1 Thessalonians 1
Last week we ended our study of the Book of James. We certainly did not spend enough time to learn all that is in this great Book of the Bible but we did learn many things about living like Christ.
If we are not living like Christ Jesus, the Messiah that has come, then how can we be known as Christians?
A Christian is not for us to decide but it is for others to see!
We should be very clear, God will never force any of us to trust Him!
God tells us what sin really is and how sin leads to eternal spiritual death.
God’s Word will convict us of our sin!
Once we realize that we are all sinners then we will also realize the need for a Savior!
This is the beginning of a life of prayer!
That first prayer for salvation is the beginning of our faith and the first step in drawing nigh to God!
Today we will leave the writings of James and begin a short study into the writings of the Apostle Paul to the Church at Thessalonica.
We already know that the Book of James was the earliest of the Church Epistles.
We already know that though the Book of James was written to Christians most of them were converted Jews at that time.
We already know that by the Apostle Peter, it had been established that God deals with “whosoever” will believe upon Him and salvation is for all believers, even the Gentiles.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God “by faith in Christ Jesus”.
1Co 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Today we will begin with the earliest of writings of the Apostle Paul to the Christian Church.
The city of Thessalonica still exist today simply called Salonika.
The theme of this first book to the Thessalonians is “the return of Jesus Christ”.
Thessalonica was at the time of Paul the principle city but also the Capitol city of Macedonia.
Thessalonica is named after the sister of Alexander the Great.
The city of Thessalonica was the crossroads of where the East met the West at the time of the Apostles.
Paul had been in the East when he received the call of God to spread the “Gospel” to Europe which eventually came to America.
Act 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
Act 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the early church for many reasons.
Paul wrote to assure his new friends of his love and his concern for them.
Paul writes to all believers to ground us in the “Doctrines” of the Christian faith!
Paul writes to us all to assure us of the return of Jesus Christ to get His Church!
All the letters of Paul were inspired by the Holy Spirit to correct the weaknesses “that come from inside the Church” just as James had done!
Confusion about prophecy exist today because there are so many preachers and teachers who contradict each other upsetting the saints.
Many ask, is the coming of the Lord near?
Many ask, what are the signs of Christ coming soon?
Many ask, will God’s people go through the Tribulation Period?
The Apostle Paul answered these questions and much more in the two letters to the Thessalonians.
Above all the Apostle Paul teaches us how to live holy lives in this sin-filled world and respect the Church that Christ built with His own blood!
Faith, Hope and Charity are the best evidence of being Christians with Charity being the greatest.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
So let’s begin:
*****1Th 1:1 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.
Because the preaching of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ had stirred up a turmoil in Thessalonica, Paul had to leave and was now in the city of Corinth.
He had left Timothy and Silas behind and a Church had been established.
At the time of this letter both of them had rejoined Paul and had brought with them many questions from the believers.
In our area there are more churches per square mile than probably any other place on this earth but we always seem to have these same old questions!
We have questions because we refuse to study the Word of God as He commands us all to do!
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
We may all accept that we need to study more but at the same time we always seem to seem to listen to vain teaching which causes confusion.
Babblings are fruitless discussions that lead to confusion!
Paul was deeply concerned with these young converts and knowing that he could not return to them at this time, he did the next best thing, he gave them the written Word of God.
We do not have the Apostles with us today!
We do not have the eyewitnesses of Jesus with us today!
We do not have as many great instructors of the “Gospel” with us today!
But we do have something much greater!
We have something that the early Church did not have, we have the Complete Holy Inspired Word of God!
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
No matter how many so called prophets come.
No matter how many preachers come.
The most sure thing we can have in our possession is the complete, Holy Ghost Inspired Word of God!
2Pe 1:19 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy”; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
And according to the Holy Inspired Word of God, the Church is only a Church if it is established in God the Father, “through” the Lord Jesus Christ!
All other so-called religions are cults!
As we go through these letters to the Thessalonian Christians we will find that the Second Coming of Christ Jesus will be referred to in some way in every chapter.
The Apostle Paul realized that every believer needs clear and precise instructions because we all begin as babes in Christ!
Many today are taught that the Second Coming of Christ is not so important to the Church, because the Church will already be in Heaven because of the “Rapture” when Christ first returns in the clouds like a thief.
