1 Thessalonians Chapter 2: Early Instruction for Church Leaders
It never ceases to amaze me that little more than 20 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the apostle Paul was providing advice (in his letters) to congregations and church leaders on how to live a Christian life and how to serve as pastors and lay leaders. His advice still speaks to us nearly 2000 years later. With that in mind it becomes very clear why Jesus so dramatically touched and transformed Paul in the Damascus Road encounter. He knew what Paul’s role would be in building His Church.
In chapter 2 of the first letter to the Thessalonians Paul is speaking to the leaders of the newly formed church community and issuing warnings about the motives and behaviors of the opposition and reminding them of the strong contrast of the behaviors and motives he and his followers had demonstrated on their earlier visit.
In verses 2-4 we get a sense for what the Thessalonians were facing from the less scrupulous opposition. They evidently spoke in error about Jesus and had impure motives. Unlike Paul and his followers they were not focused on the gospel message.
In verses 10-12 we start to see Paul’s view of appropriate church leadership. He uses the metaphor of a father dealing with his own children by encouraging, comforting and urging them to live lives worthy of God.
A Moment to Reflect:
Have you ever been involved with a church community that had to deal with the kind of opposition the Thessalonians experienced? Was such opposition from within your church community or did it come rather from the secular community external to the church?
How did your church family respond and were they successful in immunizing the congregation from the potentially negative consequences? Did you feel that the church pastors and leaders exhibited the kind of Father-like nurturing of the congregation as described by Paul? How do you feel about the ultimate outcome?