1 THESSALONIANS 1:6
“You became imitators of us and of the LORD, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the HOLY SPIRIT.”
1 THESSALONIANS 2:13-14
13 “And we also thank GOD continually because, when you received the Word of GOD, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the Word of GOD, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of GOD’s churches in Judea, which are in CHRIST JESUS”
“Be imitators of us and of the LORD” – The Thessalonians not only imitated Paul and Silas. Their first example was CHRIST. They also imitated the other churches, specifically in their response to persecutions. Genuine believers will endure as they endured. Though they may face persecution from different sources, the principle of patient endurance (persevering) didn’t change. In today’s world, we may also face various types of persecutions. Many of them may be different from the persecutions faced by the first century church. But just like their example, we must still persevere in the middle of those persecutions and re-commit ourselves again to making JESUS CHRIST always our first priority. He is our first example.
JOHN 15:18-21 (JESUS says)
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my Name, for they do not know the One who sent me.”
ABBA FATHER, we praise and thank You for the great faith examples of JESUS, Your Son, and that of all Your followers who faithfully and patiently endured persecution. Help us to persevere, survive, and thrive in today’s increasingly hostile culture surrounding our faith in CHRIST. We look up to You for strength to supply us with the much needed grace to endure today’s challenges to our faith. In JESUS’ Mighty Name. Amen.
Pastor Wally & Sister Mattie