But, the Apostle Paul gives us much teaching on this subject and we need to know these things!
These new, mostly Gentile believers, were now linked to the infinite ‘Grace” of God and it was important for them to know that this “Grace” can come only through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God!
It is important for us all to have this same understanding!
The “Grace” that saves from judgment was already known to these new believers.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, “to them who are the called according to his purpose”.
The “peace” that comes from salvation was already known to these new believers.
It was now time to learn of the “Grace” that sustains each of us from day to day!
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
It was time to learn of the “peace” that comes from a daily walk with the Lord Jesus Christ!
It was now time to pick up their own cross and walk with the Lord Jesus!
The Apostle Paul now introduces them to these things.
*****1Th 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
That “we” of course was Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
We should not forget, Paul was a Church Planting Missionary and was very busy about the work of God.
If Paul was not preaching, he was visiting house to house.
If Paul was not doing these things, he was busy as a “tent maker” to meet his personal needs.
But Paul always found the time to pray for the Body Of Christ, the New Testament Church.
As we saw in the Book of James, faith without works is dead faith!
Without men such as Paul, who interceded in behalf of the Church, the “Gospel” would not have spread very far.
Eze 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
We will reach that point in our lives when we cannot be the feet and legs of the “Gospel” but until we reach the grave we need to always pray for the Church to succeed!
*****1Th 1:3 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;
“Without ceasing” means continuously more than it does continually!
Faith, love and hope are the foundations of Christianity!
***What is the “work of faith”?
Our foundation must be set on the solid ground of “Faith”!
Faith is the only way man can approach God!
But that faith must be based upon the work of Jesus Christ!
We must remove faith in ourselves and fill that void with faith in Jesus Christ!
Then there is the “gift of faith”.
We cannot be Christians without “saving faith”!
This “saving faith” will sustain each of us through our daily walk with the Lord.
The “gift of faith” is not possessed by all believers. The “gift of faith” comes from the Holy Spirit and has the capacity to see something that needs to be done and the belief that God will provide all the things needed to accomplish that thing.
Our Pastor, Preacher Sam, had the “gift of faith” to begin this Church we now call Gethsemane.
This is stepping out in the call of God, knowing that God will provide!
In our study of the Book of James we learned that there is a work of faith after salvation.
This Church in Thessalonica had a true work of faith but they also had this “gift of faith” and it showed.
Faith is the key that opens the door to do the Work of the Lord!
Faith is the key to touching the Heart of God which leads to the labor of Love!
***What is the “labor of love”?
Out of “faith” rises love.
No one can love God unless they believe that God loves them!
God is love!
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
When those times come when our “faith” seems to fail us, if we will continue because we love the Lord, we will find that God’s love will never fail us!
When we are saved we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
If God did not possess love then He could not produce love in each believer!
God has proved to us that He loves us and for this same reason we need to love one another.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
To be “Born Again” is to be born of God and therefore to resemble God.
The Church in Thessalonica knew the love of God and had love for one another, and had a labor of love for the lost and it showed in their personal lives.
***What is “patience of hope”?
Patience of hope is the endurance of hope!
The is the persevering endurance of the trials that all Christians go through.
We can only have this patience when we look to the end of our faith and not just linger at the beginning of out faith!
Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Hope is looking to the future and not in the now!
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
This Church in Thessalonica was looking forward to the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ and it showed!
Their faith, love, and hope was in the Lord Jesus Christ because they realized there was no other way to Heaven.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
They also realized that God is always watching because He truly cares!
When we realize that we are under the watchful eye of God while we yet live, we will not have to concern ourselves with appearing before God at the White Throne of Judgment.
Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
*****1Th 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
When all our faith, all our love, and that love is in the Lord Jesus Christ then we can become the elect of God.
To believe on the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be the chosen of God!
Jesus had these words:
Act 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me”, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Elected means God has elected each individual believer.
This does not mean that God has already preselected those that He will save as some teach!
The key to being the elect of God is being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ!
This is the choice we all must make!
Every elect of God must accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Savior!
*****1Th 1:5 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.
It is the job of each one of us, after we are saved, to proclaim the “Gospel” to this lost world we live in!
1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
We should realize that without the Holy Spirit there would be no results from this preaching.
What did Jesus say to the Apostles?
