Dick Purnell, in his 2003 publication Finding a Lasting Love, makes the following statement: "We all need to love and accept the love of other people. Even though we talk about being self-sufficient, we are made by God with a need to connect with others."
This profound statement of truth is a personal reality for each of us and the reason behind Paul's writing of this text. People need love. Love connects people. God's love keeps people together even when they are far apart.
These verses mark the beginning of a new section in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians. Thus far, he has engaged in commendation in chapter 1, refutation in chapter 2:1-16, and now he begins his personal explanation for his failed return to this great church.
Paul's critics had not only tried to characterize his ministry as illegitimate, but they had also submitted his absence as a proof that his love was illegitimate, as well. The detractors reasoned, "If Paul loved you like he says he does, then why isn't he here?"
In our text, Paul rips open his chest and allows the Thessalonians then—and the church now—to see what really happens in the heart of a pastor. These words are laced with emotion and conviction because how Paul felt was the exact opposite of what he was being accused of. The great apostle's example and love for this church, which he had only known for a short time and only been away from for a brief period, teach us a lasting lesson about "the love connection" believers have in God.
Here we learn that the love of God keeps us connected even when space, time, and circumstances separate us. Physical separation in life can never end believers' relationships with each other. No matter how distant we are, we are still ...
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