1 Thessalonians 1
Paul gives thanks to the Thessalonians, praying for them constantly and remembering their WORK OF FAITH and LABOR OF LOVE and STEADFASTNESS OF HOPE in Jesus.
Faith, hope, and love. The foundations of their community.
WORK OF FAITH
Their faith brought about a work in them. They turned to God from idols. They didn’t merely believe, they changed. They turned from dark to light and lies to truth.
This community loved by God. Chosen by God. God has chosen them and God chooses us. Ray Stedman says, “How do you know that God chose you, out of the millions who have lived on earth? The answer is, you began to be drawn toward God, to sense a desire for him. The calling of God by means of the Spirit awakens a hunger within. If you are longing to be different, if you want to be more than you are now, you have tried to change and you cannot, but you want to change, you find the words of the gospel, the songs of hymns of Christians attractive, you are being drawn by the Spirit!”
The Gospel comes to us in word. We hear truth declared, Scriptures preached with a very real and compelling power, the Holy Spirit penetrating our being. And we open the door to receive it.
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and will open the door, I will come into him and live with him and he with me.”
Stedman continues, “Until you have actually received Christ, you have not exercised faith. You can believe the story to be true, but until it moves you to receive the Lord you have not exercised faith.”
They heard. They believed. By grace, through faith, they were saved. They said, “Yes! I want that! I accept that!” And they began the transformative life and work that results from this gift of salvation and redemption.
LABOR OF LOVE
Though suffering, the Thessalonians chose love. Though persecuted, they shared the good news with others. Their life became a labor of love for their neighbors around them and beyond.
PERSISTENCE OF HOPE
Finally, they have hope and assurance• in the return of Christ. Hope for full restoration. Hope for eternal life with God. Hope for the day where there will be no tears, suffering, pain or death. The muscle of persistence is strengthened when hope is at the core. There is something to fight for and the fight is so worth it.
Faith, hope and love. In this, Paul rejoices and gives thanks. In this, he knows this precious and loved church he planted will thrive.
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