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Transcript of PRESERVING RELATIONSHIPS
PRESERVING RELATIONSHIPSLesson 2 for July 14, 2012
Tesalnica "Since the Jews were constantly being incited to raise riots by Crestus, he (Claudius) expelled them from Rome" (Suetonio, The Twelve Caesars v. 25. 4)The Jews were expelled from Rome by order of Caesar. The reason was that they were frequently arguing about Christianity.Soon after, the Jews incited some Thessalonians to rebellion against Paul (Acts, 17: 5-9)
1AsiaPaul and Silas were driven to Berea (Acts 17:10)After some conflict with the Jews, Paul was sent to Athens and Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea (Acts 17: 14)
5When Paul heard that news, he decided to write a letter to the Thessalonians.BereaAtenasCorintoPaul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica(1Ths. 3: 1-2)Paul arrived to Corinth (Acts 18:1)Silas and Timothy met Paul in Corinth and told him about the Church in Thessalonica(Acts 18:5)678910
RELATIONSHIPS IN THESSALONICAAlthough Paul stayed for three weeks only in Thessalonica, his relationships with the Thessalonians were very intense.Some unkind events forced Paul to leave Thessalonica, but neither those events nor his trips through Macedonia and Greece led him to forget about his friends in that city.In his first letter to the Thessalonians that he wrote in Corinth soon after the return of Silas and Timothy, Paul expressed his desire of meeting them again.But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire (1 Thessalonians 2:17)DISTURBANCE IN THESSALONICABut other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jasons house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd (Acts 17:5 NIV)The Jews went to the authorities and accused the Christians of two charges:They have turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)They had even turned the Empires capital upside down. That was the reason why all the Jews had been expelled from Rome. That was a deceitful accusation, because the non-believing Jews were the ones who raised the riots.They are all defying Caesars decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus (Acts 17:7)Those words are very similar to what the Jews told Pilate: If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar(John 19:12)The authorities of Thessalonica were satisfied with receiving a bail from Jason.Nevertheless, the believers led Paul and Silas to Berea to avoid greater trouble.
DISTURBANCE IN BEREAThese were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11)The expression these were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica refers to the Jew Bereans, not the Christians.The Jews in Thessalonica had listened to Paul, but most of them rejected Christ, only a few accepted Him. The unconverted Jews were also envious of the acceptance of Christianity among the pagans, so they caused great trouble to the Christians.However, the Jews studied the Old Testament in Berea to check if Paul was right. The result of sincerely seeking the truth was that many of them believed (Acts 17:12)We can be open to new ideas, but we must always test these ideas on the basis of the teachings of the Bible.
But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds (Acts 17:13)The Berean Jews did not begin the disturbance in Berea. They didnt act against those who had been converted to Christianity, nor felt jealous of the acceptance among the Gentiles.After facing this new provocation, the brothers sent Paul to Athens and Silas and Timothy stayed there to confirm the faith of the Bereans.DISTURBANCE IN BEREAATHENSPauls heart pounded while he was arguing with Epicureans and Stoics in Athens, since we was thinking of his friends in Thessalonica.He didnt know if the riots in Thessalonica affected the faith of the believers, so he sent Timothy although he had to stay alone in Athens (1 Thessalonians, 3:1-3)CORINTHThat experience teaches us that we must find the best methods to preach the Gospel to those around us, being guided by the Holy Spirit; we must bear the specific moment, culture and circumstances in mind.
PRESERVING RELATIONSHIPSPaul decided to keep his relationship with the Thessalonian believers alive through a letter (known as 1 Thessalonians) that was followed by a second one.That helped him in preserving relationships with them, but Paul desired to see them again in person so he could increase the joy he felt of receiving news from them.Timothy found Paul in Corinth and brought him news from the brothers in Thessalonica.For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?(1 Thessalonians 3:9-10)In a mere three weeks, Paul had become intensely bonded to the new believers in Thessalonica. Not being able to return to them, he first sent Timothy. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, he also put his heart into two letters. Meaningful evangelism must not settle for mere acceptance of Christian beliefs. The whole lifephysical, mental, and emotionalis involved in Christian faith.