The young church in Thessalonica is enduring significant affliction and persecution for their faith in Christ. And in their communication with Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, they ask, why are they having to suffer so much? Why doesn't God stop their persecution? Paul and his companions respond that God has good purposes even in their unjust suffering and they share with them the hope of Heaven.
Paul writes a second time to the church in Thessalonica to strengthen their faith in the midst of great suffering. He praises God that their faith is not failing, but growing. We learn from their example, that faith in Christ is not static, but dynamic. Furthermore, our faith can and should be growing no matter our earthly circumstances.
Paul continues instructing the Thessalonians in how to conduct themselves when they come together to worship the Lord. And he encourages them with the wonderful truth that God is working in and through them to sanctify them. Their growth in holiness is sure for God is faithful.
The character of the Church must be patterned after the life and teaching of Christ and the character of any given church is shaped by conduct of her people. In these verses Paul provides instruction as to how God’s people should relate to one another with a specific emphasis on what are often some of the most challenging: Our relationships with those in authority and our relationships with those who require us to dig a little deeper to love well. Through Paul's instruction we will see that each one of us has an opportunity to contribute significantly to the Christlike character of the church.
In their exchange of letters, the Thessalonians ask the Apostle Paul the question we all want an answer to, when will the Lord return? Paul teaches them that the Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and that for Christians, our focus needs to be on making ourselves ready for his appearing, not on dates. He further encourages them that they need not fear the Day of the Lord. For some it will lead to judgment, but for them, it will lead to their full salvation and even greater union with Christ.
Paul seeks to comfort the Thessalonians as they grieve the loss of loved ones. Paul shepherds them to allow their faith to inform their grief. Loved ones who trusted in Christ will be raised when Jesus returns in glory.
These verses are an exhortation to this young church–who are doing well spiritually–to continue to increase in the kind of conduct that pleases God in the areas of sexual conduct and brotherly love. While the cultural context and circumstances may differ significantly from our own, there is still much here for the church today.
Paul, knowing the church in Thessalonica was experiencing affliction and persecution, sends Timothy to exhort and encourage them so that they are unmoved in their faith. Both Paul and the church were experiencing the effects of spiritual warfare such that Paul attributes their tribulation to satan. Upon Timothy's return to Paul in Corinth, he shares the good news that the Thessalonians have remained steadfast in their faith.
Paul begins chapter 2 by reminding the Thessalonians of how he and his companions came to them. They came boldly yet gently, faithfully not with error and eager to share the hope of salvation not selfishly. When among them, Paul lived above reproach and as such, the Thessalonians began to follow his example. He now urges them to walk in a manner worthy of God.