Paul’s epistles to the Thessalonians were written to a young church and one that was facing persecution. Yet, in the midst of their difficulties, these new converts were noted for their ‘work of faith, labour of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ’.
In his first epistle we have a priceless opportunity to look into the heart of Paul himself and discover the burning passion for Christ and his gospel which made him the man that he was. Both the apostle himself and the believers at Thessalonica set us an example in evangelism and their concern to bring others to faith in Christ.
Paul’s instructions to these new converts on the practical implications of holiness, and how to live an orderly life that was pleasing to God and would not bring the gospel into disrepute, have much to say to people brought to Christ today from a background of religious pluralism and a moral climate where anything goes.
In these two epistles we also find two of the clearest statements in the whole New Testament about the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the age. We too can find encouragement in the face of present difficulties as, like the Thessalonians, we in our day seek to ‘serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven’.
Phil Arthur grew up in the north-east of England. Converted to Christ in his teens, he read history at Cambridge and then earned his living first as a teacher and then as a lecturer in his native County Durham. In 1988 he moved across the Pennines to Lancaster to become the first pastor of Free Grace Baptist Church. He is married to Barbara and has three sons.