May 28, 2024

2 Thessalonians 1:3–4 (NKJV)
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,
4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

The church of Thessalonica was persecuted and attacked. Luke records in Acts 17:5–6 “But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”

I love the words “who have turned the world upside down.” The first century church was making its mark in the world. It was going against the flow of godliness and persecution. Paul writes to the church giving thanks and praising them for their faith. Warren Wiersbe writes, “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.” I think this is appropriate for today. We, in the USA, are not being dragged before the court or imprisoned for our faith. We have the Constitution we can stand behind giving us the governments permission to worship God. Look at most churches in America on a Sunday morning.

Christianity in America is being tested! In 2021 27% of adults attended church on Sunday morning. The church has lost its boldness to stand in the world. No longer is sin being confronted. No longer is the professing Christians professing outside of the church building.

Paul bragged on and encouraged the church in Thessalonica. They were warriors for Christ. They put on the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Jesus spoke of persecution of the church in the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

Forgive me for saying this, but most “Christians” want to be coddled and pampered. My early years in church were sitting on wooden pews, with the church windows open in the Summer and air conditioning was the funeral home fan. The music was the grand old hymns praising God. For many in the church this would be great persecution.

Few today would be willing to stand for Christ and die for their faith. Would you be willing to be dragged before the court and thrown in jail for your faith?

Maybe I am being too cynical.