Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Thessalonians One, commentary

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.
Modern versions remove the last part of the verse, based on eight corrupted manuscripts. The last part of the verse, “from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ”, lets us know from whence our peace comes, as well as grace. By leaving this part of the verse out it appears that the greeting is solely from Paul and his companions rather than from God.
Silvanus and Timothy, for whom the books are named, also preached at Corinth (see 2 Corinthians 1:19).
¶ We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
Paul is always giving thanks to God for those under his spiritual supervision.
From Romans:
Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Philemon 4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
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; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
A work of faith, a labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Do these characterize your life? Or, are you making yourselves too busy to feel those things? You know, Oliver Cromwell, the great leader of England in the mid-1600’s said that most of what we believe is God’s will is simply our own vain, human imagination and desire for self-glory. If you simply feel as if you are doing, doing, doing, but not having a relationship with a living, risen Saviour then back off, slow down, and spend more time alone in prayer and in reading your Bible. Get back in touch with Christ, the Christ of the Bible, not the Christ of Bob Jones University or Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.
We have been elected because of our belief. We need to know that, to know it in a personal way, rather than simply in our head. God is watching us and knows our hearts and our intents. We are in his sight. Think on these phrases; work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
This Book you are looking at is God’s very word. It is powerful and was brought to you by the Holy Spirit. We can be sure of it just as Paul says that the Thessalonians could count on him and his companions. It is reliable and trustworthy. I have studied the issue of Bible versions for many years and my belief that this Book is God’s word is without question. It is powerful in a way that no other “version” can be, not just in word, but in its effect on a believing hearer or reader, through the work of the Holy Ghost. I have that assurance.
6 ¶ And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
In those days it cost you something to follow the Lord. Like a Christian in a Moslem country you had to really believe in order to face the hatred of your community and your country’s leadership. There is no easy believism in the Sudan. But, these people have joy in the Holy Ghost, without which no one would be able to deal with the persecution and heartbreak.
7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
We, as a small church, have an opportunity to be an example to churches throughout our area. Do you know that the established churches, even our friends, are watching us? Do you think that some would like to see us succeed but others might secretly harbor a desire for us to fail? We need to be an example. Be careful how you talk to members of other churches. Make your faith evident. Let your light shine. We have an impact as far away as Liberia and India. Can you imagine having a global impact like that for Christ?
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.
Obviously, the faith of the Thessalonians was well known. They must have endured persecution and taken care of their poor and sick, all in the name of Christ. They must have been an example of prayer, faithfulness, and good works. They had a reputation.
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;
The reputation the Thessalonians had and the opinion of other Christians about them show what kind of success Paul had with them, that they turned from idolatry to the worship of the real and living God.
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.
This is what Romans 10:9,10 says is the basis of the belief that saves you; believing that Christ was raised from the dead, literally and physically.
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The “wrath to come” is easy to understand unless you are enslaved by Liddell-Scott, the Unitarian Thayer, Moulton, Vine, Strong, or one of the other apostate lexicon makers.
First, John the Baptist warns the Pharisees.
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luke 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Here, it is said we are delivered from the wrath to come. Then the hammer falls.
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Many early church leaders write that the church will not go through this wrath from Shepard in 150AD to Ephraim the Syrian in the late 300’s. Vicotrinus, too, and, if my memory serves me correctly, Cyprian.
The Rapture of the church is a reality clearly expressed in the book if you are able to read English and connect the verses.

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