I Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
God directed Paul to be a blessing to the saints in Thessalonica. His writing is the Word of God and it is meant to be a blessing to the saints in every generation. Those who are faithful servants of God have much to be thankful for. It is a blessing to be able to give others good news. Paul was constantly thankful to God for the response of the Thessalonians. It is God who works in the heart of the lost person to bring conviction that leads to salvation. It is not that the person giving the Gospel is such a good preacher or speaker. God wants His children to do their best in speaking to the lost, but all the glory belongs to God.
Paul assured the saints that they had received the Word of God. They had not been deceived. There was no mixing up of the message. It was a message that was filled with truth. It was not the word of men. Paul did not consult with others to try to find a better way to give the Gospel. He listened to God and spoke the truth in love. He reminded them that what they had received from him was the truth because it was the Word of God. It was the opposite of what the naysayers would give them.
The Word of God is effective to the saving of souls. The Word of God penetrates to the heart of man. The Word of God is:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It is very important to give people the Word of God. If we want to explain that further, we need to give the Word of God first. We need to let God do His Work as only He can. Paul encouraged the saints by stating that the Word of God was working in those who believe. God’s Word is working in the lost to bring conviction and salvation. God’s Word is working in the saints to guide them to a more obedient walk with God.
Paul witnessed growth among the saints. This was not an accident. This was not just because. This was directly connected to the work of God’s Word in their hearts. It is important to place the credit where it belongs. No one becomes stronger in the Lord by self-effort. We have talked many times of the importance of a true local church. True Christians cannot grow if they do not feed on God’s Word. If a true Christian is feeding on God’s Word, he or she will be led to a true local church. That is God’s design. Any true Christian can see that in God’s Word.
In verse 14 Paul pointed out that the saints in Thessalonica were followers of the churches of God in Judaea which are in Christ Jesus. Paul knew there were many false churches in his time. He also knew which ones were true to God. He had encouraged the saints in Thessalonica to follow them. they did not have internet access. They did not have T.V., or any easy way of communicating. However, they heard what God was doing among the saints in the churches in Judaea and they were implementing the same things in the church in Thessalonica. Christians receive encouragement from other Christians. They do that through the local church and as they hear of what God is doing in other areas.
There use to be some good Bible conferences to attend. There are still conferences, but not many good ones. It seems the conferences are trying to build a closed clubhouse of elites and compromisers. There are nice slogans developed, but there is also much subtle and not so subtle compromise taking place.
As we study Church history in our Wednesday night Bible Study, we see how easy and how common it is to just let a “little” heresy enter the group of believers. The apostle Paul warned the elders of Ephesus of this danger in his day. There is still the same danger today, but sadly, few are paying attention to this reality. The frog in the pot is a good analogy of the decline that is happening all too often.
Paul encouraged the saints by reminding them that they had made some good choices. These good choices had brought suffering. Suffering for the truth is a common fact. True Christians do not go looking for suffering. However, the fact is that there are many who do not want the truth and they do not want to be reminded that they are lost sinners. They want to have a pacifier in their minds and hearts. They want to be told they are good and just need to keep laughing. It will all be ok in the end.
In verse 15 Paul reminded the saints that the Jews killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets. They also persecuted Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus. It is sad that the nation to whom God gave the Word, chose to reject It and sought to keep others from receiving It as well. The good news is that God’s truth continues to be proclaimed. Those who are truly saved cannot help but tell others the truth.
Paul was a Jew. He needed to defend the Gospel, not his fellow Jews who hated the Gospel. They did not please God and they were contrary to all men. Lost people have a common enemy. That is God. However, they do not get along with one another either. We see many different false religions today. We are still seeing new groups starting up. They are all basically the same, but they have their little differences and they are not willing to come together just yet. The ecumenical push is still there and it is still drawing false religions together. We do not know how far they will get before the Lord returns. After that, they will all unite around their master – the antichrist.
The Judaizers did not want anyone talking to the Gentiles about the Gospel. They did not want Gentiles saved. They saw them as “dogs”. They were heaping judgment upon themselves for their own hardness, but then also seeking to stop others from hearing the truth. It is one thing for a person to deny the truth, but then go out and seek to stop others from hearing the truth is also evil.
We are quickly coming to see this increasing in our own country. Our governments are slowly working to try to ban the truth from the public square. They also want to try to shut down true churches. They have a record of some of them since the Wuhan virus debacle. They know which churches resisted the ungodly government mandates. Not all of them are true churches. They will continue to scheme as to how they can shut that group down. They will never shut down the true churches. Others may fall, but the truth will remain. At the Rapture, all true saints will be removed and only the false religious groups will be left behind. God will raise up His witnesses during that time to evangelize the world. They will suffer greatly for serving God, but they will have a home in heaven. A few others will get saved at that time. Most will foolishly follow the lying signs and wonders of the antichrist.
I hope none reading this are caught in that trap today. If you are, you can know the truth. You can turn to God and know His peace and truth. It is up to you. Will you trust in the true God today?