received reports of their walk, as observed by others. Their lives reflected the presence of Christ to others. They had become model believers.
Paul's great joy was seeing the working of the Lord in this young church.
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19–20)
The result of seeing men with God's eyes, is to care about them with His love, and that was certainly true for Paul. He demonstrated this by his concern for and desire to be with these believers. In chapter 3, Paul expresses his frustration at not being able to get to come to them.
“But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face-to-face, because we wanted to come to you–I, Paul, again and again–but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17–18)
Next in this series, we will examine the example of Paul's Caring; then we can look at how we should be following this example within our own body, with Our Caring.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.