The Commendations of Paul


Verse 1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. It is thought that Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to see the church at Thessalonica while he stayed at Corinth. As he waited for Timothy’s return, he traveled to Athens where he wrote this letter, after Timothy returned to him with news of their welfare.

  1. The church at Thessalonica.

  2. Every church of the Lord Jesus Christ find its fellowship and joy in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  3. If churches are not “in” God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, they are not the true church of Jesus Christ.

  4. The church of Jesus Christ is more than a club, or a place to find friends.

  5. It is an assembly of saved, baptized believers who are coveted together to worship and serve God.

  6. True churches receive grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  7. God’s people can receive grace and peace through the local church they are fellowshipping with.

  8. Fellowshipping with is more than attending, or giving their offerings to.

  9. Faithful church members will be able to receive help from other faithful church members.

  10. The world receives their help in times of trouble from worldly organizations.

  11. Worldly people will seek comfort and advice from worldly organizations.

  12. Worldly people will seek comfort and advice from individuals who are in the same situation of life they are in.

III. It is good to know where you can get in touch with people.

A. Many people don’t believe church attendance is very important, therefore they don’t come and they also miss out on many important events and education.

B. It is plainly seen that the common practice of the Christians at Thessalonians is to assemble themselves together.

1. Not only is it the common practice to worship together, but it is also the common practice to fellowship together between worship services.

2. There are many churches that meet together for worship, then the church members don’t see each other until the next worship service.

3. Sometimes this is necessary, but it is always better for God’s people to fellowship together.

4. The first hint that someone is falling away from worship is when they begin to fall away from Christian fellowship.

Verse 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

I. As Paul thought about the many things that happened to him at Thessalonica, he would naturally remember the people that were with him in these battles and victories.

Verse 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

I. What would Paul remember?

A. Acts 17 - Paul would remember his second missionary journey when he came to Thessalonica and found a synagogue of the Jews.

1. It should be noted there that Paul found a synagogue, not a church.

2. The word for synagogue is “sunagoge”, not “ekklesia”.

  1. They are both public assemblies, but synagogue represents the public meeting place of the Jews, and a church represents the public meeting place of Christians.

  1. Paul declares he will constantly remember:

  2. Their work of faith.

  3. It is obvious their work was in faith, because there was very little encouragement in sight.

  4. The circumstances of their lives after they were saved, scripturally baptized and started to work for Christ was full of persecution, and would not lend itself to finding encouragement.

  5. If there will be an encouragement, it will be have to be by believing what God has told them, when there is absolutely no reason whatever to believe it. (Except that God said it!)

  6. Their labour of love.

  7. The intense labor of their lives after they were first saved had to be of love.

  8. If they were trying to work their way to heaven, they would consider it too hard to be forced to die to be faith.

  9. As it was, they would willingly lay down their lives for the cause of Christ.

C. Their patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. They waited patiently for the fulfillment of God’s promises to them.

  2. The promises of God gave them full assurance that what He said He would do would be done.

D. In the sight of God and our Father.

  1. The faith of the Thessalonians does not rest in the sight of men.

  2. It would be good for the lost world to see their labor, but it is better for God to see it.

  3. They are not really concerned about what men see in them, but rather are very concerned what God sees in them.

Verse 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

I. How did Paul know they were elected of God?

  1. We might say because they are saved, but Paul cannot really know their spiritual condition any more than I can know for certain your spiritual condition.

  2. I believe Paul was using more than just their public profession of faith, but the circumstances God had used on him.

  3. Acts 16:6-8 - While at Troas, in Mysia, Paul attempted to travel on to Asia, but were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel in Asia.

  4. They next tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not to go that way.

  5. Finally, at Troas, God directed Paul to travel to Macedonia and preach the gospel.

  6. Paul was being led by God just like Jesus Christ was led by God to preach to the woman at the well.

  7. John 4:4 - Jesus “must needs” go through Samaria; because the woman at the well must be saved.

  8. Whoever follows the commands of God will find people will be saved.

3. Acts 17:1 - It is very interesting to note that on Paul’s second missionary journey, after he was cast out of Philippi, he “passed through” the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia.

  1. They evidently didn’t stop in those cities to preach to anybody.

  2. The result of not preaching is that nobody was saved

  3. There was no church organized.

  4. A very important point to remember is that Paul was obeying the directions of God, not of men.

  5. There were lost people in those cities, but God didn’t direct Paul to preach to them.

  6. It must be noted that election is more than God choosing a person to be saved.

  7. Election also involves the means God will use to reach them - in this case - the preaching of Paul and Silas.

  8. Eph. 1:4 speaks about our eternal election by God the Father.

  9. The thought continues in verse 10; That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: that there will come a time when the elect will be all together.

