As we move into the season of Advent, looking to the coming of Jesus, we will be studying the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. It is one of the earliest of the New Testament documents, written around AD 50. Already there were questions about the return of Jesus: why had it not happened yet? Why were Christians dying? What is the future that Christians can look forward to? This letter addresses these questions and challenges us to live in a state of readiness.
It is a very personal letter, giving an insight between the church and the Apostle Paul. Relationships within the church itself were made even closer by challenging circumstances, the threat of persecution and a shared journey of radical change from a pagan to a Christian lifestyle.
It is clear that the power of the Holy Spirit was an everyday experience of Paul and these early Christians. Paul challenges them – and us – ‘Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.’ (5.19) and to ‘encourage one another and build each other up.’ (5.11). I hope that this series will enable us to do just that.
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