1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1
Copyright 1999 Darroll Evans-All rights reserved

1 Thessalonians 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.

Paul includes both Silvanus and Timothy in his greeting to the Christians of Thessalonica.

Silvanus, or Silas, was a prominent member of the Church at Jerusalem. His name first appears in the 15th chapter of Acts. Timothy first appears in the 16th chapter or acts.

Silas, an active member of the early Church, was probably a Roman citizen. After Barnabas and Paul disagreed over John Mark's participation in missionary journeys, Silas joined Paul. Two Roman citizens traveling together made a formidable team.

Silas was with Paul at Philippi and shared in the beatings and imprisonment. It was at Philippi that they demanded and got an apology from the town leaders for unlawfully imprisoning Roman citizens. It was also at Philippi (acts 16) that Timothy first comes on the scene.

The last we hear of Silas is in Acts 18 where both he and Timothy apparently came from Macedonia to join Paul in Corinth. Since the letters to the Thessalonians was written in aproximately 51-52 AD, we may assume that the action of Acts 18 took place during that period, or perhaps 18-19 years after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

Paul's standard greeting, " Grace to you and peace" does not present a "throw away" greeting. Grace and peace are two of the multiple benefits we receive from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

Paul gives us an example of what Christians should do as a matter of course. We should offer thanks to God for those of like precious faith.

1 Thessalonians 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;

"Remembering" (Gr. mneemoneuontes-mnhmoneuinteV) indicates that Paul went over and over in his mind the faith demonstrated by the Thessalonian Christians. We must remember that Paul lived in a state of prayer.

To Paul, the work of the gospel was a labor of love. He considered the Thessalonian Church to be like mind.

Their steadfastness in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ will be made evident as go through this letter.

As we shall see, they had problems. Pretenders coming among them brought that about. We have the same situation today.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

Election (Gr. eklogeen-ekloghn) is a difficult thing to discuss. Not many are willing to accept the word because it flies in the face of what many believe to be freewill. It denotes one who is chosen or selected.

We have fallen in love with the idea that we choose. That is not what Jesus said. He said, "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." (John 5:40/NKJV) A more literal translation is, "Your personal will will not allow you to come to me so that you may have life."

We have trouble with God being God. God being Lord of our lives is the last thing our freewill wants.

1 Thessalonians 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.

Here, Paul referred to the gospel as "our gospel." In other places he referred to it as "my gospel" (Romans 2:16, 16:25 & 2 Timothy 2:8). Some folks have tried to make much of those references. If the gospel does not become personal, you will never be proficient in its practice.

What do I mean by that? Let Paul give you the answer.

He did not come to the Thessalonians with only persuasive words. He came in the power of the Holy Spirit, filled with godly assurance.

He did it as a demonstration of true Christianity. He did it for theirs sakes.

Not many do this today, because not many have that absolute sold out closeness with Christ that is required to truly demonstrate Christ.

Some seek to replace the power of the Holy Spirit with the personal power of persuasion. It will not work. Sweet words can never replace the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 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:

Paul asked the Thessalonians to become  "followers" (Gr. mimeetai-mimhtai) of, to imitate or mimic those that are mature in the Spirit. Notice that Paul's scale of maturity was not based on how much personal wealth a person accumulated. Success in Christ is determined the amount of joy we have in Christ during "affliction," oppression, distress, or tribulation that surely comes.

1 Thessalonians 1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

The Thessalonian Christians had become examples to those in Macedonia and Achaia. Today we know that area as simply Greece. They laid the groundwork for the Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church was very strong during the Roman oppressions at a time that the Roman Church buckled under to many non-biblical encroachments into Christianity.

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.

In this verse we find the phrase, "you sounded out the word." What does that mean?

I am a retired broadcaster, so let me put it in those terms. The Thessalonians "broadcast" the word of the Lord throughout Macedonia and Achaia, and also in many other places.

Their faith in God during the early history of the Church was well known. What is the reputation of your Church?

1 Thessalonians 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;

Evidently the word had spread about the Thessalonian Church's acceptance of Paul and Silas. This was at a time when Paul was not universally accepted as an Apostle.

Word of the Thessalonian Church had spread. They were known to have turned away from Greco-Roman idols. They had accepted the true and living God and His Christ.

1 Thessalonians 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.

As Christians, the Thessalonians waited for the return of Jesus Christ. As we shall see, some Pretenders took advantage of their belief in His return.

It is my belief that the Thessalonians became part of the seed for the beginning of the written New Testament. It is my opinion that Thessalonica was a majority Gentile Church with little basis in Jewish Scripture, as opposed to the Galatians being a majority Jewish Church with knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. Those two letters may have written in the same year.

Pretenders, using both Church's newness in Christ to cause division, invaded both Churches. Both Churches needed a written reference text. So, Paul wrote the letters.

We have been blessed by the Thessalonians lack of theological training. Paul told them to be at patient. Wait for the Lord Jesus Christ. He shall return.

He shall deliver us from whatever wrath that Satan has planned for us. Christ shall also protect us, through the Holy Spirit, from any wrath God rains down on the children of disobedience.

We will continue this in the next Chapter.

Chapter 2
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