1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.…
This is a very interesting and beautiful account of the triumph of the truth and the progress of religion in Thessalonica. The eye rests with gladness and gratitude upon the bright spots and periods, in the history of our world, in which the religion of Jesus has subdued and overcome the vice, and infatuation, and ignorance, and stupidity of our race; and we are prepared to say devoutly — "Awake, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient time, in the generations of old! Let Thy work be repeated, and the lovely scenery be viewed again!"
I. THE THESSALONIANS WERE CAREFUL TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THE APOSTLES. And the apostles took every care to demean themselves well, not only for their own credit's sake, but for the benefit of others, by a conversation suitable to their doctrine, that they might not pull down with one hand what they built up with the other; so the Thessalonians, who observed what manner of men they were among them, how their preaching and living were all of a piece, showed a conscientious care to be followers of them; that is — to imitate their good example. And herein they became followers of the Lord also, who is the perfect example; and we should be followers of others no farther than they are followers of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). The Thessalonians acted thus notwithstanding the afflictions to which the apostles and themselves also were exposed. They were willing to share in the sufferings that attended the embracing and professing Christianity. Perhaps this made the Word more precious, being dearly bought; and the examples of the apostles shone very bright under these trying circumstances; so that the Thessalonians embraced the gospel cheerfully, and followed the example of the suffering apostles joyfully. Such spiritual, and solid, and lasting joy as the Holy Ghost is the Author of, when our afflictions do abound, maketh our consolation much more abound.
II. THEIR ZEAL SO PREVAILED THAT THEY WERE THEMSELVES EXAMPLES TO ALL OTHERS. They were "stamps," or instruments to make impression. They made good impressions, and their conversation had a correspondent influence upon others. There is nothing which maketh the gospel sound louder, the sound of it to be heard better, and the offer embraced more readily, than when a sincere profession is beautified, and adorned, and seconded by a sober and conscientious practice; for it was such a profession, strengthened with such a practice, in the Thessalonians, which made the gospel sound from them in Macedonia and Achaia. The word signifies to sound shrill and far, as with the noise of a trumpet, or voice of lion herald. So that the effects of the gospel in turning the Thessalonians from idols "to serve the living and true God," was so spread abroad that the apostles themselves "need not to speak anything."
Parallel VersesKJV: And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: