June 10, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Grace and Peace Today
“Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace”
1 Thessalonians 1:1
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Jesus Christ intends to forge the finest relationship with you that you have ever had. Better than your best earthly friendship, better than you had with any of your children, your spouse, your parent, your uncle, your aunt or other relative. He wants you to know Him as your best friend ever. He wants you to know His love that shines deeper into your heart and life than you could ever imagine. He will never fail you and will never leave you hanging. Jesus emphasized what it means to be His disciple in these terms: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Jesus claims first priority in our lives, and wants our relationships with everyone to be transformed so that we are His disciples before any other relationship in our lives. Most of you understand what I am saying up to this point. But now, imagine He wants you to have friends like that and you can be a friend like Jesus to other people. All of us need to learn from Jesus every day how we forge those strong relationships.
As we read through 1 Thessalonians together, day by day, we will see the kind of relationship that Paul, Timothy and Silvanus enjoyed with the believers of Thessalonica. But most of all, we will see Jesus forging bonds of love among all of them.
When is the last time you wrote an e-mail, text message, or put pen to paper for the purpose of encouraging another Christian, especially someone you love? Well, Paul did that in verse one. Paul wrote as part of a ministry team, and he also wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Peter 3:14-16). God says He inspired every word of Scripture and those words will not pass away until all of them are fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). We all need to take more time to write our friends in Christ, or pick up the phone to encourage them.
Paul did not write just to pass the time of day. He wrote to focus attention upon God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He wrote to bid grace and peace to the Thessalonians. Being more like Jesus means that you take the time to be involved in loving relationships with other Christians. Being in Christ means being one part of Christ’s team of ministry in your home, at work, in your community, in your country, and in the world today.
Application for Today
Today I will look to Jesus and ask Him who should I talk to today, for His sake. Who needs to hear about the grace and peace that only God the Father and God the Son offer to this world? Who will I build a relationship with today in the name of Jesus?