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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 1

Verses 1-10

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: Blueprints for a Victorious Christian Life
      1. Blueprints are a plan for building something. No extra’s. No fluff, just exact details.
      2. As an electrician, I needed to know not only the elec plans, but I also needed to know how they coincided with everything else.
      3. A good builder must know the plans & simply determine to follow its exact details.
      4. Paul gives us the Blueprints for a Victorious Christian Life. Blueprints for being Fully Alive.
    2. John Powell describes in his book Fully Human, Fully Alive “Fully alive people are not necessarily happy all the time. No they experience failure as well as success. They are open to both pain & pleasure. The have many questions & some answers. They cry & they laugh. They dream & they hope. The only thing that remains alien to their experience of life is passivity & apathy. They say a strong “yes” to life & a resounding “amen” to love. They feel the strong stings of growing, but their sleeves are always rolled up, their minds are whirring, & their hearts are ablaze.” [That sounds like the church members at Thessalonica]
    1. The City – Thessalonica = Thessalos+Nike; lit. Thessalian Victory.
      1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The name of the city came from the name of a princess, Thessalonike of Macedon. So named because of her birth on the day of the Macedonian victory at the Battle of Crocus Field (353/352 BC). (Alex the Great’s ½ sister)
      2. Slide#5 Inscription, To Queen Thessalonike, (Daughter) of Philip (Alex the Great’s ½ sis)
      3. In Roman times population was over 200,000 in Thes.
      4. It was the largest city in Macedonia, & the capital of its province.
      5. It was located at 2 major trade routes.
    2. Today – it is called Thessaloniki, & is a bustling center of northern Greece. 1 of the few N.T. cities still flourishing.
      1. An ancient gate thru which the apostle entered the city is still standing. It spanned the famous Egnatian Way.
    3. Date - This was written shortly after Paul visited Thes on his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 17).
      1. Paul preached 3 Sabbaths there, then a big mob scene made them flee by night to Berea.
      2. He writes from prob from Corinth. Known as 1 of his earliest letters (ad 51).
    4. Theme – Last Days, Coming Judgments.
    5. Purpose – Strengthen the Thes. believers. - Give them assurance of Christ’s Return.
    6. (1) Silvanus = Silas, prob Roman surname. (He took Barnabus place at the famous split)
      1. The 3 names – Though Paul stands out as the main author, all 3 help in the authorship of this epistle.
    7. Grace – Paul uses twice as much as all the N.T. authors. [known as Paul’s watch word]
      1. Grace - points to God as the Source of the highest good.
      2. Peace - refers to man as the recipient of divine favor.
  3. FAITH, LOVE, HOPE (2-4)
    1. ​​​​​​​Here is again Paul’s 3 ingredients to the Christian Life:
      1. Slide#9 Faith rests on the Past; Love acts in the Present; Hope looks to the Future.
    2. Work of Faith – We learn a lot about someone on how they work. (Barclay)
      1. Some work in fear of the whip; some for hope of gain; some in sense of duty; & others are inspired by faith.
      2. Faith? - Faith that your work has been given & entrusted to you by God, & that you are specifically working for Him.
      3. Someone said, “The sign of true consecration is when a man can find Glory in drudgery.”
    3. Labor of Love –
      1. The storks are so strong in their affection for their young, they are not afraid even to die for them. There have been instances of forest fires, in which they flew to and fro, with water in their beaks, to save their nests upon the burning houses. It once happened at Delft in Holland, that, finding it impossible to preserve their brood, they placed themselves upon the nest, spread over them their wings, and so perished with them in the flames. (That, is a labor of love)
      2. Someone once asked Susanna Wesley which one of her 11 children she loved the most. She wisely replied, "I love the one who's sick until he's well, and the one who's away until he comes home."
    4. Patience of Hope – Always in the Christian context Hope has an air of certainty about it.
      1. When Alex. the Great was setting out on his campaigns, he divided all his possessions among his friends. Someone said, “but you are keeping nothing for yourself.” “O yes I am,” he said, “I have kept my hopes.”
      2. A man can endure anything so long as he has hope, for then he is not walking to the night, but to the Dawn.
    5. (4) Beloved - Everything starts with Gods love for us. Rom.5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    6. Election - Believer, God has chosen you…take comfort in those words.
