1 Thessalonians 1:1–10 (NKJV)
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church 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.I Thessalonians 1:1
Paul greets the Thessalonians with his normal greeting of grace a peace from the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This was his way of identifying himself and his companions, and of blessing the recipients of the letter at the beginning of each epistle.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.I Thessalonians 1:2-10
6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Paul states that he thanks God for the Thessalonians’ work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope. These are signs of their election. The saved behave as if they are saved. Christians should truly see a change in their lifestyle, affections, and actions after redemption. This salvation was a result of the Spirit-empowered presentation of the gospel give by Paul and his colleagues. Their example and this powerful gospel message were obviously worthy of reception, and the disciples in Thessalonica were saved. Although there was a price to be paid by those who received Christ, as they were opposed and persecuted for their faith by the opposition to the word in their city. However, they expressed their joy at being saved, and through the Holy Spirit were examples to all in the regions of Macedonia and Achaia who would believe. The testimony of the Thessalonians was powerful, making it unnecessary for Paul to walk in these regions. He follows up with thankfulness that they have turned to God and shunned their idolatry, waiting for Jesus to come and deliver the church from the wrath to come.
This encouraging opening to the first letter to the Thessalonians sets the stage for a pastoral message of hope and encouragement in the midst of the environment of persecution they are enduring. Paul wants to shore up their resolve and help them know that he has experienced the same, and that God was faithful. Whatever you may be facing today, whether sickness or threat of persecution or poverty, know that God is with you and will keep you through every time of trouble of suffering you may endure. Don’t be disillusioned by the trouble that comes your way. God is with you. With political and social unrest seemingly rampant on all fronts, it is ever more important to trust in God. He is our only source in times of trouble. Trust in Him!
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