Dave’s Devo: No Hesitation
1 Thessalonians Intro
I’ve been cursed at, almost punched, thrown out of a place of business, and on a trip to Poland before the Berlin Wall came down, I was pulled over by the police and later had to register at the headquarters in the city where we were teaching students. That was the closest I ever came to getting imprisoned for the Gospel.
Paul, on the other hand, spent multiple days and nights in jail, and on his second missionary journey in Philippi, he and his partner, Silas, were beaten and placed in stocks under firm lock and key by the Philippian jailer. God did shake them free with an earthquake, but after this intense persecution in Philippi, I would have had some serious hesitation about entering the next city. The Apostle Paul admits that he was down and discouraged when he came to Thessalonica, a major harbor, but he did not hesitate to enter the synagogue, open the Scripture, and start using it to prove that Jesus is the Messiah.
Today Thessalonica is called Salanica, and there’s still a church there. In fact, a close friend who was born in the city returns often to proclaim the same Gospel Paul preached. Here’s Dr. Luke’s account about how the Thessalonian church was born.
“When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica. There was a Jewish synagogue in the city and following his usual approach, Paul went in. On three Sabbath days he carried on an intense dialogue with those attending. From their Scriptures, he opened up the meaning of the text and demonstrated that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead. Paul brought his biblical argument to its conclusion, ‘This Jesus, the one I’m proclaiming to you, is the Messiah.” Some of the Jews were convinced and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
But the Jews who didn’t accept Paul’s interpretation became jealous. They rounded up some rabble rousers, bad guys from the marketplace, formed a mob, and instigated a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house searching for Paul and Silas intending to bring them out to the crowd. When they didn’t find them, they dragged out Jason and some of the other brothers. Bringing them before the city officials, they shouted out their accusations, ‘These are the ones who have caused trouble all over the civilized world, and now they’re here. Jason even welcomed them into his house. The whole lot of them are acting against the decrees of Caesar, declaring that there is another king, one called Jesus.’ When they heard these charges, pandemonium broke out between the mob and the city officials. The magistrates made Jason and the other brothers post bond. Then let them go. As soon as night fell, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea.” Acts 17:1-10
Today, in church planting strategies, there are blueprints stressing how many core people are needed, the necessary funds that must be gathered, and picking the right location, sound equipment, and advance publicity. Obviously, the Apostle Paul and Silas couldn’t mobilize any of this. They were in Thessalonica for only three Sabbaths, maybe a few days more, but when Paul writes a letter back to them to give them encouragement and some answers about the return of the Lord Jesus, there’s a vital, growing church.
LORD, two of my close friends are seeking to help new baby churches in Midlothian get established. Pour the same life-giving Spirit that gave life to the new baby church in Thessalonica into these groups of believers today. Give their leaders courage, like Paul, to ground their message in the Jewish Scriptures that predicted Jesus, the Messiah, who did suffer and die and rise again; therefore, we can be confident he will return. Keep generating folks here in Texas, the U.S. and around the world who put all their hope in Jesus.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!