November 22; With Words and By Example

Acts 17:1-18:17; I Thessalonians 1:1-2:16

We know that Paul went from town to town sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that many people were saved as a result of his ministry. But we also know there were certain people determined to stop Paul in any way they could.

That’s why, when Paul was in Berea where the people receive the message with “great eagerness,” some men from Thessalonica showed up to stir things up. The Bible tells us they agitated the people to the point that the believers in Berea felt they needed to send Paul to the coast to get him out of harm’s way.

When Paul had been in Thessalonica, many people believed and were saved. A church was started in that town. But there was also a contingent of people from there whose goal it was to make life miserable for anyone who believed in Jesus. And they weren’t just satisfied with opposing the Gospel at home, they tried to stop Paul’s ministry in Berea, too.

That’s the context as my chronological reading plan has me reading Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica today. Paul talks about the suffering the Thessalonian Christians endured from their own countrymen, the strong opposition they faced.

But Paul also speaks about their work produced by faith, their labour prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in the Lord (from I Thessalonians 1:2). I think that is awesome.

If you are discouraged in your witness for Jesus because you are faced with opposition, or even apathy, let me encourage you to read Paul’s letter to a people who knew exactly what that was like. Let the words God breathed into Paul strengthen you as you continue to share the Lord’s message.

Who knows? You may become a model to all believers in your town; the Lord’s message may ring out from you as your faith in God becomes known. (see I Thessalonians 1:7-8)

It’s not only words God uses to speak the Truth, although people need to hear the words in order to be saved. Your life, your faith, your example can also be used by God to point people to their need of the Savior.

So let’s keep speaking the Truth, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And let our actions speak as loudly, our faith ring out the message that Jesus saves.

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