(1 Thessalonians 1:1-5) – Grace and Peace
Paul, the author of this letter, speaks to the Thessalonians for the purpose of encouragement. He writes to lift them up!
Some other purposes include: answering false claims, comforting the believers, teaching into end-times events, admonishing sinful lifestyles, and encouraging purity in the body of Christ.
You’ll see throughout this letter that Paul often appeals to the deep and intimate relationship he had with them while he’s speaking on different subjects.
He uses the phrase “you know” or “you yourselves know” 11 times throughout this short letter. He was apparently very open with them to the point where they knew much of his life and ministry values.
In starting the letter, Paul opens with his customary (and very profound) greeting and some personal thoughts of thanksgiving.
“Grace and peace” wasn’t just a cute saying that served as a “hey what’s up?”, it was a way of wishing the best for others by asking God to extend His richest blessings upon their life.
It’s important to remember that everything that God gives to us is rooted is one of these two things. If something being ministered to you isn’t rooted in grace or peace, it’s not from God.
Think about it….
I’m always challenged by Paul’s prayer life. One commentator said that the times when you see Paul most passionate is NOT when he’s talking to people about God, but when he’s talking to God about people.
Either way, Paul obviously loved these believers because he constantly prayed for them.
You pray for the things that matter to you.
And we can notice a few quick things theologically based on Paul’s prayer.
– Justification (work of faith), sanctification (labor of love), and glorification (steadfastness of hope) are all part of salvation and should be directed into the Lord Jesus alone. It’s a from-faith-to-faith life.
– Even though it truly is OUR work of faith, OUR labor of love, and OUR steadfastness of hope, GOD chose us and empowers us in those things. It’s always His work in us that explains our lifestyle.
– A Godly lifestyle displays the power of the Holy Spirit. It moves us from speaking mere words to displaying supernatural power and conviction. It’s profound and incredible!
What does your prayer life look like right now? Does it resemble anything close to the Apostle Paul’s? Are you moving in that direction?
If you’re not experiencing God’s power in your life, you may not be plugged in!