I Thessalonians 1:1-10

                                                               November 30, 2008



Read Acts 17:1-14  - (See Acts 17 on this web site for exposition)





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                        THE OCASSION OF THE EPISTLE
















v. 1 – “Paul and Silvanus (Silas), and Timotheus (Timothy)”





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v. 3 – We have here the three cardinal virtues – faith, love and hope –

            (I Corinthians 13) - Elsewhere these graces are combined.   In

            ch. 5:8 – “Putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for

            an helmet, the hope of salvation” – In Colossians 1:4-5 –“Since

            we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye

            have to all saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven”.


“Faith” -  active, energetic and living, productive of good works.


“Labor of Love  - love which manifests itself in acts of kindness toward

                                our fellow-Christians and toward the human race.


“Patience of Hope  - that constancy which remains unconquered by trials

                                      and persecutions.


Faith manifests itself by works – its active exertion; Love by its toils – its

works of self-denial; and Hope by its patience – its endurance amid trials

and discouragements.


Faith is the commencement of the spiritual life.  It is the foundation  -

it refers to the past.


Love is its progress and continuance.  Love is the structure.  Love is present.


Hope is its completion.  It is the top-stone of God’s spiritual temple in the

soul.  It is future.


As the three principal colors of the rainbow, red, yellow and blue

representing respectively heat, light and purifying power, supply in their

combination all the other colors, by a sort of moral comparison, faith,

hope and love make up the composition of all other Christian graces.


They are three abiding principles – I Corinthians 13:13 – They do

not die with death.


That reminds me of:




Cancer is so limited.

It cannot cripple love, it cannot

                        shatter hope.

It cannot corrode faith.  it cannot

                        destroy peace.

It cannot kill friendship, it cannot

                        suppress memories.

It cannot silence courage.  It cannot

                        invade the soul.

            It cannot steal eternal life, it cannot

                        conquer the spirit.


                        Author Unkown


v. 4 – “your election of God” – By election is meant that act of free grace

            by which God destines individuals to become believers in Christ.


Thus the Thessalonian converts were chosen or elected by God from

among their heathen countrymen to become Christians.


The ultimate reason of their Christianity was their election of God!


v. 5 – “gospel came…..in word…in power…in the Holy Ghost…

            and in much assurance”


Paul and his companions in the Lord preached and the people

were impressed by the power and influence of the Holy Spirit

and this gave people confidence and assurance in the Lord.


“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but

  in the power of God”  - I Corinthians 2:5


It was due to the efficient operation of the Holy Spirit.


what manner of men we were among you for your sake”


They sought not money, nor advantage but the Thessalonians’

spiritual good – Paul, Silas and Timothy had the people’s best

interests at heart.


v. 6


The imitation of Christ.  Christ not only died as a Sacrifice,

but lived as our Example.  He is the Great Example whom we

must imitate, the Pattern of the new creation, the Original of

which all believers are copies.  Especially must we imitate Him

in His patient enduring of suffering.


in much affliction, with joy” – Spiritual joy does not exclude, but

even includes, sorrow.  “Sorrowing, yet always rejoicing” is the

Christian’s condition.


In the spiritual world joy and sorrow  are not two, but one.


Joy is a fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22  and is essentially

connected with the kingdom of God as a part of its blessedness.

Romans 14:17.


Joy is maintained through abiding in Christ  - “These things

have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you,

and that your joy might be FULL” - John 15:11



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The Gospel was thus carried through northern and southern

Greece like the ringing sound of a trumpet.


The faith of the Thessalonians must have had the solid stamp

of reality to produce such a widespread sensation.


The example of Christians – Consistent believers are living

evidences to the truth of Christianity.  By the purity of their

conduct, by their unselfishness, by their patience in suffering,

they prove that there is something real and living in Christianity.


Inconsistent believers are obstacles in the way of the gospel.

They confirm (assurance in a wrong way) the worldly in their

worldliness, as if Christianity was a mere pretense, and give

occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme.


  v. 8 – “in every place you faith to God-ward is spread abroad”


The report of their joyful reception of the gospel had excited

universal attention.


Thessalonica and Corinth were two great commercial cities,

from and to which there was a constant coming and going,

so that reports might easily be transmitted by merchants

and strangers.


The Gospel was preached to the world’s great cities

beginning in Jerusalem and reaching Antioch, Ephesus,

Thessalonica, Rome and Corinth.


v. 9 – The world seemed to appreciate the boldness, the

            sincerity, the uprightness of the preachers of the

            gospel; for there was no dexterous flattery, there

            was no spirit of self-seeking, no guileful strategy,

            in the proclamation of the Gospel.


how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living

and true God”


Idolatry is apostasy from God.


Like the heathen mentioned in Romans 1:23 – they

had “changed the glory of the incorruptible God for

the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of

birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things”


They had been hitherto walking just like other Gentiles,

in all moral blindness and carnality of heart – see

Ephesians 4:17-18


One effect of the apostle’s preaching was their expectation

of the eminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Hope underlies the expectation of the Lord’s coming “and

to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the

dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to



All Christians live in the “blessed hope” of His second coming


There is a wrath coming upon disobedient sinners, but there

is a way of deliverance provided in the Word of Jesus Christ

ratified by His resurrection from the dead.


Beware:  “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven

            with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking

            vengeance on them that know not God, and that

            obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  who

            shall be punished with everlasting destruction from

            the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of

            His power.”  II Thessalonians 1:7-9





“Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will

judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He

hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto

all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”

                                                            Acts 17:31


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Matthew 24:27, 42-51







Who are Christians?  Whether they be Thessalonian converts

who have turned from “idols to serve the living and true God”

or modern day people of the 21st century, they are people whose

change is effected in their disposition; their chief affection is now

fixed on God and Christ; they serve the Living and True God. 

They wait for the return of the Lord Jesus; they expect salvation

from Him, and look for His second coming.  They live a holy life;

they possess the three cardinal virtues of faith, hope and love

and prove so by their outward manifestation in their lives.


They have their root and existence in union with the Father

and the Son – they are in fellowship because they dwell in

God and God in them.  This double fellowship is secured

by the bond of the Holy Spirit.


John 14:23, 17:21-23