Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the book of 1 Thessalonians Paul does not speak of miracles. He does not say that the gospel came to the Thessalonians in miracles, wonders, and healings. If we study this book carefully, we shall see that Paul’s emphasis is on daily living. In 1:5 he says, “You know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” Instead of emphasizing the supernatural and the miraculous, Paul takes his living as a factor for the preaching of the gospel. Furthermore, with respect to Christian living, he stresses three matters: turning to God from idols, serving the living God, and waiting for the coming back of the Lord Jesus.
Throughout the centuries the human mind has been interested in things that are fantastic, miraculous, and supernatural. However, miraculous things do not last. But a work that is carried out by a proper living will last.
God’s salvation enables us to live a normal life. This is a strong testimony of the gospel. Christians should live a normal life, not a miraculous, supernatural life. Therefore, a proper life for the church life must be common, regular, and normal. Such a life is characterized by turning to God from idols, serving the living God, and waiting for the coming back of the Lord Jesus. To have this kind of life means that nothing on earth occupies us. We are free from all idols, from all things other than God, and we are occupied by the living God Himself. This living God is testified in our daily life. We have a life which testifies that the God whom we serve is living. Furthermore, our goal, hope, and expectation are not related to things on earth, but are focused on the coming back of the Lord Jesus. A life with these three characteristics is a proper Christian life as a testimony to our God. These aspects of a proper Christian life are all covered in chapter one.
The first chapter of 1 Thessalonians covers two main points: the structure of a holy life for the church life and the origin of a holy life for the church life. The structure is composed of the work of faith, the labor of love, and the endurance of hope. The origin of such a life is the preaching of the gospel and the acceptance of the word preached, an acceptance resulting in turning to God from idols, serving a living and true God, and waiting for the Son. Now in chapter two we come to the third aspect of a holy life for the church life, the aspect of fostering.
Although the word fostering cannot be found in 1 Thessalonians 2, the fact of fostering can be seen in this chapter. Here Paul likens the apostles both to a nursing mother and to an exhorting father. This means that the apostles were mothers and fathers to the new believers. They regarded the believers as children under their fostering care. Just as parents care for their children, fostering their growth, so the apostles cared for the new believers. Thus, in 1 Thessalonians 2 we see the fostering of a holy life for the church life. In verses 1 through 12 we have the care of a nursing mother and an exhorting father, and in verses 13 through 20 we see the reward given to those who foster believers in this way. Because the apostles rendered such a care to the new believers, the apostles will eventually receive a reward from the Lord.
First Thessalonians 2:1-12 surely is a word to new believers. In these verses we do not have much that is weighty or deep. Here we do not have profound doctrines. Instead, we have a word that can be compared to the way parents speak to young children. Let us consider this portion verse by verse so that we may be impressed how to help new believers.
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