|1:4||Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.|
|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 ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.|
|1:6||And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:|
|1:7||So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.|
|1:8||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.|
|1:9||For they themselves shew 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;|
|1:10||And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.|
[Introduction] Since last week, we are going through the book of Thessalonians. The church of Thessalonica had the work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope. They were growing to be a good example to the believers as God’s chosen ones. In today’s passage, Apostle Paul explains the reason that lies behind this. I bless you all in the name of our Lord that may all Yewon believers recognize how the Thessalonians became a good example in the first place and exert spiritual influence.
1. The Powerful Work of the Holy Spirit
In 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, Apostle Paul reveals the fundamental reason how the believers of Thessalonian church became a good example to all the believers as people chosen by God. Most of all, he emphasizes the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. He makes it clear that he is preaching the Gospel not with his own eloquence or fluency, but with the power of the Holy Spirit that is given onto him. In short, they rooted in the Gospel and bore fruit by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, he reveals it concretely. He is emphasizing that the reason that the Gospel has been spread is not because of his plausible speech, but absolutely by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is telling us in Matthew 5:13-16 that we are the ones who should take on the mission of being the light and salt in this world. In other words, this means to brightly reveal the Gospel in you. Also in 1 Thessalonians 4:6-7, Apostle Paul emphasizes that if the powerful work of the Holy Spirit is the foundation strength that is a good example of a believer, based on that strength, the life of believers should be changed. Especially in today’s passage, it says, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” Apostle Paul uniquely expresses the Thessalonian believers as imitators of us and of the Lord. In a general view, the expression should be the imitators of the Lord and of us, but he used this in oppositely. That is because he is emphasizing the fact that we who have faith should live the life as a spiritual example. He knew this very well. So in 1Corrintians 11:1, he says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” He paid attention to his own life to be a spiritual model in front of God and people so much that he was able to say that. We must spiritually enjoy the Gospel unity. The guidance of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit are not separable; the filling of the Holy Spirit is to enjoy the blessings to be one in the Gospel. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may you be a good example to all believers as the believers of Thessalonian church were and have the evidence exerting good influence of the Gospel.
2. The Famous Faith
In verse eight, Apostle Paul mentions that the rumor of faith that the believers had in the Thessalonians church was spread not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but though out the entire area of Asia. Seeing this happening in front of him, he was so deeply moved that he was not able to say anything. When you are filled spiritually with Gospel, the fragrance of the Gospel will flow out from you. He especially mentions that the believers in the Thessalonian church had the faith that looked upon God. Verses 9-10 explains in detail. The first thing that the believers in Thessalonians did was that where there was idol worshipping they threw away all the idols. Simply put, they cleared their spiritual past. We should cut all the spiritually useless things by the sword of the Holy Spirit. The sword of the Holy Spirit is God’s word. God’s words should be the standard of spiritual life. Apostle Paul expresses that they threw away idols and worshiped the true God. This is our priority list of life: it is to be fit as God centered, words centered, church centered, and pastor centered. Furthermore, they are doing walk of faith with the hope of Christ’ second coming and that the revived Jesus Christ will descend from heaven. Especially, Christ’s first coming was for salvation and the second coming is for judgment. However, we are free from the judgement. Through the redemption on the cross and the Resurrection, Jesus Christ has set us free from all the bridles of sin and death. So we can live in the state of enjoyment. The Thessalonian believers lived the life of a model of faith in very difficult situations. I bless you in the name of the Lord that may the works that God makes through our faith arise and be spread to other regions, nations, and the world.
[Conclusion] In the movie of ‘My Wife Got Married’, the main male and female characters love soccer so much. In their conversation, she asks the man, “Do you know what problem of Korean soccer is?” He answers. “The lack of decision power and the inapt of handling before the goal, isn't it?” She says, “No. the problem is that people do not enjoy soccer.” I totally agree to the conversation. The problem we can see on the surface would be the lack of decision power or the inapt handling before the goal. But the hidden problem is that people don’t enjoy soccer. It is the same in one’s spiritual life. We have to enjoy our walk of faith or we cannot exert spiritual influence. I bless all Yewon believers in the name of the Lord that may you realistically taste and enjoy the abundant blessings hidden within Christ and become the good example spreading the fragrance of Christ.