Friday, January 26, 2018

1st Thessalonians, part 1, the Doctrines of Christian Faith

Hebrew letter het

The New Testament book of 1st Thessalonians links up to the Hebrew letter het. Remember that this letter symbolically means fence or hedge. Its original pictographic form looked like two fence poles with two or three rails across.
1st Thessalonians was written by St. Paul. It is the earliest of his letters. He wrote it shortly after he preached in the Thessalonian church for about a month. The young disciples in this church needed confirmation in the foundational truths and Paul gives it here. He also exhorts them to go on to holiness and he comforts them regarding those who had died.
All of the great and wonderful doctrines of the Christian faith can be found in this epistle. 

Let’s look first at chapter 1 where we find the subjects of election, the Holy Spirit and assurance, the Trinity, conversion and also the second coming:

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
   To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
   Grace and peace to you.
 2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
 4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Election: verse 4 – God has CHOSEN you.

Assurance: verse 5 – you don’t just believe some words, but there is POWER with the HOLY SPIRIT and deep CONVICTION.

The Trinity: God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are all mentioned in this passage.

Conversion: verse 9 – you “turned to God from idols.” That is what conversion is all about.

The 2nd Coming: verse 10 – wait for his Son from heaven. Wow, Paul gives a whole sermon in a few short verses, doesn’t he?

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