A Study from 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

From July 3, 2006

This will be the beginning of a study through the Thessalonian letters by Paul. The series is titled LIVING AS CHRISTIANS IN OUR MODERN WORLD. I pray these articles will help and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

I will try to keep them fairly short. If they seem to get a little long I will split them into two parts.

CHANGE, BY THE POWER OF GOD

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

As the second coming of Jesus is drawing near, we as Christians must know how we are to live in the world. “In the world, but not of the world”.
In looking at the first Thessalonian letter it appears that some of the people in the church were being led to believe the return of Jesus being near, they should leave their jobs, sell their homes and lands, and just “Live by faith”. The Scripture, no where, encourages God’s people to be foolish, but wise concerning the times.
The two letters to the Thessalonians teach a complete opposite of the above practice. Jesus’s coming is definitely near. We are to keep on yielding our lives to Him, and going about the daily Christian life as though He might not come for another million years. We are to keep on trusting and believing that He is returning soon.
First Thessalonians mentions the second coming of Jesus at the end, or near the end of each chapter. Chapter four gives us an indepth look at the “Catching away” of the Saints which is commonly referred to as the ‘Rapture of the Church’.
In Thessalonica there was much heathen, pagan worship. The church was greatly persecuted because they were living their faith. They would probably be called radical by even many professing christians of this day.
We live in a society that is quite similar to theirs. People do not mind what god you worship, or if you worship anything, as long as you keep it to yourself. “Keep it in the church building. Don’t take it to your job. Don’t take it on vacation. Don’t take it to your friends”, because if you do you will be tagged as a trouble maker, a rabble rouser, and you will be shunned by your peers.
Our world, society is certainly unfamiliar with God and godliness, and godly things. As Christians we need to be what Christ called us to be, and that is the salt and light of our world.Looking at these first ten verses we see the church of Thessolonica commended for their faith, and the hope that is in their heart. They are challenged, as are we, to live exemplary lives to show forth the change that God has wrought in their [our] lives.
The study actually begins in Acts 17:1-10 which tells of Paul’s short ministry there. It was only about three weeks in duration, but three weeks there was an established church – a body of believers worshipping, praying, studying the Scriptures, and breaking bread together. The believers fearing for Paul’s and Silas’s safety sent them away (Acts 17:10).
Paul is man of God greatly concerned about this young church. He sends Timothy to them and Timothy sends word back to Paul of their growth and stedfastness of faith. Paul is thrilled, and fully knows that it is the work of God’s Spirit. He sends them a letter to assure them of his prayers, to encourage them, and to exhort them to continue strong in the Word and faith, no matter what comes their way.

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” v. 1

In looking at verse one Paul begins the letter in pretty much his normal way. Only he adds Silvanus [Silar] and Timothy. These are men the people at Thessalonica were familiar with. He also acknowledges that they are a church in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what counts. It really does no matter if a board of men or a government recognizes a church; as long as it is in God and the Lord Jesus, it is a church.
Paul sends them a familiar greeting “Grace and peace”. True grace and peace can only come through God and His Son.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” vv. 2-3

There is thanksgiving in Paul’s heart for this church, and their faithfulness. He also assures them of his prayers for them.
Their faith that works; the love they show to others ministering to others and one another; their patience in God – knowing He always knows best in every situation; these were all known by Paul as their spiritual leader and he remembered them.

“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” v. 4

Paul knows these people as the “Elect of God” – chosen by God to be His representatives to others, and to live an exemplary life holy and pure. That is the life every child of God is to live. We have been chosen by God. We are the “Elect” of God. You have been chosen, and from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). That is one of the blessed things of the gifts of God, ie. knowing that God has chosen us, elected us as His own. As the “Elect of God” we are called to live lives which are holy and pure.

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” v. 5

The gospel, when it is to be effective, is to be not only words, but there is also power [signs of change], and it is in the Holy Spirit – He who convicts of sin is also the One who comforts in Christ.
These messengers of the gospel lived exemplary lives. Paul, Silas, and Timothy kept themselves in the power of the Lord.
People who are messengers of God in the world today should live lives to glorify our Lord as well. There is no excuse for sin, and it should be especially so in the lives of the people of God, and the spiritual leaders whom God calls out. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were living lives that honored Christ and brought no shame on others who were serving Christ Jesus, so too should all God’s people in our modern world.

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” vv. 6-7

Everyone needs an example to follow. Everyone [Believers in particular] needs to be an example to others. As Paul, Silas and Timothy were following the Lord, so was the people of the Thessalonian church. Even in the midst of affliction [persecution], they were living int he joy of God’s Spirit, and it had reached Paul that these people were having an impact on others lives.
Many in our modern world like to follow others. The sad thing about that is, many of these people are not people to follow for righteousness and holy living. There are sports figures who many follow, taking drugs, steroids, and indulging in immoral behaviors that would cause shame to the child of God who is right with God.
We as God’s people need to be sure we do not exalt figures in sports, or movies, etc., or even the pulpits of the world who are not living exemplary lives which do not glorify Jesus Christ.

