1 Thessalonians Chapter Two
1 Thessalonians 2
Having established these great principles, the apostle, with an open and overflowing heart, appeals to his whole walk among them as a proof of his having walked in the same spirit as in their own case he was rejoicing in. It was not that he exhorted others, while availing himself of their affection, for his own advantage. It was not that he encouraged them to endure afflictions, without having courage himself to undergo the same. Ill-treated and insulted at Philippi, he was bold in God to renew his attacks on the kingdom of darkness at Thessalonica, and that with great energy. He had not used flattering words to win them; he had set the truth before them, as being himself the servant of God. He had worked with his own hands, that he might not be burdensome to them. All was before God in the light and by the energy of the Holy Ghost, and in a spirit of devotedness; even as he desired that they should walk as they knew he had walked among them, as holily, justly, and unblamably; as also he had exhorted them, with all affection and tenderness, to walk worthy of God, who had called them unto His own kingdom and glory.
We see again in this expression the close relationship of the Christian, in his individual character, with God. He has his portion in God's own kingdom and glory, and his conduct should become such a position. Here it is his own position in relationship with God, as before it was his relationship with God and the Lord Jesus.
The apostle then speaks of the means by which this world of new thoughts was acquired by the Christian. It was that God had spoken to reveal Himself and His counsels. God had committed the gospel to Paul (chap 2:4), and he had acted as being in the presence of God, and responsible to Him.
The Thessalonians also, on their part, had received the word, not as the word of Paul, but as the word of God Himself addressed to them by the mouth of Paul. It is interesting, as for us also a serious thought, to observe that (with regard to the manifestation of the power of God down here), although the work is of God, the fruit of His servants' labors answers to the character and depth of that labour itself Thus the bonds of grace are established, and communion; there is mutual understanding. The work manifests the workman. The labourer rejoices in that which his heart had desired for the souls that are the fruit of his labour; and these know how to appreciate the walk and the work of the labourer, acknowledging the power of grace in him who was the means of bringing them into this position; and the one and the others, knowing God, rejoice in the fellowship of His grace.
Paul was very largely with God in his own soul and in his work. The Thessalonians had in consequence received the word in the same power; and they with him, were thus in communion with God according to that power and that intimacy.
We see here, in passing, the Jews deprived of this relationship with God, the remnant of that people received, and suffering from the enmity of the mass. The elect from among the Gentiles awakened, on their part, the hostility of their fellow-countrymen by the testimony which they bore against the prince of this world in their christian walk, and by their confession of a heavenly Christ-a Christ whom the world had rejected.
The religion of the Jews had become pure jealousy of others. The pretension to the exclusive possession of religious privileges-very precious when they enjoyed it with God as a testimony of His favour-was nothing but a spring of hatred, when God in the fullness of His sovereign grace chose to bless others who had a right to nothing. By this exclusive pretension they denied the rights of God, who had formerly chosen them as a people; they denied His grace, according to which He acted towards sinners, and which would have been the source of better blessings for themselves. But meantime their refusal to come in had transferred the scene of our hopes and our joys from earth to heaven, where we know the Lord, and where He will remain until He comes to assert His claims over the earth. Before He asserts them, He will take us to Himself.
Meanwhile the word of God is the source of our confidence-the revelation of glory, of truth, and of love. It is mighty in them that believe. The Jews are set aside. By their opposition to grace towards the Gentiles, they had taken the position of enmity against God in grace, and wrath was come upon them to the uttermost. It was not yet executed; but they had put themselves in this position. It was not only that they had broken the law, they had already killed their prophets who were sent to them in grace; they had already slain the Christ, Jesus the Lord. Sovereign grace alone could bring in a remedy. This they resisted; because, according to that grace, God was good to the Gentiles, and granted to them, at the same time as to themselves, better privileges than those which they had forfeited. Wrath therefore was finally come upon them as a nation. Christians were now in the enjoyment of better privileges in place of the Jews.
It is not here the moment for explaining the future dealings of God with the remnant of that people. The apostle speaks here of the people, in order to shew that the only ones in relation with God were Christians-those who had received the word. It was the reception of the word by faith, and nothing else, which brought souls really into relationship with God. Hereditary privileges were found to be, in their nature, opposition to grace and sovereignty, and thus to the character and rights of God Himself; for God is sovereign, and God is love.
The word reveals grace; it is obeyed by believing it. And, brought into relationship with God, the Christian walks in His communion and in His ways, and waits for the Son, in whom He has revealed Himself to men. This is the fruit of that which the Christian has received through believing-an efficacious principle of life, and a light from God for the way.
The apostle blessed God that it was thus with the Thessalonians; and, having made this point clear, he returns to the joy of his communion with them in the positive blessing which the revelation of God in their hearts by the word had brought them, He would gladly have seen them to enjoy this communion in intercourse with them face to face; but as long as it was by the word only that the knowledge of God was obtained--in a word by faith-as long as the Lord was absent, another result flowed from this fact; namely, that these joys were mingled with conflict-conflict however, which, although to the eye of man interrupting enjoyment, made it more sweet, more real, preserved its heavenly character, and made the Lord Himself, from whom they could not be separated, the center,m the common point in which hearts were united, with the consciousness that they were in the wilderness, and that they were awaiting a scene and a time in which evil and the enemy's power would no longer be, but where Christ would be all. Joyful hope, holy happiness, powerful link of the heart to Christ! When He shall be all, our joy will be complete, and all saints will possess it. Paul wished to have seen them again, and had so even twice, but Satan hindered it. The time should come when he would fully enjoy both them and his labour among them, by seeing them in full possession of glory at the coming of Christ.
