2016-08-28 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ Paul's Caring
While Paul could endure persecution against himself, there was one thing that he couldn't endure, and that was not knowing what was happening to the Thessalonians. Accepting that he would not be able to leave Athens, he did the next best thing; he sent Timothy to them. This action followed as a result of all he has already stated. Paul was willing to be left behind, rather than have the Thessalonians left uncared for. It should be noted that the concept in the Greek, underlying the word “alone,” is the loneliness of someone who has lost a loved one through death. Paul wasn't just lonely, but was feeling bereft; nevertheless, the needs of these believers took first place, ahead of his own.
“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” (Acts 17:16).
This is a prime example of the fact Christian love truly does mean putting the needs of others ahead of oneself ,when directed to by the Holy Spirit, no matter what the cost.
Paul gave an excellent recommendation of Timothy. First, he called him his brother. Again, Timothy wasn't presented as Paul's assistant, but as his equal. Next it appears, though the word may be minister of God, Timothy was called a fellow worker with God, in giving out of the Gospel. It is interesting to note that he isn't called a tool of God, but God's fellow worker. As believers, while it is true we are God's instruments, we can also be considered His fellow workers in the task of giving out the Gospel.
The purpose to which Timothy was called, was to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith. Whether one is a new believer or a mature one, there is always a need to support and be supported by other believers. There was no way they could face the persecution under which they were tested, without total dependency on the Lord. We, too, cannot live the Christian life without total dependency on Him, and through the Holy Spirit’s power.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.