Wenstrom Bible Ministries; Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom; Sunday, October 21, 2018; www.wenstrom.org;
First Thessalonians: 1 Thessalonians 1:7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (ESV)
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 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 possesses 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 as 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 possesses 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. 7 Correspondingly, each one of you benefited by becoming an example for the benefit of each and every one of those believers located in Macedonia as well as in Achaia. (My translation)
“Macedonia” refers to the Roman province located in the region of the Balkan peninsula north of the Roman province of Achaia.
“Achaia” refers to a Roman province that was located on the Peloponnesian Peninsula, on the south coast of the Gulf of Corinth, and is now called Morea and the south of Greece.
1 Thessalonians 1:7 presents the result of the assertions in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 and states that the Thessalonian Christian community benefited by becoming an example for the benefit of all the believers residing in the Roman provinces of Macedonia as well as Achaia.
This indicates that the Thessalonians became an example for the believers in Macedonia and Achaia as a result of imitating Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and the Lord because they obeyed the teaching of these three men in the midst of great adversity with a joy produced by the Holy Spirit.
The Thessalonians became an example to the Christian communities in Macedonia and Achaia in the sense that they were corporate model of godly behavior to be imitated.
They exemplified godliness as a corporate unit so that they became an example to imitate in the Christian communities located in Macedonia and Achaia.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 presents the reason why the Thessalonians became a godly example to the Christian communities in Macedonia and Achaia to imitate.
Now, in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, the expression tou ergou tēs pisteōs (τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστεως), “your work, which was produced by your faith” refers to the Thessalonians’ Christian service and specifically, it refers to their service for God, each other and the non-Christian community.
Their service was the result of experiencing fellowship with God and was produced by the Holy Spirit through them when they exercised faith in the Spirit’s teaching communicated by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
This faith results in obedience to the will of the Father, which is revealed by the Spirit in the Word of God and speaks of the Thessalonians’ work that the Holy Spirit performed through them as a result of their faith in His teaching which produced obedience to the Spirit’s commands and prohibitions in the Word of God.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, the expression tou kopou tēs agapēs (τοῦ κόπου τῆς ἀγάπης), “your labor which is motivated by your divine-love” also speaks of the Thessalonians’ service or work on behalf of the Lord but from the perspective of the difficulty of their service.
Here it refers to the Thessalonians serving God, each other, and those outside of the Christian community while experiencing persecution and which service was motivated by their love for God.
In other words, their Christian self-sacrificial service was motivated by God’s self-sacrificial act of sending His one and only Son to the cross for them while they were His enemies and which act manifested His attribute of love (cf. 1 John 4:7-21)
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “your perseverance” (tēs hypomonēs: τῆς ὑπομονῆς) speaks of the Thessalonians remaining faithful to the Lord by being obedient to the Word of God despite the obstacles in life such as the old sin nature and the cosmic system of Satan.
It refers to them bearing up under intense pressure and not quitting on God and depicts them as enduring undeserved suffering on behalf of the communication of the gospel.
This perseverance depicts the Thessalonians as staying disciplined and subjecting themselves to the will of God, which demanded the acquiescence of their will to the Father’s will.
It describes them as not permitting adverse circumstances to get them to surrender or quit on the plan of God and depicts their triumphant confident expectation of reward and blessing in the midst of adversity.
This work expresses the attitude of the Thessalonians as soldiers of Jesus Christ who in the thick of battle, are not discouraged and never quit but rather fight on courageously whatever the difficulties.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 speaks of the Thessalonians’ perseverance in the face of persecution.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, the expression tēs elpidos tou kyriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou (τῆς ἐλπίδοςτοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), “which is produced by your confident expectation of blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ” refers to the Thessalonians’ confident expectation of receiving blessings from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Specifically, these blessings they were confidently expecting to receive from the Lord were in the form of receiving a resurrection body at the rapture of the church as well as rewards for faithful service at the Bema Seat.
This confident expectation empowered the Thessalonians to remain faithful and to persevere in serving God, each other, and the non-Christian community despite persecution and hardship.
The Thessalonians became an example to the Christian communities in Macedonia and Achaia because like Paul, Silas, and Timothy, they were imitating the Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
The Thessalonians became an example to the Christian communities in Macedonia and Achaia because as we noted in 1 Thessalonians 1:6, they were obeying the teaching of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy in the midst of great adversity with a joy produced by the Holy Spirit. Now, the Thessalonians became an example to the believers in Macedonia and Achaia because they obeyed the Spirit inspired teaching of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy which was the direct result of exercising faith in this teaching. The Thessalonians became a godly example for the believers in Macedonia and Achaia because we noted in our study of 1 Thessalonians 1:6, they received obediently the Spirit inspired teaching of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy in the midst of great adversity. This reference to “great adversity” speaks of experiencing underserved suffering and 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 commend the Thessalonians for preserving in the face of persecution as well as to encourage them to continue to do so.This joy was produced in them by the Holy Spirit when they exercised faith in the Spirit inspired teaching from these three men. 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. The Thessalonians benefited from becoming an example of godly behavior to these churches in that they would be rewarded by the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat Evaluation of the church. This is indicated by the assertion in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 in which Paul, Silvanus and Timothy prayed that the Lord would establish their hearts blameless in holiness in the presence God the Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus at the rapture. 2018 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries6The Thessalonians would also benefit in that they would experience their sanctification which is indicated by the assertions in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 and 5:23. They also benefited by becoming godly examples for the churches in Macedonia and Achaia since it meant they were experiencing their salvation.