Wenstrom Bible Ministries; Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom; Sunday, September 23, 2018; www.wenstrom.org.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you! 1:2 We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, 1:3 because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:4 We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you. (NET)
1 Thessalonians 1:1 From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the Thessalonian congregation in union and fellowship with God the Father as well as the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to each and every one of you resulting in peace. 2 We make it our habit of always giving thanks to the one and only God (the Father) on behalf of each and every one of you because we constantly make it our practice of bringing each and every one of you into remembrance during our prayers. 3 Specifically, because we make it our habit of remembering in the presence of God, our Father, your work, which was produced by your faith, as well as your labor, which was motivated by your divine-love and also your perseverance which was produced by your confident expectation of blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 Furthermore, because each one of us possesses the conviction He elected each and every one of you to privilege brothers and sisters, divinely loved by the one and only God (who is the Father). (My translation)
1 Thessalonians 1:4 contains an assertion about each member of the Thessalonian Christian community as well as two descriptions of this community.
It also presents the second reason why 1 Thessalonians 1:2 asserts that Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy made it their habit of always giving thanks to the Father for each member of the Thessalonian Christian community.
The first reason is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:2 which asserts that they gave thanks for them because they constantly made it their practice of bringing each of the Thessalonians into remembrance during their corporate prayers.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 is intimately connected to the assertion in verse 2 since it identifies specifically what these three men remembered about the Thessalonians which caused them to always give thanks to the Father for them.
This verse asserts that they did so because they made it their habit of remembering in the presence of the Father their work, which was produced by their faith, as well as their labor, which was motivated by their divine-love and in addition their perseverance which was produced by their confident expectation of receiving a blessing from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were in effect giving thanks to the Father because they remembered the Thessalonian's positive response to their gospel message.
In other words, they remembered the Thessalonians obeying their Spirit-inspired teaching which was reflected in their godly behavior.
Now, 1 Thessalonians 1:4 presents the second reason why Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy gave thanks to the Father for the Thessalonians by asserting that these three men possessed the conviction God the Father elected each and every one of the Thessalonians to privilege.
This means that before the foundation of the world God the Father elected each member of the Thessalonian Christian community to the privilege of possessing and experiencing an eternal relationship and fellowship with Himself and with the Son and the Spirit.
God the Father elected them in the sense that He, in His foreknowledge, which is based upon His omniscience, knew before anything was ever created, that they would believe in His Son in time.
God elected them before the foundation of the world since He knew beforehand that they would accept His Son Jesus Christ as Savior in time and therefore elected them to the privilege of possessing an eternal relationship and fellowship with Himself and the other two members of the Trinity.
Paul, Silvanus and Timothy possessed this conviction about the Thessalonians because the latter demonstrated this fact by their conduct, which we noted is described in verse 3.
Therefore, they possessed this conviction because of the Thessalonians’ work, which was produced by their faith as well as their labor, which was motivated by their divine-love and also their perseverance which was produced by their confident expectation of blessing from the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Thessalonians’ conduct is further described in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9.
Verse 5 asserts that the gospel proclaimed by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy came to the Thessalonians not only in word but also in power and specifically by the power of the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
Verses 6-7 state that they became imitators of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and of the Lord because they received the gospel in the midst of much affliction with the joy produced by the Holy Spirit so that an example to all the churches in Macedonia and Achaia.
Verse 8 asserts that the word of the Lord not only sounded forth from the Thessalonians but also their faith in God was known throughout the churches everywhere in the Roman Empire.
Verse 9 asserts that they repented from their idolatry in order to serve the true and living God.
Furthermore, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 states that the Thessalonians received the word of God.
Also, 1 Thessalonians 3:6 reveals that Timothy had brought back a report to Paul and Silvanus concerning the Thessalonians’ faith and love.
He also reported that they always remembered Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy kindly and longed to see them.
As we noted 1 Thessalonians 1:4 contains two descriptions of each member of the Thessalonian Christian community.
The first pertains to the Thessalonians’ relationship to Paul, Silvanus and Timothy while the second pertains to the Thessalonians’ relationship with God. “Brothers and sisters” (adelphos) is the first of two descriptions of the Thessalonian Christian community and describes them as Christians or in other words, describes them as having been declared justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and thus regenerated by the Spirit. I
t denotes that Paul, Silvanus, Timothy, and the recipients of First Thessalonians are related to each other and the Lord Jesus Christ through regeneration.
Therefore, this term emphasizes the equality of those sinners declared justified through faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior (cf. Gal. 3:26-28; Col. 3:11).
This term appears 15 times in First Thessalonians (2:1, 9, 14, 17; 3:7; 4:1, 10, 13, 5:1, 4, 12, 14, 25) and seven times in Second Thessalonians (1:3; 2:1, 13, 15; 3:1, 6, 13).
“Divinely loved by the one and only God” describes the new eternal relationship that each member of the Thessalonian Christian community possessed and experienced with the Father as a result of the Father declaring them justified through faith in His one and only Son Jesus Christ.
It pertains to God the Father manifesting His attribute of love on behalf of each member of the Thessalonian Christian community.
This love along with His other attributes helps to compose the Father’s character and nature.
God’s love for the Thessalonian Christian community and all believers is of course a strong non-sexual affection and regard for their good to the point of self-sacrifice.
This love does not need an attractive object to function but can function in relation to the sinner who is obnoxious and repulsive to God.
God’s love always has the best interests of His creature in mind whether He is disciplining or judging one of His creatures for their unrepentant sinful behavior or blessing them for their faith and obedience.
Therefore, the expression “divinely loved by the one and only God” pertains to the Father acting on behalf of the Thessalonians and which acts manifested His attribute of love.
One of these acts would be the Father electing them in eternity past to possess an eternal relationship and fellowship with Himself and with the Son and the Spirit.
Another act would be the Father demonstrating His love for them by sacrificing His one and only Son Jesus Christ on the cross in order to deliver them from His wrath which is the result of being in enslaved to sin and Satan.
Lastly, the Father declared them justified when they trusted in His Son in order to be saved from His wrath, which was the result of being enslaved to sin and Satan