Also in Power

1Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

‘Gospel came unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.’ Four ways the gospel should be taught or learned: In word (1:5; Matt. 28:20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; 1Cor. 1:18-24); in power (1:5; Matt. 17:20; Mark 16:16-17; Luke 24:49; John 14:12; 1Cor. 4:20); in the Holy Spirit (1:5; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; Rom. 15:18-20, 29; Heb. 2:4); in much assurance (1:5; Col. 2:2).

‘And in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.’ You know how we demonstrated the gospel in word, in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance, and how we suffered in doing so (1:6; Acts 17:1-34).

Believers who are baptized in the Spirit (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-11, 33, 38-39) must have new outpourings of the Spirit to maintain the fullness of God (Acts 4:31; John 1:16; Php. 1:19; 2Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 3:19; 1Jn. 4:13). Christ Himself lived in prayer and received many new infillings and fresh supplies of the Spirit and power to continue in all the fullness of God. As virtue went out of Him it had to be supplied again, as proved by the scriptures above and by the many times Christ prayed – as all men must do to maintain spiritual power in life. After Pentecost, the full endowment of power and full anointing of the Holy Spirit was made possible for all believers who lived in obedience to the Word of God (Gal. 3:13-14; John 7:37-39; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8,33).

Election Part 2

1Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

The word “election” is used in connection with Israel as a chosen nation with but one exception (1:4). In Romans 9:1-33 it deals with the choice of God in Jacob over Esau, and all such individual choices of God are based upon the disposition and attitude of the individual in conforming to Him and His will. Not even Jacob would have been chosen if he had behaved toward God as Esau did. One becomes a special subject of God’s dealings when he chooses to be and as long as he chooses to be. As long as one rebels against the choice all must make to be saved, no benefits of the election of God can apply to him.

The word “elect” also refers to Israel as the chosen nation of God in all scriptures other than Luke 18:7; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:10; Titus 1:1 and 2 John 1:1, 13 where it can be understood as of all Jews and Gentiles who conform to the predestined plan of God. Thus, Scripture makes it clear that only those who meet the terms of such a plan become the elect of God to share the blessings thereof; and those who choose not to conform to it will receive the predestined curses of rebellion. These simple facts should answer all questions on election, predestination, foreknowledge and like subjects. Truly God is “just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26) and the Judge of those who doesn’t believe (Matt. 16:15-16; Luke 13:1-5; John 3:16-18; 1Tim. 2:4-5; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17; etc.).

Four elect’s of God: Christ (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:6); All Christians (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; Tit. 1:1; John 15:16; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2Thess. 2:13; 2Jn. 1:1, 13); Israel (Isa. 45:4; 65:9, 22; Matt. 24:21-31; Mark 13:22, 27; 1Pet. 1:2); Angels (1Tim. 5:21). Anyone chosen of God at any time, Jew or Gentile, is the elect of God (Rom. 9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 1Thess. 1:4; 1Pet. 5:13; 2Pet. 1:10). All men are called to become God’s elect or chosen ones and can be if they will choose God (Matt. 11:28-30; 20:16; John 1:12; 3:16-20; 6:37; Eph. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; Jas. 2:5; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 17:14; 22:17).

Election Part 1

1Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 

‘Election of God’ – Another Gentile group called the elect of God (Luke 18:7). No unconditional, eternal or personal election is meant here. It simply refers to the rejection of Israel as the gospel representatives and to the election of the Gentiles to take their place (Matt. 21:43; 23:37-39; Rom. 11:11-29). In neither case was the election absolute. All was conditional, as far as final salvation was concerned. Nothing was by personal merit. All were called to blessings, which, if properly used, would lead them to personal and eternal salvation. That these blessings and even the calling and election of either class could be abused, finally becoming useless and forfeited by them, is clear from the state of the Jews who, after being elected for 2,300 years, were now rejected and reprobate (Rom. 11:1-36).

In Scripture, there is not the slightest reference to an election of God whereby one person is chosen to be saved and another is not. There is no teaching that a man is saved because of God’s choice alone; there must also be the choice of the individual to meet God’s terms of salvation. It is the plan of God that is elected, chosen, foreknown, and predestined – not the individual or national choice of man to conform to that plan. The plan is the same for all alike, and everyone without exception is invited, chosen, elected, foreknown, and predestined to salvation, on the sole basis of the individual’s choice and total conformity to the gospel to the end of one’s life. Otherwise, one will be lost, and there can there be no exception to this divine plan. God’s part in salvation for all men has been completed, and whoever meets His terms will be saved. The whole program of salvation is simply that of becoming born again – becoming a new creature in Christ (Matt. 18:3; John 3:1-8, 14-18; 2Cor. 5:17-18) – and of living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world ever afterwards (Gal. 5:18-21, 24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1Jn. 1:7; 2:29; 3:5-10; 5:1-4, 18). If one sins after becoming born again he must repent and turn from sin again or he incurs the death penalty like all other rebels (1Jn. 1:9; 2:1-2). No man who lives or dies in sin will be saved (Matt. 7:19-21; Rom. 1:29-32; 8:1-13; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:5-10).

