Over the last two Sundays, I have been preaching from 1 Thessalonians, making my way through Paul’s letter by making my way through this summary sentence:
The power of the good news creates communities,
of holy people,
who flourish in the midst of loving relationships,
as they prayerfully, eagerly, and expectantly await the coming of their Master
and Messiah — Jesus.
This last Sunday, I focused in on that last section—“…as they prayerfully, eagerly, and expectantly await the coming of their Master and Messiah, Jesus.” And who are ‘they’ in that sentence?
‘They’ are a small-ish community in the Greek city of Thessalonica, experiencing the power of the good news, which is transforming them more and more into the image of God, which is creating deep bonds of family, friendship, fidelity and loyalty rooted in the love they have for one another because of Christ. They are dealing with adversity, they are overcoming threats to their love for one another. But then comes the greatest threat of all to the possibility of a life of flourishing. And what could be the greatest threat to life, but death?
This congregation of Christians needs help from their founding pastor because they are afraid of what this threat means for those they have so deeply cherished and loved, for those who once were a part of their community, but now, through death, have been separated from them. Worse, that their death may mean they are and always will be separated from Christ himself. Specifically, they need to know what will happen in the future. And they need to know that, so that it can radically impact their present.
I invite you now to watch or listen to my sermon from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (part two of two sermons). And if you’d like some additional resources on this book, head on over to the Bible Project page for this part of the Whole Story.
May God use his Word to inspire you to help just one other person move one step closer to Jesus.
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