  10. Verse 13 and 14 speaks of the time of a person’s salvation. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

  1. The Thessalonians weren’t elected because they believed, but because God chose them before the foundations of the world.

  2. There are two main views of election.

  3. That God looked into the future, saw who would believe, therefore elected them to eternal salvation on their basis of their believing.

  4. That God looked into the future, saw nobody believing, therefore elected some to salvation.

  5. When it is believed that God looked into the future and saw who would believe, therefore electing them salvation that is not election at all.

  6. Why would God elect (chose) somebody to salvation when they had already chosen without election?

  7. This doctrine totally refutes the Bible doctrine of Total Depravity.

  8. When we fully understand the Bible doctrine of Total Depravity, we understand that nobody is able to come to Christ without Him first coming to them.

  9. It is God that enables a person to see their terrible wickedness, and repent of that wickedness.

  10. It is God that give the sinner the power to look to the Son of God and be saved.

  11. Salvation is a gift of God, not of works.

  12. Salvation comes before belief - if salvation comes after belief, then salvation comes as a result of belief, making belief a work.

Verse 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

  1. The way the Word of God comes.

  2. The word.

  3. The gospel must come in word before power, the Holy Ghost, or assurance can come.

  4. The gospel must be clearly preached and rightly understood, otherwise, there is only confusion.

  5. Power.

  6. The word “power” comes from the Greek word “dunamis” which means power, or authority.

  7. “Dunamis” is the word we get our word “dynamite” from.

  8. Salvation is indeed a life changing experience.

C. The Holy Ghost.

  1. Whenever a person is saved, they receive the Holy Ghost, and all of the Holy Ghost is received.

  2. There are many people who believe some of the Holy Ghost is given at salvation, then as a person grows in grace, they receive more and more of the Holy Ghost.

  3. It is not more and more of the Holy Ghost that is received as a person grows in the Lord, it is more and more knowledge of God that is learned, and the Holy Spirit continues in the background, giving great strength and courage to speak the things of God.

  4. Much assurance.

  5. When a person is saved, they know they are saved.

    A careful reading of I John will reveal what the saved person already knows in his heart.

  1. The manner of Paul.

  2. I Cor. 2:1-5 - And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

  3. It was the constant prayer of Paul that the people he came into contact with would trust God, and not say they were one of his converts.

Verse 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

  1. In order to follow the Lord, they had to follow Paul and the doctrines he preached.

  2. Acts 2:42 - The 3,000 that were saved and scripturally baptized on the day of Pentecost, “…continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship…”

  3. Eph. 4:11-16 - God has given “pastors and teachers” for the perfecting of the saints…

  4. I Thess 5:12,13 - Church members are to follow and obey the pastor God has put over them. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

  5. Heb. 13:7 - Church members are to obey those that have the rule over them. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

  6. Many will say, “I’ll follow God, but I’ll never follow a man.”

  7. Those same people often expect men to follow them to prove to them that they are following God.

  8. Exodus 14:10-12 - The rebellion about Moses leadership at the Red Sea.

  9. Note verse 31 - the people heard the Lord and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.

  10. This happened only after God miraculously delivered Israel and they saw the bodies of the dead Egyptians on the sea shore.

  11. Numbers 16 - Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On said that Moses had taken too much upon himself, seeing that all the congregation are holy.

  12. They gather 250 followers (who were naturally following them) and led the revolt against God and Moses.

  13. The end result is that they and all their wicked followers will soon die.

  14. Every group of people needs a leader and cannot do without one.

  15. Why didn’t Israel leave Egypt without a leader?

  16. Judges 17:6 - What did Israel do when they had no leader.

  17. Do a short study of Israel under the kings. Note how they worshipped God under a good king and how they worshipped Baal under a bad king.

  18. Much of the battle about who to follow is nothing more than a power struggle.

Verse 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

I. Remember those two towns, Amphipolis and Apollonia, that Paul “passed through” in Acts 17:1?

  1. He didn’t preach the gospel in those towns, therefore we might think that God had completely passed those towns over.

  2. This is not God’s plan.

  3. The believers at Thessalonians had a job too; taking the gospel to the people around them.

  4. This is not a “one man show”.

Verse 8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

  1. The churches that Paul organized were missionary.

  2. People that are truly saved don’t have to be taught to be missionary.

  3. They are missionary in that they want to tell everybody they come into contact with what Christ has done for them.

  4. It is “spiritually naturally” for saved people to fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28.

Verse 9 For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

I. The people whom the Thessalonians have reached with the gospel truth have told Paul where they heard the gospel.

II. Former religion - who would think they would turn from their false religion? Much less, who would believe they would be strong and able to stand against persecution, though being saved for only a short time.

Verse 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.