I. THE ADDRESS.
1. The description. St. Paul repeats the opening words of the First Epistle. He addresses the same Church; he describes it in the same sacred words. It is "in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." He could say of it nothing higher, nothing holier. To be in God, in Christ, is of all positions the loftiest, of all blessings the most precious. None are so highly exalted as those who are nearest to Christ; none have such rich store of heavenly treasure as those who abide in him, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. There is but one slight variation. In the First Epistle he said, "the Father;" here it is "our Father." The pronoun implies a close, endearing, affectionate relationship. The Church is in God our Father, in the embrace of his fatherly love, chosen by his electing grace; in the Lord Jesus Christ, saved by his precious death, living in that life which flows from Christ, which is Christ.
2. The salutation. He uses the same words as in the First Epistle; he could find no more suitable terms to express his good wishes for his converts. He could desire nothing better for them than grace, and peace; grace, the origin, the source, of every highest blessing; peace, the sweet and holy end, the very crown, of the Christian life. It is from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ that these and all other blessings flow. St. Paul joins together the two Divine Persons; they could not be thus associated as the one ultimate source of grace and peace, were they not both alike Divine. Peace is the fruit of the Spirit; with the Holy Spirit whom the Lord Jesus sends unto us from the Father comes the sacred gift of peace. Grace and peace come from God the Father by the incarnation, atonement, intercession of God the Son, through the indwelling presence of God the Holy Ghost. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God flow into the Christian heart through the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. All that the Christian can desire for himself, for his friends, for the whole Church, comes from God; he seeks it of God in prayer; he knows that God will hear. "This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us."
II. THE THANKSGIVING.
1. The duty. Thanksgiving is a debt which we owe to God, a debt which we must always acknowledge, which we can never fully discharge. It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks for all things unto God. We must thank him for his grace given to ourselves; and if that grace abides in us, we shall feel ourselves bound to thank him for the working of the same grace in others. We shall regard every true conversion, every increase of grace in others, as a blessing granted to the whole Church and to ourselves. We shall feel a keen, living interest in each soul that is gathered into Christ's flock, and so share the angels' joy over one sinner that repenteth. For the welfare of each member affects the whole Church; when "one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it." Such was the feeling of St. Paul. "We are bound," he says - we owe it as a debt - "to thank God always for you." He fulfils his own precept; he gives thanks always. The thanksgiving of the faithful Christian must be continuous, never ending.
2. The ground of St. Paul's thanksgiving.
(1) The faith of the Thessalonians. He had gladly recognized their faith and love in his First Epistle; he had again and again exhorted them to abound more and more. Now, writing a second time after a short interval, he thanks God for the growth of their faith. It had increased "exccedingly;" he uses one of those strong words which his ardent feelings so often suggested. "Lord, increase our faith," is a prayer which we cannot make too often. Faith must grow if it is true and living; for it is the evidence of things not seen; it brings the cross of Christ, the presence of God, within the range of our mental view. That holy vision will draw us nearer ever by its constraining power, quickening and deepening in our hearts the faith which first brought us by the leading of the Spirit to the Saviour. The faith of the Thessalonians was growing exceedingly; so it will be with us, in spite of the unbelief and indifference which so fill the air, if we persevere in prayer, and try, in humble dependence on the grace of God to fashion our lives according to our prayers.
(2) Their love was abounding also. Love is the fairest ornament of a Christian Church. Faith is the root, love is the fruit. The tree that grows downwards will grow upwards also; the fair growth of foliage, flower, and fruit will bear some proportion to the unseen depth and strength of the root below. The Thessalonian Church was rich in the fruit of the Spirit. And their love was not only increasing in fervour, but in range also. It was not partial, not limited to this man or that man according to natural tastes and similarities of disposition. It extended throughout the Church; the love of each one of them all was abounding toward one another. It is a bright picture. Indeed, the Thessalonians were not without their faults, as we find in ch. 2. and 3.; but the apostle, in his love and thankfulness, gladly dwells on the spiritual progress of the Church before he proceeds to notice the shortcomings of individual members. It shows his love and his wisdom. The encouragement of the opening verses would dispose the Thessalonians to receive in a good spirit the few reproofs that follow.
3. The expression of his thankfulness. He not only gives thanks to God; he glories before men. "We ourselves," he says - "we glory." Though his deep humility might have withheld him from glorying over a result which was due, under God, to his own zealous labours, the rapid growth of their faith and love so filled him with exuberant gladness that he could net refrain his lips. "God forbid," he says elsewhere, "that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." But he is really glorying in the cross now; he glories, not in his own achievements, but in the triumphs of the cross. It was the work of God in real truth, not his work; he knew it well. Indeed, he had laboured abundantly - that he knew, he could not help knowing it; but he gladly explains the abundance of his labours by the abundance of grace that was vouchsafed unto him. "Yet not I," he says, "but the grace of God that was with me." The faith, hope, and love of the Thessalonians proved, as he said in the First Epistle, their election. God had chosen them to be his own; his grace worked mightily in them. And now St. Paul was glorying in the faith and patience of his converts. They were in great affliction; he sympathized with them, he comforted them; but yet he rejoiced over them. Their affliction by the grace of God was turned to a blessing; it proved the steadfastness of their faith and their patience, and it strengthened them.
