Summary: Are you a model Christian? Are you passing on to someone what your pastor and before them has passed on to you? Is it about naming a street after you or is it about making known to others the blessed name of our Lord Jesus Christ?
THE ROLE MODEL CHRISTIANS
IN THIS DAY AND AGE WHEN THERE IS HIGH INTEREST in the subject of prophecy and the end times, that Christians would view the Thessalonian letters as reference for eschatology. When Christians talk about the doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ this is often the place where they go and we tend to overlook the richness of the doctrines contained in this letter. To treat it this way is not being truthful in our approach to the Word of God.
This early letter of the apostle Paul supply important insights into the life of a first-century Macedonian congregation that was primarily Gentile. In the centuries that followed, the city remained as one of the major strongholds of Christianity (Ilumina Bible Dictionary) which led us to believe the Thessalonians were role model Christians that we, Stocktonian believers ought to follow. I am not saying that dogmatically as if they are the only ones to follow but rather their commendable attitudes are valuable lessons for us today.
Silas who was also called Silvanus, was Paul’s companion at the beginning of his second missionary journey (Acts 15:40) generally dated around A.D 51. Silas later on became a scribe for Peter (1Peter 5:12). Timothy on the other hand joined Paul and Silas when they came to Lystra where he was a resident. From Philippi, they passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia then Thessalonica. Paul, Silas and Timothy apparently did not preach in Amphipolis and Apollonia because there were no Jewish synagogues there.
Thessalonica was the capital city of Macedonia, which was a Roman province at the time of Paul. Being the most important city in the northern part of modern Greece, its population was around 200,000. This first letter was written around A.D. 51 and sent by Paul from Corinth.
“As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead.” (Acts 17:2,3)
Some Jews and a large number of Gentiles believed and received his message. But there were Jews who got jealous of Paul’s success in winning the Gentiles to Christ, who stirred up a riot that forced them to depart and moved on to Berea (Acts 17:10).
Paul, unlike his usual greetings in his other epistles, did not acknowledge himself as the apostle of Christ. This non-identification of his apostleship did not in any way suggest that his apostleship in Macedonia was in question. In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul also did not identify himself as an apostle of Christ. Paul simply humbled himself. He put himself equal with his co-laborers, Silas and Timothy.
Paul commends the Thessalonian believers for their genuine faith. As Paul prayed for them, he is always reminded of their work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sidenote: In First Corinthians 13, Paul mentioned these gracious gifts from God: “And now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1Cor 13:13) Why did Paul say that love is greater than the other two which overall are gifts from God too?