Wednesday, 21 June 2017
…so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 1 Thessalonians 1:7
This verse builds upon the words of the previous one. Together they read –
“And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.”
There is a minor dispute between Greek texts here as to whether this should read “examples,” meaning the individual members of the church, or “example,” meaning the church as a whole. What is probably correct is that it is the individuals who are addressed (the words are plural in the Greek) in verse 6. However, Paul could now be lumping them into one body and saying that as a group they are now an example to the others. Either way, nothing affecting doctrine is lost in either option.
Those at Thessalonica, having received the word and become followers of the Lord through that reception, had become excellent examples to the believers in both Macedonia and Achaia. They received the word in their affliction and were filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit in the process. The word “example” is tupos. It is the basis for the modern word “type.” Thus, they were a model church for others to see and to follow.
Thessalonica was an important city within Macedonia, and the example would be easily seen and emulated by other churches there. But their example went even as far as Achaia. That is the part of Greece where Corinth was the capital. The exemplary caliber of this group has become well known even to locations quite distant from them.
Life application: If someone is passing through your town and stops at church on Sunday, what kind of a message would they carry on with them concerning you and your congregation? Would they say, “What a great bunch of people! If you ever go through that town, stop and fellowship with them.” Or would they have words less friendly to say about you? Be aware of visitors that come to worship, and make an outward effort to treat them with a spirit of fellowship and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, what kind of churches do each of us attend? Are we obedient to Your word first and foremost? Or are we more concerned about appealing to the masses, despite what Your word says? Do we tolerate perversion in our congregation, or do we uphold Your will by standing firm on Your word? And how are we perceived as individuals? Are we friendly to guests, or do we quietly ignore them? Help us to be attentive to these things, and to be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.