In the apostle himself, when at Thessalonica, christian life was fully developed in love and in holiness. He had been among them in tenderness, as a mother cherishes her children; ready to impart not only the gospel to them but even his own life, so dear were they to him. He had been at the same time holy and without blame in all his conduct. What energy of life and love springing up by the power of God, regardless of all the consequences save the blessing of the elect and the glory of God! This is true christian life. The heart, not filled with questionings through unbelief but strong in faith, counts on God in order to serve God. Thus love is free, beside oneself for God, prudent and full of consideration only for the good of others. And what bonds this creates! Persecution only hastens the work by compelling to go elsewhere, when perhaps the labourer would be tempted to enjoy the fruits of his labour in the society of those who had been blessed through him. (Compare chap. 2:2) Though absent, the apostle's heart was still bound to them; he remembered his beloved ones; he prayed for them; he blessed God for the grace bestowed on them; assuring himself with joy, when he thought of it, of their portion in glory as the elect of God. (Chap 1:3,4; 2:13)
The bond remained firm; and, the way to present enjoyment of personal communion being obstructed by the devices of Satan (by permission of God), his heart rose higher, and sought the full satisfaction of the want produced in it by love, in the moment when a Christ present in His power should have removed all obstacles and accomplished the purposes of God with respect to the saints; when His love should have borne all its precious fruits in them; and when Paul and his dear children in the faith should enjoy together all that grace and the power of the Spirit should have wrought in them. Unable for the moment to satisfy the desires of his heart by seeing them, it was to that hour that Paul looked. And observe that, if he does so, it is because his heart was already filled with it for himself. The power of the Spirit, acting in accordance with the truth, always leads the heart to that hour. It impels the heart to labour in love in the midst of this world, causes thus the opposition of the darkness of this world to the light (whether on the part of man or of the prince of darkness) to be realised, and makes us always feel the need of that day of light, when evil shall no longer be present to hinder the happiness of the new man in his enjoyment of that which is good, in his communion with those dear to God, and above all, in the enjoyment of the presence of his glorified Saviour, who has loved him, and who (for the exercise of his faith) is at present hidden from him.
It is He who is the source and object of all these affections, who sustains and nourishes them, who attracts them ever to Himself by His perfections and by His love, and, in the sorrows of the christian life, carries the heart onward thus to the day of our being with Himself, to the day of His coming, when the heart will be free to occupy itself with all that binds us to Him without interruption. This thought of His presence has the mastery, when the heart is fresh in the divine joy of redemption. We find this here. We are converted to wait for Him (chap 1); we shall enjoy the communion of saints, and the fruit of our labors when He returns (chap 2); that day gives its force and its measure to our thoughts respecting holiness (chap 3); it destroys the anguish of heart which would otherwise accompany the death of the saints (chap 4); it is for that day we are kept. (chap 5) The coming of the Lord, the presence of Jesus, fills therefore the believer's heart, when life is springing up in its freshness-fills it with a joyous hope, the fulfillment of which shines bright before our eyes, there where all our desires will be accomplished.
To return to the end of chapter 2, the link which Satan sought to break by interrupting its enjoyment was but the rather strengthened by bring connected with the coming of the Lord. The current of the Spirit, against which he had been allowed to set up this dike, though turned from its natural bed, could not be stopped, for its waters ever flow; they gushed out in waves that enriched all around them, taking their course towards that sea which contained the fullness of those waters and fed the source from which they sprang.
It should be observed here, that the special fruits of our labors are not lost; they are found again at the coming of Christ. Our chief personal joy is to see the Lord Himself and to be like Him. This is the portion of all saints; but there are particular fruits in connection with the work of the Spirit in us and by us. At Thessalonica the spiritual energy of the apostle had brought a number of souls to God and to wait for Jesus, and into a close union in the truth with Himself. This energy would be crowned at the coming of Christ by the presence of these believers in the glory as the fruit of his labors. God would thus crown the apostle's work by bearing a striking testimony to its faithfulness in the presence of all these saints in glory; and the love which had wrought in Paul's heart would be satisfied by seeing its object in glory and in the presence of Jesus. They would be his glory and joy. This thought drew yet closer the bonds that united them, and comforted the apostle in the midst of his toils and sufferings.
── John Darby《Synopsis of 1 Thessalonians》
1 Thessalonians 2
The apostle reminds the Thessalonians of his preaching and behaviour. (1-12) And of their receiving the gospel as the word of God. (13-16) His joy on their account. (17-20)
Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
(Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6)
The apostle had no wordly design in his preaching. Suffering in a good cause should sharpen holy resolution. The gospel of Christ at first met with much opposition; and it was preached with contention, with striving in preaching, and against opposition. And as the matter of the apostle's exhortation was true and pure, the manner of his speaking was without guile. The gospel of Christ is designed for mortifying corrupt affections, and that men may be brought under the power of faith. This is the great motive to sincerity, to consider that God not only sees all we do, but knows our thoughts afar off, and searches the heart. And it is from this God who trieth our hearts, that we must receive our reward. The evidences of the apostle's sincerity were, that he avoided flattery and covetousness. He avoided ambition and vain-glory.
Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
(Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12)
Mildness and tenderness greatly recommend religion, and are most conformable to God's gracious dealing with sinners, in and by the gospel. This is the way to win people. We should not only be faithful to our calling as Christians, but in our particular callings and relations. Our great gospel privilege is, that God has called us to his kingdom and glory. The great gospel duty is, that we walk worthy of God. We should live as becomes those called with such a high and holy calling. Our great business is to honour, serve, and please God, and to seek to be worthy of him.
Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
(Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16)
We should receive the word of God with affections suitable to its holiness, wisdom, truth, and goodness. The words of men are frail and perishing, like themselves, and sometimes false, foolish, and fickle; but God's word is holy, wise, just, and faithful. Let us receive and regard it accordingly. The word wrought in them, to make them examples to others in faith and good works, and in patience under sufferings, and in trials for the sake of the gospel. Murder and persecution are hateful to God, and no zeal for any thing in religion can excuse it. Nothing tends more to any person or people's filling up the measure of their sins, than opposing the gospel, and hindering the salvation of souls. The pure gospel of Christ is abhorred by many, and the faithful preaching of it is hindered in many ways. But those who forbid the preaching it to sinners, to men dead in sin, do not by this please God. Those have cruel hearts, and are enemies to the glory of God, and to the salvation of his people, who deny them the Bible.
Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
(Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20)
This world is not a place where we are to be always, or long together. In heaven holy souls shall meet, and never part more. And though the apostle could not come to them yet, and thought he might never be able to come, yet our Lord Jesus Christ will come; nothing shall hinder that. May God give faithful ministers to all who serve him with their spirit in the gospel of his Son, and send them to all who are in darkness
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on 1 Thessalonians》
1 Thessalonians 2
 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
We had suffered — In several places.
We are bold — Notwithstanding.
With much contention — Notwithstanding both inward and outward conflicts of all kinds.
 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
For our exhortation — That is, our preaching. A part is put for the whole.
Is not, at any time, of deceit — We preach not a lie, but the truth of God.
Nor of uncleanness — With any unholy or selfish view. This expression is not always appropriated to lust, although it is sometimes emphatically applied thereto.
Nor in guile — But with great plainness of speech.
 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
Flattering words — This ye know.
Nor a cloak of covetousness — Of this God is witness. He calls men to witness an open fact; God, the secret intentions of the heart. In a point of a mixed nature, 1 Thessalonians 2:10, he appeals both to God and man.
 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
Nor from others — Who would have honoured us more, if we had been burdensome - That is, taken state upon ourselves.
 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
But we were gentle — Mild, tender.
In the midst of you — Like a hen surrounded with her young.
Even as a nurse cherisheth her own children — The offspring of her own womb.
 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
To impart our own souls — To lay down our lives for your sake.
 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
Holily — In the things of God.
Justly — With regard to men.
Unblamable — In respect of ourselves.
Among you that believe — Who were the constant observers of our behaviour.
 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
By exhorting, we are moved to do a thing willingly; by comforting, to do it joyfully; by charging, to do it carefully.
 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
To his kingdom here, and glory hereafter.
 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Ye suffered the same things — The same fruit, the same afflictions, and the same experience, at all times, and in all places, are an excellent criterion of evangelical truth.
As they from the Jews — Their countrymen.
 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
Us — Apostles and preachers of the gospel.
They please not God — Nor are they even careful to please him, notwithstanding their fair professions.
And are contrary to all men — Are common enemies of mankind; not only by their continual seditions and insurrections, and by their utter contempt of all other nations; but in particular, by their endeavouring to hinder their hearing or receiving the gospel.
 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
To fill up — The measure of their sins always, as they have ever done. But the vengeance of God is come upon them - Hath overtaken them unawares, whilst they were seeking to destroy others, and will speedily complete their destruction.
 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
In this verse we have a remarkable instance, not so much of the transient affections of holy grief, desire, or joy, as of that abiding tenderness, that loving temper, which is so apparent in all St. Paul's writings, towards those he styles his children in the faith. This is the more carefully to be observed, because the passions occasionally exercising themselves, and flowing like a torrent, in the apostle, are observable to every reader; whereas it requires a nicer attention to discern those calm standing tempers, that fixed posture of his soul, from whence the others only flow out, and which more peculiarly distinguish his character.
 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
Satan — By those persecuting Jews, Acts 17:13.
