Aren’t you glad you are called into the kingdom and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ! That was yesterday’s topic and we’re moving full steam ahead today into 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20, and it gets even better! Once again, I encourage you to read the entire chapter (20 verses) in order to get full context.
Paul was writing to Thessalonian believers to encourage them in their commitment to Jesus Christ. Do you need encouragement today? You have come to the right place, as we’re going to drink from the same fountain Paul used to encourage those believers!
Paul reminded them of what they had been taught, primarily that they had been elected by God and had received that election. He also taught those brand new believers about the imminent return of Jesus! Knowing He is coming back for us should fire us up to be in His Word, preparing for His coming. The Bride of Christ (believers) must adorn herself for the Bridegroom, and we must watch and wait! He’s coming!
But meanwhile, we need encouragement in the world we live in. In verses 13-20, Paul offers that to the believers at Thessalonica (and us)!
- God’s Word is within us (verse 13)
- God’s people surround us (verses 14-16)
- God’s glory awaits us (verses 17-20)
God’s Word Within Us (verse 13)
Paul taught them God’s Word, and the Thessalonians made it priority in their lives. Paul gave them a vote of confidence because the church had received, heard and accepted the Word of God. “Received” means to listen with ears, while “accepted” means to listen with the heart. It takes both! Have you heard, have you received, have you accepted God’s Word? Is it priority in your life? Getting into God’s Word in this study will help you. But please don’t just read what is written here…get into God’s Word, study the passages and hear God speak to you! Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God, these are simply words on a page.
Verse 13 goes on to say they applied God’s Word, which means it is at work in believers, and has the power of God to accomplish the will of God! What is the proof that God’s Word is in a believer? It begins to leak out in public devotion! You can’t hide it if your life is saturated with God’s Word. As times grow more and more difficult, it is more and more important to be empowered by Scripture. Otherwise, we will be swept away by all sorts of things. God’s Word is your anchor…cling to it!
God’s People Around Us (verses 14-16)
- Who did the people imitate?
- Did you notice “churches” is plural? Why do you think that is?
- Could it be there is only one body, but many churches?
- God seems to be into the idea of local bodies of believers. What does Hebrews 10:23-25 have to say about that?
Church bodies have experienced one of the most difficult years in history during the COVID pandemic. Most churches were totally shut down for weeks, and others for months. Some died out, never to re-open. Dear friends, if you are not involved with a fellowship of believers, not only are you violating the admonition in Hebrews 10, but you are “dying on the vine” without fellowship. We need God’s people around us. Just as a lone chunk of coal fallen from a fire loses its heat, so will a believer if separated from the body of Christ. Now more than ever, it is important to get into fellowship and remain in fellowship. None of us will make it through trying times on our own.
That leads us to the second part of verse 14. What does Paul warn about there? Suffering brings isolation. But John 16:29-33 provides the solution.
- What did Jesus foresee coming?
- Where will we find peace in this world?
- Why can we be so certain of finding peace?
Fellowship with other believers is complete when fellowship with the Overcomer is included!
God’s Glory Awaits Us! (Verses 17-20)
Paul was passionate to be with the believers in Thessalonica (verse 17) and he knew the demonic ride was over (verse 18)! Well, guess who is passionate to see us! Just as a bridegroom awaits the moment he sees his bride, our Heavenly Bridegroom awaits the Bride of Christ! Our day is coming, and the demonic ride will be over! Finish up by reading verses 19-20 slowly, with confidence in God’s promise!
- What is soon to occur?
- Paul found glory and joy in knowing his students will be among those Jesus is coming to redeem. What about you? Are you the glory and joy of those who perhaps led you to Christ?
- What about those you have led to Christ…will they be glory and joy for you as well?
- Do you think there is a special celebration when we are all taken to be with our Savior, and we see the ones we have impacted, and those who have impacted us?
Be encouraged now, and be encouraged as we face difficult time ahead. Now is the time to store up spiritual currency in our bank accounts, so that when encouragement is needed, we can make the withdraws! Be in God’s Word, and be in fellowship with God’s people, for indeed, the glory of God awaits us!
We’ll do it again tomorrow…see you then!