1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 3

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

″Which church in the New Testament stands out as the model for us to emulate today?″ This question was asked at a church growth seminar I attended.

The Thessalonians were a model church because they served the Lord faithfully, loved each other deeply, and longed to see the Lord at His second coming

It was no surprise that not a single attendee mentioned the conflict-ridden and divided church at Corinth. As expected, everyone pointed to the infant church in Jerusalem, whose exemplary attributes were described in Acts 2:42-47. To the apostle Paul, the church in Thessalonica was a model church. That's why he commended them as ″a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia″ (1 Thessalonians 1:7).

Why did Paul call her a model church? In what ways can this church be an example to believers today?

As we read previously, the church in Thessalonica was characterised by faithful work, loving deeds, and enduring hope (v. 3, NLT). Her members were carrying out the Great Commission and making an impact on their community with God's Word. They faithfully and boldly proclaimed the good news to people everywhere, even beyond their own borders. As Paul put it, ″the Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia-your faith in God has become known everywhere″ (v. 8).

The Thessalonians led such radically transformed lives that people could see and feel the difference. Their godly and Christ-like conduct left a deep impression on those around them (vv. 6-7). Indeed, it could be said that they had ″turned the world upside down″ (Acts 17:6, ESV). The Thessalonians were a model church because they served the Lord faithfully, loved each other deeply, and longed to see the Lord at His second coming (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

In short, they excelled in faith, hope, and love-the three cardinal virtues of the Christian life, and the three greatest signs of salvation.

Paul would stress the importance of this trilogy again when he instructed the Thessalonians to dress themselves for battle, to put on ″faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet″ (5:8; emphasis added, see Day 17). In the New Testament, the trilogy of faithful work, loving deeds, and enduring hope is a mark of the maturing church (see Colossians 1:4-5; Hebrews 10:22-24).

As believers in Jesus, we too would do well to seek to excel in faith, love, and hope. Why? As Paul notes, these virtues are critical and eternal: ″Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love″ (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT).

Think through:

Paul praised the Thessalonians for becoming ″imitators of us and of the Lord″ (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Whose imitation of Christ is an encouragement to you? How? Why?

Would you consider yourself a ″model″ Christian? Why or why not? In what areas would you want people (such as friends or your children, if you are a parent) to imitate you?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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