A Church Which Pleases God

I pray that this church will not only be one which increases in number, but most importantly, a church with which God is pleased. The church in Thessalonica is certainly not perfect. At the time Paul wrote to this church, it faced several problems that could be easily cause it to be labelled as a bad church: there was sexual immorality (1 Thess 4:3-6); busy bodies (1 Thess 4:11); people who did were unclear about certain important doctrines (1 Thess 4:13); lazy people (5:14).

Despite these problems, Paul had high praises for this church: “We always thank God for all of you . . .” (1 Thess 1:2); “you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia . . . your faith in God has become known everywhere” (1 Thess 1:8). What made this church so special even though it had many serious faults? Paul praises them for several things: he praises them for “work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in your Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3).

First, although they were facing persecution for being Christians, they continued to serve and follow the Lord by faith: they continued to obey God even though obedience was difficult. Life is full of distractions and difficulties. Continue to trust the Lord to provide the needs and strength that you need. He will provide. Do not give up on being faithful to the Lord.

Second, Paul praised them for their “labour prompted by love.” The Christians served each other, helped each other, made sacrifices for each other because they cared about the well-being of fellow Christians. May you love one another so that you would serve each other as servants.

Third, they endured hardship because they were “inspired by hope” in the Lord Jesus. The Lord will bless us as we serve the Lord. The fact, however, remains: there will be much sufferings in this life, and these include physical pain, disappointments, sorrow, uncertainties, etc. What keeps us following and serving the Lord as certain problems in life will not go away in this lifetime?

Our motivation is a future but sure hope: one day, our Lord Jesus will return and put all things right. He will punish evil doers, give us a resurrection body that will never die, sin, or fall sick. Sorrows will forever be removed and replaced with eternal joy and satisfaction. This future hope is guaranteed to God’s children. Your sufferings are very temporal because joy lasts for eternity. Thus, press on with your good works for the Lord.