15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:15-18 [NLT]
The church in the town of Thessalonica was beset by great suffering. The believers endured hardships, persecution, and martyrdom. Paul, the suffering Apostle, writes to the church to encourage them in their faith.
His concern for their welfare in the face of oppositions prompts him to dispatch Timothy to check on the safety of the believers. Timothy rejoins Paul in Corinth and presents his sobering report – “The church is enduring hardships and severe persecution.” However, Timothy delivers a great and inspiring tribute concerning their steadfast faith despite the persecution.
Paul is encouraged and writes this first letter to the church where he exhorts them (midst the pagan culture) to resist and abstain from sexual immorality and avoid the menace of strife and factiousness.
The Apostle encourages them to maintain the right attitude in a negative world. Paul reminds them of the blessed hope in the return of Christ. He assuages their concerns about the believers who have died in Christ. He informs them that the return of Christ will resurrect the righteous dead; then the living will join with them to meet Christ in the air! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) This hope is both encouraging and sustaining.
Paul brings them from the exalting hope to the reality of present Christian discipline. This Apostle conveys to these believers how to live victoriously in a defeated society. This is where his instructive admonishment speaks in their present and in the future present of the millenniums. Here is the formula for a rejoicing life. This is genuine Gratitude Attitude!
1. Don’t seek revenge.
2. Return good for evil.
3. Always be joyful.
4. Pray continually.
5. Always be thankful.
Paul states life challenges conclude in triumphant results because we are in God’s will! Let me encourage us to always have a Gratitude Attitude … The best is yet to be!
Blessings, ~ Pastors Bob & Linda
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