1 Thessalonians 1:3-4
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…
I. As it regards GOD.
1. To depend on His guidance —
(1) In His word.
(2) In the opening up of providential opportunities.
2. To trust in His help. Without Him we can do nothing.
(1) The mind is dark as to duty — He must enlighten it.
(2) The will is irresolute or rebellious — He must subdue and strengthen it.
(3) The energies are enfeebled — He must invigorate them.
3. To use His power.
(1) It is offered freely.
(2) It must be employed faithfully and energetically.
4. To bide His time. As in nature, so in grace, there is seed time and harvest: how often the Christian husbandman confounds the two.
5. To aim at His glory.
(1) This is His due inasmuch as He is the great Agent, we the implements.
(2) This will lift our efforts on to a higher platform and endue them with an irresistible motive power.
II. As it regards SELF.
1. To believe that God has qualified us for a certain work in a certain way.
(1) God has qualified some mentally. It is for such to believe that God has fitted them for literature, teaching, organization, etc.
(2) God has qualified some physically. It is for such to believe that although not gifted intellectually, they can still work for God in visiting the sick, etc.
(3) God has qualified some financially: they should believe that their work is beneficence.
(4) God has qualified some with only a quiet influence: such should not believe that they can do nothing. God sometimes qualifies by disqualifications. How can the sick work? In many ways. By prayer, the example of Christian resignation, etc. "They also work who only stand and wait."
2. To believe that God intends and will help us each to work in his own way. Do not, then, ape anyone else. That is unbelief in our God-given individuality. Yet it largely obtains. The born preacher thinks he should organize: the visitor that he should teach: but it is misplaced faith and therefore unbelief. Be yourself, and rely on yourself as called and qualified by God.
3. To believe that through God's strength we are sufficient for anything that He calls us to. Unbelief here is the paralysis of Christian effort and the nurse of much sinful indolence.
4. To believe that God will accept and consecrate us as we grapple with our tasks. Faith is the spring of devotion to God.
III. As regards our WORK.
1. To believe in the Divine sanction. Unbelief here is ruinous. Any doubt about our Divine call will not be compensated by the most transparent sincerity and the most prodigious effort. All work must fall to pieces without faith in its Divinity.
2. To believe that it is worthy of the best energies that we can devote to it, the best time that we can spend in its preparation and execution, the best appliances we can use in it. We must regard it as the noblest work in which a human spirit can engage: which it really is.
3. To believe in its ultimate success. Who would stand long hours behind a counter unless he believed that his work was going to pay? And who can preach and teach with any power unless he believes that God's word shall not return to Him void.
IV. As regards OTHERS, viz., those for whose benefit we work.
1. To believe that they want our service: that the sinful need cleansing, that the degraded need elevating, etc.
2. To believe that our service will meet this need. If we have any lingering doubt that the gospel is not quite effective, and must be abandoned for, e.g., some methods of social reform — farewell to all power and prospect of success. Learn —
1. That Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith. "It is the gift of God."
2. That faith having secured personal salvation, it henceforth becomes practical.
3. That faith grows and strengthens by exercise, and nowhere so effectually as in Christian work.
(J. W. Burn.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;