Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
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.Three Great Christian Graces
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Notice the characteristics which the Apostle attached to these three graces when he says practically that faith is a work, love is a labour, hope an enduring patience.
I. First of all with regard to work as a characteristic feature of faith. In the work of salvation there are two parties concerned—God and man, Giver and receiver, a Saviour and saved. (1) Faith has work as its distinctive feature, because it is not solely belief, not an abstract proposition of truth, but a personal trust in a living person. (2) Work must be the characteristic feature of all true faith, inasmuch as from its very nature it involves a hearty compliance with the will of Him who is the object of it.
II. What holds true of the great Christian grace of faith holds equally time of love. 'Your labour of love,' says the Apostle—that is, your love of which labour is the characteristic feature, although it is more than a labour. This love has (1) Christ for its object, and (2) our fellowmen. The love of man for man must be rooted in the love of man for God first.
III. Lastly, says the Apostle, 'Your patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ'. In the grammatical Greek it means that Christ is the great object of the Christian's hope. The grand characteristic of this hope is here said to be patience. The word in Greek is very strong—implying bravery, manliness, facing dangers, the discharge of difficult and painful duties with a calm mind; bearing up under trial and discouragements; constancy in faith under the most adverse circumstances.
—J. Macgregor, Scottish Review, vol. IV. p. 105.
References.—I. 3.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Thessalonians, p. 155. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 258. I. 4.—Ibid. vol. vii. p. 12; ibid. (7th Series), vol. v. p. 58. I. 4-6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. li. No. 2920.
1 Thessalonians 1:5
The Gospel can come to members of the Church in word only.
I. To the Church at Thessalonica it came in.—
(a) Power—i.e. with a compelling and urging force;
(b) The Holy Ghost—i.e. the hearts were receptive and willing to receive Him; (c) With much assurance—much trust, confidence, and faith.
II. Power Manifested.
(a) They became followers (ver. 6), Greek mimics or imitators of the Lord.
(b) Ensamples (ver. 7)—i.e. bearing the impression of the Lord. Ill.—The die used in the Royal Mint for stamping the coins and medals leaves an impression. The Gospel, when received in power, causes all our actions and words to bear the impression of Christ.
(c) Sounded out the word (ver. 8), or as Greek echoed forth. As they received, so they gave forth.
(d) Turned from idols (ver. 9) to serve the living God. Christian England is full of idolatry. Here is one of the results when the Gospel comes in power.
References.—I. 6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xi. No. 648. Expositor (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 415; ibid. vol. xi. p. 46. I. 6, 7.—Ibid. (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 262. I. 7.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 382. I. 8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxv. No. 2076. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Thessalonians, p. 164. I. 9.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 257. I. 9, 10.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxx. No. 1806. Expositor (4th Series), vol. i. p. 23; ibid. vol. ii. pp. 258, 259; ibid. vol. vii. p. 15; ibid. vol. x. p. 98. I. 10.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 146; ibid. vol. ix. p. 94. I. 14, 15. —Ibid. vol. iv. p. 369. II. 2.—John Watson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p. 228. II. 2-9.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. vii. p. 14. II. 3.—Ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 363. II. 6.—Ibid. vol. viii. p. 74. II. 6, 9.—Ibid. (5th Series), vol. x. p. 196. II. 7.—Ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 226. II. 11, 12.—H. W. Webb-Peploe, The Record, vol. xxvii. p. 798. II. 12.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture —Thessalonians, p. 170. II. 13.—W. Sanday, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. p. 193. Expositor (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 404. II. 13, 14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiii. No. 1979. II. 15.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. x. p. 354. II. 16.—Ibid. (4th Series), vol. i. p. 23; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xii. p. 108; ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 486.
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
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;
Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
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.
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
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.
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;
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.