September 5, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Read the Letter Today
“I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.”
1 Thessalonians 5:27
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Reading the letters in the Bible makes a huge difference in your life. In fact, when you read the Bible, God speaks to everyone who has ears to hear. He reveals Himself spiritually to every open heart, filled with faith, hope and love. Peter recognized that his “beloved brother Paul, according to the grace given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures . . . .” Peter understood that Paul wrote Scripture, of the same inspired quality as the Old Testament.
In Colossians 4:16, Paul wrote that the Epistle to the Colossians should also be read in the church of Laodicea. Paul understood that he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). The value of the Word of God cannot be understated. During the New Testament times, the gifts of tongues and prophecy brought the inspired Word of God to the individual churches, but God determined that some of His apostles and other writers would produce the enduring legacy of the New Testament as we know it.
Paul knew that the spiritual principles he wrote to the Thessalonians would be an enduring benefit to all Christians. God had revealed His message for the particular church of Thessalonica, but the words of the letter were, from the beginning, intended for a wider audience of all Christians. The power of the Word of God put into the Epistles of the New Testament shows how God intended to circulate His word throughout the churches of that age, and even further through the centuries. Please recall that Jesus said His word would endure and not pass away until all of it had been fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).
Paul emphasizes two final points here. First, he adjured (“Ἐνορκίζω“) the Thessalonians to read the epistle to everyone. Notice that Paul used this strong word to make sure that they did as he asked. Second, Paul also said everyone should hear it read. For so many centuries, people did not have the access to the Bible that we have today. We no longer have to go to a church to touch a Bible, but most of us have a Bible in our homes, and some of us have several Bibles. Owning a Bible is nothing like reading a Bible. The command remains the same: Paul “adjures” us to read it.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we read the Word of God, and know that God has preserved it through the centuries for our benefit.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we follow the teaching of the Word of God, and encourage our friends in Christ to read the Word of God with us, and live it together.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we do not read the Bible with our friends, and encourage each other from the Word of God.
Application for Today
Today, I want to read the Bible with my friends in Christ. I want to encourage them from the great love letters of the New Testament with God’s grace and goodness to each one of us. I want to read from the Prophets of the Old Testament, and see God bring His plans to completion. All the Bible, over a lifetime, will occupy my time with my friends in Christ. What will you do with your friends today?