1. Thankfulness is the Christian's duty; thank God always. 2, Especially thank him for his grace working in his people.
3. Glory in the victories of grace, not in worldly successes.
4. Pray for continual progress in faith, love, patience. - B.C.C.
I will give unto thy master's son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house,
When Warren Hastings was a boy he had to grieve at the fact that his family had lost their paternal estate at Dayleford, and he formed an early resolution of bringing it back once again into the family. To purchase that forfeited estate became to him a great ambition of his life, and he ultimately succeeded: he bought back the estate, and died at Daylesford. But no such possibility lay before the disinherited prince Mephibosheth. As far as his own achievements go, he must live and die alienated from his ancestral possessions. What, however, is impossible to Mephibosheth to achieve is not beyond the grace of David freely to bestow, and thus the grant of Saul's patrimony to his forlorn and impoverished grandson is analogous to the method of Divine grace whereby, in Christ, the lost station and purity of Adam are restored to us who have inherited his fallen condition
TopicsAssembly, Christ, Church, Paul, Silas, Silvanus, Silva'nus, Thessalonians, Thessalo'nians, Timotheus, Timothy
Outline1. Paul certifies the Thessalonians of the good opinion which he had of their faith, love, and patience;11. and therewithal uses various reasons for the comforting of them in persecution.
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Thessalonians 1:1
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2
TEXT: "This is the will of God, even your sanctification."--1 Thess. 4:3. It is quite significant that the Apostle Paul writes explicitly concerning sanctification to a church in which he had such delight that he could write as follows: "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the Church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, …
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot
Twenty Sixth Sunday after Trinity God's Judgment when Christ Returns.
Text: 2 Thessalonians 1, 3-10. 3 We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, even as it is meet, for that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of each one of you all toward one another aboundeth; 4 so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which ye endure; 5 which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God; to the end that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III
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'He shall come to be glorified in His saints; and to be admired in all them that believe.'--2 THESS. i. 10. The two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which are the Apostle's earliest letters, both give very great prominence to the thought of the second coming of our Lord to judgment. In the immediate context we have that coming described, with circumstances of majesty and of terror. He 'shall be revealed . . . with the angels of His power.' 'Flaming fire' shall herald His coming; vengeance shall be …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
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'We pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power; 12. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him.'--2 THESS. i. 11, 12. In the former letter to the Church of Thessalonica, the Apostle had dwelt, in ever-memorable words--which sound like a prelude of the trump of God--on the coming of Christ at the end to judge the world, and to gather His servants into …
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And now, beloved, having thus given you two thoughts which seemed to me to arise naturally from the text, I shall repair at once to the object of this morning's discourse. The apostle thanks God that the faith of the Thessalonians had grown exceedingly. Leaving out the rest of the text, I shall direct your attention this morning to the subject of growth in faith. Faith hath degrees. In the first place, I shall endeavor to notice the inconveniences of little faith; secondly, the means of promoting …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858
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"Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."--2 THESS. i. ii, 12. Two words sum up the Christian life--Grace and Glory; and both are associated with the two Comings of the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace particularly with the first Coming, …
W. H. Griffith Thomas—The Prayers of St. Paul
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(Admonition 9.) Differently to be admonished are the forward and the faint-hearted. For the former, presuming on themselves too much, disdain all others when reproved by them; but the latter, while too conscious of their own infirmity, for the most part fall into despondency. Those count all they do to be singularly eminent; these think what they do to be exceedingly despised, and so are broken down to despondency. Therefore the works of the forward are to be finely sifted by the reprover, that …
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And the very God of peace sanctify, you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Thess. v. 23. The Scriptural doctrine that sanctification is a gradual process perfected only in death must be maintained clearly and soberly: first, in opposition to the Perfectionist, who says that saints may be "wholly sanctified" in this life; secondly, to those who deny the implanting of inherent holy dispositions in God's children. …
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"Dear sir and brother--In remarking on your reply to my 8th number, as in a former case I shall follow the arrangement which you have made; taking up the articles in the same order. "1st. I did not suppose but that the method which I proposed to account for the absence of the body of Jesus would be liable to serious objections; and these objections are increased by connecting with them, circumstances which, if the resurrection be false, must be considered equally false. Because, if the resurrection …
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This, as the former, being spoken indefinitely, may be universally taken, as relating both to such as are yet in the state of nature, and to such as are in the state of grace, and so may be considered in reference to both, and ground three points of truth, both in reference to the one, and in reference to the other; to wit, 1. That our case is such as we stand in need of his help, as being the Life. 2. That no other way but by him, can we get that supply of life, which we stand in need of, for he …
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AND UNSPEAKABLENESS 0F THE LOSS THEREOF; WITH THE CAUSES OF THE LOSING IT. FIRST PREACHED AT PINNER'S HALL and now ENLARGED AND PUBLISHED FOR GOOD. By JOHN BUNYAN, London: Printed for Benjamin Alsop, at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682 Faithfully reprinted from the Author's First Edition. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Our curiosity is naturally excited to discover what a poor, unlettered mechanic, whose book-learning had been limited to the contents of one volume, could by possibility know …
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