Wednesday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (NKJV)
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
St. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy not only preached God’s Word to the Thessalonians, but they also lived according to the very Word of God which they preached. By this statement I am not merely referring to an obedient keeping of the Ten Commandments. Of course, St. Paul and these men did not live in sinful lusts and actions among the Thessalonians, but led blameless Christian lives as befit their office. The Word of God that they preached and lived included both Law and Gospel.
The Christian life is not only the outward observance of certain rules. Instead, the Christian life is one of thanksgiving for the free gift of salvation purchased by Jesus Christ. The forgiveness of sins, freely received, imparts the Holy Spirit so that even in the midst of afflictions the Lord brings forth love and good works.
When St. Paul speaks of the Christian lives of the Thessalonians, he does not just tell of their work, but of the “work of faith.” The Christian is moved by faith in Christ. St. Paul does not speak of their labor, but the “labor of love.” Their toiling in love, even toward enemies, is a fruit of the Spirit. St. Paul does not speak of patience, but “patience in hope.” Their perseverance in the Christian life is sustained by the confident hope that, with sins forgiven, Jesus Christ will return to take all believers to be with Him.
The living faith of the preachers was followed by the Thessalonians.
Heavenly Father, having forgiven us our sins, give us the joy of the Holy Spirit, that He bring forth in us works of faith, enduring love, and the perseverance of hope. Amen.