      1. How do I know I’ve been chosen? - Here’s a few things to look at:
        1. Are you drawn towards God? Jn.6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.
        2. Do you have a desire for God? Ps.42:1,2a As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
        3. Do you have a desire for His Word? 1 Pet.2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word.
        4. Do you long to be different? (vs.9 turned)
      1. ​​​​​​​Gospel signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that makes a mans heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy. William Tyndale
      2. Slide#12a In Word – The scriptures were preached, truth was declared there, says Acts 17:1-10.
        1. Acts 17:1-10 - reasoned(2); explained(3); demonstrated(3); all(vs.3); persuaded(4); not persuaded(4).
        2. “The gospel is neither a discussion nor a debate. It is an announcement.” Paul Rees
      3. In Power – Real, compelling, gripping, & changing power.
        1. They changed, they were different (9).
          1. “The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
        2. ​​​​​​​Compelling – because it is not mere legend or myth.
      4. In the Holy Spirit – Behind the power…was God Himself.
        1. The H.S. touches the human spirit. He ministers to our deepest needs. He fills us. He ministers to our minds & our hearts from within.
      5. In Assurance – “full assurance, conviction, confidence” Lightfoot
        1. It moved the wills of the Thessalonians: They acted; They did something about it; They yielded their lives to God.
        2. “The gospel is not made to dominate the world(i.e. crusades). It's the grain of sand that upsets the world's machinery. One can't inhale its fragrance and be content to leave everything the way it is.” Jean Sullivan
    1. ​​​​​​​You became Followers(6)…you became Examples(7)…you became Missionaries(8) …you became/were Changed(9).
    2. (8) Their faith was sounding out like a Trumpet.
      1. Sounded forth - Can also mean, crashing out like a roll of thunder.
      2. At a time where it was safer to be quiet to avoid danger & persecution, the Christians blazoned forth their faith.
      3. Macedonia & Achaia = the whole of Greece at that time.
      4. What instrument depicts your faith? A Trumpet? A kazoo? A clanging cymbal?
    3. So, how did they do this?
      1. Not w/great crusades, campaigns, nor city wide meetings. Nope, they shared w/their neighbors & friends what God had done in their life.
        1. Oh, share what God has done in your life.
        2. That’s how the good news spread.
        3. Today so many churches start w/a whole recruited ministry team. Multicolored flyers; paid advertisement; a professional ball player to give a testimony; & a famous Recording artist on that 1st Sunday. [in & out]
    4. Remember how the city fathers described Paul & his buddies effect on their city? Slide#15 These who have turned the world upside down. Acts 17:6
      1. Turned the world upside down – (adapted from Herschel Ford; Acts)
      2. In a sense the charge was true. Christianity is revolutionary!
        1. The world today needs turning upside down, or right side up.
        2. This revolution must take place in the hearts of individuals.
          1. [from revolve=a complete circular turn]
      3. The way to change the world is to change the individuals in it.
        1. You can’t have a better world w/o better people.
      4. When Christ comes into a life He turns it upside down. How?
        1. Jesus turns our beliefs upside down – The things we once thought were false, now we believe to be true.
        2. Jesus turns our pleasures upside down – What we used to find pleasurable, vs. now.
        3. Jesus turns our home life upside down – Different level of home commitment.
        4. Jesus turns our hopes upside down – From a hopeless life He gives us a hope of heaven & eternal life.
      5. So, First, the world is wrong side up; Second, the world must be turned upside down; Third, we are the men & women to set it right.
        1. Let’s flip our Valley1 heart at a time.
        2. Let’s start w/our own hearts being touched.
        3. Let’s learn how to care & not only believe.
          1. You may believe there are kids starving, but do you care? (see diff)
          2. What we need to change about us is what we care about, not what we believe.
    5. (9) They turned to God from Idols - They didn’t leave Idols to find God; they found God, then forsook their idols.
      1. Turn from any cheap thing you’ve been trying to satisfy yourselves with.
    6. (10) Every chapter in 1 Thes. ends with a reference to the return of Christ. [2:19; 3:13; 4:17; 5:23]
      1. It is interesting in the early church we don’t notice them looking back to the birth of Christ (Christmas/though it is spoken of) but their focus is always to the 2nd advent.
        1. They held to the declaration in Acts 1:11 This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.
        2. Christ will soon be crashing back into our time domain.
        3. Christians do not be discouraged, defeated, or despairing. If you fall to any of these moods is it possible you have forgotten this great truth “I will come again & receive you to Myself.”
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.