 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
Ye also — As well as our other children.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on 1 Thessalonians》
Chapter 2. The Gospel of Coming Again
Not In Thought
I. Insulted in Philippi
II. The Heart of Parents
III. Sins of the Jews
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Two General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To glean from Paul's example how preachers should conduct themselves
among brethren with whom they labor
2) To appreciate how the thought of seeing each other at the coming of
Jesus should affect our attitude towards one another
Having reflected upon their reception of the gospel, Paul now reflects
upon his own conduct while with them. He describes the manner of his
preaching as one that was free of guile, deceit, flattery, and
covetousness. Seeking not the glory of men, but of God, he spoke with
boldness despite conflict, and was gentle among them as a nursing
mother would be with her own children (1-8). His manner of life was
sacrificial, working hard not to be a burden to them, behaving
devoutly, justly, and blamelessly while among them. As a father does
his own children, he exhorted, comforted and charged them to walk in a
way worthy of God who was calling them into His own kingdom and glory
Paul then begins to reflect upon the concern that he has for their
condition. Thankful for their reception of his gospel as the word of
God and not of men, he writes how they had imitated the churches in
Judeain receiving the word among much persecution by their own
countrymen (13-16). Even though it has only been a short time since he
has seen them, he has desired to come to them time and again, but Satan
had hindered him. His longing to see them is due to his view of them
as his hope, joy and crown of rejoicing in the presence of Jesus when
He comes again (17-20).
I. REFLECTIONS REGARDING HIS CONDUCT (1-12)
A. THE MANNER OF HIS PREACHING (1-8)
1. Not in vain, but with boldness in the midst of abuse (1-2)
2. Not in deceit, impurity, or guile, but as pleasing God (3-4)
3. Not with flattery, covetousness, nor seeking glory from men by
making demands as apostles of Christ (5-6)
4. As a nursing mother, with gentleness and affection he imparted
not only the gospel but his own life as well (7-8)
B. THE MANNER OF HIS LIFE (9-12)
1. Worked night and day, so as not to be burden while preaching
the gospel (9)
2. Behaved in a devout, just, and blameless manner (10)
3. As a father would his own children, he exhorted and comforted
them, encouraging them to walk worthy of God who calls them
into His kingdom (11-12)
II. REFLECTIONS REGARDING HIS CONCERN (13-20)
A. THANKFUL FOR THEIR RECEPTION OF THE WORD (13-16)
1. They received his message as it was in truth, the word of God
which works effectively in those who believe (13)
2. They became imitators of the churches in
a. Suffering persecution from their own countrymen (
b. Just as those in
Judeareceived from the Jews (14b)
1) Who killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets (
2) Who persecuted the apostles, forbidding them to speak to
the Gentiles (15b
3) Who are piling up their sins, and upon whom wrath has
B. CONCERNED FOR THEIR WELFARE (17-20)
1. He is eager to see them again (17)
2. He had wanted to come to them, but Satan hindered him (18)
3. Because they are his hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing in the
presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at His coming (19-20)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- Reflections regarding his conduct (1-12)
- Reflections regarding his concern (12-20)
2) What had Paul endured prior to coming to Thessalonica? What was his
attitude when he arrived? (2)
- Suffered spiteful treatment at
Philippi(cf. Ac 16:16-40)
- Bold in his God to speak the gospel of God
3) What did NOT characterize his conduct while at Thessalonica? (3-6)
- Pleasing men
- Flattering words
- A cloak for covetousness
- Seeking glory from men
4) What figure does Paul use to describe his treatment of them? (7)
- As a nursing mother cherishes her own children
5) What did Paul impart to them along with the gospel of God? (8)
- His own life
6) What DID characterize his conduct while at Thessalonica? (9-10)
- Laboring night and day so as not to be a burden
- Devout, just, and blameless
7) What figure does Paul use to described the manner in which he
exhorted them? (11)
- As father does his own children
8) How did Paul want them to walk? (12)
- Worthy of God who calls them into His own kingdom and glory
9) How had the Thessalonians received the word of God which they heard
from Paul? (13)
- They welcomed it not as the word of men, but as the word of God
10) What is said about the Word of God and those who believe it? (13)
- It effectively works in those who believe
11) Who had the Thessalonians imitated in the way they received the
gospel? In what way? (14)
- The churches of God in
- Suffering from their own countrymen
12) What had the Jews done? (14-16)
- Killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets
- Persecuted the apostles, forbidding them to offer salvation to the
13) Who had hindered Paul from coming back to Thessalonica? (18)
14) How did Paul view the Thessalonians? (19-20)
- His hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing in the presence of the Lord
Jesus Christ at His coming
- His glory and joy
A Preacher Worthy Of Imitation (2:1-12)
1. In our previous lesson we mentioned the value of a good role
a. It demonstrates what can be done
b. It provides direction for what should be done
c. It inspires one to do what ought to be done
-- The church at Thessalonica certainly serves as "A Church Worthy
2. In the second chapter of 1st Thessalonians, we find Paul reflecting
a. His preaching while at Thessalonica - 1 Th 2:1-8
b. His conduct while at Thessalonica - 1 Th 2:9-12
-- From which we learn that Paul certainly serves as "A Preacher
Worthy Of Imitation"
[Just as churches would do well to emulate the church at Thessalonica,
so preachers would do well to imitate the example of the apostle Paul
while he worked with them. But not just preachers; all Christians
would benefit by imitating the example of Paul. Consider therefore...]
