Wednesday: Doing What Paul Would Do (1 Thess. 1:6, 7)

Read 1Thessalonians 1:6-7. What is Paul’s message there? How are we to understand this in light of the idea of Christ as our ultimate example?

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Most translations do not show this, but in verse 6 Paul continues the same sentence that he began in verse 2 and carries it on through verse 10. The main topic of this lengthy sentence is Paul’s list of reasons for the thanksgivings that he recites in his prayers. Verses 6 and 7 add two items to that list of thanksgivings, building on the “because” (NIV) at the beginning ofverse 5. Paul gives thanks (vs. 2because (vs. 5, NIVthe Thessalonians have both imitated him and his colleagues and have themselves become an example to imitate (vss. 6, 7).

We often caution people that it is dangerous to imitate anyone but Christ. That’s true, because even the best of people will let us down sometimes. But the reality is that we need role models. People need each other at times for guidance, counsel, and help in working through specific issues and even hard times. Who hasn’t experienced the blessing of good counsel and of a good example?

Also, whether we like it or not, once we become leaders in the church, people will imitate us. How important, then, that “veteran” Christians live what they preach and model in life the things that they say.

At the same time, Paul has placed a couple of safeguards here. First of all, the imitation (vs. 6follows the receiving (vs. 5). The primary focus of the Thessalonians was on receiving the Word of God and applying it directly to their lives through the Holy Spirit. God’s Word can always be trusted. Second, Paul directs them to the Lord as the primary model (vs. 6). What Jesus did, and would do, is a much safer model than what even Paul would do. After all, Paul was under no illusions about himself or his character (1 Tim. 1:15).

Having said this, however, Paul affirms their desire to imitate him as a beloved teacher and mentor, and also to become models worthy of imitation themselves. In this particular case, what was being modeled was joy in suffering. Suffering can make one bitter or better. In the context of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, the Thessalonians discovered supernatural joy in the midst of suffering, just as Paul and Silas had earlier (Acts 16:22-25).

What kind of role model are you in the church? What things about your life are good for others to follow? What things aren’t?



Wednesday: Doing What Paul Would Do (1 Thess. 1:6, 7) — 7 Comments

  1. As much as we appreciate that we are human beings and that we are prone to err, it is a known fact that leaders or veteran adventists have to guard their Christian lives against all evil. The evil lives that we live, evil words that we say, evil paths that we travel and evil everything that we display has far much greater impact to destroy the spiritual stand of those that look to us as role models. Let us emulate Jesus but we live in a society and we are the visible examples of Christ. We too can live a life like Paul and impress upon the lives of many of the dead and risen Saviour.

  2. We often get logos on our wrist or Tshirt saying "What would Jesus Do", now with this lesson, it sounds like "What would Paul Do".
    And it is good, in the sense that the word gave us these examples that we may have standards by which comparing ourselves and grow.
    However, let's just remember that it is not about us looking at recipes and following. Our job is to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit in us will tell us how to behave, what to do, what to say. We won't have to imitate, we'll just have to follow the voice of Christ in us.

  3. Our Saviour should be our first example but we can look to each other for help and guidance. Often if we don't understand something and getting others feed back is helpful in gaining a wider view but if it is not according to His Word there is no truth in them (Isa 8:20).

  4. It is true that we need some people to read by examples. I remember when I was the chairperson of the SDA club at my school, people were blaming me when I missbehaved. This tells us that we need to be good examples to the world. The Bible calls us the light and salt of the world. Role models are needed in these last sinful days, and we have to be those role models. God bless you.

  5. I feel safe to join the Adventist family. Every day basis, I am close to the Lord Jesus. I am not scared of anything.

  6. Our lives should be a sermon on a daily basis. The unbelievers should look at us & get the gospel of Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for the Spirit's guidance into living true Christian lives that will influence people to Christ. Our example is Christ & if we receive His Word & execute it correctly, we will be able to be examples for others to follow. Thats Silent Preaching. Be blessed.


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