Living & Longing

This coming Sunday, we will be starting a new sermons series titled “Living & Longing,” and we
will be working our way through the letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. I’m guessing we will be in
this series for twelve or more weeks, and I’m hopeful this scripture will provide some relevant
insights for us!
The city of Thessalonica, which would have received these letters, was a bustling and diverse
metropolis. In the first century, it was a major hub of commerce and culture, attracting people
from various backgrounds and beliefs. The Thessalonian church, founded by the apostle Paul,
Silas, and Timothy, emerged in the midst of this vibrant city, and those early followers of Jesus
faced many challenges and trials. In the midst of all their challenges, we will see that their faith
remained steadfast!
I think the relevance of the Thessalonians letters to us today is pretty clear. The Thessalonian
church navigated a world filled with conflicting values and diverse ideologies, just as we find
ourselves doing today. Our society is marked by rapid changes, moral ambiguity, and a multitude of distractions that can easily steer us from the ways of Jesus. The struggles faced by the Thessalonian church, combined with their commitment to Jesus, make these letters very relatable and instruction-filled for us.
One of the key reasons we put “Living” in our series title is because of the theme of holy living
found in these letters. The early followers of Jesus in Thessalonica were called to live lives that
reflected the transformative power of Jesus. In a culture that often encourages compromise and conformity, the teachings of 1 and 2 Thessalonians challenge us to embrace a counter-cultural lifestyle characterized by sacrificially loving others and lifting up Jesus! As we study these letters, it’s my hope that we will let the ways of Jesus shape our lives in such a way that people can’t help but see Jesus in you and me.
We decided to put “Longing” in our series title because of the theme of hope found in these
letters. We will see the apostle Paul frequently encourage the Thessalonians (and us) to remain
steadfast in their hope for the return of Jesus. In a world filled with uncertainties, anxieties, and
challenges, the message of hope is a powerful anchor for our souls. As we dive into these letters, we will discover how to cultivate a resilient hope that transcends circumstances and helps us stay focused on Jesus in the midst of this challenging, sin-filled world.
We have a lot we can learn from the Thessalonian church. We will see that they were a
community that cared for one another well. In a world that often fosters individualism and self-
centeredness, the lessons from Thessalonians call us to prioritize genuine relationships within
our church family. These letters will continue to help us grow our own church family in a healthy way. We can be a community that supports, uplifts, and encourages one another in our Jesus journey!
I’d love to encourage you to get a jumpstart and read the Thessalonian letters, and I hope you’ll
plan on joining us this Sunday!