Pastor Barry's "Chapter & Verse" Day 338
December 4, 2018; I Thessalonians 1:6; 183/260(III); ‘Affliction & Joy
1 Thessalonians 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.’
The Apostle Paul was an example wherever he went. He often said that the gospel he shared was not in word only, but also in the power of the Holy Spirit (v5). The city of Thessalonica was under Roman rule and there must have been persecution for various reasons. The people also worshiped idols (v9) and perhaps when they turned to Jesus, the leaders of the idol worship may have persecuted them as well. How comforting it must have been when the power of the Holy Spirit flowed through Paul for healing and setting people free, and the people saw that what Paul was teaching was real. The idols they served were a lie and in Jesus, there was real power and freedom. Rome was still in authority, but the infant church saw in Paul a fearless man who taught and flowed in real power, liberating himself and those who put their trust in Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit opens the hearts of people as they recognized with joy that Christianity was real. Love, peace, and power. The miracles, signs and wonders made them believe that what Paul said about Jesus was true. Concern about death and what comes after must always have been a very real and often frightening issue with people. Hearing of the love of Jesus, the certainty of eternal life through Him and proving the gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit set the people free and opened their hearts to welcome the truth. There will be afflictions in life, but in Jesus you won and can face life with joy.