Paul, Silas and Timothy share some words of encouragement for the saints in the church at Thessalonica. These believers were faithful and zealous for the kingdom of God though they were in the midst of trials and persecution by their neighbors, both Jews and pagans. Nevertheless, their reputation and witness had spread throughout Greece. Although their perseverance was exemplary they were also wonderful examples of the changes Christ can make in the life of even the vilest of sinners. These saints had been deeply and hopelessly enslaved by idolatry and its accompanying sexual immorality. Yet now the Lord had completely changed them. They were on fire with righteousness and zeal to advance the cause of the Kingdom of God.
The saints at Thessalonica serve as an excellent example to us of the new life Christ grants us. He imparted His Holy Spirit who enabled them to made a clean break with idolatry even though it was deeply ingrained and embedded in their culture. He will do the same with our idols. Our idols are not found in statues and temples of stone but rather in values, traditions, philosophies, attitudes and ideas that promote self fulfillment, self-reliance, and individual achievement. We are so accustomed to these idols that we accept them as a normal part of life, even to the point of confusing them with and incorporating them into the ways and values of God’s Kingdom. We need to rely upon the Holy Spirit daily to help us to discern our idols and turn from them. Then our testimony and witness will be as exalting to the Lord as was that of the Church at Thessalonica.