"But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict".
- 1 Thessalonians 2:2
It’s AD 51, churches from Judea to Thessalonica are riven, ravaged, and rattled. Across 2000km it feels like every church is roiled, there’s rumblings… it’s likely hot heads want retribution.
At the centre of it is the reviled Apostle Paul and his apostolic team. What does he prioritise in his speaking and preaching to the Thessalonians?
The shameful treatment?
He prioritises declaring the gospel of God.
The gospel, where the focus is the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
The gospel, where the foundation is the living and active Word of God.
The gospel, that is the power of God to deal with sin in the human heart.
The gospel, that is the power of God to confront evil, and the powers and principalities.
The gospel, that turns our focus from power and the powerful to those who are poor and humble.
The gospel that justifies us and enables us to live lives of justice and righteousness.
The gospel that God uses in history to transform people, power structures, and populations.
Paul prioritises declaring the gospel of God to the Thessalonians. A bedraggled, ordinary group of new believers.
As a shepherd, his priority is his sheep. Paul's priority is declaring the gospel to the church in front of him, face-to-face at Thessalonica. Where does that declaration come from? It flows from confidence in God...confidence in his sovereignty and splendour, his power and presence... confidence in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Where does that confidence in God come from? It comes from being with God by his Spirit, in his Word. It comes from knowing his Grace to you and his goodness for you. It comes from knowing his heart towards you.
Christ died for you, Christ is risen for you, and Christ is coming again for you. Can I encourage in the midst of conflict, to continue declaring Christ crucified to your church family.