By Lane Stephenson
“They were a young Church, just delivered from paganism. Like lambs in the midst of wolves, they stood amongst bitter enemies, their teacher had left them alone, and their raw convictions needed to be consolidated and matured in the face of much opposition.”
(Alexander Maclaren, 1826-1910)
In correcting the confused and erroneous beliefs of the believers at Thessalonica concerning “the last things,” Paul assured the church that the day of the Lord had not yet come by telling them that prior to that day there must come a time of rebellion and the appearance of the man of lawlessness.
There is “good news” and “bad news” in other words. The good news: they had not been “left behind.” The bad news: difficult and perilous days will precede the coming day of the Lord, days in which dangerous wolves seek to devour the lambs.
What, then, is the anchor for our hope and confidence? What will sustain us, equip us, and keep us during the difficult and perilous days that precede the day of the Lord?
Paul’s answer is the gospel. In giving thanks to God for the believers at Thessalonica, he speaks of the work of the gospel in their lives and gives the gospel as the ground of their steadfastness and hope.
This Sunday, we look at Paul’s description of the work of the gospel in the lives of the believers at Thessalonica and see in his description the cause and ground of our hope. A gospel-centered church is sustained by the very gospel that brought that church into existence!