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1 Thessalonians

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Chapter 2:11-16 (ESV)

Posted on April 25, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 2:11-16 (ESV) - For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

Question to consider: Why do we continually need to hear both the Law as well as the Gospel to mature in our faith?

Just as Paul, Timothy and Silas cared for the young church in Thessalonica like a nursing mother, so they also exhorted them like a father to walk in a manner worthy of the kingdom of God. The nursing mother/exhorting father image points to the necessity of both the Gospel and the Law. The Law exposes our sin so that we are left without the ability to justify ourselves before God, and it reveals our need for the righteousness offered by Christ. The Gospel delivers to us this righteousness by faith and reconciles us with God.

In doing so, the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to conform us to the image of Christ. So we exhort one another to do the good works God created us to do, not as a means of earning favor with God, but out of the grace and knowledge of Christ that overflows from us. As we receive the word of God, and the Holy Spirit uses that word to change our hearts and minds, we grow in our desire to do the things that bring life and peace.

As this occurred among the Thessalonians, Paul recognized that they became imitators of those among the churches in Judea who also faced affliction and persecution albeit from the Jewish ruling authorities rather than the Gentiles in Thessalonica. Of course, at one time, Paul was among those ruling authorities who persecuted the church in Judea.

Paul recognized that not only did these authorities persecute the church, but they hindered the Gospel from being delivered to the Gentiles. Since Paul was writing from the church at Corinth, I would guess that the wrath of which he spoke toward the Jews was related to Caesar Claudius who expelled the Jews from Rome around AD 49 causing ones like Priscilla and Aquila to move to Corinth and start the church there. There also was a great famine during that time period which brought tremendous hardship to Judea.

While Paul pointed out that the religious leaders among the Jews were guilty of killing both the Lord and the prophets, Paul also had a deep desire for them to repent and turn to Him for forgiveness, for he said, “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1) Just as Paul chastised them for hindering his work of salvation to the Gentiles, he would chastise those who would hinder the Gospel from going out to those who profess to be Israel today.


Dear heavenly Father, none of us are deserving of Your grace and mercy. Please help us to nurture the faith of others and exhort one another to the works You have created us to do. Amen.