Page separation

Salutation and Greeting
1 Thess. 1:1-3


The beginning of the Epistle, just like any other is the salutation and greetings to the church. I have added here some information which I was not able to put in our Introduction last week.
I. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thess. 1:1)
A. Paul, he was Saul of Tarsus. Paul was ordained by the Lord Jesus to be the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 8:1-28).
B. Silvanus is also called Silas. He was chosen by Paul to accompany him on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:27). Before that, Silas was a prophet in the church at Jerusalem (Acts. 15:32). He was sent to Antioch following the apostolic conference on the gospel recorded in Acts 15 (Acts 15:27). Silas was imprisoned with Paul in Philippi (Acts 16:25). Silas was with Peter when he wrote his first epistle (1 Pet. 5:12).
C. Timothy was called to be Paul’s co-laborer at Derbe earlier on this second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-3). Already Paul is including the young man in his greeting to a church. Timothy is also included in Paul’s greeting to Corinth (2 Cor. 1:1), Philippi (Phil. 1:1), and Colosse (Col. 1:1).

II. In God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 1: 1b)
A. Unto the church of the Thessalonians – A local church is a group of people called out by God from the mass of humanity to a life of separation to Him. A Church is a lawful, organized assembly
B. This is the only place in the New Testament in which a church is said to be “in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
C. The church is “in God the Father.” This amazing statement describes the believer’s intimate relationship with God the Father. Our text reads, “in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” thus describing the believer’s relationship with God the Father even more intimately. We are not only “in Jesus Christ,” we are “in God the Father.”
D. The description of God as Father connotes security, love, and strength.
E. In Jesus Christ – Paul balanced this picture with a reminder that God the Son is also Lord; He is the Sovereign who is to be obeyed. “Jesus” is the Lord’s human name, the Greek form of Joshua, “Savior.” “Christ” is the Greek translation of the “Messiah” of the Old Testament and means “Anointed One.”

Illustration 1: Love’s Power
Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home.
“They may be as good for others, but not for me,” was his reply.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because they love a fellow over there,” he replied.
If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized.
Moody’s Anecdotes, Page 71-72

III. Grace and Peace (1 Thess. 1:1c)
A. “Grace” is the unmerited, undeserved blessing of God in Christ. Grace is the free gift of salvation that was purchased by the vicarious atonement of Christ. Grace is a one-word description of salvation. Grace comes before peace, because it is God’s grace in Jesus Christ that brings the believer into a position of peace with God.
B. “Peace” is reconciliation with God. We have peace from God because we have peace with God through the atonement of Christ.
C. Grace was the common Greek salutation meaning “greetings” or “rejoice.” In Greek peace is equivalent to the Hebrew “shalom” meaning “favor,” “prosperity,” and “well-being.” It is interesting that those two words of salutation always occur in this order in the New Testament. Theologically God’s grace is the basis for and leads to man’s peace.
D. Peace comes today to the individual who believes in Christ savingly. Peace will come to this world when the Prince of Peace sits upon its throne and rules in righteousness. This world has no peace, because mankind is not at peace with God. “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isa. 48:22).
E. Grace and peace are “from God our Father.” Grace and peace is God’s gift. It is the Father who sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 Jn. 4:14).
F. We have grace and peace “from … the Lord Jesus Christ.” He purchased grace and peace for us. He “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

Illustration 2: Unmerited Favor
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.
Clip-Art Features for Church Newsletters, G.W. Knight, p. 53

IV. Thanksgiving to God (1 Thess. 1:2)
A. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy was dedicated in their prayer life. They give thanks for all the people in the church not just for a few. Everyone is part of the ministry and they deserve to be prayed for.
B. Paul prayed with “giving thanks to God always.” His prayers were filled with thanksgiving and praise. God wants His people to be a thankful people. God’s Word commands thanksgiving to God. God responds to thanksgiving. See Eph. 5:20; Php. 4:6; Col. 2:7; 3:15, 17; 4:2; 1 Th. 5:18; Heb. 13:15. Thanksgiving lifts our hearts to God, puts us into a positive frame of mind, and drives away doubt, fear, worry, frustration, anger, and self-pity.

Illustration 3: Thankfulness—A Lost Art Today
Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersbe illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.
Our Daily Bread February 20, 1994

V. Prayer for the Church (1 Thess. 1:2b)
A. Making mention of you in our prayers. This is praying for others in 1 Sam. 12:23, which says, Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Samuel considers his failure to pray for others as a sin against the Lord. We all can pray. Pray for your Pastor, for your deacons, Sunday School Teachers, immediate family, missionaries, and all church members.

VI. Three Spiritual Character (1 Thess. 1:3)
A. Work of Faith – Paul remembered their work of faith. Good works are produced by faith and Paul testifies that their work was a result of their faith. James emphasizes that faith without works is dead. (James 2:20) A saving faith is a working faith. We are saved apart from works, but we are saved unto works. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10) This is a faith produced work. Christians do not perform good works in order to be saved, but because they are saved.
B. Labour of love – Their work was a labour of love. Their labor for the Lord was not drudgery. They weren’t serving because the preacher put them on a guilt trip. They weren’t working for the praise of men. They were laboring for the Lord because they loved Him. Paul calls it a labour of love. The only proper motivation for serving the Lord is love. Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
C. Patience of hope – They continued with a patience of hope. The word patience means to “remain or abide under.” The word hope means to “anticipate or expect with confidence.” These precious people labored under a blessed anticipation. What was their hope? It is the same hope we have today. It is the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13) These Thessalonian believers lived and labored for Christ because they wanted to be found faithful at His coming. The imminent return of Jesus Christ motivates the believer to live a holy life and promotes the purity and separation of the Church from the world. This is our blessed hope.

VII. Conclusion:
The Thessalonian Church must have been a very Godly church, since this is the only place in the New Testament in which a church is said to be “in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Page separation