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1st Thessalonians - The Word Working in You - 2007

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First Thessalonians

"The Model of Missionary Church Planting" and

"The Example of a Balanced Christian Life"

Introduction and Background

1. The primary focus of The Thessalonians Epistles is Christian living in light of eternity.

2. The "bookends" of 1TH 1:3 and 1TH 5:8 reveal the book's theme- the well balanced Christian life.

3. The key verse of 1TH 2:13 shows that God's Word works through faith.

4. As we learn in 1TH 3:6 and GAL 5:6, faith only works through love (i.e. The Spirit).

5. Where faith is animated by love, there is always hope. See COL 1:4-5

6. This epistle is closely related in content to the Old Testament book of Ruth, which provides a perfect Biblical illustration of the practical truths of this book.

7. The historical background to the epistle is found in ACT 16:9-10 through ACT 17:1-9. The epistle was written A.D. 50/51.


Whereas Ephesians is the epistle of Trinitarian doctrine, 1 Thessalonians is the epistle of the three fold strand of Christian living: faith, love and hope. (1TH 1:3, 1TH 5:8cf. 1CO 13:13 and COL 1:4) These three spiritual virtues cover every need of the Christian life: faith looks upward, love looks around, and hope looks forward. Also, faith comes from Christ, love from The Spirit, and hope from The Father.

"A three fold chord is not easily broken."- ECC 4:12

The focal point of the epistle is the rapture of the church. (1TH 1:10, 1TH 2:19, 1TH 3:13, 1TH 4:14-18, 1TH 5:10, 1TH 5:23)

Scheme of The Christian Life

The "tenses" of the Christian life are clearly taught.

• The past- the "work of faith" ("turned to God")

The present- the "labor of love" ("serve the living and true God")

The future- the "patience of hope" ("to wait for His Son from heaven") Since all are included in the term "salvation", we can refer to it as

• Phase one- eternal salvation

• Phase two- daily salvation

• Phase three- ultimate salvation These are also seen in TIT 2:11-13

Eleven Doctrines Paul Taught in Thessalonica (adapted from C.I. Scofield)

1. Election-1TH 1:4. We are "chosen in Christ". Compare EPH 1:4 with ISA 42:1 and MAT 22:14.

2. Holy Spirit-1TH 1:5-6, 1TH 4:8, 1TH 5:19. The key to the Christian Way of Life (John chapters 13-17).

3. Assurance (security) - 1TH 1:5, 1TH 5:10, 1TH 5:9-10

4. Trinity-1TH 1:1, 1TH 1:5-6

5. Conversion-1TH 1:9, 1TH 2:13

6. Second Coming (rapture) - 1TH 1:10, 1TH 2:19, 1TH 3:13, 1TH 4:14-17

7. Christian Walk-1TH 2:12, 1TH 4:1, 1TH 4:7

8. Sanctification- 1TH 4:3, 1TH 4:7, 1TH 5:23

9. Day of The Lord (tribulation) - 1TH 5:1-3

10. Resurrection- 1TH 4:14-18

11. Three-fold Essence of Man- 1TH 5:23. (faith/spirit, love/soul, hope/body)

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