To be continued…

Give Thanks to God

1Thessalonians 1:2-3 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 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

‘We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.’ Being thankful for all things is a priority and state of being for all Christian. Thankfulness works against ingratitude and complaining (5:18; Col. 3:15; 1Cor. 10:10).

‘Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope.’ Three good things to remember here about these congregations: Work of faith … you turned to God from idols (1:3 with 1:9). Labour of love … to serve the living and true God (1:3 with 1:9). Patience of hope … to wait for His Son from heaven (1:3 with 1:10).

‘Work of faith.’ These believers had faith – not dead, speculative, or professing faith – but real, living, active productive faith (1:3, 5-8; 2:13-14; 2Thess. 1:3, 11; 2:17; 3:1, 9).

‘Labour of love.’ Their work of faith was backed by their labour of love. This is normal and the perfect scriptural pattern. The gifts should be exercised in love (1Cor. 13:1-13).

‘Patience of hope.’ This was the third of the great characteristics of these believers. Their program was Christianity in action and the verse could read, “faithful work, loving labour, and hopeful patience.”

The Thessalonians

1Thessalonians 1:1 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. 

1 Thessalonians was written from Corinth about 54 A.D. by the apostle Paul and this was the first of the author’s 14 epistles. The theme of this epistle was to confirm young disciples in fundamental truths already taught them; to exhort them to continue in holiness, and give comfort concerning those who had already died in the faith. All the doctrines were taught to them during one month (Acts 17:1-9). Converts were mainly Gentiles who became outstanding as examples of demonstrating God’s power taught by Paul to all who believe (1:8; 2:13-14; 3:6; 2Thess. 1:3, 11; 2:17). The coming of the Lord is a very prominent subject in all chapters (1:10; 2:12, 19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11).

‘Paul’ – In all his epistles except 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians and Philemon, Paul calls himself an apostle. It may be that he was held in such affection by these congregations that he did not need to assert his apostolic authority.

‘Silvanus’ – The same as Silas, Paul’s companion on his second missionary journey. He took part in the founding of the Macedonian congregations (Acts 15:40-18:18).

‘Timotheus’ – was called Timothy (2Cor. 1:1; 1Tim. 1:2, 18; 6:20; 2Tim. 1:2; Phm. 1; Heb. 13:23). Converted by Paul on his first trip (Acts 14:6-7 with 1Tim. 1:2). Part Jew and Greek, uncircumcised, but a true Christian (Acts 16:1-3). A miracle worker like Paul (1Cor. 16:10). Paul’s companion from here on (Acts 16:1-3; 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; 1Cor. 4:17; Php. 2:19). It is believed by some that he was Paul’s scribe in writing Hebrews and Galatians.

‘Unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father.’ This and the second epistle are the only ones so addressed. Compare this with the other salutations in other epistles.

‘The Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Twice here it is made clear that the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are two separate and distinct persons. Believers are in both and the salutation is from both through Paul.

Unto the Kingdom of God

Colossians 4:11-18 – And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he has a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou have received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

‘Jesus, which is called Justus’ – Paul lodged with Justus, who is called Titus Justus in some MSS and versions in Acts 18:7. A man that was chosen to be voted on in Acts 1:23. It is not clear whether these were the same or two different men.

‘These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.’ Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Marcus, and Justus are all mentioned here; no doubt they were all fellow workers of Paul. The last three were of the circumcision, meaning they were Jews. This book was written in about 64 A.D.

‘Epaphras’ – He was a fellow prisoner of Paul in Rome and a minister of the gospel. He was one of the Colossian believers.

‘That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.’ This seems to be the great desire of the early Bible teachers.

‘Laodicea’ – A city located in Phrygia, a few miles west of Colosse (Rev.3:14).

‘Hierapolis’ – A city of Phrygia near Colosse. It was called a holy city because of its many heathen temples of Apollo, Diana, Aesculapius, and Hygeia. All these gods were worshipped here.

‘Luke, the beloved physician’ Luke, wrote the gospel of Luke and was called the beloved physician because he took care of all Paul’s wounds (2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24); and the “we” portions of Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 – 28:16). He was a Jew and perhaps the Lucius of Romans 16:21 and Acts 13:1. If so, he was related to Paul.

‘Demas’ – A companion of Paul who later backslid and deserted the gospel work (2Tim. 4:10; Phm. 1:24).

‘Nymphas’ – A Christian of Laodicea who had a Christian congregation in his house. Not mentioned elsewhere.

Beloved Brother

Colossians 4:7-13 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salutes you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom you received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him)

‘A beloved brother’ – is a fraternal epithet among Christians (Acts 9:17; 21:20; 2Cor. 2:13; Heb. 2:11-12; 1Pet. 1:22). From Hebrews 2:11-12 we see that Christ, who is the great Sanctifier, sets apart and consecrates men to the service of God. They who are sanctified or thus consecrated and set apart to the service of God, are all one, in the same family, and are called brethren – that includes male and female (Gal. 3:28), because we represent the male body of Christ just as the nation Israel as the wife of God, in the Old Testament, was representatives as God’s nation. 

