When Things Look Tough - 2 Thes. 1:1,2
October 3, 2022, 11:00 AM

"Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. "

Friends are important, aren't they? It is no fun to be alone. There is nothing more precious to God than people. God has chosen to be friends with us. He loves us and gave his Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us. Interestingly, many people from the beginning of the early church, who responded to God's love in following Jesus were beaten and abused, and even killed. Satan does not like it when people become followers of Jesus Christ.

We begin a new devotional series from one of Paul’s smallest and earliest letters. The epistles to the Thessalonians are considered to be the first letters he wrote while on his second missionary journey and not too long after he had arrived in Corinth. Last year I wrote Sermon Nuggets from 1 Thessalonians. We understand the background of Thessalonian church from Dr. Luke’s description of what happened in Acts 17. Paul and Silas preached in the synagogues for three Sabbaths. A great response occurred by the grace of God. Many were saved causing some Jews to become very angry, so they went to the elders of the city accused Paul of claim is  there was someone else to be worshiped in place of Caesar. They became violent. Knowing Paul was staying at Jason’s house, they went to get him, but he wasn't there, so they dragged Jason from his house. The believers saw to it that Paul and his friends escaped to Berea. The church started quickly, grew fast, and as a result suffered right away for their faith.

The first Gentile believers killed were in Thessalonica. Being so concerned for this group of believers, Paul wanted to go back, but it wasn't possible, so he sent Timothy. Reports came back that they were remaining faithful and indeed growing in their faith. Paul wrote to them in the first letter including the teaching on of the second coming of Jesus.

Apparently, someone else wrote in Paul’s name telling them the rapture of the church had already occurred. Some believers, looking for Jesus’ return immediately quit work. They were relying on other believers for food since they were not working. Many were upset thinking they missed the second coming, so Paul writes to them again this quick note called 2 Thessalonians, preserved for us by the Holy Spirit and considered to be the inspired word of God.

He wishes to calm their excitement, console his friends, and encourage the church in the midst of persecution. This week we will look at some of the ways he seeks to encourage them.

When you receive a letter or email from a friend who has been away, what encourages you?

Application: How might you encourage a family member or friend whom you haven’t seen for a while?

Prayer: Father, bring to my day those you wish me to encourage.  Give me the words they need today.