1 Thessalonians 2:9-12
For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable to any of you…
I. THIS VOCATION IS AN ACT OF GOD'S GRACE WHEREBY WE ARE INVITED TO FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST (1 Corinthians 1:9; Luke 14:16).
1. It is therefore opposed to works (Romans 9:11; 2 Timothy 1:9).
2. This invitation may be regarded two ways: barely by the word, or as implying our consent. When a man is called to an office in Church or State, he is said to be called though he declines; but when election and acceptation meet together, then there is a call. This distinction is necessary in Divine things (Matthew 22:14; Romans 8:30). In a strict sense men are called only when they accept God's invitation.
3. This calling implies that men are afar off. We call men that are afar, we speak to those who are near (Acts 2:14, 39).
II. THE DUTY OF THOSE WHO ARE CALLED IS TO WALK WORTHY OF GOD.
1. There is a fourfold worthiness.
(1) In regard of merit: so only Christ is worthy (Revelation 5:9).
(2) In regard of acceptation: so the saints are worthy (Revelation 3:4).
(3) In regard of proportion (2 Corinthians 4:17).
(4) In regard of meekness (Matthew 3:8). This is the sense here.
2. We should walk worthy of God because —
(1) Dignity calls for duty. What higher dignity than to be called to God's kingdom and glory?
(2) The more dismal a man's condition is the more is he obliged to walk answerably to God who hath called him out of that condition (Ephesians 5:14).
(3) The more comfortable and glorious the condition a man is called unto, the more he is engaged to God who has called him to that condition. What is good or desirable but we are called to it in being called to God's kingdom and glory? Is light desirable? We are "called out of darkness into His marvellous light." Holiness? (1 Thessalonians 4:7). Peace? (1 Corinthians 7:5). Communion with Christ? (1 Corinthians 1:9).
III. WHEN MAY WE BE SAID TO BE CALLED, AND HOW MAY WE KNOW IT?
1. God ordinarily calls men by the preaching of the Word; but also by direct impressions made by the Holy Spirit on the heart, and by afflictions, etc.
2. A man may know that he is called when he is —
(1) constrained by the love of Christ.
(2) Begotten by the word of promise (Romans 9:7, 8).
(3) Separated from the world (1 Peter 2:9).
(4) Apt and willing to be ruled by the Word in all things (Acts 9:6; Acts 10:29).
(5) When he can say, "all things work together for my good" (Romans 8:28).
(6) When he celebrates God's praises (1 Peter 2:9).
IV. WHAT SHALL WE DO TO WALK WORTHY OF GOD?
1. Observe the excellencies of God and let them shine forth.
(1) God is a great God; do something great for Him.
(2) He is a sovereign Lord, and absolutely free; do what He commands with a free spirit.
(3) He is infinitely holy: "Be ye holy" (1 Peter 1:15, 16).
(4) He is God all sufficient (Genesis 17.); trust Him fully.
(5) He is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24; 1 Corinthians 1:9); believe all His promises.
(6) He is our chief good and last end; in all your affairs begin with Him, rest in Him, desire after Him.
2. Observe what the great design of God is, and labour all you can to advance the same.
(1) "Your sanctification."
(2) The world's salvation.
(3) The glorifying of Christ (John 14:13).
3. Israel sacrificed to God the gods of other nations, and herein they honoured God; and so shall we if we surrender our idols to Him.
4. Take heed of sinning in secret, and be much in private duty because God sees you. Walking in the eye of an all-seeing God is most worthy walking.
(W. Bridge, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.