Author: Ron Graham
Christ in Us
In 1Thessalonians 1:1-10, we begin our study of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians.
1 Salutation —words of greeting
- From Paul, Sylvanus (Silas), and Timothy
- Date Not given and uncertain. It may be the earliest of Paul's letters - around AD50.
- To the church of the Thessalonians (origin recorded in Acts 16:9-10, Acts 17:1-4).
- Thessalonica - a major city of Macedonia above Athens (see map below).
- Denomination What denomination was this church? It was non-denominational. There were no denominations at that time. It was simply "the church of the Thessalonians".
- Paul's greeting "Grace to you and peace."
¶“3Before our God and Father, we remember your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brethren, loved by God, that he has chosen you. 5We know this because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord —for you received the word in much affliction, yet with the joy of the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone out everywhere. We need not say anything. 9They themselves report concerning us. They tell of the way we were received among you. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 10and to wait for his Son from heaven. He raised his Son from the dead —Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1Thessalonians 1:3-10).
2 A Lovely Attitude
How Paul Felt About the Thessalonian Church
- Gratitude He always gave thanks to God for them.
- Approval He recognised their great faith and love.
- Confidence He knew they were chosen by God.
- Mutual respect Paul speaks of their, their respect for, and imitation of, him and his companions. He has nothing to criticise.
3 Christian Characteristics
1Thessalonians 1:3-10 (again)
Now let us examine these verses in more detail with the following chart outline...
1.The Christian's MOTIVATION (v3)
Note the three elements, "Work of faith, labour of love, patience of hope". Later in the letter, Paul makes faith-love-hope part of the armour of God. “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1Thess 5:8).
2. The Christian's ELECTION (v4)
"We know, brethren beloved of God, that he has chosen you". God's choice of any person is made according to the purpose which he laid down before the foundation of the world. This eternal purpose and counsel of God's will is not hidden, but revealed in the scriptures for all to know. Anyone who obeys that revealed will of God will be chosen by him.
3. The Christian's CONVICTION (v5)
How did the gospel come to the Thessalonians? It came "in power and in the Holy Spirit and in full conviction." Paul and Silas were on fire with their message, not half hearted .
4. The Christian's EXAMPLE (v6-7)
What two related things did the Thessalonians become? First they became "imitators" and then became "examples". New Christians imitate the good example of others. In time, however, they grow into a good example for other beginners to imitate.
5. The Christian's PROCLAMATION (v8)
Paul had taken the gospel to them. What did they do then? They took it to others, first south to Achaia, then much further afield. Each local church can be a global influence and even small churches should think globally.
6. The Christian's TRANFORMATION (v9-10)
Paul decscribes the new direction and purpose in the lives of the Thessalonians because of their conversion to Christ. They were living true instead of false, life was now eternal instead of a short span, and they were forgiven instead of facing the wrath of God. What a difference all that makes!
List those things which the first chapter of 1Thessalonians has made you appreciate more or understand better.