I. THE MANNER OF HIS PREACHING
A. WITH BOLDNESS...
1. Paul preached with boldness - 1 Th 2:1-2
a. Despite his previous persecution at
b. Despite the persecution at Thessalonica
2. Such boldness was not natural for Paul, or for others
a. Paul often experienced fear and trembling - 1 Co 2:3
b. Timothy needed encouragement to be bold - 2 Ti 1:6-8
3. But he found boldness "in our God"
a. For which reason he asked others to pray for him, that God
would grant him boldness - Ep 6:19-20
b. Others also looked to God when in need of boldness - Ac
-- To proclaim the word with all boldness, look to God for
B. WITH TRUTH AND HONESTY...
1. Paul preached the truth, not error - 1 Th 2:3
2. He did so with honesty, not through impure motives or trickery
- 1 Th 2:3; 2 Co 4:2
3. Note the need for both truth and honesty:
a. It is not enough to speak the truth, we must do so honestly
b. It is not enough to be honest, we must speak the truth
-- Let's strive to have both truth and honesty! - cf. 2 Co 2:17
C. PLEASING GOD, NOT MEN...
1. Paul was aware that God had trusted him with the gospel - 1 Th
a. As an expression of grace - Ep 3:8
b. As an example of mercy and longsuffering - 1 Ti 1:11-16
2. Therefore it was God he sought to please, not man - 1 Th 2:4
a. Knowing that it is God who tries the heart - He 4:13
b. Knowing that this is what made him a true servant of Christ
- Ga 1:10
-- Be concerned with pleasing God, not gaining the popularity of
D. WITHOUT FLATTERY OR COVETOUSNESS...
1. Paul did not resort to flattering words to gain an audience
- 1 Th 2:5
a. He undoubtedly knew that using flattery was dangerous - Pro
b. Flattery is a tool used by false teachers - 2 Pe 2:18
2. Nor did Paul resort to using covetousness, either to persuade
or for his own personal gain - 1 Th 2:5
a. Covetousness is another tool of false teachers - 1 Pe 2:1-3
b. Paul was careful not to take advantage of his brethren,
becoming wealthy off of them - Ac 20:33; 2 Co 11:9; 12:17
-- Win souls through the truth, not flattery, and avoid any
semblance of taking advantage of brethren for monetary gain
E. WITHOUT SEEKING FOR GLORY FROM MEN...
1. Paul was careful not to seek glory from them or from others
- 1 Th 2:6
a. As an apostle of Christ it would have been easy to do
b. He could have easily abused his authority, but he was
careful not to
2. Any such glory would have been vain glory - Pro 25:27
-- True servants do not seek glory from men, but from God!
F. WITH GENTLENESS AND AFFECTION...
1. He was gentle, like a nursing mother with her children - 1 Th
a. As he counseled Timothy to be towards those in error - 2 Ti
b. As he instructed the spiritual to be toward those overtaken
in a fault - Ga 6:1
2. He had affection for them, which prompted him to share not
just the gospel, but his own life - 1 Th 2:8
a. Paul was a preacher who loved his brethren - cf. Ph 1:8
b. For which he joyfully sacrificed his life as necessary
- cf. Ph 2:17
-- Let gentleness and love for the brethren be apparent both in
our preaching and in life!
[Indeed, one cannot separate our preaching from our life. So as we
continue to learn what made Paul "A Preacher Worthy Of Imitation", we
focus our attention more closely on...]
II. THE MANNER OF HIS LIFE
A. LABORING NIGHT AND DAY...
1. Paul did not desire to be a burden, and so worked to support
himself - 1 Th 2:9
a. Not that it is inappropriate for preachers to be supported
- 1 Co 9:7-14
b. Paul chose to preach the gospel without charge as a way of
demonstrating his willingness to accept his calling as a
steward - cf. 1 Co 9:6,15-18
c. So Paul often worked as a tent maker while preaching
- e.g., Ac 18:1-4
2. His example should remind us of the sacrificial nature of our
a. Some may choose to support themselves like Paul did
b. All should be available and accessible both night and day
- Ac 20:31
c. Note also that we can serve by praying "night and day"
- 1 Th 3:10; 1 Ti 5:5
-- The main point is that our service to God and one another is a
not a 9-5 job!
B. DEVOUT, JUST, AND BLAMELESS...
1. "Devoutly" depicts the nature of his service - 1 Th 2:10
a. It was "holy" (NIV)
b. It was "pure" (NRSV)
2. "Justly" describes his dealings with his fellow man
a. It was "upright" (NRSV)
b. It was "righteous" (NIV)
3. "Blamelessly" reflects his carefulness to be above reproach
a. Something he was always careful about - Ac 24:16; 2 Co 6:3
b. Even before he became a Christian - Ph 3:6
-- All three of these graces are important; they impact our
relationship to God, our relationship to our fellow man, and
help keep our reputation pure
1. Paul was like a father to them - 1 Th 2:11
a. Exhorting and comforting them (encouraging them) - e.g.,
1 Th 4:1
b. Charging them as necessary (commanding them) - e.g., 2 Th
2. For he was concerned about their walk (life) as a Christian
- 1 Th 2:12
a. He wanted their walk to be worthy of God
b. For God had called them into His kingdom and glory
1. Certainly all preachers would do well to have the same kind of
fatherly concern (and motherly gentleness and affection) that Paul
2. But not only preachers...how much better it would be if all members
of the church served one another as Paul served his brethren!