‘Tychicus’ – One of the trusted companions of Paul and probably an Ephesian. (Eph 6:21; 2Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:12).

‘Onesimus’ – A runaway slave of Philemon, a native of Colosse, and converted by Paul in Rome (Phm. 1:10).

‘Aristarchus’ – A Macedonian who was a companion of Paul and a prisoner with him at Rome (Acts 19:29; 27:2; Phm. 1:24).

‘Marcus’ – John Mark is the author of the gospel of Mark. He was the nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:10) and a disciple of Jesus (Acts 12:12). Paul and Barnabas took him on the first missionary journey but he got homesick and left the party (Acts 12:25; 13:5, 13). Paul and Barnabas separated over Mark when they started on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:33-39). He was a convert of Peter (1Pet. 5:13). He later worked with Paul (Col. 4:10-11; 2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24).

Continue in Prayer

Colossians 4:2-6 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man. 

‘Continue’ [Greek: proskartereo] to be earnest toward a thing; persevere; be constantly diligent; attend to it continually or regularly (Rom. 12:12). If all this would be practised in prayer, it would be easy to: Mortify the members (3:5). Put off the old man (3:8). Put on the new man (3:10). Do the 12 things of note from Colossians 3:17. Submit to husbands as to Christ (3:18). Love wives without bitterness (3:19). Obey parents in all things (3:20). Love the children (3:21). Serve masters as unto God (3:22-25). Be just towards servants (4:1).

Every person struggling with any of the above problems will do well to pray for the grace to help him. Wives should pray for the grace to submit to their husbands; husbands for grace to love their wives and be cured of bitterness; children for grace to obey parents; fathers for wisdom to deal with their children; servants and masters for grace to solve their problems, and all Christians should pray to overcome all selfishness and live right.

‘Prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.’ Eight practices for all believers: Continuing in prayer (4:2). Watching continually in prayer. Giving continued thanks to God. Praying for ministers and their work (4:3). Praying for the success of the gospel (4:3-4). Living Christian life before men (4:5). Using time for God. Being tactful with men (4:6).

‘Seasoned’ [Greek: artuo] spice, seasoning. Let your speech be always spiced and seasoned with answers that will oppose sin and preserve from the corruption thereof. Let it be holy, wise, gracious, Christian, savoury, wholesome, courteous, respectful, desirable, and worthy of being kept in the memory of others.

Servants and Masters

Colossians 3:22-25 – 4:1 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

‘Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.’ Six commands for servants: To obey your masters (i.e., be faithful employees). To be conscientious in service (Eph. 6:5). Not to render eyeservice (Eph. 6:6). To do the will of God from the heart (Eph. 6:6). To render cheerful service to men as you would to the Lord (Eph. 6:7; Col. 3:23). To recognize that if you are not properly recompensed by man you will be by God (Eph. 6:8; Gal. 6:7-8; Col. 3:24-25).

‘Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance …’ This is the 2nd and last New Testament prophecy in Colossians (3:24-25) and it is unfulfilled. This refers to the judgment seat of Christ where all the saints will be judged after the rapture for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad (Rom. 2:12-16; 14:10-12; 1Cor. 3:11-15; 2Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:8; Eph. 6:8; Luke 14:14; 2Tim. 4:14; Rev. 2:23; 22:12).

‘Give unto your servants that which is just and equal.’ Three commands for masters: Act in the same affectionate, conscientious manner toward your servants, as they do toward you (Eph. 6:9). Do not threaten your servants (Eph. 6:9). Recognize that you have the same Master as your servants and that there is no partiality with Him (Eph. 6:9; Rom. 2:11).

Children and Fathers

Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 

‘Children, obey your parents in all things.’ Ephesians 6:1-3 expand on these commandments: To obey parents and to honour them, with the reasons that firstly it is right; it is a commandment (Ex. 20:12); it is a blessing of well-being and long life is promised. Threefold blessing to those who remember and keep the commandments (Prov. 3:1-2): Length of days (Prov. 3:2, 16; 4:10; 9:11). A long life (1Pet. 3:10-11). Peace (Isa. 26:3).

Parents must teach their children the importance of obedience otherwise they fail God and their children (Prov. 15:32).

‘Fathers, provoke not your children to anger.’ Fathers are not allowed to provoke their children to wrath. They must avoid making sport of them (Prov. 26:17-19); severity, anger and cruelty. Cruel parents generally have rebellious children. Correct them, do not punish them. Punishment is from a principle of revenge; correction is from a principle of loving concern. Bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and instruction which will bend them toward God and Christian living (Eph. 6:4).

‘Be discouraged’ [Greek: athumeo] have their spirit broken.