MP3: The Tribulation Road Thru 2 Thessalonians 1
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Welcome to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast teaching series titled “The Tribulation Road!” Nathan Jones and Vic Batista have been your guides since the very first installment, going verse by verse through the Bible’s prophetic book of 2 Thessalonians. We will now read verse 3 and learn from the little persecuted church of Thessalonica a valuable lesson on Christian love.
They Will Know that We are Christians by Our Love
Vic Batista: As we arrive at 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and on, the Apostle Paul begins to address those troubles and tribulations the new church in the city of Thessalonica were having to endure. But, first, in verse 3, Paul commends the afflicted church with:
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other…”
I really love how Paul in verse 3 points out that the church’s faith was growing exceedingly and that their love was abounding toward each other. When it comes to being the Church of Jesus Christ, a Christian should easily be identified because of our love towards one another. They will know that we are Christians by our love.
Nathan Jones: The church in Thessalonica provides a good reminder that as Christians we should be conduits of Christ’s love. I love that old song you referenced that sings, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord… They will know that we are Christians by our love, by our love….” Our love should be how the lost recognizes us as Christians.
Sadly, in this day and age, most people recognize Christians by what we hate. Certainly, we hate all of the immorality going on in the world. It’s gotten out of hand, and it’s hurting people. By hating sin we in a way show our love for the lost, but they should know that we are Christians first by our love, not just in what we say but by how we act. We as Christians should be doing what Jesus did. Jesus took care of the poor, the needy, the widows, the orphans, and provided food and healing. He shared the Gospel along with acts of mercy and love. I find that we Christians spend more time judging than loving, and I can certainly be guilty of behaving like that, too. But, here in verse 3, Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for their great love, and that love became the testimony which drew the lost to Jesus Christ.Nathan Jones: Paul commends the church in Thessalonica for their great love, and that love became the testimony which drew the lost to #JesusChrist. Click To Tweet
Remember that Paul and his evangelism team of Silas (also called Silvanus) and Timothy had been forcibly removed from Thessalonica. In order for Paul to instruct his newly formed church, he sent a messenger to deliver a letter, which we today call the book of 1 Thessalonians. By this second letter to the Thessalonians, clearly the messenger Paul had sent out with the first letter had come back and reported to Paul how the church was doing in his absence. What a blessing it must have been for Paul to learn that his baby church had been growing in their faith and loving on each other and other people. What a great testimony for this little church!
Vic Batista: Christians are going to differ in opinion with each other in certain areas, but by the end of the day, we should not be divisive and fight against each other. If anything can divide Christians it’s an election. Politics can cause such great division. We become so passionate, and even outright angry, over the different candidates we support. As Bible-believing Christians we need to remember that we are citizens of a different kingdom and so as Christians, we are on the same team. Christians need to remember not to fight with each other but behave in Christian love and unity.
Nathan Jones: Politics will always divide, so we as Christians should focus on Christ’s coming kingdom and what we can do to advance our true nation. To that end, we should be showing love towards one another. All this bickering and fighting about politics, well that’s a worldly thing. Now, I do strongly believe that Christians should be involved in Christianizing the culture, for we are called to be salt and light for Christ. How we handle that, though, is very important. In showing the love of Jesus we will lead people toward Christ. Our anger and judgmental attitudes will lead people away from Christ. Just like Jesus, we should demonstrate love for all people. This little church in Thessalonica exemplified that behavior very well.
It also behooves us to remember that the fallen condition of this world is temporary. This earth is not our home. Our home is with Jesus Christ in Heaven and in His Kingdom. When Jesus finally returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom, that is our true country. Even though we live in these earthly countries right now, we need to keep the big picture in mind that our true country is the one that will be ruled by Jesus Christ for a thousand years. There lies every Christian’s citizenship.
In the third part of our travels along the Tribulation Road and our verse-by-verse study of 2 Thessalonians, we will move on to verse 4 and learn about the trials the Thessalonians were having to endure.