Knowing the Elect - 1 Thessalonians 1

Knowing the Elect

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul and Silas planted the church at Thessalonica.  You can read about it in Acts 17:1-9.  It's believed that 1 Thessalonians is his first letter to a New Testament church.  The apostles prayed regularly for this infant assembly, "knowing, beloved brethren, your election of God."  1 Thessalonians 1:4.

Election?  Now we're in trouble.  Throughout church history this has been a subject often avoided, because of sincere differences of opinion at all levels of theological discussion.  But let's see what Paul has to say.

First, he was the one who knew that these beloved brethren were the elect, the chosen of God.  They weren't the ones to bring up the subject.  How did he know that?  How does anyone know that?

No one becomes a chosen one of the Lord against their will.  Paul writes, "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance...."  He was the preacher who led them to a saving knowledge of Christ.  The gospel is the message that God uses in calling sinners to Himself.  In Paul's second letter to the church he wrote, "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel...."  2 Thessalonians 2:3. 

They believed the gospel, and "became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit."  Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."  John 10:27.  The elect are followers of the Lamb.  They have taken up their cross, and follow Him.

The brethren at Thessalonica "became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe."  In what way?  They became witnesses for Christ, as their testimony "sounded forth."  Paul commended them, saying, "Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything."  Those who believe the message share the message.

Finally, others recognized that they belonged to God.  Those who heard the gospel from the beloved brethren at Thessalonica had something to say.  They told Paul how the Thessalonians had turned to God from idols to serve Him, and wait for His Son from heaven.

"Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'"  2 Timothy 2:19.


Lord, we know that we are known by our fruit.  There are many fruit inspectors out there.  Thank You for Your understanding.  Thank You for the transforming power of the gospel.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Word at Work - 1 Thessalonians 2

 
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