a. With boldness, truth and honesty, seeking to pleasing God and not
b. Without flattery, covetousness, or seeking glory from men
c. With labor night and day, seeking to be devout, just, and
-- With the gentleness and affection of a nursing mother, and the
guidance and encouragement of a caring father
Yes, the apostle Paul is indeed "A Preacher Worthy Of Imitation"...for
such reasons every Christian would do well to heed his admonition as
found in another place:
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." (1 Co 11:1)
The Effective Word Of God (2:13)
1. We have seen the character of the church in Thessalonica - 1 Th 1:
a. Their faith, love and hope
b. Their worthy example to others in
and Achaia Macedonia
2. To some degree, the condition of the church may have been due to the
diligent and caring nature of Paul's ministry while with them - 1 Th
3. But it could not have happened without their willingness to receive
the word of God...
a. Preached to them by Paul, Silas, and Timothy
b. Which they received as the word of God
-- Which worked effectively in them - 1 Th 2:13
[In our text (1 Th 2:13), we are reminded of the effectiveness of God's
Word for those who believe it. In this study, I wish to expand upon
this thought in order to increase our appreciation for and reception of
the Word of God in our lives...]
I. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GOD'S WORD
A. LIVING, POWERFUL, ABLE TO DISCERN...
1. The word of God is no dead letter - He 4:12
2. Just as Jesus' words were both spirit and life - Jn 6:63
B. PRODUCES FAITH...
1. As we hear (or read) it, it is able to develop faith in our
hearts - Ro 10:17
2. This it does through the evidence it presents - cf. Jn 20:
C. HAS POWER TO SAVE...
1. For it contains the gospel, God's power unto salvation - Ro
2. Which is able to save our souls - Ja 1:21
D. CAUSES ONE TO BE BORN AGAIN...
1. By the word of God, He has brought us forth - Ja 1:18
2. For the word of God is an incorruptible seed, by which one is
born again - 1 Pe 1:22-23
E. KEY TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH...
1. We grow by virtue of the word of God - 1 Pe 2:2
2. Just as newborn babes grow by virtue of their mother's milk
F. HELPS TO OVERCOME SATAN...
1. John praised young men who overcame Satan through the Word of
God - 1 Jn 2:14
2. Of course, Jesus overcame Satan by appealing to the Word - Mt
G. POSSESSES POWER TO SANCTIFY...
1. As praised by the Psalmist - Psa 19:7-11
2. As prayed by Jesus - Jn 17:17
H. PRESERVES BOTH YOUNG AND OLD...
1. The young cleanse their way by taking heed to it - Psa 119:9
2. The elders were told they could guard against false teachers
and apostasy with the help of God's word - Ac 20:28-32
[Such are the many benefits of the wonderful Word of God. It truly is
"The Effective Word Of God"! But as indicated in our text, God's word
must be properly received...]
II. FOR GOD'S WORD TO BE EFFECTIVE
A. MUST BE RECEIVED WITH FAITH...
1. For it is works in those who believe - 1 Th 2:13
2. For it is God's power unto salvation to those who believe - Ro
3. For it does not profit those who do not receive it with faith
- He 4:2
B. MUST BE RECEIVED WITH MEEKNESS...
1. The word must be received in meekness if it is to save - Ja
2. For such is the person God is willing to guide and teach - Psa
C. MUST BE RECEIVED BY DOERS...
1. Not just hearers of the Word - Ja 1:22-25
2. It is in obeying the Word that our souls are purified - 1 Pe
D. MUST BE FERVENTLY DESIRED...
1. Like newborn babes longing for their mothers' milk - 1 Pe 2:2
2. For the one who meditates on it day and night is truly blessed
- Psa 1:1-3
E. MUST ABIDE IN US...
1. If we are to be strong, and overcome the wicked one - 1 Jn
2. If we are not to sin against God - Psa 119:11
1. Is the living, powerful Word of God effective in our lives?
a. Is it producing faith, saving us by causing us to be born again?
b. Is it producing spiritual growth, manifested by overcoming Satan,
living holy lives whether we are young or old?
2. If the Word of God is not making a powerful impact in our lives,
could it be...
a. We are not receiving it with faith and meekness?
b. We are not receiving it with the intention of obeying it?
c. We have not fervently desired it, so that it can not abide in us?
If such is the case, then we haven't taken the Word of God seriously.
We have treated it no differently than the word of men. May the church
of the Thessalonians always serve to remind us how we ought to receive
"...you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth,
the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe."
(1 Th 2:13)
The Sins Of The Jews (2:14-16)
