I Thessalonians 1:1 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.
Yesterday we looked at words of comfort that Paul was directed to write in chapter 4 of this book. I believe it is important to spend the bulk of my Bible study and preaching in expositional format. I believe it is safer to take a book as God gave it and study it as God gave it. He knows what we need. He gave His Word in book form. He gave a continual thought that He wanted recorded in book form.
In this book, Paul began by mentioning two other men besides himself.
We know some of the story of Paul. We know that he was a Pharisee in his younger years. He was a student of parts of the Scriptures. He was trained to ignore the facts and accept the lies being fed to him. He became a very forceful hater of God and His children. God loved Saul (Paul), and He gave him several opportunities to repent and be saved. We do not know how many times. We know that God used means that forced Saul to stop in his tracks. Saul could have continued to resist and reject the truth. God never forces anyone to be saved. Saul was brought to the place where he could see that he was going the wrong way. He was stopped and he was able to see that what he was doing was not right. He knew that. Every lost person knows in their conscience that what they are doing is wrong. They fight against the truth to pursue their lies.
Saul was converted and he became a great man of God. God changed his heart and nature. He also changed his name. Paul was constantly reminded of the change that God makes in a repentant sinner’s life. Others that knew him from his youth were also reminded that God had changed him.
The name Silvanus is the more formal name of Silas. He was a Roman who was converted and he assisted Paul on several of his trips. He suffered with Paul on several occasions.
Timotheus is Timothy. He was a student of Paul’s and was like a son to him. These three men were together at the time of this writing. Paul was directed to write to the saints in Thessalonica. There was a church there. This church was a true church. This church was established in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Godhead is one. The Godhead works in unity. This church was faithful to the Lord and able to be a testimony to others.
As is common, Paul was directed to speak of God’s grace to them. God’s grace is that strength and help that God provides to His saints. God’s grace is not a license to sin, as the Calvinist and others believe. Peace is also a gift from God that comes as a result of God’s forgiveness and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the true child of God.
As we see here the grace and peace that we need is from God our Father. It is those who have a personal relationship with God that are blessed with His grace and peace. We see as well that this gift of grace and peace is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we noted, the Godhead is a team. They are a unity that is there to bless man. It is important for a person to turn to God and be saved as Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus were. They were able to be a blessing to the saints in Thessalonica and elsewhere. The letters written by Paul were meant to be read by other churches as well. The truths that the Thessalonians needed to know were of equal importance to all saints. That is why we can be blessed by them today as well.
God’s Word never grows old. It is never outdated. The local church is designed to meet the needs of those who attend. It is designed to give the lost a clear Gospel message that the Holy Spirit can use to convince the lost of their need to be saved. The local church is also designed to be the place to equip the saints. The local church is designed by God to be that powerhouse through which He makes His name known in the local community and also further abroad.
Evangelists are sent out from the local church. They are sent with the same message that the local church is proclaiming at home. All of mankind needs to have a constant reminder of the truth. In times past radio broadcasts were more important. Today, more people listen through the various avenues on the Internet. The Internet or the radio can never fulfil the blessing that God has designed through faithful attendance in a true local church. Those who are saved will know this.
As a much younger Christian, I led my family to check out several local churches. I would say to my wife: ‘there is something missing here.’ At the time, due to being raised in the New Evangelical philosophy, I could not put my finger on what was missing. However, when I finally was led to the preaching of men who actually believed the Word of God and proclaimed It faithfully, my spirit gave a sigh of relieve. I had found what was missing. Now I was being fed that which truly brings God’s grace and peace to bear upon the soul. It was refreshing to me. God was gracious and continued to prod me until He had me more closely aligned with what He wanted for not just me, but for my family and for all other saints. It is important to listen to God and humbly submit to Him and let Him lead you to that place of blessing He has for you. There is no substitute for a true local church.