What the Church Should Do in the Midst of Persecution (I Thessalonians 1:6-8) - Part 1
I Thessalonians 1:6-8, And ye became followers of us, and of the LORD, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the LORD not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
In Everyone's a Coach, Don Shula, the winningest coach in National Football League history, writes: “A lot of leaders want to tell people what to do, but they don't provide the example. "Do as I say, not as I do," doesn't cut it. Of course, I'm not about to show players how to run or pass or block or tackle by doing these things myself. My example is in things like my high standards of performance, my attention to detail, and—above all—how hard I work....During the 1994-95 season, I had what I thought was a calcium spur on my heel. It became so painful to move around on the practice field every day that I began to wear something like a ski boot at practice to reduce some of the pain. I didn't want to take the time to correct the problem until after the season. I can't ask my players to play hurt if I wimp out when I'm hurting a little bit. Finally I had no choice. One day in early December, when I was heading off the field after a practice, I felt something pop. It turned out I'd ruptured my Achilles tendon.... The day I had the operation was the first regular-season practice I had missed in my twenty-five years with the Dolphins.” The next day Shula was back at practice getting around in a golf cart.
Who are your role models? Who are the Christians you look to for inspiration and encouragement in the faith? Paul promotes the Thessalonian church as a model. When Paul thought of what a believer should possess he thought of Thessalonica. They served as a witness and encouragement to others. They were looked to for their faith and endurance. He does so not because the believers were perfect, but because of the priority they placed on the Word of God. The sure hope of their eternal future resulted in the endurance and steadfastness of the Thessalonian believers.
1. They Received God’s Word.
Understanding and accepting the Bible message was core to their salvation. The word followers literally means "an imitator." Those who once had followed the pagan rituals of humanity had now become imitators of the people of God and more importantly the Lord Himself. Paul revealed that he could see a drastic and beneficial change in their lives. The Gospel had been heard and received, resulting in conversion and change! The power of the Gospel is amazing. It has the ability to transform a life from darkness and rebellion to the glorious light of salvation and fellowship with the Lord. It can take a heart that is intent on sin and wickedness and produce one that seeks to be more like Christ!
Questions to Consider:
PRAYER: Father, I want to be like the Thessalonian believers, working hard and making a real and lasting impact for Your kingdom. Help me to see the difference between what is for Your glory and what is for mine. Forgive me when I get that mixed up. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.