For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! – 1 Thessalonians 2:9–16 (ESV)
John Byron writes:
In the Story of Israel there seems to be no shortage of those who suffer for the decision to obey God. In Genesis Joseph communicates dreams to his family and they return thanks by selling him into slavery in Egypt. Moses leads God’s people out of Egypt only to be bombarded with complaints. Jeremiah tries to warn people in Jerusalem not to rebel against Babylon and is threatened with imprisonment and death. Daniel and his three Hebrew friends follow God’s command and end up in a fiery furnace and the lions’ den. Added to these is a number of psalms asking God for protection from those who are persecuting the psalmist. In the New Testament, Jesus is not only rejected by many of his fellow Jews, but also by His own family. And of course the apostle Paul encountered opposition as he tried to fulfill his call by God and Jesus the Messiah.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 Paul tries to encourage a group of people who are suffering at the hands of their fellow citizens – perhaps even from their family members too. His strategy is to link their suffering with other churches and that of the apostles. Sometimes when we are suffering, it’s easy to feel as if you are all alone, the only one experiencing this type of opposition. Paul wants the Thessalonians to know that though it is not easy, they are not alone.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 4
Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.