Your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3 “Paul,….unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ:….
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;”
This is the first written letter by the Apostle Paul.
Paul, Silas, and Timothy after they had come out of Philippi, they went through some other cities and came to Thessalonica. (Acts 17:1)
As soon as the Word of the gospel was preached….some believed. But others began a persecution against the believers…..which was continuing, even when Paul wrote this letter.
The Thessalonians listened eagerly to the Word of Christ, for the gospel came to them in power.
(Unless the Spirit of God accompanies and bless the Word of God, it will do no good….for God uses our tongues, not angel ones to speak…and show the power of His gospel in their lives)
When Christ was preached, they were fully convinced of the truth of it and were willing to leave all for Christ.
It was continuing persecution…..yet they did not hesitate to follow Christ….for they saw Paul under persecution and slander….
…..even when he preached for men’s salvation….and they imitated him, in his faithfulness to Christ….and so they imitated Christ in His devotion to God the Father. (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6)
(Paul’s affection for the churches is seen in how many times he mentions prayer for them. In this letter alone he mentions prayer for them three times….1 Thess. 1:2, 3:10, 5:23)
He does not speak of them as the assembly of God in Thessalonica….
…..but the assembly (company) in God the Father….stressing a family of God.
Through Christ these Thessalonians had received new life—from the Father God…Who had become their Father….”in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
That divine life is the force which enables true sight, and moves our affections and thoughts toward righteousness. It is a living force.
(Man has turned his back on God….having listened to the devil.
And what can call us away from that?
It must be Christ’s gospel, that will undo the work of Satan, while at the same time showing us ourselves and the gulf between us and God…..
….a gospel which humbles us in repentance before God.
The cross does both things.
When we see Christ’s cross, and what He has done for us.
For because of Christ’s cross, God is no longer against us….but for us. This draws us to believe and obey Him….in all situations. This is that living force which comes directly from God, through Christ.)
So Paul thanks God for their faith, love and hope…..which are results of this divine life within.
Their work was by faith….their labor came from the internal certainly of God as their Father…..relationships have privileges and responsibilities….
….and their love burst forth to the Lord Jesus, Who through HIs sacrifice, purchased their place in God’s family.
….and they had hope….that confident expectation that God would do what He said….
…..”and to wait for HIs Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
These Thessalonians believed….and then became witnesses in all places they went.
The testimony of their faith was famous:
1 Thessalonians 1:8 “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.”
They spoke out, even in persecution of the One living and true God….and they waited in joy and thankfulness to Christ who came to save them from the wrath to come.
In this letter Paul speaks of the coming of Christ in the air….” to be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess. 4:15-17)
But his main goal is to encourage them to….”abound more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1).
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
(Notice how many times Paul mentions the relationship of Father to children….the love relationship of family)
We need to be thankful and encouraging to all we are responsible for…..but always pray and work for them to “abound”….as Paul did here.
(Abound here means to have over and above.)
Paul’s prayer then was that they should abound in the faith, love and hope that they had…..to continue on….
….for there are many promises of His Word we have not yet apprehended.
….for there is more fruit of the Spirit to bear and have in your life.
….for there are many things which bring doubts and fears…..continue and abound, that you may have all He has for you.
And should we not “abound” in the faith we have received?
Should we not grow in love to God, and our family of God?
Should we not continue to “look up…for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28)?
Let us pray for each other….for the church and it’s Godly preachers and teachers….and for those who have not yet received our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.