The introduction of the Gospel to the Macedonian city of Thessalonica had a very successful beginning as seen in Acts 17:1-10 where, after teaching in the local synagogue for three weeks, Paul was able to demonstrate how Jesus was the promised Messiah. Along with some of the Jews, a large number of "God-fearing Greeks and influential women" were persuaded. This caused jealousy, which prompted some of the Jews to form a band of thugs to capture Paul and Silas. Instead, they dragged one of the converts to the city authorities which accusations of "turning the world upside down" (disruption). Paul and Silas had to leave the city by night. The same Jews followed after Paul into Berea when they heard he was sharing the Gospel there (Acts 17:11-15)

 

While in Corinth, Paul had been concerned for the welfare of these new converts, and had sent Timothy to encourage them in their own troubles and to encourage them as well not to be " disturbed" by how they had seen the crowds react to the Gospel, and Paul and Silas (since"…we have been destined for this." (1 Thes. 3:3) Paul feared for them, that they would be influenced away from the Truth by the "tempter". Instead he hears of their ongoing growth and a reputation of faith, that was influential to others that heard of it (1:8). They would need encouragement in recounting where they had come from, how they had grown, exhortations in avoiding common and publicly acceptable practices (sexual immorality), and to have an unshakable hope in the future (particularly the coming again of Christ, and the assured hope of those that had already died in Christ).

 

As we walk our way through this precious letter, form a compassionate and loving Apostle, we will be challenged in our faith, love, and hope in the examples reference din the Thessalonian congregation; by Paul and his team and by the challenges to faithful living to the end of life. These had seen a very difficult beginning with a hateful response to the Truth of God's Word, and had lost their teacher in a timing that would have seemed premature.   Yet their consistency was another "proof of the genuine reception they had to the Gospel and that it was truly "in power and in the Holy Spirit"(1:5). Such "full conviction" is desperately needed in our churches today, in the midst of an age where spiritual complacency is encouraged and even defended.