1. In our text, Paul reveals how the Thessalonians suffered persecution
- 1 Th 2:14
a. It was at the hand of their own countrymen - cf. Ac 17:5-10
b. In this they were imitators of the churches in Judea, who were
also persecuted by their countrymen - Ac 8:1; 12:1-4
2. Mentioning the Judaean persecution, Paul lists the sins of the Jews
- 1 Th 2:15-16
a. This passage might be construed by some as anti-Semitic
b. But it really isn't, for it comes from the heart of one who
loved his Jewish brethren - cf. Ro 9:1-5; 10:1-2
[A careful consideration of these verses and related passages can
provide food for thought, especially regarding the grace of God, His
longsuffering, and the danger of despising it. Let's begin our
consideration by looking more closely at what this passage says
I. THE SINS OF THE JEWS
A. THEY KILLED THE LORD JESUS...
1. Which Peter was not hesitant to proclaim - Ac 2:23,36; 3:
14-15; 4:10; 5:30
2. Those who were personally involved accepted responsibility for
this act - Mt 27:25
B. THEY KILLED THEIR OWN PROPHETS...
1. They killed prophets in the days of Elijah - 1 Ki 19:10
2. They killed prophets, including Zechariah, despite the reforms
of Jehoida the priest - 2 Chr 24:14-21
3. As summarized by Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, and Stephen - 2 Chr
36:16; Neh 9:26; Jer 2:30; Ac 7:52
C. THEY PERSECUTED THE APOSTLES...
1. In Jerusalem the apostles had been beaten and threatened - Ac
2. Ultimately there was the death of James, and the imprisonment
of Peter - Ac 12:1-5
3. Paul had been persecuted in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra - Ac
4. He had been run out of Thessalonica and Berea by the Jews - Ac
D. THEY DID NOT PLEASE GOD...
1. As rebuked by Moses in the wilderness - Deu 9:7
2. As described by God to His prophet Ezekiel - Ezek 2:3
E. THEY WERE CONTRARY TO ALL MEN...
1. Tacitus describes them as "cherishing hatred against all
2. Juvenal says "They would not even point out the way to any one
except of the same religion; nor, being asked, guide any to a
fountain except the circumcised."
3. Diodorus Sicuhs describes them as "those alone among all the
nations who were unwilling to have any intermingling with any
other nation, and who regarded all others as enemies"
-- As quoted by Barnes in his commentary on 1 Th 2:15
F. FORBIDDING THEM TO SPEAK TO THE GENTILES...
1. As happened at Antioch of Pisidia - Ac 13:42-51
2. The idea that Gentiles could now be included among God's
people was abhorrent to many Jews, as indicated by their
reaction in Ac 22:21-22
3. Even some Jewish Christians demanded that Gentiles had to be
circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved
- Ac 15:5
[In this manner the Jews as a nation of people had been filling up the
measure of their sins, and the fullness of God's wrath was about to
come upon them (perhaps the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD - cf. Mt
Now it is important to stress that these were not the words of an anti-
Semite. Paul loved his brethren in the flesh (Ro 9:1-5; 10:1-4). They
are simply facts of history, given objectively by a Jew who himself had
been guilty of the same things! Consider how Paul described
II. THE SINS OF ONE JEW (PAUL)
A. HE HAD BEEN A BLASPHEMER...
1. Prior to his conversion - 1 Ti 1:12-13
2. Compelling even others to blaspheme the name of Christ - Ac
B. HE HAD BEEN A PERSECUTOR...
1. Wreaking havoc of the church - Ac 8:3; 9:1-2; 26:9-10
2. An indication of his zeal for his Jewish faith - Ph 3:6
C. HE HAD BEEN AN INSOLENT MAN...
1. "a violent aggressor" (NASB), "injurious" (KJV) - 1 Ti 1:13
2. "It does not mean merely doing injury, but refers rather to
the manner or spirit in which it is done. It is a word of
intenser signification than either the word 'blasphemer,' or
'persecutor,' and means that what he did was done with a
proud, haughty, insolent spirit. There was wicked and
malicious violence, an arrogance and spirit of tyranny in what
he did, which greatly aggravated the wrong that was done."
1. So what is the point? Certainly Paul was not anti-Semitic...
a. What he says was not true of all Jews
1) Many had become Christians (e.g., the apostles, Paul himself)
2) There were churches "in Judea" - cf. 1 Th 2:14
b. Any Jew who came to Christ would be "grafted" back in - cf. Ro
c. The Gentiles as a group were not much better - cf. Ro 1:18-32
2. But there are important lessons to be learned...
a. The danger of even God's chosen people falling away - He 3:12-4:2
b. The wonderful grace of God for those willing to repent
1) As seen in the life of Paul - 1 Ti 1:12-16
2) As still extended to the Jews - Ro 11:1-5,23
c. The wrath of God coming upon those who refuse His grace - cf. Ro
1) To those who obey not the gospel - 1 Pe 4:17; 2 Th 1:7-9
2) To those who persist in sin - He 10:26-31
As we are therefore reminded of how some of the Jews fell from grace,
may it serve to caution us not to receive God's grace in vain:
"We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to
receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: `In an acceptable
time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped
you.' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of
salvation." (2 Co 6:1-2)
What Is Our Hope, Glory, And Joy? (2:17-20)
1. Soon after the church at Thessalonica was started, Paul was forced
a. Unbelieving Jews had created problems for some of the members
- cf. Ac 17:5-9
b. Paul and Silas had to be sent away by night - Ac 17:10
2. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul reflects upon their abrupt
a. How it created an eager desire to see them again - 1 Th 2:17
b. How Satan had hindered them from fulfilling that desire - 1 Th
c. Prompting him to ask the question: "For what is our hope, or
joy, or crown of rejoicing?" - 1 Th 2:19
3. We do well to ask ourselves the same question...
a. What is our hope? For what do we long with desire and
b. What is our joy? What gives us true happiness and satisfaction?
c. What is our crown of rejoicing? What provides the highest degree
of joy in our lives?
