|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.|
|1:2||We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;|
|1:3||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;|
|1:4||Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.|
[Introduction] The book of Thessalonians is literally a letter from Apostle Paul to the believers of Thessalonica, and was written during Paul’s second missionary journey. In Acts 16, Paul was determined to continue speaking of the Word in Asia Minor, but God lead him to Macedonia by showing it to him in a vision. And Apostle Paul entered Thessalonica through Philippi, which was a leading city of Macedonia.
In Acts 17, we can see that on the three Sabbath days, Apostle Paul preached the Gospel from the scriptures, which the Jews meditated on, at a synagogue in Thessalonica. And for three weeks, he proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ, and had groups of sincere and devoted Greeks and quite a few noblewomen who accepted the Gospel. And of course, it left the leaders of the Jews in confusion and jealousy. They formed a mob for the purpose of getting rid of the party. Thus, the Thessalonians, Apostle Paul and Silas had to evacuate to a nearby city named Berea. Apostle Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to take care of them instead of him. When Apostle Paul left Berea and Athens, he went to Corinth to testify that Jesus is the Christ. He received news of Thessalonians from Timothy. It said that they were standing firm in faith even in the times of suffering, which was good news. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may all Yewon believers live your lives fitting to be God’s chosen one and be spiritually influential having the evidence.
1. The Fruit of Thanks
In verse one, Apostle Paul first greets to the Thessalonian Church believers and most of all, he blesses that the grace and peace of God come upon them. The grace and peace is a regular expression that Apostle Paul writes in the epistles. Those two are implicated expressions that show what the blessings of children of God are. As Numbers 6:24-26 says, the essence of the blessings that God wants to give us is the grace and peace. So living in the Lord itself was God’s grace. In verse two, Apostle Paul confesses that he always gives thanks to God whenever he thinks and prays for the believers of the Thessalonian Church. It shows that the life of the chosen one by God should be like them. This means that it is the life that someone can give thanks to God because of to me. The word, “always” in today’s scripture means “in whatever circumstance, in whatever condition”, not just time to time. That means in whatever situation, we should have a thankful mind. I bless in the name of the Lord that all of Yewon believers be the witnesses who abundantly bear the fruit of the chosen one.
2. The Fruit of Faith, Hope and Love
In verse three, the things that Paul thanks before God when he thinks about believers in the Thessalonians church are stated: their work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope. First of all, Apostle Paul mentions about the thing of faith. It is not ‘history’ but it is ‘work’. He clearly says in Ephesians 2:8-10 that the purpose of our life is not only receiving salvation by faith, but also doing the good works that God wants to fulfill through us. Secondly, Apostle Paul emphasizes that the “labor of love” should be needed. Here, labor is “kopou (κόπου)” in Greek. It means that something is of a great labor when we do big things. It means that we cannot love without sacrifice and devotion. Also, this word means the effort of continuing race. The third fruit of the people chosen by God to bear is steadfastness of hope. From here, the word hope is for Jesus Christ’s second coming. Because we have hope of waiting for the day of the Lord, we can be patient in any adversities. I bless all Yewon believers in the name of the Lord that may you have the evidence of fully bearing the fruit of work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope that are the fruits of God’s chosen people in any circumstance.
[Conclusion] There is a book titled, ‘A Duck Drowned in Water’. Someone who worked for a car repair shop brought a big bucket that he can keep a duck and bought a mallard from a duck farm. He put it on the water in the bucket before he left to work. But the next morning, he learned that the duck drowned in the big bucket and did not understand the death of the duck. He went to the farmer at the duck farm and complained about its death. Then the farmer said “The ducks were hatched and raised in my farm. They do not know how to swim. The drowned duck in the bucket was fed and raised by its farmer on the ground, not on the water. It didn’t need to apply waterproof oil on its wing. So it ended up becoming a duck that cannot swim and float. There are many Christians and churches like this duck. It is important for you to bear fruits as the chosen one. May all Yewon believers have the life to bear the fruits of work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope as Apostle Paul mentioned. Also I bless you in the name of the Lord to become true disciples of Christ to exert spiritual influence.