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June 10, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Grace and Peace Today

  “Paul, 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, Page 1846

       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, page 1426).  Jesus claims first priority in our lives, and wants our relationships with everyone to be transformed so that we are His disciple 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 everyday 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, page 1901; 2 Peter 3:14-16, page 1903).  God says every word of Scripture He inspired and those words will not pass away until all of them are fulfilled (Matthew 5:18, page 1507).  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?


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As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
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