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.” v. 8

When people have a real faith in God it not only is spoken, but is acted on by others and themselves.
There was no rebuke needed here. Their faith had been heard about, even in other lands.
What have “other lands” heard of the faith of the Christians of the United States of America? It is my fear, that what others are hearing is not good. In looking it appears to me that there is a lack of dedication to Christ Jesus in living and more dedication to gaining the worlds things. There is a great lack of prayer in God’s people of the USA. There is a lack of burden for calling the condemned people of our nation to faith in Christ Jesus. There is more of a push for pleasure, leisure, for entertainment, than there is for the glory of the Lord.
O God, give us a heart for Jesus like those who are suffering for the cause of Christ in other parts of the world.

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” vv. 9-10

Jesus had so impacted their lives, that the idols they had previously worshipped had been destroyed. They repented [turned from idols, and turned to God], and decided to worship the living God. The One wo could, would, has and does answer prayer. The One who has promised to deliver from “The wrath to come”.
To wait is to continue living the life until He returns with great expectancy. This “Living God” raised His Son from the dead, and has promised He will return.
Being ready means living by the power of the Spirit of the Lord which is in you who know Jesus as Savior. We must always be ready. We do not know the day or the hour when our Lord will come in the clouds and call us away.
BE READY!!!!

Let’s look at a comparison of verses 3 and 10 –
In verse three Paul refers to “Your work of faith”. Verse 10 says, “You turned to God from idols”
Verse three, “Your labor of love”. Verse 10 “To serve the living and true God”.
Verse three, “And patience of hope”. Verse 10 “To wait for His Son from Heaven”.

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 092020

“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.  When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto Him, and besought Him that He would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.  Then said Jesus unto him,
‘Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.’
The nobleman saith unto Him, ‘Sir, come down ere my child die.’ Jesus saith unto him,
‘Go thy way; thy son liveth.’
And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.  And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, ‘Thy son liveth.  Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him,
‘Thy son liveth:’
and himself believed, and his whole house.
This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when He was come out of Judaea into Galilee.”  John 4:46-54  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091320

“And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said,
‘Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.’ ”  Luke 21:1-4  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son Of God, God The Son – 071420

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But He answered and said,
‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’
Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’
Jesus said unto him,
‘It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’
Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’
Then saith Jesus unto him,
‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’
Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.” Matthew 4:1-11  (KJB)

Reap What You Sow

“He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.”  Proverbs 22:8 (KJB)

“Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.” (ESV)

“He that soweth iniquity shall reap calamity; And the rod of his wrath shall fail.” (ASV)

Beware The Seduction Of Evil

“For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: and, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: he hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”  Proverbs 7:6-27  (KJB)

Wisdom and Flattery

“Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
Say unto wisdom, ‘Thou art my sister;’ and call understanding thy kinswoman: that they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”  Proverbs 7:2-5  (KJB)

In Whom The Love Of God Is Perfected

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
He that saith, ‘I know Him,’ and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in Him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.
He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”  1 John 2:1-6 (KJB)

You, LORD, Have Made My Days

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, Thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before Thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” Psalm 39:1-5 (KJB)

Great Need For Repentance

“There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And Jesus answering said unto them,
‘Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’” Luke 13:1-5 (KJB)

Covered and Forgiven

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Psalm 32:1-5

The New Atheism’s Leap of Faith

Great thoughts from Doug Eaton on Atheism

The Fight of Faith

The new atheism has been in the picture for about 15 years now. It came on the scene thanks to books like Daniel Dennett’sBreaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural PhenomenonRichard Dawkins’The God Delusion, Sam Harris’Letter to a Christian Nation,among others. There truly is nothing new in the atheistic belief system itself or the arguments they are presenting, since most of them are naturalists, what seems to be new, is that these preachers of atheism have become much more dogmatic in their stance. Many of them are even preaching doom and gloom if we do not eradicate religion and belief in God. Many of them claim that they only want to know the truth instead of buying into myths and fairy tales, and that this is what everyone ought to be doing.

The idea that everyone “ought” to be doing this raises a problem…

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Trouble, Help, Defense, and Strength

“The LORD hear you in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend you; send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant you according to your own heart, and fulfil all your counsel. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all your petitions.” Psalm 20:1-5 (KJB)

Thanksgiving for Deliverance

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,

“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death surrounded me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before Him His thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; and He shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me.
The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also upright before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyesight. With the merciful You will shew Yourself merciful; with an upright man You will shew Yourself upright; with the pure You wilt shew Yourself pure; and with the froward You wilt shew Yourself shrewd. For You will save the afflicted people; but will bring down high looks. For You will light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For who is God except the LORD? Or who is a rock except our God? It is God that girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation: and Your right hand has held me up, and Your gentleness has made me great. You hae enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued my enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For You have girded me with strength unto the battle: You have subdued under me those that rose up against me. You have also given me the necks of my enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. You have delivered me from the strivings of the people; and You have made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. The LORD lives; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdues the people under me. He delivers me from my enemies: yea, You lift me up above those that rise up against me: You have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto You, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto Your name. Great deliverance gives He to His king; and shows mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” Psalm 18:1-50 (KJB)