2016-05-15 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ Chp 1 Verses 1-5 Application
Two major points that we must take from these verses then are first the reality of our calling, and how it is reflected in our response to God, and secondly how that same reality is worked out in our relationship with one another and the world around us. The quality of our relationship with the Lord has a direct effect on the quality of our relationships with men, and vice-versa.
First Paul has spoken of the reality of the position of “chosenness” of the believer. The result of this should be an attitude of great joy and appreciation, and therefore praise of and a desire to serve God. 1 Peter 1:3-9 As believers, our lives should reflect the reality of who we are, no matter what our circumstances, as we have been chosen by the creator of the universe, the infinite God.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4–7).
We must allow the Holy Spirit make these truths a reality within our hearts, then we can truly “Rejoice in the Lord always …”
Next, as we truly live in the reality of God's love, the gift of our salvation, then we will want to live in a way that pleases the Lord. The thing that Paul thanked God for was the reality of the Lord in their lives. We too must live in a way that is prompted by our faith in God. At times, it becomes difficult to live that life that is “devoted” to the will of the Lord. Our motivation must be the reality of our faith. And out of that faith, comes love and hope. The product of these are works, labor and endurance. This may mean going out on a Saturday to help someone move, not because we necessarily want to, but because we love them as brothers, and therefore put their needs ahead of our own. Sometimes the last thing we need is another night out, and having to deal with the kids, but we choose to go, because it is the Lord's work.
Finally, sometimes life is just one big struggle. It seems as if it nothing will ever go smoothly. We all know couples who seem to always be in the midst of problems, but because of who God is, they persevere. It is this that is endurance, an endurance that comes through the working of the Holy Spirit, as a result of the reality of an eternity with the Lord.
Do those around us see the reality of a life in Christ, a life that is not free from struggle, but is lived in a peace grounded on the truth of our salvation, our being chosen to an eternity with God, and chosen to a life of service now? Praise the Lord that we are not called to live this life out of our own strength.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (John 16:7, 13-14; Acts 1:8).
In our churches, we can help one another to grow in the quality of our walk. We can pray for one another. We can encourage one another. We can be accountable to one another. We are truly a family, and as such, we can demonstrate God's love. We don't have to fight these battles alone.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24–25).
As we go into our day, then, let us pray that as those around us observe us, that they see something of the Lord in us. This should be the desire of our hearts. Living our faith is the least we can do, in response to all He has done for us. AMEN
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.