Bible Studies for Life
September 30 2018
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (HCSB)
G.K. Chesterton said “Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian.” It was no secret the Apostle Paul was a man of intense joy. The source of Paul’s joy was his relationship with Jesus. The joy of the Lord was the source of Paul’s strength for service. The joy of the Lord helped him endure hardships and trials and reminded him of the ultimate joy that was to come. In the strength of joy Paul preached the gospel taught the Scriptures and planted churches.
Paul had a tremendous joy when he looked backed on the spiritual progress of the Thessalonians. He called them his “hope … joy (and) crown of boasting” (1 Thess. 2:19-20). Despite all the things the Christians at Thessalonica had to endure they “welcomed the message with the joy from the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6).
Paul loved them as children and they had become imitators of him and the Lord (1 Thess. 2:7-8; 1:6). Paul expressed his joy as thanksgiving. He was thankful for their “work of faith” their salvation (1 Thess. 1:3). He called them the church the elect and brothers loved by God. He was also thankful for their “labor of love” (1 Thess. 1:3). They emulated what they saw in Paul and his missionary team. Paul also expressed thanksgiving for their “endurance of hope” (1 Thess. 1:3). They continued to serve and have in mind the imminent return of Christ.
Years ago I preached in a church in another state that sat in the middle of a very old and dreary cemetery. It was just as dreary on the inside of the church. There was no joy at all. I am so thankful that the church I am a member of is a joyful church. It is not an exaggeration to say that each time we meet it is like a celebration of joy. I have said many times in my teaching and preaching “Where there is no joy there is a relationship problem.” Authentic joy flows from an authentic relationship with Jesus.