Facing Affliction - 1 Thessalonians 3

Facing Affliction

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

From the day of Pentecost Christians have experienced persecution.  It continues today.  Those who have doubts may visit the web sites of International Christian Concern (www.persecution.org), and The Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com).

  Jesus said to His disciples, " In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33.  A major theme of 1 Peter is suffering persecution.  Peter wrote, "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."  1 Peter 4:12, 13.  Don't be surprised when you are mistreated because of your faith.

Christians have an appointment with stern opposition.  "No one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this."  1 Thessalonians 3:3.  To the church at Philippi, which was only about 50 miles from Thessalonica, Paul wrote, "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."  Philippians 1:29.  The apostle goes on to say to the brethren at Thessalonica, "For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know."  1 Thessalonians 3:4.

When Paul and Silas preached the gospel in Thessalonica, there was an uproar in the city.  An angry mob wanted to get their hands of Paul, but he wasn't to be found.  Instead, they manhandled Jason and others, who had gathered in his house.  The situation was so bad that the missionaries left Thessalonica at night.

How do you deal with affliction?

Paul sent Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians to establish the believers and encourage them concerning their faith.  Everyone needs to be supported and strengthened in their relationship to Christ.  In our steadfastness we in turn encourage each other.  "For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord."  This infant church was an encouragement to Paul and his companions.

James asks and answers his own question in James 5:13: "Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray."  That's what Paul, Silas, and Timothy did on behalf of the persecuted brethren at Thessalonica, "night and day praying exceedingly."  Let's remember to pray for those who are facing affliction.  God answers pray.

 

Father, thank You for watching over Your children.  Thank You for the victory that we have in Jesus Christ.  Encourage us, and strengthen us according to your gracious enabling.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

Words of Comfort - 1 Thessalonians 4

 
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