Introduction

“The One Who calls you is faithful And He will do it.”  --Thessalonians 5:24

 

When I was learning to recite the 66 books of the Bible, I created little stories and silly sayings to remember certain segments of the list. One group, I simply recalled as, “The T’s”

  • First and Second Thessalonians
  • First and Second Timothy
  • Titus

They are letters of Paul near the back of the Bible. Frankly they don’t have the familiarity or popularity of a “Romans” or “Ephesians” in most of Christian culture. They do, however, have some popular sound bites you may have heard before.

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians)

“If a man will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians)

“All scripture is God-breathed.” (1 Timothy)

“Fight the good fight of faith.” (2 Timothy)

“He saved us through the washing of rebirth. “ (Titus)

This issue “Cross the T’s” edition of Grow Deep invites us to go beyond the sound bites and get more familiar with these powerful epistles. All the books assume a certain level of maturity in knowing Jesus and the truth of the Gospel. They call Christians to take the Gospel and literally RUN with it. Paul is taking us to school with Jesus, training us to live holy lives, decidedly different from the culture we live in.

The Thessalonian letters address a congregation located in the Greek city that bears its name. They longed for Jesus’ return and even worried that perhaps they had been left behind and missed Him. Timothy and Titus (sometimes called, “The Pastorals”) are leadership lessons. They bear the names of the two men Paul is mentoring. Their application, however, speaks to servant leadership among Christians everywhere. Many believe Second Timothy contains Paul’s last will and testament shared shortly before his execution.

When we “Cross our T’s” we’re proofreading our work, looking for errors, clarifying, refining, punctuating and finishing unfinished work. Good proofreading also looks for a second and third set of eyes. It is an exercise of teamwork. In similar ways, God works by His grace to produce the character of a Christian.

The cross of Jesus put to death our sins, but to rise with Christ from the cross means living a life examined and checked by the character of Jesus. So as you read these books, you’ll see that Paul is proofreading by laying Jesus over your life. He examines your social and faith context, your lessons learned and application of them, your motives and conduct as a follower of Jesus. There’s lots of law here to learn, but it's not to attain favor with God. Jesus crossed that T for eternity. Here are the life lessons to bear fruit. And the grace of God is with you to do that! “The one who calls you is faithful,” says Paul, “and He will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Cross the T’s and Grow Deep with Jesus!

 

Pastor Bill Geis and the Adult Ministry Team

Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens

May 2016

 

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