Wenstrom Bible Ministries; Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom; Sunday, October 14, 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. 1:5 in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you). 1:6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (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). 5 At the same time, each and every one of us exists in the state of possessing the conviction that our proclamation of the gospel was by no means manifested by the act of speaking only but on the contrary, by means of power 2018 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries2as well. Specifically, it was manifested by means of the Holy Spirit’s power as well as with deep conviction. In the same way, each one of you exist in the state of possessing the conviction regarding the quality of character each one of us as individuals manifested among each one of you for the benefit of each of you. 6 Consequently, each one of you entered into the state of imitating each one of us and as a result the one and only Lord because each one of you received our teaching in the midst of great adversity with a joy produced by the Spirit, who is holy. (My translation)
1 Thessalonians 1:6 contains two result clauses and a causal clause.
The first result clause presents the result of the assertions presented in 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
The first of these states that each one of the Thessalonians possessed the conviction that the proclamation of the gospel by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy was by no means manifested by the act of speaking only but rather by means of power as well.
The second assertion is epexegetical and identifies the source of this power as the Holy Spirit and also asserts that these three men proclaimed the gospel to the Thessalonians with deep conviction.
The third assertion is a comparative clause which states that each one of the Thessalonians possessed the conviction regarding the quality of character of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy as individuals manifested among them and for their benefit.
Thus, these three assertions in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 speak of the godly conduct of these three men while interacting with the Thessalonians.
Now, 1 Thessalonians 1:6 asserts that each of the Thessalonians entered into the state of imitating Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
The second result clause asserts that they were also imitating the Lord by imitating these three men.
Therefore, this would indicate that the Thessalonians’ godly conduct was the direct result of imitating the godly conduct of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
The text tells us that the manner in which the Thessalonians imitated these three men and the Lord Jesus Christ is three-fold.
First, they were obedient to the gospel like Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, and secondly, they experienced undeserved suffering like these three men and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lastly, they experienced the joy produced by the Spirit in the midst of this suffering like Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and the Lord Jesus which is clearly indicated by 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
So, therefore, the second result clause in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 speaks of the Thessalonians imitating the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of observing Him manifesting Himself through the godly behavior of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
Paul often presented himself as an example for the flock of God (cf. 1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1; Gal. 4:12; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 1 Thess. 3:12; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9) because he had patterned his own life after Christ’s (1 Cor. 11:1).
Setting an example for the flock is one of the four great responsibilities of pastor-teacher which serve as the means by which he tends and shepherds the flock of God: (1) Study (2 Tim. 2:15) (2) Teach (1 Tim. 4:13) (3) Pray (Acts 6:1-4) (4) Set an Example (Phlp. 3:17; 2 Thess. 3:7, 9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7; 1 Pet. 5:3).
The Thessalonians were imitating the Lord Jesus Christ because they were living their lives as He did, which is the direct result of obedience to the Spirit-inspired teaching of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
In 1 John 2:6, the apostle John taught that the child of God must conduct their life as Jesus Christ did in order to experience fellowship with Him.
Philippians 3:1-11 reveals that to imitate Jesus Christ was the apostle Paul’s sole ambition in life.
Now, as we noted, 1 Thessalonians 1:6 contains a causal clause which presents the reason for the assertion that each one of the Thessalonians entered into the state of imitating Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and as a result of the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of observing the godly conduct of these three men.
This causal clause asserts that each member of the Thessalonian Christian community received the teaching of these three men in the midst of great adversity with a joy produced by the Holy Spirit.
The Thessalonians received the teaching of these three men in the sense that they accepted it by faith which produced obedience to the various commands and prohibitions they were taught by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
This faith would enable them to experience fellowship with God as well as their sanctification and salvation.
The text of this causal clause in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 also indicates that they benefited from the teaching of these three men.
The Thessalonians accepted by faith the teaching of these three men and as a result, benefited from their teaching in a two-fold sense.
First, they benefited because they were declared justified by the Father as a result of exercising faith in the gospel by trusting in the Father’s one and only Son Jesus Christ as Savior.
Consequently, they entered into an eternal relationship and fellowship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Also, they were identified with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and session at the right hand of the Father through the baptism of the Spirit.
Secondly, they benefited after their justification because they were experiencing this identification as a result of appropriating by faith the teaching of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy regarding this identification.
Consequently, they were experiencing fellowship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Also, the Spirit was reproducing the character of Christ in the Thessalonians as a result of accepting by faith the teaching of these three men regarding their identification with Jesus Christ.
Therefore, when 1 Thessalonians 1:6 asserts that the Thessalonians received the teaching of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, it is speaking of them accepting by faith their teaching at justification and after their justification.
Now, the Thessalonians’ obedience to the Spirit-inspired teaching of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy was the direct result of exercising faith in this teaching.
That faith in the Word of God produces obedience to the Word of God is taught in Hebrews 11:8.
As we noted in the causal clause of 1 Thessalonians 1:6, the Thessalonians imitated the godly conduct of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and thus the Lord Jesus Christ because they received obediently the Spirit-inspired teaching of these three men in the midst of great adversity. T
his reference to “great adversity” speaks of experiencing undeserved suffering.
Specifically, this “great adversity” speaks of the Thessalonians experiencing persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Persecution is one of the major themes of First Thessalonians since 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 records Paul commending the Thessalonians for persevering in the face of persecution as well as to encourage them to continue to do so.
The apostle Paul taught Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12 that every believer who does at any time desire to live a godly life by means of fellowship with Jesus Christ will certainly be persecuted.
As we noted, 1 Thessalonians 1:6 asserts that the Thessalonians imitated the godly conduct of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and as a result the Lord Jesus Christ because they obeyed their teaching in the midst of great adversity with a joy produced by the Holy Spirit.
This joy was produced in them by the Holy Spirit when they exercised faith in the Spirit-inspired teaching from these three men (cf. Gal. 5:22-23).
It speaks of a joy experienced by them when enduring patiently undeserved suffering which is produced by the Spirit in the Christian when they exercise faith in the Spirit-inspired apostolic teaching in the gospel.