1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
I am not sure which is better, going on a trip or returning home from a trip. When preparing for a trip, there is much work to be done. The reservations have to be secured. The clothes have to be packed. The vehicle needs to be ready for the whole journey. There is the expectation of great memories to be made.
When returning from a trip, there is much work to be done. The bill has to be paid. The clothes have to be washed. The vehicle needs to be ready for the return to normal life. Then there is the reminiscing about all the great times while on the trip.
It turns out that the trip was a time of different work! We just can’t get away from work! Maybe we can’t get away from work because life is full of work! The work of our life is not about just the day-to-day chores. The work of our life is not about the work of a trip. The work of our life is to have a life worthy of God.
Our vacations are about refreshing us for normal life. Yet, our normal life is more than about planning for the next vacation! Our lives have to mean more than rest and work. Our lives can be an example of a life worthy of God. That is what Paul was demonstrating to the Thessalonians!
A. Paul worked among the Thessalonians
1. The ancient world was heavily into patron and client
2. What the patron wanted, the client gave, for the patron was paying the client
3. Paul kept the patron/client from being part of the Thessalonian church
4. Paul worked – most likely as a tent maker (Acts 18)
5. He did not want to burden the newly established church with the patron/client setup
6. How were Paul, Silas, and Timothy with the Thessalonians?
a. Pure/holy – “in the things of God”
b. Upright/righteous – “with regard to men”
c. Blameless – “in respect of ourselves”1
7. Paul didn’t do all the work of the church. But he did show the church how to be the church. By working independent of the church’s finances, Paul was able to help the young church to grow. It was not only in finances that they grew. The Thessalonians were able to live a life worthy of God. They did not only do this with the conduct of Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
B. God was and is working among the Thessalonians
1. God calls us into his kingdom
2. The word of God is given so we may be in God’s kingdom and glory
3. So, Paul gives thanks for the Thessalonians
4. The Thessalonians accepted the word of God
5. It is the good news of Jesus Christ which is the word of God. For it is this word which is working among the believers in Thessalonica. With the word of God working, with God working, the Thessalonians are able to learn to live a life worthy of God. God is working to help them be holy. God is working so the believers can be righteous. God is working so the household of God can be blameless. Even in this letter we realize God doesn’t do all of the work. He starts the process, moves it along, and completes the good work he has begun in us. Who works alongside God?
C. We and the Thessalonians work alongside God!
1. Paul, Silas, and Timothy were like a father to his children
2. They did three things for the Thessalonians
3. God was persistent with the Thessalonians, is persistent with us
4. When the Thessalonians received the word of God, their work had just begun! They couldn’t give up. We can’t give up after we have received the word of God. We got to keep on going until we are leading a life worthy of God. That is God works in those who believe. Then the believers work as God is working in them.
Since we are not leaving this world without working, let’s understand the work God has for us. We get to be holy as God is holy. We get to be righteous with those around us. We get to learn to live blameless lives.
We are not alone in this work. When the word of God comes to us, we receive it. The word of God then works in us so that we may be holy, righteous, and blameless. As God is calling us into his own kingdom, we learn to live holy, righteous, and blameless lives. The commitment God has for us, because of the word of God, is the commitment God knows we can have.
What is keeping us from leading a life worthy of God? The word of God will work on what is keeping us from being holy. The word of God will work on what is making us be unrighteous. The word of God will work on what is stopping us from being blameless.
Will you receive the word of God today? Then you can do the work you have been called to do – be holy, righteous, and blameless – so you can answer the call into God’s own kingdom and glory.