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Living it under Pressure

By: Admin on July 30, 2013

Living our faith in Jesus everyday in every situation is our goal and desire. But part of living out this relationship with Jesus is facing the pressure that comes with being a follower of Christ. This is what Paul had to say to the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 - 3:13 (NIV 2012)
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

3 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Paul pointed out the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica suffered like those who were in and around Jerusalem. The converts to Christianity suffered at the hands of the religious leaders of the Jews while the Thessalonian believers suffered at the hands of their fellow Greeks. Those who cause suffering have an underlying reason: they hate God and don’t want anyone to experience God’s love, forgiveness and life. This is the answer to ‘why?’

Trouble and persecution are part of a Christian’s reality while we are on this earth. This trouble ranges from being ignored and mildly ridiculed all the way to being tortured and murdered for one’s faith. It happens everywhere in the world and has since the church was born in Jerusalem 10 days after Jesus returned to heaven after his death and resurrection.

We don't have to face these trials alone. That has never been God's intention. We must live this pressure together.

We have the opportunity to support one another and encourage one another. We will come out stronger and be encouraged, we’ll be able to live our lives and do our work better, there will be clarity
There will be a closer relationship with God and others because of this. God responds by working through people to help people so therefore we must face the pressure as a family, the whole church must support one another in times of trouble, no matter how severe.

This pressure helps to strengthen us in our faith and purity. This pressure builds true Christian and Christ-like character. This pressure helps us identify with Jesus Christ. This pressure helps us to truly depend on God as our only hope. Let's continue to live and proclaim the gospel of Jesus will result in God strengthening us

There is a happy ending to all this: God is a God of holiness and justice.

He is patient, allowing people to build up their sin list before he actually comes and brings justice. His waiting has to do with his patience and grace: he wants all people to be saved. Jesus died so all could be forgiven. God wants to wipe the “sin list” clean for everyone and create an even bigger family of followers of Jesus. The time will come, though, when God says, "enough", or else he wouldn't be a truly just God.

1 Peter 5:8 10
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Topics: hope, message series, suffering

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