2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Only after a few months of writing his first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, Paul found it necessary to write again. The reason? The persecutions against the Thessalonians were increasing and causing severe emotional and physical sufferings. Paul now aimed to encourage them, to establish them in the faith, and to remind them that God works even through trials.
1. God uses trials to help build Christlikeness in you.
“Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vv.1-2
· When words or phrases are often repeated, it highlights certain important truth such as God is our Father and Jesus is Lord.
· The Thessalonians were reminded of their identity in Christ – children of God.
· As a good Father, God does not fail to look after His own children.
· God called them to belong to Him and Him to them through faith in Jesus.
· They must carry with them the resemblance of God if they were to be identified with Him.
· The more we study Christ and His attitude towards suffering, the more we are being convinced that transformation is necessary and inevitable.
2. God uses trials and persecutions to grow our faith.
“3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance (patience in suffering) faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” vv.3-4
· We imitate the sacrificial love of Jesus for His church.
“25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy.” Ephesians 5:25-26.
· Trials refines our faith.
“13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
· Temptation is peirasmos in Greek which means trial.
· God is watching over us, protecting us, He is with us to show the way out so that he can build a Christ-like character in us.
3. God uses trials and persecutions to build the right attitude toward difficulties.
“5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”… 11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vv.5,11-12
· God sets the standard for kingdom life.
· The right attitude towards persecutions and trials: focus on God, trust His promises, and live peaceably with all people.
· Confront people in peace, learn when to disengage, and leave room for God to bring His justice.
Trust God to see you through your difficulties. Remain faithful to the Lord at all times and He will direct your steps. Pray for those who persecute you and continue to show goodness and do some acts of kindness. In this way, you are proving them wrong and showing them what you are really made of inside!