Paul encourages the persecuted Thessalonians to look forward with hope to Jesus' return.
From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, following him as the true King and Messiah meant going against the larger culture. And for many Christians, this caused persecution and conflict in their communities. The church at Thessalonica was facing persecution, but Paul wrote to them to encourage their faithfulness. He also directs them to respond to their persecution with love, meeting opposition with grace and generosity. This way of life is motivated by hope in the coming Kingdom of Jesus that has already begun.
Hope Amidst Hardship
Paul's letter to the Thessalonians celebrates a flourishing church. Despite persecution and suffering, the community of Jesus followers have stood strong in their commitment to Jesus. Paul encourages them further, pointing toward the return of King Jesus, who will set everything right.
The book of 1 Thessalonians opens with a prayer. Paul thanks God for the Thessalonians' faith, love for others, and hope in Jesus despite persecution.
Grateful for the Thessalonians' faithful love and service, Paul also reminds them that suffering and persecution are ways they can participate in Jesus' life story.
Prayer for Endurance
Paul prays God will grow their capacity to love and strengthen their commitment to holiness as they fix their hope on Jesus' eventual return.
A Challenge to Grow
Jesus followers are challenged to live lives consistent with Jesus' teachings as they remain holy, sexually pure, loving, humble, faithful, hopeful, and expectant for Jesus' return.
Prayer of Hope
Paul prays for God to permeate the believers' lives with his holiness and set them apart, completely devoted and blameless until King Jesus' return.