By Minister Jonathan Irons, Esq.
I Thessalonians 1:2-10: Paul constantly prayed for this newly formed church. He thanked God for this congregation as he witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit in its members. Their faith increased and they longed to be like Jesus. He admired their love for each other and their hope and patience while facing difficult situations such as persecution.
The Apostle Paul said that the Thessalonians were a model of faith for all believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Achaia is a large part of what is southern Greece. When the Romans conquered the area, they made Achaia one of the three provinces in what is now Greece. Paul recounted how the Gospel came through him to them with not just words but with much power from the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. Their faith produced much love amongst them, fruitful labor and endurance through hardship and persecution. Not everybody was happy with the work of that church, which glorified Jesus Christ. The church faced opposition form unbelievers who wanted to destroy it.
The Thessalonians turned from worshiping the idols from Greek and Roman mythology to give their hearts to Jesus Christ. The fact that they turned from idols highlights the fact that they were Gentiles surrounded by idols and temples every day. There were many idols to choose from including Apollo, the god of the sun, Diana, goddess of the moon, Mars, god of war and Neptune, god of the sea. In addition, the Roman emperors often demanded their subjects to worship them as gods. To forsake these idols in a culture that was so deeply embedded with the worship of gods and goddesses was no easy task for early Christians.
Just as the Thessalonians, we have the same power of the Spirit in our lives when we accept Christ as our lord and savior. As we serve God, we exemplify Him to others and we will inevitably begin to influence the lives of those around us.