Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Thessalonians 1:1


In Acts 17 Paul and his friends entered the city of Thessalonica. 1Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ." 4And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 5But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." 8They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.

Not a good reception, for sure! However, the long-term response turned out to be amazing and we will examine this as we walk through the two letters written to the followers of Jesus who were gathering together in Thessalonica. A few years ago I was asked the question, "Who wrote I Thssalonians?" I gave the typical answer that is even written at the heading of most Bibles--"Paul." But I was quickly corrected and told to read the first verse of this book.

So, I read the verse and discovered who the authors were. Check out this verse. 1Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

There it is! It was not Paul only, but Sivanus or Silas and Timothy are also named. These three men wrote these letters. It was a natural thing, since these three men in agreement with one another, walking together and ministering together, had a miraculous impact among those who believed in Jesus. We soon will see the exact nature of this impact and the extent of it all around the known world. But what is most important for our thinking today is the power of the few. This is the perfect example of what Jesus taught the disciples, when He said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I will be in their midst." Jesus will show up in person, when two or three are gathered in His name--where two or three are in agreement in His name.

This is not just for the early apostles and disciples, but also this same dynamic is true today! Whenever we do anything together in the name of Jesus, Jesus shows up in a wonderful way. So, I have determined to discipline myself to never do anything all alone, if possible. Whenever we are called into visit someone in need, in the hospital or be in counsel with someone, we are now making every endeavor to include others in the activity. Even this morning we went to visit a family going through a battle with cancer, we brought along another couple with us. It was a terrific time! We didn't go to church this morning; we were the church. In fact, we took the church to our friends in their home and it was one of the most meaningful "church services" I've attended in quite some time. Now, it just happened to be a Sunday, but our little "church service" could have occurred on any day of the week. It's an interesting experience. Each one participates by giving and receiving from one another and all walk away feeling a touch from God, Himself. Try it out for yourself. Don't just go to church; BE THE CHURCH OF JESUS.