"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"
Their Faith, Love, And Hope (1 Th 1:2-3)
1. As noted in our previous study, the beginning of the church in
Thessalonica is recorded by Luke in Acts 17:1-10…
a. On his second missionary journey, Paul and his companions had
just left Philippi
b. Traveling through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they arrived at
c. Paul immediately located the synagogue and used their Sabbath
gathering as an opportunity for evangelism
d. For three weeks he reasoned with the Jews, converting some and a
number of prominent Gentiles
e. But unbelieving Jews soon caused a disturbance, forcing Paul to
2. We also noted that the epistle commonly called 1st Thessalonians…
a. Was written not long after Paul had left Thessalonica
b. Probably from Corinth, sometime during 50-52 A.D.
3. What was the church in Thessalonica like?
a. Without Paul, did the young church survive?
b. Had persecution discouraged the new converts?
— These were some of the concerns that prompted Paul to send
Timothy – cf. 1 Th 3:1-6
[Timothy brought back news that was certainly encouraging, and in
Paul’s opening remarks in this epistle we learn about "Their Faith,
Love, And Hope." First we notice that Paul is thankful to God for…]
I. THEIR WORK OF FAITH
A. THEY HAD A WORKING FAITH…
1. In other words, a faith that was alive! – cf. James 2:20; James 2:26
2. Their faith was likely centered in the person of Jesus Christ
– cf. Col 1:4
3. It was likely prompted by love – cf. Gal 5:6; Jn 14:15
— In his second letter to them, Paul would remark about how
their faith continued to grow exceedingly – 2 Th 1:3
B. WHAT ABOUT OUR FAITH…?
1. Is our faith a living faith?
a. A faith manifesting itself in obedience to the word of God?
b. Or are we like some who believe, but do not obey Jesus?
1) Such as some of the Jewish rulers who believed in Jesus
– Jn 12:42-43
2) Such as the demons who believe, but only tremble – James 2:19
2. Is our faith strongly centered in Jesus Christ?
a. A faith produced by the word of God? – cf. Rom 10:17
b. A faith that leads to life in Jesus Christ? – cf. Jn 20:30-31
— If our faith is like that of the Thessalonians, then it too
will "grow exceedingly", evidenced by our faithful service to
[Paul was also thankful to hear of…]
II. THEIR LABOR OF LOVE
A. THEY HAD A WORKING LOVE…
1. A love that was not in word only, but in deed and truth! –
cf. Jn 3:18
2. Their love was likely directed toward their brethren in Christ
– cf. Col 1:4
3. Paul would later commend their brotherly love – 1 Th 4:9-10
— In his second letter, Paul would remark about how their love
continued to "abound" – 2 Th 1:3
B. WHAT ABOUT OUR LOVE…?
1. Is our love in word or tongue only, or in deed and truth?
a. Do we "walk the walk"?
b. Or do we just "talk the talk"?
2. Is our love directed toward our brethren in Christ?
a. Which is a mark of true discipleship – Jn 13:34-35
b. Which is an indication of spiritual life – 1 Jn 3:14; 1 Jn 3:18-19
— If our love is like that of the Thessalonians, then it too
will "abound", evidenced by serving one another in love –
cf. Gal 5:13
[Finally, we note Paul’s gratitude for…]
III. THEIR PATIENCE OF HOPE
A. THEY HAD A HOPE THAT GAVE THEM PATIENCE…
1. A strong hope is that which gives one patience – cf. Rom 8:25
2. Their hope was likely focused on what was laid up for them in
heaven – cf. Col 1:5
3. Peter referred to this hope as an inheritance "incorruptible
and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven
for you" – 1 Pet 1:3-4
— Paul would later encourage them to wear this "hope" as a
helmet – 1 Th 5:8
B. WHAT ABOUT OUR HOPE…?
1. Do we have a strong hope?
a. A hope that comes from reading the Scriptures? – Rom 15:4
b. A hope that spurs us to be diligent, living holy and godly
lives? – cf. 2 Pe 3:10-14
c. A hope that prompts people to wonder why we have it? –
cf. 1 Pe 3:15
2. Is our hope focused our "inheritance" laid up for us in
a. That city whose builder and maker is God? – Heb 11:10; Heb 11:16;
b. The new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells? –
2 Pet 3:13
c. Which is beautifully described by John? – Rev 21:1-7
— If our hope is like that of the Thessalonians, then we too
shall let it be a "helmet" protecting our minds from the
distractions of this world which is passing away!
– cf. 1 Jn 2:17
1. This "triad" of faith, love, and hope is a common refrain of Paul…
a. He wrote of them in his epistle to the Colossians – Col 1:4-5
b. Also in his first epistle to the Corinthians – 1 Cor 13:13
— But he likely first wrote of them in this epistle to the
2. While they do not constitute all the graces to be found in
Christians (cf. Gal 5:22-23; 2 Pet 1:5-8)…
a. They certainly are among the most important – 1 Cor 13:13; Col 3:14
b. Where found, the others will likely follow
May the remarkable faith, love and hope of the church of the
Thessalonians, who were but recent converts, inspire us to grow in our
own faith in Christ, our love for the brethren, and our hope for the
inheritance reserved in heaven!