living quality of the Word of God within in that it is both spiritually
imparted and gladly embraced by true believers and was a case of proving
the genuineness of these saints.
AIM: That we
might become more conversant with the Word and sensitive to its presence
and the working whereby we manifest the grace of God in our lives.
INTR: We return
again to the example of Paul with the Thessalonians and the explanations
of the mysterious operations of the Spirit that were needed to comfort
and assure them.
1. As we have often noted these were a persecuted
people and were subjected to stresses of which we know nothing and these
led to doubts as to the Lord’s purpose.
2. We would be reminded that
the assurances of the Lord do not always come by informing the mind
(else why do we need faith?) but rather by the evidence in us of His
continuing work of grace through faith.
3. It is here that we are
made to understand how the tried and persecuted continue in that the
living word (the essence of the scriptures) dwells within us in such a
manner as to inform, to govern and thus to connect us with Lord in all
THESIS: The objective
of the Apostle Paul in ministry is clearly met in that which is
expressed here in that he witnessed in them that which is to be desired
in all. These had received the Word, embraced the Word and were bearing
the evidence of lives directed by the Word through the Holy Spirit.
I. An objective stated and realized (vv. 11-13a)
Spurgeon, in a message, described this as “Three Things Worth Seeing.”
These were: Ministers giving thanks, hearers receiving the Word, and new
converts exhibiting the family likeness.
2. This could easily form
the outline for our thoughts in that these were the things Paul
witnessed to this troubled people.
3. He begins with a challenge to
remember initial things and that he had done so in a fatherly way:
This was not a matter-of-fact discharge of his apostolic duty – he had
preached in love to them.
1) He had done this in the hopes that they
might see the greater exhibition of this in the manner in which the Lord
gave Himself in salvation.
2) He was alluding as well to the
genuineness of efficacious grace in himself.
5. The objective of the
divine calling (unto His Kingdom and glory) is enough to warrant such a
walk before God and men and so are we challenged to so walk as those so
6. That which Paul saw in them was a reason to give thanks.
Compare 1 Thessalonians 2:19
II. The reason of Paul’s
thanksgiving and their assurance (v. 13)
1. The manner in which the
Word was received noting two different words here:
1) The first was
that they had given attention to the preaching of Paul and their minds
2) The second brings the intensity of the effect into
view in that the word here is accepted or even better embraced or taken
unto themselves and so
3) It is in this second manner that we
understand the beginnings of the mysterious working within.
Compare: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but
the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in
them that heard it. Hebrews 4:2
2. There was discernment given that
this was more than mere speech-making by men; it was rather:
truth as it is revealed in Christ and more perfectly as Christ Jesus our
2) It was very literally the Word of God being conveyed through
the mouths of men being led of the Spirit to communicate the Gospel of
grace and mercy and the instructions in life given into their (our)
3. That effectual working is characterized in many ways:
1) Obedience to the heavenly vision – Calvin wrote: “For who would not
shudder at the thought of resisting God?”
2) The ability to know the
truth and wonder of “This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him!”
3) And so
it is unto salvation as it is believed in the process of salvation – “Ye
must be born again!” And thereby all our trust on Him is laid.
John Gill wrote: “…when it (the Word) comes with the divine commission
and power, it effectually works to the quickening of dead sinners, the
enlightening of dark minds, the unstopping of deaf ears, the softening
of hard hearts, producing faith which works by love, encouraging hope,
delivering from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the Law, and comforting
and establishing the hearts of the saints under all afflictions, trials,
4. It is not to be omitted that the working of God
in His people is never separate from His word and so it is implicit in
such passages as: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to
do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
5. Robert Hawker wrote of
Paul: “…how blessedly, he traceth all the success of his labots to this
one source, in the Lord’s disposing them to receive the word of God, not
as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.”
The outcome of the effectually working word of God (v. 14)
ubiquitous “For” here appears as the explanation of a desired outcome is
observed (see verse 12).
2. Wherever salvation occurs there is an
identifiable pattern of life which shows that the word is working
effectually in the hearts of professing believers.
3. It thus
behooves us to be in the way of looking to the word, hearing the word
and embracing the word as did the Thessalonians and so walk worthy of
citizenship in the Kingdom of our God in Christ our Lord!