Authentic Christians are transformed by the Holy Spirit.
In this series, we're going to be looking at 1 and 2 Thessalonians. These letters will emphasize two perspectives: They put a laser focus on the future. But they also emphasize what it means to live in the here-and-now.
Followers of Jesus Christ should live with one foot in this world and the other in the world to come. We should be fully engaged with this life. But we should also live with an awareness of eternity. One day—for one generation—Jesus Christ will break through the sky, and life as we know it will come to a screeching halt. For all others, it will be death that comes with a last breath—sometimes expected, sometimes a shocking intrusion.
Having the double perspective of this world and the world to come gives us wisdom. It shapes our priorities, our schedules, our dreams for our children, our decisions with our work, our concerns for our neighbors. It fuels our hearts for the gospel.
We're calling this series End-time People. These letters are for people living in the present, but living with the perspective of eternity.
The author of these letters is Paul. Paul goes on three—probably four—extended missionary journeys. Paul's strategy is to go to influential cities, and plant churches. From there the gospel will be carried into the surrounding areas.
On his second journey—in about the year 50—Paul and two of his associates—Silas and Timothy—go to the city of Thessalonica. Thessalonica is the capital of Macedonia. It is still today the second largest city in Greece. Paul goes there and a church is established, but it is a time of active persecution. And Paul is quickly forced from the community. You can read the details in Acts 17.
Paul leaves, but he ...