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, “after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you”: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Without speaking in the power of the Holy Spirit there will be no results!
Paul did not mean that the “Gospel” originated with him, or Silas, or Timothy, but that it was they who had delivered to them the “Gospel” by the Holy Spirit.
***For the Word of God to be effective, it must be preached:
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
***The Word of God must be bathed with the power of God’s “Grace”:
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
***The Word of God must be preached with the assistance of the Holy Ghost:
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
***The Word of God must be preached in assurance:
It is a fact that that most preaching today does not give much assurance.
We are truly blessed here at Gethsemane.
But this is not the assurance of the speaker!
The “Gospel” must produce assurance in the believer!
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Paul said: just as you know what manner of men we are by the way we conducted ourselves and we know what manner of people you are by the way you are conducting yourselves, after receiving the “Gospel”
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
***The “Gospel” must be preached for only one purpose:
2Ti 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
The salvation that is in Christ Jesus will not only save us from the wrath to come but brings with it the glory of being with the Lord Jesus Christ.
***Glorification is the fullest expansion of salvation:
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Knowing all these things will make followers of Christ.
A follower is therefore an imitator of Christ and therefore a Christian!
*****1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
It is truly important that we walk before God in holiness of life and righteousness before all others!
Righteousness means, to do all things right according to the Word of God.
Each believer then becomes a weapon that God can use in this sin-filled world!
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
More and more people in our world have never even heard of the “Gospel” nor Of Jesus Christ, but they see what the world looks like everyday.
If they cannot see Jesus in us, then our words will have no meaning to them!
Paul said if you see us(Paul, Silas, Timothy) you are seeing the ways of Jesus!
1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
We will receive the Word of God in affliction because the Word of God cuts:
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word of God will reach deep into our flesh to separate us from the desires of this world and cause much affliction within us, until we feel the joy that comes from its freedom.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
There is great joy in being free from the wages of sin!
This change was so great in these Thessalonians that most all others soon noticed.
*****1Th 1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
Shortly after 146 BC all Greece south of Macedonia was formed into a Roman province named Achaia.
There was then the province of Macedonia and the Province of Achaia.
The Church in Philippi had been established previous to this one in Thessalonica, both in Macedonia.
The Apostle Paul was in Corinth where a Church had been started in Achaia but those of Thessalonica were setting the example for all the Churches in Europe at this time.
*****1Th 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.
Thessalonica was a great commercial and political center but these saved of God, had no problem spreading the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ even to all the strangers that passed through this great city.
They not only witnessed in Achaia and Macedonia but to anyone who would listen no matter what part of the world they called home.
They lived in a nation of false gods and Greek folklore, but now their faith was directed toward the One True God!
They did not need for the Pastor to encourage them to go out on visitation.
They did these things on their own and allowed their Pastor to be about the business of the Lord.
These people evangelized!
2Ti 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, “do the work of an evangelist”, make full proof of thy ministry.
It was evident by the change in their lives, that these of the Church of Thessalonica were in touch with God!
It was even more evident to the Apostle Paul who had endured much, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
These people were evidence of the truth of the Word of God to the Apostle Paul and to the world around them.
*****1Th 1:9 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;
1Th 1:10 And “to wait” for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
What is the job of the Christian after salvation?
To serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to wait on His return!
To repent is a complete change of mind which leads to a complete change of ways!
All those in Thessalonica could noticeably see the change in these that were “Born Again” of God!
They had completely turned from idols to worship the True and Living God!
These people were busy about the Master’s Work, because they fully believed that the Lord Jesus Could return at any moment!
The more we believe this truth, the more we should telling others about the salvation that comes by the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!
Surely we love our families this much!
This wrath that is coming, is not to those that love the Lord Jesus but to those that will not accept the Lord Jesus.
Col 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Col 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
This wrath is still in the future but the opportunity to miss this wrath of God, will run out when the Lord returns to get His Saints, which could happen at any moment!
When we are not looking for the Lord to return at any moment, we do not believe the truth of the “Gospel” and it will show up in our lack of “Good Works”!
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Tit 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
This is our message to the world we live in!
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
We know that Hell was prepared for Satan and his angels.
But we also know that Heaven is prepared for the people of God!
Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. “I go to prepare a place for you”.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
When we do not believe the Words of Jesus, how can we say we love Him!