This week we have been looking at 1 Thess 2:13-20 and Paul’s indicators for a growing church. You can read part I, part II, & part III to catch up or listen to the podcast to get the whole thing. Today we will look at part IV of a growing church: Rooted in Love.
1 Thess 2:17-18 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.
Paul felt that he had abandoned the church in Thessalonica. He had to leave in a rush and felt like he had been ripped away from them. The word “torn” in the Greek actually means to abandon someone like an orphan. Paul felt like he orphaned this newborn church and he desperately wanted to be back with them but Satan was hindering him.
What was it that was keeping them connected. It was the deep roots of love. Now you may be thinking how could roots of love develop in the short time that Paul was with them? Well this wasn’t a manufactured love that was based on emotions but instead it was a spiritual fruit that the Holy Spirit had grown in both of them. You see when God does a work in a church or a person’s life he often seals it with love. What I mean by this is that from the experience the fruit of love starts to grow in a persons heart which only increases the bond. This is how God is able to do mighty works amongst a group of people that have little in common before hand. The Holy Spirit is able create a bond between radically different people through the fruit of love. This is why the bond between Paul and Thessalonica was so strong.
When a church allows the Holy Spirit to grow roots of love in them there is a spiritual connection that can’t be copied by the world. These roots give us a desire to be together as a church. They give us a sense of joy when we see each other outside of church. Even when we are separated by distance there is that attachment that can’t be broken. A true growing church possesses a love that is deeply rooted and won’t wither at the first sign of trouble.