Translations: Chinese GB Big5

1Thessalonians 1 (web)

Evidences of Election

1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:2 We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers,
1:3 remembering without ceasing
your work of faith
and labor of love
and patience of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father.
1:4 We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen,
 
1:5 and that our gospel came to you not in word only,
but also in power,
and in the Holy Spirit,
and with much assurance.
You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake.
1:6 You became imitators of us, and of the Lord,
having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
1:7 so that you became an example to all who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.
1:8 For from you has sounded forth the word of the Lord,
not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God
has gone forth; so that we need not to say anything.
1:9 For they themselves report concerning us what kind of a reception
we had from you; and how you turned to God from idols,
to serve a living and true God,
1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--
Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Discussion Questions

vs 3 What is the difference between work produced by faith and labor produced by love?
And what is characteristic of people who may have faith and love, but not hope?
vs 4-10 How did Paul know that the they were chosen by God?
How do you know whether you have been chosen by God?
vs 5 Describe how the gospel may be delivered and received in word only?
What other attributes did the messengers and recipients demonstrate with respect to the gospel message that Paul considered important?
vs 6 What kind of severe suffering is impled in this verse?
vs 7 Do you consider the quality of your faith and lifestyle to be a model for other believers?
In other words, if you led someone to Christ, would you feel good of they became like you?
vs 8 How do you suppose their faith came to be known everywhere?
vs 9 How did becoming a Christian affect your lifestyle?
What kinds of changes would you expect to see in one's life if they become a believer?

The Gospel
The Manner it was Delivered
The Manner it was Received
not simply by words
with power
with the Holy Spirit
with full conviction
with joy in the midst of persecution
not simply by words
with power
with the Holy Spirit
with full conviction
with joy in the midst of persecution
The messengers served as models The receivers served as models
The Message
(with respect to behavior)
The Response
(with respect to behavior)
To turn from idols
To serve God
To wait for Christ's return
turned from idols
served God
waited for Christ's return


Faith, Hope and Love

1Th 1:1-3  Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father

your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love, and
your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.


Faith, Hope and Love - "these three remain" 1Cor 13 :13
The quality of faith that saves is one which produces works of faith.
Labor is prompted by love. What is the difference between "work" and "labor"?
"Work" simply refers to general applications of faith.
"Labor" refers to the quality or intensity of the work. It refers to the manner in which the work is carried out. One who loves will not only apply his faith, but labor intensely, wearing himself out.
And while Love inspires intensity to the work, Hope inspires endurance.

A person with FAITH applies the Word of God to his life.
A person with HOPE may do a little each day but continue on for a long time.
But a person with LOVE will work intensely each day.
Combining these three should be our objective.



Chosen - How do you know?

1Th 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

How do you know whether someone has actually come to know Christ? By their behavior!
"we know ('oida' gk.)" means "we perceive based on our external observations".
(This as opposed to based on internal feelings). What external observations?

Paul was not simply interested in them claiming to believe, but rather he was watching their lives to see if they demonstrated the quality of faith that saves. For the faith that saves is an application-oriented faith. And what kind of behavior and attitude should be characteristics of such believers?

For those who have been chosen "have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood" 1Peter 1:2


The Gospel came with Power

1Th 1:5  because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

Let us not receive the gospel in word only. Verbally acknowledging Jesus as Lord is essential to receiving the gospel (Rom 10:9). But Jesus also says

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matt 7:21
So while we are acknowledging with our lips, we may be rejecting him by our behavior.

Also, one thing that God teaches us through nature is that creatures will reproduce according to their own kind. As messengers of the gospel, would we be satisfied if those we lead to Christ become like us? Is our faith a model of the kind of faith we hope to inspire in others? Are we living a lifestyle that we expect others to live?

The manner in which the Thessalonians received the gospel can be likened to the way in which it was delivered by Paul - with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction, and with a lifestyle consistent with the message.



You became imitators

1Thess 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

And just as Paul, they also demonstrated endurance of hope in the midst of persecution. This was an identifying mark of saving faith, and as such a basis for their assurance of salvation - that they endured in the faith in spite of severe suffering.

In some countries it's convenient to be a Christian. There is little persecution of the sort that the early church endured. So what kind of Christians are produced? Untested. It is inevitable under such conditions that nominalism will dominate the church. Popular Christianity is like a field full of trees as far as the eye can see, in an enviroment in which there is no wind. But when the wind comes and only those who are deeply rooted survive, the shallowness of the faith of most Christians will be revealed.

Heb 6:12  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.



Evangelism

1Th 1:7,8 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia— your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it

There are not many commands concerning evangelism in the New Testament. It doesn't seem to me that Paul ever had to tell believers to do these things. It seems evangelism came naturally to the Thessalonians. But realize that their difficult circumstances, their severe suffering under persecution, their proper reaction to difficulties, these things help them to reveal their faith to on-lookers. They stood out in the crowd because they had genuine hope, anticipating their adoption as sons of God through the resurrection from the dead. Without having our faith challenged through persecution and suffering difficult circumstances, it may be difficult to convince someone else to listen. But of course we can utilize the testimony of those in the Bible who did endure such things with joy.

Your faith in Christ was not intended to be hidden. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Mt 5:14-16



The Testimony of Deeds

1Th 1:9,10  for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,  and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

How did becoming a Christian actually affect your lifestyle? The Thessalonians had been worshipping foreign gods and turned from such idols. Repentance from sin is characteristic of saving faith. Paul testifies, "First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."Acts 26:20  Likewise service to God is characteristic of saving faith, as it embraces the purpose of for which Christ died, "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15 What deeds of repentance and works of service testify of your faith in Christ?

Realize however that deeds of  repentance and service to God while characteristic of saving faith are not objects of our faith. The object of our faith is Christ who himself rescues us from the coming wrath. Thus "Hope" is also characteristic of saving faith. Christian hope is the feeling of anticipation associated with our faith in God's promise to rescue us from the coming wrath. "Waiting" is part of the Christian life. We're waiting on God as is revealed by our compliance to his commands and we're waiting for God as is revealed by our patience and perseverance in the faith which is a consequence of our hope. But "waiting" is not laziness. "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." Heb 6:12


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015