1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us…
(text and ver. 14): — Paul unbosoms his heart to the loving Church at Thessalonica. He knew what it was to be worried by others, but found rest when thinking of them. The most tried ministers have some bright spots. In setting forth his joyful memories of Thessalonica, the Apostle gives us a sight of three things.
I. MINISTERS GIVING THANKS. "We also thank God." Ministers are not always weeping, though they often do so. They have their time of thanksgiving, as Paul had.
1. This followed upon sore travail (see ver. 9). As we sow in tears, we reap in joy.
2. This was backed by holy living (vers. 10, 11). Unholy ministers, will have scant cause for joy.
3. It prevented all self-laudation. To thank God is the opposite of glorifying self.
4. It was of a social character. "We" — Paul, Silas, and Timothy — "we hold a fraternal meeting of joy when God blesses us among our beloved people."
5. It was of an abiding character. "Without ceasing." We can never cease praising the Lord for His goodness in saving souls.
6. It cheered them for further service. They wished (ver. 17) to visit the friends again, and further benefit them. What a mercy for us all when God's servants are glad about us! Their joy is in our salvation.
II. HEARERS RECEIVING THE WORD. "Ye received." Not all receive it. How badly do some treat the gospel. Not all receive it as did the Thessalonians, for —
1. They received the Word of God; they heard it calmly, attended to it candidly, considered it carefully.
2. They received the Word of God with a hearty welcome. They accepted it by faith, with personal confidence and joy.
3. They did not receive the word of man. It is well to keep the doors locked in that direction. We cannot receive everything; let us reject merely human teaching, and leave the more room in our minds for the Lord's word.
4. They did not receive the gospel as the word of men. Their faith was not based on the clever, eloquent, logical, dogmatical, or affectionate way in which it was preached.
5. They received it as God's revealed Word, and therefore received it with reverence of its Divine character, with assurance of its infallibility, with obedience to its authority, with experience of its sacred power.
6. They received it so that it effectually worked in them. It was practical, efficient, and manifestly operative upon their lives and characters.
III. CONVERTS EXHIBITING THE FAMILY LIKENESS.
1. They were like Judaean Christians, the best of them — in faith, in experience, in afflictions.
2. Yet many of them as heathen began at a great disadvantage.
3. They had never seen the church of God in Judaea, and were no copyists, yet they came to be facsimiles of them.
4. This is a singular confirmation of the Divine character of the work. The same Lord works in all believers, and in the main the same experience occurs in all the saints, even though they may never have seen each other. This similarity of all regenerated men furnishes a valuable set of experimental evidences of the Divine origin of conversion. Let us not be daunted by opposition, for at Thessalonica Paul was persecuted and yet triumphant. Let us rejoice in the effects of the Word everywhere.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
WEB: For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe.