Saturday, August 5, 2017

We Are Family!

Note from Jesus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

While there are many things you can learn from Paul’s message to the Thessalonians, today I want you to notice the warm language of affection and family that you find in the verses below. Paul states the truth of his love for these new disciples with these words of affection:

We were so taken by you that we not only eagerly shared with you God’s good news, but we also shared with you our own lives. That’s how much you’ve come to mean to us.

All the way through the verses below, Paul uses the language of family and affection because these new disciples not only needed affirmation (yesterday’s focus), but they also needed to know, feel, and experience the beauty of relationships in My family.

In addition, they needed to be reassured that Paul’s motives were genuine. They had to know that Paul’s motives were based on his love for them and not a desire to get something from them. So Paul went to great pains to remind them that they were loved as the Father’s children. He reminded them that he cared for them as a father would.

As their spiritual father in the faith, they meant everything to him. He stressed that he did what he did out of his love for them and not ulterior motives. Paul’s explanation of his motives was not a discussion of theory. He had demonstrated these things when he was among them. Notice Paul’s key phrases like “Don’t you remember…?” and “As you know…” which pointed to his way of life when he was with them.

The family relationship between Paul and the Thessalonian Christians existed because they had all been adopted into the Father’s family (Ephesians 1:4-5). When I was with My disciples on earth, I taught them to pray “Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9). I want you to pray this same way. God is your “Abba” Father (Romans 8:15).

You have been adopted into My family. I AM not only your Savior and Lord, but I AM also your older brother. I want you to experience the warmth, acceptance, and love that come from being in our Father’s family. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to experience this warmth, acceptance, and love, too. So notice his words of relationship and make them true in your fellowship with other believers. We are family!

Verses to Live

One of the fundamental ways you can experience My presence among you is through your life as My family. When you gather together to live as My family, I AM present with you (Matthew 18:20). Please notice the rich language of love, affection, and family in Paul’s words!

Brothers and sisters, you yourselves know that our coming to you was not a waste of time. You remember how we had just suffered through brutal and insulting attacks in Philippi; but because of God, we boldly stepped into the open to tell you His good news, even though it would likely mean more conflict for us. For we haven’t approached you — or anyone else for that matter — with some error or impure motives or deceitful agenda; but as we have been approved by God and entrusted with the good news, that’s how we are telling the world. We aren’t trying to please everybody, but God, the only One Who can truly examine our motives. As you know, we didn’t sandwich the truth between cunning compliments — we told it straight — and before the eye of God, we never conspired to make a single cent off of you. We didn’t come seeking respect from people — not from you or anyone else — although we could have leveraged our position as emissaries of the Anointed One, the Liberating King. Instead, we proved to be gentle among you, like a nursing mother caring for her own children. We were so taken by you that we not only eagerly shared with you God’s good news, but we also shared with you our own lives. That’s how much you’ve come to mean to us.

Don’t you remember, my brothers and sisters, how hard we worked and struggled? We worked day and night so that we wouldn’t be a burden to any of you and so that we could continue to proclaim to you the good news of God. Both you and God can confirm how well we treated the believers: we were always holy, just, and blameless. As you know, we comforted and consoled each of you as a father soothes his own children, encouraging you to live lives worthy of God — of the One calling you into His own kingdom and into His glory.

So we have good reason to give thanks to God without pausing. For you have taken into yourselves the word of God we brought to you and received it as a message from God — not just something whipped up by someone like you or us — and that word is at work in you who believe. And, brothers and sisters, you even became imitators of the churches of God in Jesus the Anointed that gather in Judea because you were willing to suffer at the hands of your own countrymen as they suffered from the unbelieving Judeans. These are the same people who killed the Lord Jesus, as well as the prophets, and continued attacking until they drove all of us out. They don’t just offend God; they are clearly hostile to the rest of the people because they are trying to silence our life-saving message to the nations; and as a result, their sins are always filling up and overflowing. But in the end, they will face God’s wrath.

Brothers and sisters, we are like orphans, separated from you for a short time (in presence, yes, but not in heart); and we desperately desire to see your faces again. However, as much as we wanted to come to you — I, Paul, assure you we tried again and again — Satan thwarted our plans. For what is our true hope, our true joy, our victor’s crown in all this? It is nothing if it isn’t you standing before our Lord Jesus the Anointed at His arrival. You are our glory! You are our joy!

But after all our attempts to come to you were frustrated, we decided it was best for Silvanus and me to stay behind in Athens by ourselves and to send Timothy (our dear brother and servant of God, our partner in the good news of the Anointed One) to strengthen, comfort, and encourage you in your faith so that you won’t be shaken by the sufferings and wither under this stress that we know lies ahead. Certainly you remember that when we were with you, we warned you of the suffering we would have to endure; now, as you well know, it has happened. This is why I couldn’t stand it anymore and sent Timothy to report on the state of your faith: because I was worried the tempter had tested you and, if so, all of our hard work would have come to nothing.

You can imagine my relief and joy when Timothy returned to us with such good news about you, about your faith and love for us, about how you have such good memories of us and long to see us as much as we long to see you. Hearing this about your faith, brothers and sisters, brought comfort to us in our stress-filled days of trouble and suffering. For if you are set firmly in the Lord, then we can truly live. What thanks would ever be enough to offer God about you for all the jubilant celebration we’ll feel before our God because of you. We remain vigilant in our prayers, night and day praying to once again see your faces and to help complete whatever may be lacking in your faith.

(1 Thessalonians 2:1-20; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10)

Response in Prayer

O Father of mercy and grace, thank You. Thank You for giving me a spiritual family. Forgive me for the times that I have neglected my relationship with You as My Father and neglected my relationships with my brothers and sisters in Your family. Please bring me into spiritual relationships that are rich in warmth, acceptance, and love. Use me to bless others who need those kinds of relationships with believers. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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From: “A Year with Jesus”
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Category: Passion for Praise

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