The Apostle Paul, along with Silas and Timothy brought the gospel to the city of Thessalonica. They introduced the gospel to the Jews and the Greeks. Many people became believers, but there was a riot when Paul and Silas were accused of defying the king, who was Caesar at that time. As a result, Paul had to leave town (Acts 19: 1-9). In the short period of time, Paul was with them; he discipled them and empowered them with the word of God, the Holy Spirit, and his lifestyle (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Paul was confident that his lifestyle demonstrated to the church the proper actions and behaviors of a Christian. He preached the gospel even in the face of opposition. His motive was to save others and he never used flattery or tricks to win the people’s affection. He also did not look for validation from the church. He surrendered his rights as an apostle for the greater good. Paul knew that he had a right to expect the church to care for him, but he refused to “be a financial burden” (1 Thess. 2:9).
When Paul had to leave the young church prematurely, he was heart-broken, and he feared that they were not adequately prepared to maintain their new relationship with the Lord without his direction. However, the Holy Spirit was doing the work. When Paul was no longer able to handle the suspense, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to see how they were doing and encourage and strengthen them (1Thess: 2: 2-3).
To Paul’s delight, he realized that the Holy Spirit was at work in them. When Timothy returned, he brought news that put Paul’s heart at ease (1Thess: 3:6). Timothy reported that they were remaining faithful. Paul wrote the book of 1 Thessalonians to express his joy and to continue to encourage them in the faith.
What a beautiful letter of love from their Apostle! It is critical to Christians that their leader encourage them in the faith. All Christians will face situations in life that will be unpleasant and may test their faith. However, the pastors must be ready with words of love and encouragement. Paul’s message was saying to the church, “you are doing great, keep pressing.”
Besides, the pastors’ hearts are encouraged with joy and satisfaction when they hear or see the saints living according to the Bible. Paul calls the Thessalonians church “his glory and his joy” (1Thess: 2:20). Paul was not the only one, but John also wrote that the greatest joy he experienced was the awareness that the Christians remained faithful to Jesus (1 John3:4).
It is crucial to the kingdom of God that Christians keep walking in the truth!