|2:19||For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?|
|2:20||For ye are our glory and joy.|
|2:13||For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.|
|2:14||For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:|
|2:15||Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:|
|2:16||Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.|
|2:17||But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.|
|2:18||Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.|
[Introduction] Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs wrote an essay while he was battling with cancer. He wrote, “I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. To the eyes of others, my life is an epitome of success. However, as I am sick and lying on this bed and reminisce my life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I had, I had too so much pride. All of that has become paled and meaningless at the face of impending death. Now I know that when one has accumulated sufficient wealth to last their lifetime, one should pursue on other matters that are unrelated to wealth…” I am sure you all would be able to relate to Steve Jobs’ last words. This also allows us to look back at our own lives. To the Thessalonians, Apostle Paul is making it very clear in today’s passage that there is a path to a valuable life. To be honest the Thessalonians did nothing but follow Paul’s teachings, and the outcome was quite surprising. They were living the most valuable lives. However, Apostle Paul is reminding them so again. I bless you in the name of our Lord that may all Yewon believers no longer waste your time and may live a most valuable life before God.
1. Experiencing the Works of the Word
In verse 13, we can see here that Apostle Paul “thanks God constantly” for the Thessalonians’ divine evidences and is mentioning how this can happen. He also reveals the similar things in Hebrews 4:12. However, there is something that is most important while experiencing the works of the Word. It is the spiritual attitude that accepting it as God’s word, not by a person’s word. And that is what exactly Thessalonians did—they received Paul’s message of the Gospel and accepted it as the Word of God and not as the word of Paul as a person. Apostle Paul mentions in Thessalonians 1:6 that they received the words as with the joy of the Holy Spirit. They were confident that the word would reform them, so they were able to accept the word with joy. In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus emphasized that our field of mind should be a fertile land through the parable of the seeds on the four types lands. I hope all Yewon believers to be fertile land bearing 30, 60, and 100 folds of fruits.
There is miracle of the five loaves of bread and two fish in John chapter six. Jesus performed the miracle to feed the five thousand men with the five loaves of bread and two fish, Including women and children, people ate the food. After this miracle, Jesus said very difficult words to them. He gave a spiritual message that Jesus himself is loaf of life—all who come and believe in him shall never be hungry and never be thirsty. People there thought these words were too difficult and left Jesus. At that time, Jesus asked his 12 disciples, “Do you want to go away as well?” However, Peter replied with a wonderful confession in John 6:68-69. I hope that all of you have the faith of disciples who experience the works of the word instead of the faith that is just a part of a crowd. So, I bless you to assuredly taste God’s purpose, which will definitely be fulfilled and be a witness.
2. The Life That Has Received the Crown
We can see in Thessalonians 2:17-28 that Apostle Paul had to leave the Thessalonians region urgently after his short ministry because of the Jews. Because of that reason, he has a lingering affection for the believers in the Thessalonian church, so if it is possible, he wants to go and teach them again. As Apostle Paul reveals in Colossians 1:28-29, he really testifies the Gospel with his life and strives to make the believers stand firmly in Christ. In Acts 14, we can see Paul’ suffering as he was stoned in Lystra as he was testifying the Gospel. The people who hit him by the stones threw him out of the castle because they thought he had died. However, he went back to Lystra immediately after he found his consciousness. It was because his disciple Timothy was still in there. Although it would be of a short time, Paul wanted to rightfully raise him up. But in this situation, how much do you think he was moved when he heard from Timothy that the faith of the believers in the Thessalonians church had grown with the works of the faith, effort of the love and the patience of hope. He confesses to them in Thessalonians 2:19-20 with full of gratitude. Do not be bothered at what you look like. The top elites and leaders at that time did not gather because the disciples had some great ability when they preached the Gospel that Jesus is the Christ in front of the synagogue. The Gospel is not knowledge that you can put in your head. Break every stereotype and prejudice against it and deliver it just as it is. I bless all Yewon believers in the name of the Lord that may you experience how God works in His way and stand confidently as witnesses.
[Conclusion] In Daniel 12:2-3, it says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt and those who are wise shall shine like brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Beyond the blessings that we were given, we have the everlasting life by God. We should live the life of evangelists who makes the lost return to the way of righteousness. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may all Yewon believers live life like a star shining forever and become the greatest joy of God.