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1Thessalonians, Chapter One, Lesson Two

SHOWING GRATITUDE            Page 3

V. 3 ** As Paul prays with thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonians, he is constantly bearing in mind three aspects of their Christian walk. What are they?

First - "...their work of faith..."

** What does that mean?

William Hendriksen - "work resulting from faith" i.e.- caring for the sick, comfort the dying, instructing the uninformed.

Second - "...labor of love..."

** In today's mindset, how would you define that phrase?

Commentator Leon Morris offers that this is in reference to "small services we render without hope of reward". However, Paul's Greek term here (kopos - lit."laborious toil") is a strong one which implies "that out of their love, they have labored to the point of weariness."
cf. Colossians 1:29 (agonizomai)

Third - "...their steadfastness of hope..."

** Do you think that Paul is referring to a hope that is just a passive resignation - like "I sure hope this all turns out well"?

Absolutely not! cf. Hebrews 11:1

Regarding this phrase, William Barkley says, "It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope". It is a solid certainty.

** In Whom had the Thessalonians placed their hope?

In "...our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father".

** There is no question that the best place to put your hope is in the person of Jesus Christ. But what theological truth is represented by that phrase and how does it make Jesus Christ different from any other "religious leader" the world has ever known?

He is equal with God and He (alone) is in the presence of God! Consider the resurrection and ascension of Christ. cf. 1Corinthians 15:3-4, Acts 1:9, Philippians 2:9 and Hebrews 10:10-13

Just as a footnote, some commentators feel that the phrase "in the presence of God" is referring to the Thessalonians or possibly even Paul as he prays. However, it is best to view this descriptive phrase as one focused upon the person of Christ.

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