#DailyDevotion So Where Are You Located Church?
1 Thess. 1 I PAUL, SILAS, AND TIMOTHY to the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be yours!
Paul’s letters often start out this way or something very similar. It follows pretty closely to the standard way letters were written in the day. Just like we start ours (if we actually compose a letter)—Dear Sirs, To whom it may concern, etc..
We can see by who is writing it that this letter was written some time after Paul, Barnabus and Mark had split up, for Paul is writing with Silas and Timothy now.
Who is are they writing to? The Church of the Thessalonians. Now church is ecclesia in the Greek. It is formed of two words, ek (out of, away from) and kalew (to call). Now it isn’t only a Church word. It was used in the Greek world as well. In the Christian sense though, it means the called out ones. For the Church it is akin to being called holy, i.e. separated for the use of God’s purposes. Now the people of God are called out, called away from the rest of the world for God’s purposes. We are in the world but not of the world. We are called not to participate in the great shame and vice of the world but in the goodness and love of God.
Another thing we can notice is that the Church, the called out ones from the world have a location. I’m not speaking of Thessalonia, that is in the world. No, I am speaking of God the Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. We who have been called out from the world through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the free gift of the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and eternal life through the waters of holy baptism now have our life and being in God. We are one with God and the LORD Jesus Christ. This occurs through our union with Christ in baptism. You might remember in Romans chapter six beginning at verse three reminds us of how when we were baptized we were crucified with Christ, suffered with him, died with him, were buried with him and was raised to newness of life in him.
Through our incorporation with Christ in baptism into his body we are made one with God the Father. It is just as Jesus had prayed in the Garden: John 1719“In this holy way I give Myself for them to make them holy, too, by the truth. 20I’m not asking for them only but also for those who through their word believe in Me 21 that they all be one. As You, Father, are in Me and I in You, let them be in Us so that the world may believe You sent Me. 22I gave them the glory You gave Me to make them one as We are one. 23I am in them, and You are in Me to make them perfectly one that the world may know You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me.”
In this oneness we are made communicants, participants, partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We are renewed and being renewed in God’s image and likeness which is his holiness, righteousness and knowledge of him. Being called Church is a big thing because of where it calls us out and from to be in who, God the Father and our LORD Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, by the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ and by incorporation into his body through baptism you have called us out from the world to be one in you. Continually make this manifest in our minds and spirits so we may live our lives in this consciousness which is ours in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.