The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 175 of 243
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just "Pauline theology". It was as though God Himself had spoken to them and therefore
what they had heard through the Apostle's lips was regarded as God's Word. If only this
was the attitude of the churches today, what a difference we should see in faith and
practice! It would start to work as it did in the Thessalonian believers:
"Ye received it (the message given through Paul) . . . . . as it is in truth the Word of
God which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (2: 13).
Effectually work is the translation of the Greek energeo from which we get our word
energize. Lasting practical results followed such a reception of the Truth and would do
so today if it was faithfully proclaimed and made known. The message would not return
void to God and be barren of results. It is our responsibility to sow the seed of the Word
of truth. It is the Lord's promise to "give the growth" (I Cor. 3: 7).
In the case of the Thessalonian church, the reception of the Truth had not been without
"For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in
Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they
have of the Jews . . . . ." (2: 14).
The churches of Judaea had been formed by the dispersal of the mother church at
Jerusalem through persecution (Acts 8: 1). They had suffered from the bitterness and
venom of the unbelieving Jews and it was this means that Satan used most of all at this
time to antagonize the purpose of God and to frustrate His will. Over and over again the
Apostle suffered at the hands of his own nation as the record of the Acts clearly shows.
They dogged his footsteps wherever he went, seeking all the while to stir up strife and
enmity. Not only did they do this to him, but they vented their spite on all those who
believed the gospel and made a faithful stand for the Lord. No wonder he went on to
"Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and
they please not God and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles
that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to
the uttermost" (2: 15, 16).
Terrible words, but a true commentary on the attitude of Israel during the period
covered by the Acts of the Apostles. No wonder Rom. 10: 22 was written of them later,
describing the attitude of the Lord:
"All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
Turning away from the bitter opposition of the Jew, Paul now declares his longing to
revisit Thessalonica and be united with them again. He writes:
"But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart,
endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire" (2: 17).
"Being taken from you" is a translation of the Greek aporphanisthentes which literally
means to be bereaved and shows us how keenly the Apostle felt his forced absence from