1 Thessalonians 2 (5)
Pray Psalm 33.1-5.
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2.13-16.
1. How would you summarize Paul’s understanding of how the Word of God and faith work together?
2. How does Paul emphasize the unity of the Thessalonian church with other churches? Is this important?
Paul wants to make sure the Thessalonians understand that the real power at work among them was the power of the Word of God. Paul and his team had an important role to play in the Thessalonians coming to faith, but the Word of God was the active agent in their midst. He needed them to be sure of this. He would not always be around to encourage and exhort them, but the Word of our God stands forever (Is. 40.8).
The Word of God – when heard, received, and believed – actually worksin those who believe it. It has power to transfer us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, to show us the glory of God in the face of Jesus, to begin transforming us into His image, and to equip us for every good work (Col. 1.13; 2 Cor. 4.6; 2 Cor. 3.12-18; 2 Tim. 3.15-17). This is because the Word of God is living and powerful and can penetrate the depths of our being to transform us from the inside-out (Heb. 4.12). Paul thanked God that His powerful Word had saving and transforming effects among the Thessalonians, and we should thank Him for that Word and its effects in our lives as well.
By the Word of God at work within us we can become imitators of Paul and Jesus and all those faithful churches of the Lord where the Word has been heard, received, and believed. We are one with all who thus live according to this Word, and although this may well put us at odds with those who do not believe, yet we can give them and their hostility to the Lord (v. 16), and continue growing in grace and in Jesus by the solid food of the Word of God.
We receive the Word of God as the true Word of the Lord, and not just words from men, when we welcome, believe, and act obediently according to its teaching. As we do, the Word proves its provenance and power by working effectually in us.
1. How do you experience the Word of God effectively working in you? What evidence have you seen lately of its power at work in your life?
2. The Word of God is the indispensable power for salvation – both for being saved and for working out our salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.13). How would you counsel a new believer to begin making good use of the Word?
3. How can believers encourage one another in the Word of God, especially in the face of the opposition of the world?
Hear at least what Paul says to the Philippians: “Because to you it has been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him but also to suffer in his behalf.” And again to the Thessalonians, “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea.” … And you see them too, all employed in doing good. And so in those days grace worked effectually, and they also lived in good works. John Chrysostom (344-407 AD), Commentary on Ephesians 6
I need for Your Word to be at work in me today, O Lord, especially as I consider…
Pray Psalm 33.13-22
As you pray, make sure you are not trusting anything other than God and His Word, and that you are hoping in Him and His promises, and waiting on Him to direct your steps and empower your life.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 33.13-22 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God from His throne looks down on men; He knows our works and made our hearts.
Let not Your Church, let none depend on strength or skill or human arts.
God watches those who fear His Name, who hope upon His grace and love;
He keeps their souls from death and shame who trust in Him Who reigns above.
God is our Helper and our Shield; upon us let Your grace descend!
We hope in You; to You we yield; we trust in Jesus to the end.
T. M. Moore
Where do 1 and 2 Thessalonians fit in the unfolding of God’s covenant? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you understand the setting of all the books of the Bible, and how they fit into God’s unfolding plan of redemption. Watch the brief video introducing this course at The Ailbe Seminary (click here), then plan to register after January 1 in our Certificate in Kingdom Studies program, featuring Introduction to Biblical Theology.
Forward today’s study to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link to the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Paul’s ministry and prepare for your own.
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