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Three Great Christian Graces
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Notice the characteristics which the Apostle attached to these three graces when he says practically that faith is a work, love is a labour, hope an enduring patience.
I. First of all with regard to work as a characteristic feature of faith. In the work of salvation there are two parties concerned God and man, Giver and receiver, a Saviour and saved. (1) Faith has work as its distinctive feature, because it is not solely belief, not an abstract proposition of truth, but a personal trust in a living person. (2) Work must be the characteristic feature of all true faith, inasmuch as from its very nature it involves a hearty compliance with the will of Him who is the object of it.
II. What holds true of the great Christian grace of faith holds equally time of love. 'Your labour of love,' says the Apostle that is, your love of which labour is the characteristic feature, although it is more than a labour. This love has (1) Christ for its object, and (2) our fellowmen. The love of man for man must be rooted in the love of man for God first.
III. Lastly, says the Apostle, 'Your patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ'. In the grammatical Greek it means that Christ is the great object of the Christian's hope. The grand characteristic of this hope is here said to be patience. The word in Greek is very strong implying bravery, manliness, facing dangers, the discharge of difficult and painful duties with a calm mind; bearing up under trial and discouragements; constancy in faith under the most adverse circumstances.
J. Macgregor, Scottish Review, vol. IV. p. 105.
References. I. 3. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Thessalonians, p. 155. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 258. I. 4. Ibid. vol. vii. p. 12; ibid. (7th Series), vol. v. p. 58. I. 4-6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. li. No. 2920.
1 Thessalonians 1:5
The Gospel can come to members of the Church in word only.
I. To the Church at Thessalonica it came in.
(a) Power i.e. with a compelling and urging force;
(b) The Holy Ghost i.e. the hearts were receptive and willing to receive Him; (c) With much assurance much trust, confidence, and faith.
II. Power Manifested.
(a) They became followers (ver. 6), Greek mimics or imitators of the Lord.
(b) Ensamples (ver. 7) i.e. bearing the impression of the Lord. Ill. The die used in the Royal Mint for stamping the coins and medals leaves an impression. The Gospel, when received in power, causes all our actions and words to bear the impression of Christ.
(c) Sounded out the word (ver. 8), or as Greek echoed forth. As they received, so they gave forth.
(d) Turned from idols (ver. 9) to serve the living God. Christian England is full of idolatry. Here is one of the results when the Gospel comes in power.
References. I. 6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xi. No. 648. Expositor (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 415; ibid. vol. xi. p. 46. I. 6, 7. Ibid. (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 262. I. 7. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 382. I. 8. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxv. No. 2076. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Thessalonians, p. 164. I. 9. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 257. I. 9, 10. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxx. No. 1806. Expositor (4th Series), vol. i. p. 23; ibid. vol. ii. pp. 258, 259; ibid. vol. vii. p. 15; ibid. vol. x. p. 98. I. 10. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 146; ibid. vol. ix. p. 94. I. 14, 15. Ibid. vol. iv. p. 369. II. 2. John Watson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. p. 228. II. 2-9. Expositor (4th Series), vol. vii. p. 14. II. 3. Ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 363. II. 6. Ibid. vol. viii. p. 74. II. 6, 9. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. x. p. 196. II. 7. Ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 226. II. 11, 12. H. W. Webb-Peploe, The Record, vol. xxvii. p. 798. II. 12. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Thessalonians, p. 170. II. 13. W. Sanday, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. p. 193. Expositor (5th Series), vol. viii. p. 404. II. 13, 14. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiii. No. 1979. II. 15. Expositor (5th Series), vol. x. p. 354. II. 16. Ibid. (4th Series), vol. i. p. 23; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xii. p. 108; ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p. 486.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany