‘Living As GOD’s People While We Watch and Wait for Jesus’ Return’
Misinterpreting and/or misunderstanding God’s Word has led many to believe that as Christians we must love everyone the same and be friends with everyone we meet. What God actually says is that we should “love our enemies” by doing good to them as we have opportunity (which includes sharing the Gospel with them), and that we should be “friendly” to strangers, being ready to share the reason for the hope we have in Christ. But God never tells His people to have the same affection toward others as we have toward one another, or to pour our energy into friendships with people who do not share our love for Christ and His Church. There is a special bond, produced by the Spirit of God who is at work in every true believer, that exists among those who have been born again by the Spirit, who confess Jesus Christ as Lord, and who seek to live in obedience to His Word. God’s grace to us motivates us to encourage one another as we live in this world, facing trials, suffering and persecution. It is this special relationship among God’s children that Paul addresses as he continues his letter to the Thessalonians in our text today. While some today teach that “God wants to bless you!” … and that trials, suffering and affliction of any kind is the result of a lack of “faith,” the Bible teaches no such thing. In fact, Paul explains that it is in the midst of affliction that our faith grows, and that it is in remaining steadfast that we encourage others to do the same. God’s goal, as someone has said, is not to make you happy, but to make you holy!! It is in our relationships as Christians that we witness the power of God at work in one another, moving us to give thanks and to value these relationships above all others. And in all of this God is glorified in our love for one another!