Sharing Our Souls for the Sake of the Gospel

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: 1 Th. 2:8
Full Text: Prov. 23; 1 Th. 2
Photo of the Day: #TPFperspective

Traveling | Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians around AD 51 from Corinth while he was on his second missionary journey. On his first journey, Paul had planted churches in southern Turkey and, on his second journey, he had planned to revisit those churches and then head north. But God redirected him. Through a vision [1], God called him to spread the gospel in Macedonia and Greece. Thus, history was changed. The gospel went from Asia to Europe. He went to Philippi and then Thessalonica [2] – a prominent Macedonian city that was founded by Alexander the Great [3].

Caring | Paul stayed in Thessalonica for a few weeks and his time there was fruitful: “Some [Jews] were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women” [4]. Eventually, however, he was run out of town in the middle of the night [5] and headed toward Athens and Corinth. But He never forgot about the new Christians in Thessalonica. When it was safe, he sent Timothy to check on them. Upon returning to Corinth, Timothy had good news for Paul – the Thessalonians had survived persecution and were doing well! They remained, however, young believers with some problems. Thus, Paul wrote to encourage and exhort them.

Sharing | Sometimes it’s easy to think of Paul as an intense vagabond preacher, traveling from city to city without many personal ties. But it’s hard to read this letter without seeing his obvious love and affection for the Thessalonians. He didn’t just share the gospel; he shares his life as well: “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” [6]. Indeed, they were his “hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming” [7].

Praying | Lord, Sharing our lives is more than sharing the gospel. It’s sharing our true feelings, passions, fears, guilt, longings, and joys. It’s placing our glory and our joy in the spiritual growth of others in Christ. For the sake of the gospel, teach us to share our lives with one another. Make us family and friends, as we encourage and exhort one another to love and good works until the day of Christ [8]. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] See Acts 16:9 ESV  |  [2] See Acts 16:12; 17:1  |  [3] Historical references taken from Dever, Mark; John MacArthur (2005-11-30). The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept. Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition; and Diarmaid MacCullouch. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. Viking/Penguin. 2009.  |  [4] Acts 17:4 ESV  |  [5] See Acts 17. Also, in 1 Thessalonians, Paul reminds them, “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time …” (2:17 ESV)  |  [6] 1 Thess. 2:8 ESV  |  [7] 1 Thess. 2:19 ESV  |  [8] See Heb. 10:24

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