Judged by the superficial standards mentioned above, the Thessalonian church certainly had little to commend it. It had no buildings (the earliest known church building dates from the third century A. D.), programs, performers, or publications. It was not a large or wealthy church (most of the early Christians were from the lower social classes; cf. 1 Cor. 1:26); the congregation lacked social and political influence (Christians were despised outcasts in Roman society); nor did they have a famous pastor (the names of the elders are not even mentioned). They could not offer prospective converts the comfortable, entertaining, non- threatening environment of a modern "user- friendly" church but merely "persecutions and afflictions" (1:4). Yet they were a church to which the apostle Paul could write, "We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting…. We ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God" (2 Thess. 1:3- 4). The opening verses of this epistle list several reasons for Paul's grateful boasting about this church.
The blasphemous notion suggested by some that Christians need to forgive God for allowing them to suffer completely misses the point. According to that view, believers suffer because though God is well meaning, He is unable to work out all of life's contingencies. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the reasons noted above, suffering is part of God's wise, loving, perfect, sovereign plan for His children; they "suffer according to the will of God" (1 Peter 4:19). "Consider it all joy, my brethren," wrote James, "when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2- 4). Peter reminded suffering believers, "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (1 Peter 5:10).
The Thessalonians' increasing faith in the face of persecution affirmed their genuine conversion.
Contrary to the recent call to arms for all to show up to church on Sunday (tomorrow) as a result of the Charlston NC shooting of an AME church that killed nine people, we are NOT call to do so by our Lord and King. We show up to local church that is really HIS church that preaches HIS gospel and feeds HIS sheep. Race and violence are left at the door as distractions literally, of the flesh. We come together to worship our Triune God and minister our gifts to each other. Those in false churches with a false gospel of social justice can ONLY focus on things of the flesh, therefore they have every reason to fear the flesh. Their hope is not in Christ, nor the Word. It's in the flesh and the world, both of which are utter failures and offenses to the thrice Holy One of Israel.
Act 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Act 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1Pe 5:11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Jas 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
Jas 1:3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Isa 58:2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
Isa 58:3 'Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
Isa 58:4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.