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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 1

 

 

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Verses 1-10

Evidences of our election

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul and Silas came to Thessalonica after they left Philippi and preached there for at least three weeks (Acts 17:1-4). The foundation of this church was then laid. Timothy came back later, establishing and comforting the young converts and returning to Paul with the good news of their faith and love. Paul wrote this, said to be his first epistle, about the year of 51 A.D.

1 Thessalonians 1:1. The salutation from Paul, Silas, and Timothy to the church at Thessalonica is sent with his usual prayer, ‘Grace be to you and peace from the Father and the Son.’

1 Thessalonians 1:2. The Apostle gives thanks for every member of the church, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, leaders and followers. He does not ascribe anything to their free-will or decision, nor does he ascribe anything to himself or his companions, who preached the gospel to them; but he gives thanks and glory to God alone, assuring them of his prayers for them (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Samuel 12:23). ‘I am mindful of you in prayer.’

1 Thessalonians 1:3. ‘I constantly remember’ with thanksgiving before God:

1. Your work, energized and activated by your faith. True faith is a working grace. Faith that does not produce good works and obedience is not saving faith (James 2:14-20).

2. Your labors, motivated by love! Love to Christ and to one another will engage a believer in worship, prayer, and in ministering cheerfully to the needs of others. Labors and works motivated by anything but love is not pleasing to God.

1 Thessalonians 1:4. ‘My brethren’ (this is the relationship of those in the family of God) (Mark 3:31-35) beloved of God and beloved of me. ‘I know that God has elected,’ chosen, and fore-ordained you to eternal life. This is not an election to office or service, but to salvation (Ephesians 1:3-4; Romans 9:10-16).

Paul gives many evidences why he knows they have been chosen to salvation in Christ:

1 Thessalonians 1:5. 1. The manner in which the gospel came to them reveals their election, not merely in the external ministry of it, but in the internal efficacy of it through the power and revelation of God's Holy Spirit. There is a difference in hearing the arguments and teaching of men and in hearing the word preached and made clear to the heart by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Matthew 16:13-17). This word of grace which the Holy Spirit applied to your heart brought great conviction, blessed assurance of your interest in Christ, and confidence in us as the ministers of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:6. 2. Another evidence of your election of God is the fact that you received that gospel and became followers of the Lord. We do not emulate or follow any man as such; but we follow the leadership, instruction, example, and correction of those whom God sends to minister to us the gospel (Hebrews 13:7). Babes in Christ need to listen to Elders and follow them as they follow Christ.

3. Also, you received the word and stood for the gospel in spite of the afflictions and persecutions brought upon you for your faith (Acts 17:5-9). True saving faith clings to Christ and his word regardless of the consequences caused by that faith.

1 Thessalonians 1:7. 4. Another evidence of your election is that you, by your faith, works, and love, became examples and patterns for all believers! Though young in faith, you set an example for others – examples in worship, faithfulness, holiness, conversation, and conduct.

1 Thessalonians 1:8. 5. Ye became witnesses, evangelists, and missionaries. A person who has been chosen to salvation and brought to a living, vital union with Christ will carry a great burden for all people (Romans 10:1; Romans 9:1-3). He will witness to others and cheerfully support those who preach the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 1:9. 6. Ye turned from your idols to love and serve God who lives and is the true God. We turn from our internal idols (of pride, self-love, lusts, ambition, and rebellion) to submit to his will and providence. We turn from our external idols (not only of false ideas of God and religious ceremonies, but from materialism, family, and other earthly ties, and all things and persons which hinder our walk with him).

1 Thessalonians 1:10. 7. You look forward to and await the return of our Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was raised from the dead, and is seated at the Father's right hand. He will come again; you believe this and await his coming (John 14:3; Acts 1:10-11).

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/1-thessalonians-1.html. 2013.

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