This month of October we begin with a worthy reminder. Our mission ultimately as a pastoral training academy in Italy is as far as it depends on us to labor for the growth of faithful local churches throughout the country. This faithfulness is characterized by a local church that habitually holds fast the Word of God and perseveres in the midst of suffering for that resolute commitment to the Word.
This is Paul’s own reminder to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14. The Thessalonians are a portrait of a faithful local assembly. Paul gives thanks (v 13) to God because the Thessalonians received the Word not as the word of men but as the Word of God. Paul also reminds the Thessalonians that this Word which they received led them to spiritual maturity. They became imitators (v 14) of the more mature churches in Judea, who suffered for their faith for the Word and faithfulness to the Word. They too endured the same sufferings at the hands of their own countrymen, just like the faithful churches in Judea.
We understand that this faithfulness is not the work of man but the work of God. It is by divine design. God chose the Thessalonians (1:4) working in them and through them for His good pleasure. Within this reality, however, men (Paul and his companions) did labor and strive to bring the Gospel (1:5) to the Thessalonans, assisting them in working out their salvation with fear and trembling.
May the Lord continue to see fit to use us (ITA) for His work of edifying His Church in Italy, faithful local churches.