The Thessalonian church was doing a lot of things right. They truly were an example to other churches in the region. They had responded to the truth of the gospel and the gospel was bearing much fruit in their lives. Paul had received encouraging reports of their faith and love from Timothy, which was not always the kind of news that Paul received regarding the churches he had planted (see Galatians and 1&2 Corinthians!)
And yet, when we come to chapter four of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he says in verse one, Finally, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. Then again he says, just eight verses later, Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more…
As I think of the church family at SGCC, in many ways I see the church in Thessalonica. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3). Yet, like Paul, I would encourage us all to do so even more!
I recently came across this short little article in Christianity Today, by a pastor in Orange County who has encouraged his church to strive even more to be a friendly church. His plan involves four simple steps, that are not too challenging but if consistently applied, could make a great difference. Here’s a link to the article. I’d encourage you to take a minute and read it over, and begin putting it into practice yourself. Maybe you can encourage the members of your Sunday School class or small group to do the same.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).