Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and
Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a
synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went
to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the
Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had
to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus
whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them
were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large
number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading
women. 5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some
wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city
in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were
seeking to bring them out to the people. 6 When they did not
find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before
the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the
world have come here also; 7 and Jason has welcomed them, and
they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that
there is another king, Jesus.” 8 They stirred up the crowd and
the city authorities who heard these things. 9 And when they had
received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to
Berea … (Acts 17:1-10).
While on the second missionary tour, the apostle Paul and his
company, experiencing great trials and troubles, left Philippi
and went to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1). Unlike Philippi,
where there seemingly was no synagogue, this group went to the
synagogue at Thessalonica (Acts 17:2). The account of
Paul’s preaching here is told in few words—he preached Christ
(Acts 17:3,4). When Paul wrote his first letter to these at
Thessalonica, we learn much more about this visit recorded in
Paul preached to these people, not only with words, but
accompanied with the power of the Spirit. “For our gospel did
not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy
Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of
men we proved to be among you for your sake” (1Thessalonians
1:5). Paul and his group also set a good example before
others while they were at Thessalonica. “You are witnesses, and
so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved
toward you believers” (1Thessalonians 2:10). There was no
question about the quality of the preaching at
Thessalonica—indeed, it was a transforming gospel. “For they
themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with
you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a
living and true God” (1Thessalonians 1:9).
Just how was this transforming gospel handled?
The preaching at Thessalonica was done with great boldness.
“But after we had already suffered and been mistreated in
Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to
speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition”
This preaching was done with much exhortation. “For our
exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by
way of deceit” (1Thessalonians 2:3).
This preaching was the gospel of Christ in purity. “But
just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the
gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who
examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech,
as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness—nor did
we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even
though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our
authority.” (1Thessalonians 2:4-6).
This preaching was done with gentleness. “But we proved
to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly
cares for her own children” (1Thessalonians 2:7).
This is how the gospel was handled in Thessalonica, but the most
important thing about the preaching at Thessalonica — it bore
fruit. (see Acts 17:4). “For you yourselves know,
brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain”
Trouble came to Thessalonica, too (Acts 17:5-10). Trouble
began with jealous and wicked men. There will always be those
who oppose the teaching of God’s word—the truth of the gospel.
We can see that those of us who are now Christians, just like
those in Thessalonica, have much for which to be thankful. Good
people before us have stood for truth; progress and growth have
often come at great cost to someone.
There were such encouraging words for those in Thessalonica.
These words are for Christians today, too. “So then let us not
sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who
sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get
drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober,
having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a
helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for
wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus
Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep,
we will live together with Him” (1Thessalonians 5:6-8).
Christians must stand firm. “See that no one repays another with
evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one
another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without
ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for
you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise
prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold
fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now
may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your
spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians