And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.”1 Thessalonians 3:12
Abound in love, one toward another the apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians. Thessalonica also known as Salonica is the second largest city in northern Greece. Religion in Greece today was influenced by the apostles like Paul and Timothy who had visited Thessalonica during the first century A.D. The Greek Orthodox Church encompasses most of the population’s religion. Through Paul’s writings to the Thessalonians, we can learn how the people became a model servant, brother, and a believer in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. How the word was preached in power and in the Holy Spirit, [see 1 Thessalonians 1:5]. The Thessalonians became followers of Paul and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Thessalonians spread their faith in God. They have turned to God from idols and established the work of faith through love to serve the living God. How did they do it?
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”1 Thessalonians 1:3
It was their work of faith and labor of love that increased and spread throughout the city the gospel of God. The apostle Paul’s example was to nurse them into the gospel through love and by not expecting anything of them as far as financial donations. Paul did not charge them for his preaching, but the power of his preaching through the Holy Spirit convicted their hearts. Paul sent Timothy to help establish and comfort them in the gospel of Christ. Thus, the Thessalonians were reassured in their faith and love in Christ to walk in hope until the time of the Lord’s return. Such revelations did Paul gave the Thessalonians in his writings to them to continue in Faith and as they continued in faith, God will perform it. God will provide what is needed. Sanctification is the will of God Paul told the Thessalonians. That is as believer’s we are to be kept holy and purify our heart from all that is unclean such as fornication. Are we a clean vessel of honor? The Thessalonians became a model for the believers to walk in hope.
God has called us to be holy and therefore separated from all forms of sin. Cleansed from all impurities in order to be made holy and apart for God’s purposes. The Thessalonians had done this, and they were taught from God to love one another. Thus, Paul wanted to see them to increase more and more [see 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10].
That ye study to be quiet, and do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are outside, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
What does study to be “quiet” mean? It means not to be a busybody or do-gooder in the affairs of others. A busybody who goes from house to house to speak things they ought not to speak. This does not edify anyone. The purpose to be quiet is to do your own business by working and walking honestly. Not to be idle and lazy. Not to be without purpose. To study to become purposeful in whatever your hands find to do. The gifts and talents given to you in order to create a meaningful life. Your work/employment is what helps you to walk honestly and that you are without any lack or needs. Let us consider what Proverbs has to say about the way of the slothful.
“The way of the slothful man is as a hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.”Proverbs 15:19
The slothful man is as an hedge of thorns. This means he has built up a fence that has thorns. Thorns are pricking at him for his lack of nothingness. This means you have no future. Even ill-gotten gains do not have a future when they are caught in dishonesty. The apostle Paul set the example by working with his own hands as to not charge the Thessalonians for the preaching of the Gospel. Paul exclaimed this of himself to the Thessalonians in the second chapter. They were witnesses of Paul’s behavior. He encouraged them to walk worthy as a child of God, who called them into the kingdom of God. It was the word of God that effectually worked in them to believe and then to walk accordingly. Thus, we have the following scripture to keep in mind what is important and that it is the Lord only who is the avenger.
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we have forewarned you and testified.”1 Thessalonians 4:6
As Christians we have passed from death to life, and we now know that vengeance belongs to the Lord God. Violence and killings always lead to death. To those who do acts of violence, beware of your own soul as to where you will be in the afterlife. Paul teaches to abhor evil and cling to what is good. Paul tells us to love without hypocrisy. Love has no pretense. As a child of God there is no pretending to be what we are not. As Paul was an example to the Thessalonians, so they became an example to the world. There was no act of pretending or making a false claim when it came to their own behavior. Paul preached the exact same thing to the Romans in chapter 12, verse 9 to 12. Let us all love without hypocrisy and be kind to one another with brotherly love, not slothful in business, but serve the Lord and rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and continue in prayer always. Let us abound in love as the time grows near to the coming of our Lord.