And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 1 Thessalonians 1:7
When I was writing The Altar of His Presence I spent a lot of time reading the book of Acts. I wanted to do my best to “see” through the eyes of the writer, Luke. The reason is that Luke saw firsthand the manifest Presence of the Holy Spirit. He saw how the Holy Spirit brought the light, life and love of the Lord Jesus Christ where there had been none. He saw how the Holy Spirit could alter a life, a church and a city. One such city was Thessalonica.
The life of the Thessalonians changed dramatically. From the moment that the Apostle Paul’s ministry team entered their life, belief in the Lord Jesus was not merely a religious idea, but the power of God unto salvation. Their lives were revolutionized by the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit. They were transformed from worshipping the pagan gods of the Greeks and Romans to being in constant communion with the Holy Spirit. Their activities and lifestyle were quickened and maintained by the Spirit’s divine strength. By keeping their eyes constantly fixed upon Jesus, the Word who became flesh, they were changed from faith to faith and from glory to glory. Their “becoming like Christ” was first experienced, then fully embraced and finally, enjoyed.
Both of Paul’s letters to the Church at Thessalonica were written to encourage them. They faced great persecution because of their testimony. They struggled at times like all of us do. And, like them, each of us need encouragement from the Lord, from the Holy Spirit and from others.
The word encouragement means to, “inspire with hope, to support and to stimulate.” I have found that encouragement comes more readily to those who embrace excellence as a means to their becoming. Our Lord is the living example of excellence. His Name is excellent. Psalm 8:1 says, “O LORD our Lord, how EXCELLENT is thy Name in all the earth!” But, not only is His Name excellent, but everything He is and does is excellent. Psalm 150: 2 tells us to, “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his EXCELLENT greatness.”
Out of the Thessalonian experience flowed the Holy Spirit. And, with the encouragement of Paul the Thessalonians became a model OF EXCELLENCE. A model is the picture that inspires others to move forward and be encouraged to be the same. For if the model is not excellent, what will people be inspired to be? How does one inspire someone to become more than they are? It is by telling and then showing them to follow the model (Paul and his ministry team) and then to become the model or example for others to follow. To do this, they had to be convinced that there was room for improvement.
By encouraging others to become more than they are, we are imparting the expectation of help. Paul had sent Timothy to encourage the Thessalonians. In doing so they expected the Holy Spirit’s help which resulted in them being established and comforted (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2). By sending Timothy they were reminded that they were not alone. Paul, Silas, Timothy and most of all, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit were on their side, wanting to bring help in their time of need.
It is important that each of us encourage others to become all that they can be in Christ Jesus. To do so, we must first model what becoming looks like, we must be willing to help those we encourage and we must have the expectation that where our help falls short, the Holy Spirit rises to the occasion. He is our Helper. He is our model of encouragement. He desires to encourage all that we meet to move to a higher level of God’s goodness, grace and glory.
I encourage you to go to click on the image below. The link will take you to our new website, http://www.thealtarofhispresence.com. Purchase your copy of The Altar of His Presence today. Read each section slowly. Ask the Holy Spirit to encourage you and to use you to encourage others. Experience the glory of God on a whole new level. I promise you that your life and the lives of those who are watching you…will never be the same.
I love you. Robert