2016-09-11 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ The Holy Believer
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Sometimes, when talking to a Roman Orthodox, I like to point out that I'm a saint. I don't know what they think; after all I don't normally talk to birds, or raise the dead, though I sometimes can put someone to sleep. But in their mind, I'm clearly not a saint. As for myself, I do need to remember I'm a sinning saint. Most of us understand, from the Biblical perspective, that the word saint is synonymous with believer. So we all are saints, just as we are all priests. As I said we all should understand this truth.
Another truth we have more difficulty with, is the fact Scripture calls us to be holy. After all, we all know that holy men don't eat meat. They live on a mountain tops, and are essentially hermits. Yes, we are saints and priests, but don't ask me to be holy, because that's impossible.
Apparently, though someone forgot to tell Paul this - because in chapter 4, he calls the Thessalonians to holy living, and if he can require it of them, then I suspect he would require it of us. Next, we are going to look at the call to holy living, the demand that we live to please God.
Looking back for a moment, though, at the Thessalonians, we can see the ideal pattern for the individual’s progression from unbeliever to maturing believer. They had come to accept Christ, recognizing the gospel message was God's word not men's.
As with any new child, the new believers grew by imitating those around them. They had as first models, the missionary group made up of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. More importantly, they followed Christ as their ultimate example. The result was they grew in the areas of faith and love. In turn, they became examples to others. Their lives had become living testimonies to God’s love and grace.
It is important to note that not only were the Thessalonians growing as individuals, but corporately as well. We know this, because when Paul discussed their testimony, he was talking about them as a group. Their greatest testimony was the reality of the love they showed for one another, for Paul, and for others around them. The love they held for each other was an example of God’s place in their lives. And consequently, Paul was also motivated by his love for them.
It was because of the love and concern of these young believers, that Paul had sent Timothy to see them. He wanted Timothy to let them know how they were doing. They were obviously doing well. Nevertheless, Paul obviously had some concerns about their need for further growth, for their living a holy life. And so he deals with some specific issues of the Christian walk.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.