Read 1 Thessalonians 1
This chapter is the opening to a letter Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica. While this was written to a specific group of people, God inspired this Scripture as encouragement and instruction for all Believers. This group of disciples set a great example of how the Church should remain visible to those around them. Like a light on a hill, the example they set radiated the gospel to all who could see it (see Matthew 5:14–16).
Paul and his fellow missionaries had witnessed the Thessalonians’ faith which led to works, their agape love which led to labor, and their hope in Jesus which gave them endurance to continue producing this good fruit. Their works, labor, and endurance outwardly displayed what it looked like to be the Church. The Church described in this chapter is not a hobby or an occasional social gathering, it is a committed family united through a shared relationship with Jesus. Because they lived lives that imitated Jesus, the Thessalonians became an example other Believers looked to as a model of what the Church should be. Through their encouragement and example, the word of the Lord “rang out” throughout the region and to further unbelievers (see 1 Thessalonians 1:8).
Many modern cultures focus on the individual. Often, Christians fall into this way of thinking when it comes to following Jesus. Do you place too much emphasis on your personal efforts and growth in the faith—and not enough emphasis on your role as a member of the larger Church who is contributing to its reputation in the world? When we, as the Church, share our lives and allow our faith, love, and hope to lead to action, people everywhere will take notice. Then, the good news of Jesus will spread far beyond our community, and God’s Kingdom will grow.
Pray about how you can help others see what the Church should look like in the world.