-- Is our answer the same as Paul's? Should it be?
[As we consider what our answer should be, let's examine more closely
our text and the answer Paul gave...]
I. PAUL'S HOPE, GLORY, AND JOY
A. WE READ OF HIS DESIRE TO SEE THEM...
1. He had been "taken away" from them - 1 Th 2:17
a. He is referring to his necessary departure - Ac 17:10
b. He uses a word that implies a painful bereavement, like a
child taken away from his or her parents (Barnes)
2. He had been away from their presence only "a short time"
- 1 Th 2:17
a. Exactly how long, we do not know
b. Probably no more than a year, if not months
3. He "endeavored more eagerly" to see them "with great desire"
- 1 Th 2:17
a. Note the repeated emphasis of his longing to see them
b. His desire likely heightened by the manner in which he had
to leave them
B. WE LEARN WHAT PREVENTED HIM...
1. He wanted to come to them "time and again" - 1 Th 2:18
a. Either from Berea or Athens
b. But he was hindered
2. It was Satan who hindered him - 1 Th 2:18
a. He attributes the persecution by his fellow Jews to Satan
1) It was the unbelieving Jews who were hounding him
2) They were following him from place to place - Ac
17:5,13; cf. Ac 14:19
3) They were possibly his "thorn in the flesh", "the
messenger of Satan" alluded to in another epistle - cf.
2 Co 12:7-10
b. Satan was the ultimate source behind the persecution
suffered by the early church - cf. 1 Pe 5:8-9; Re 2:10
C. WE DISCOVER PAUL'S HOPE, GLORY, AND JOY...
1. The Thessalonians were Paul's "hope", because he hoped to see
them at the coming of the Lord - 1 Th 2:19
2. They were his "joy" or "crown of rejoicing", in anticipation
of seeing them in the presence of Jesus - 1 Th 2:19
3. They were his "glory" and "joy" - not just in the future, but
in the present as well - 1 Th 2:20 ("you are our glory and
[Paul's hope, glory, and joy were his brethren in Christ, especially
those he had taught and brought to the Lord. Not just the
Thessalonians, but others as well (cf. Ph 4:1).
And it works both ways: At the coming of Christ, Paul would be the
source of joy for those he taught (cf. 2 Co 1:14). Now let's consider
what ought to be...]
II. OUR HOPE, GLORY, AND JOY
A. FOR SOME CHRISTIANS, IT MAY BE...
1. Their possessions
a. Their hope is in the acquisition of material things
b. Their glory (pride) is in what they have obtained
c. Their joy (happiness) is in the pleasure such things give
-- But such things are perishable and susceptible to theft,
they draw us away from God; therefore it is folly to have
them as our hope, glory and joy - cf. Mt 6:19-21,24; 1 Jn
2. Their jobs
a. Their hope is in the advancement of their careers
b. The glory (pride) is in how far they have come
c. Their joy (happiness) is in the money, power, or prestige
they have obtained
-- But our jobs and all that they bring can be fleeting
(especially in today's job market, with frequent downsizing
and lack of company loyalty to employees); they shall one
day come to nought - cf. 2 Pe 3:10
3. Their families
a. Their hope is what their families may become
b. Their glory (pride) is what their families have become
c. Their joy (happiness) is in the relationship they enjoy
with their families
-- While certainly more noble (and rewarding) than possessions
or jobs, even our families are limited in the joys and
glory they can bring; death ends our relationship as
family, and if they are not Christians, what does that do
for our hope? Cf. Mt 10:37; 12:46-50
B. FOR ALL CHRISTIANS, WHAT IT SHOULD BE...
1. Our hope should be to see each other in heaven!
a. To see each other with Jesus in the presence of the Lord at
b. What a wonderful occasion, what a glorious reunion!
2. Our glory should be seeing each other in the presence of the
a. Serving the Lord faithfully now
b. Being glorified together with Jesus when He comes - cf.
2 Th 1:10-12
3. Our joy should be the happiness coming from our working
together in the Lord!
a. The joy experienced by John when he saw others walking in
the truth - 2 Jn 4; 3 Jn 3-4
b. The joy Paul experienced when told of the faithfulness of
the Thessalonians - 1 Th 3:6-9
1. Our hope, glory, and joy should be in that which is eternal...
a. Otherwise we are setting ourselves up for eventual disappointment
b. Our possessions, jobs, even families cannot provide true hope,
glory and joy
1) At best, what they offer is temporary
2) At worst, they provide much disappointment, and draw us away
2. Since much of our hope, glory, and joy, both now and in eternity, is
through our brethren...
a. It is important that we nurture and strengthen our relationships
b. It is imperative that we seek to bring others to Christ,
including those in our physical families
-- Such effort not only brings us closer to each other, but to God,
and produces that which lasts for eternity!
And then we shall truly be able to say to each other, "For you are our
glory and joy." Can we say that now...?
The gospel of coming again
Not in thought
1. Faith in strong opposition
2. Preach the gospel
3. Faithful to what is entrusted
II.The heart of parents
1. Gentle in heart
2. Toil and hardship
3. Earnest longing
III. Sins of the Jews
1. The wrath of God
2. Stopped by Satan
3. The crown we glory in
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》