Paul is quite confident in the type of men they (Paul, Silvanus and Timothy) were among the Thessalonian church. Paul & Co didn’t live for their sake, rather they lived for the Thessalonians. It’s heart wrenching to observe my life. Is it only for my pleasure and entertainment? Is it only about the next game, the next movie, the next car, the next home, the next career, the next social activity? Paul & Co. had martyred self for the (Thessalonians). When Christ steps into a life motives and ambitions change from selfish to selfless. Is my life about serving others, not for selfish gain, but because of Christ’s endless love?
Once the gospel penetrated the lives of the Thessalonians, they imitated Paul & Co whose lives also had been transformed by the good news of Jesus. I find the testimony of the Thess. encouraging as they experienced the joy of the Holy Spirit while enduring affliction. I can expect the joy of the Holy Spirit in the midst of brutal affliction. After all, the Holy Spirit is sure to remind me of whose glory the affliction is about. It’s not about how painless life can be, but how comforting is God’s everlasting joy.
Paul is thrilled to see the gospel come in power among the Thess. with the Holy Spirit’s conviction bringing joy in the midst of affliction. The Thess. have become examples to all disciples of Jesus in Macedonia and Achaia (Berea, Phillipi, Neapolis, Nicopolis, Corinth, Athens, Cenchreae, Apollonia). Followers of Christ from everywhere are observing their faith in God; being encouraged by how they turned from idols to serve the living and true God. They turned from polytheism and pluralism to worship the one true God. Hmm what are the idols in my life that sequester the joy of the Lord?
This faith results in waiting for the Son; what Son? The Son who comes from heaven, who was raised from the dead, whose name is Jesus, who delivers from the coming wrath. The lives of these believers in the first century is quite moving. The faith of their church changed the cultural temperament. The work of Christ among a person and/or persons is remarkably powerful.