International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending June 6, 2010
Purpose Statement: To demonstrate Christianity through actions of faith, hope and love.
Scripture Text: 1 Thessalonians 1-10 (NRSV)
1 Thessalonians 1-10
(1)Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
(2) We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly (3) remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (4)For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, (5)because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. (6)And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, (7) so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (8)For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. (9)For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, (10) and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
On Paul's second missionary journey, you may recall from the Book of Acts (17:1-14) Paul, Silas (Silvanus) and Timothy had visited the city of Thessalonica after they were ask to leave Phillipi, the first European city visited by Paul. Thessalonica (modern day Saloniki) was a port city situated on the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea.
Thessalonica was located on the northern Roman military highway, within sight of Mt. Olympus the capital of Macedonia, and the home of the Greek gods.
Paul did not spend a lot of time in Thessalonica, only three Sabbaths, and possible some more time outside of the meetings in the Synagogue. Paul and his party had a tremendous success in Thessalonica, especially among the devout Greeks and the women, and so this new church was made up primarily of Gentiles, this irritated the Jews, but this success was heralded all over Greece. (1:8, 9)
Paul had sent Timothy back to Thessalonica when he was in Athens, and latter the two came together in Corinth, and that is where Paul was, when he wrote this letter. The letter was written in 51AD and is believed to be the oldest or first of the New Testament scriptures.
The letter shows the concerns of a pastor for a young church, and unlike most of Paul's churches that he had established, this one was primarily made up of Greeks, and was facing great struggles and persecution without a lot of teaching from Paul. Maybe that is why Paul appears so proud of what they have accomplished. Paul praises them for their work of faith, and their labor of love, and patience of hope. “Faith works, love labors, and hope patiently suffers all things.” is what Wesley said in his notes on this passage.
Knowing your election is through faith, as shown in the following verses, with power and assurance of the Spirit bearing witness, and by the testimony of miracles. Though you have suffered much affliction you have also had great joy. Paul goes on and tells them their testimony has echoed all across Europe and Achaia. So much so, that they do not need to speak anything.
What a great testimony, that our actions speak for us. That should be the goal of every church. How can you spread the good news without saying anything? Remember “faith works, love labors, and hope patiently suffers all things,” That is commitment.