Studies in First Thessalonians, Video preaching

Opening words

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1

Sermon notes

The letter before us was written by Paul from Athens where Paul had arrived very soon after leaving Thessalonica. See Acts 17:10-15, 1Thess 3:2.

It was written to the congregation but clearly addressed to the oversight, 5:25-27.

The human penmen were Paul, Silas and Timothy. Paul as the Apostle would have been the inspired source of the words, and likely they were written down by one or both of the others. Paul seemed to have an issue with his eyes and generally employed a scribe in his writings. Cp Rom 16:22, Gal 6:11, 2 Thess 3:17.


As he begins to write to them he immediately draws attention to their gospel position. He is writing to a people who find themselves in a certain place/standing. He considers this from two perspectives:

  1. A Divine position.
  2. In God the Father, v1.There is a relation between the Christian and God the Father. This is a Trinitarian title expressing His relation to the other Persons: Son and Spirit. Yet there is also a relation to His children. These saints are said to be in God the Father. There is a union with Him. Cp 1John 1:3, 4:12, 15-16, 5:20. He is the ultimate source of their spiritual life and their salvation. He is the great first cause in redemption. To Him is ascribed the work of election. Cp 1Pet 1:2. In referencing this connection Paul is getting right back to the very foundation of their salvation. He is insisting upon the reality and genuiness of their salvation. This continues in the following verses and we shall see how he can be so dogmatic about the deepest and most mysterious of theological truths.
  3. In the Lord Jesus Christ, v1. Both experiences go together and are necessary to each other. The saint is in union with Christ, Jn 6:56, 15:5, 1Jn 3:24—this union is the means/instrument of union with the Father. There is a full view of the Saviour as the God-man, the Divinely appointed Saviour, in the use of His three names/titles. The use of both statements emphasizes the solid, unbreakable basis for salvation and the absolute security of the redeemed. Cp John 10:27-29.
  4. Their position from a human perspective. They are regarded as being the church of the Thessalonians. This is an expression that draws attention to the local church, the human institution, as it was based in a particular city. Those who are in Christ and in God the Father are to be in the local church. They are to be visibly identified as belonging to the human community of God’s people. The question invariably arises: Which church? The answer to that question may be stated in terms of this verse. The church/congregation that best expresses what it means to be ‘in Christ’ and ‘in the Father’. There is an obvious compatibility here between these two perspectives!


  1. These resources are sourced in both Father and Son. Cp Jn 1:14, 16, 1Pet 5:10. There is no other way to experience these blessings! Grace and peace can only be the experience of those who are actually inChrist and the Father.
  2. Grace, v1. This term broadly describes all the resources that God has prepared for His people. It includes everything that they need to consummate their experience of redemption. Cp 2Cor 12:9-10.
  3. Peace, v1. Paul clearly has a specific peace in mind. It is the peace of/with God revealed in the gospel, Rom 5:1. The gospel had been the means of disturbing their temporal peace! It is the peace of Phil 4:7, John 14:27.
  4. A specific means by which these resources are communicated. It is obvious from Paul’s words that he intends the words that he is writing to be a means of this grace and peace to them. It must be the desire of all who would follow the Apostolic model, to convey grace and peace to the hearts of God’s people by communicating to them the Scriptures. The communication of the word of God as a primary means of grace and peace to those in Christ and in the Father. These three men were united in that purpose!

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