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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #77
Posted: April 13, 2006

IN CHRIST
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, Paul, and 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.

 

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