Posted: April 13, 2006
A Study of Positional Truths
Our IN CHRIST study
takes us this week into a new book of the Bible. We desire to study I
Thessalonians 1:1-5 which says,
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. We give thanks to
God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers:
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; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 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 man we were
among you for your sake.”
It is in this text
we find three distinct eternal position phrases. Paul tells us that we
are ‘IN GOD THE FATHER’, IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’, and we
are ‘IN THE HOLY GHOST’. What a position to be immersed within
the triune Godhead. This gives a whole new view to the truth that IN
CHRIST dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and we are
complete in Him.
This book has a
great emphasis on the subject of the second coming. I sometime ago
preached a series from this book entitled ‘While Waiting For the King’.
Paul writes this book, not as a warning, but as a book of encouragement
and exhortation. He mentions only his name and not his authority as an
apostle. In this opening he mentions two of his converts Silvanus
(Silas) and Timotheus. When one mentions two names in an opening of a
letter it is to give credence to the body of a letter. In the mouth of
two or three witnesses let every word be established.
Paul begins by
telling us that this church is in both ‘God the Father’ and the ‘Lord
Jesus Christ’. When one uses these names together we are reminded
of their equality and oneness. If Jesus Christ is not God to use His
name in the same sentence with God the Father would have been
blasphemy. We have the name of ‘Father’ used which speaks of our
eternal parent who cares for our every need. We have the full name of
prophet, priest, and king used for Jesus. O what rest to know as an
individual or collective assembly that we are in the likes of them.
We notice this
position has caused a flow of ‘grace and peace’ to those that are
in them. Grace, God’s unmerited favor, has been the means of
salvation. Peace is the result of this great salvation. It is the
wholeness of a person. There will be no mental health apart from
spiritual health. He gives peace that passes all understanding.
In verses 2 and 3
Paul breaks out into a prayer. What a prayer life this great man of God
had. It is hard to tell when he is talking to us or when he is talking
to the Lord. He is giving thanks for this church and making mention of
her strong points to the Lord. How often we make mention of our
churches weak points. I am sure if Paul would have looked close enough
he could have seen some of her weaknesses. Let us be reminded of our
own local assembly’s strong points and mention them to the Lord for a
hedge of protection.
The three strong
points that Paul mentioned are their ‘Work of Faith, Labor of Love,
and Patience of Hope’. The ‘Work of Faith’ would involve
their turning from the things of this world and refusing to walk by
sight. The ‘Labor of Love’ would be their service not only for
people, but to the living God. The ‘Patience of Hope’ would be
the enduring walk while waiting for the soon coming King. He that has
this hope will keep himself pure. What a blessing to be a part of an
assembly of God’s people where you see all three of these
characteristics being lived out by the membership.
I noticed Paul
commented in verse 3 that this church is aware of the all-seeing eye of
God. May our churches be reminded that the eyes of the Lord run
throughout the earth looking for those who are wholly given over to
Him. He said when He finds such He will show Himself strong in their
behalf. Paul says in verse 4 that it is clear to him that they are a
chosen vessel of God.
Let us pay close
attention to verse 5 in this hour where the ‘Purpose Driven’ and ‘Seeker
Friendly’ movements are front and center. This church was resting upon
the power of the Word and the Holy Ghost to change men’s lives. Paul
said they had assurance because they knew what manner of man he was
before the gospel and Holy Ghost changed him.
May our churches
find our position in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Ghost. When this position is acknowledged the power of the triune
Godhead will flow out of the assembly of believers to a lost and dying
world with great power.