Matthew 16:26-28 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Hello everyone, my name is Kevin President and Founder of the Spectacle for Christ. Today we would like to review the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians to discover why Paul was writing to the Church in Thessalonian, and to begin, we will read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4.
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, 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.
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
Why was Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy writing to the Church in Thessalonian? A close read of the letter will show they were writing to the Church to say how happy they were to have heard of all the work they were doing in the name of the Lord.
We are to remember, it was with much labor and suffering Paul labored to the founding of the Church, and hearing about their work in the Lord, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy wrote to the Church to say they were giving God thanks for the Church, and for the work they were doing.
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” It was for no other reason Paul was writing to the Church but to encourage the Church in their work of faith, labor of love, and patience in the of hope of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church was greeted with the grace and peace of God because the grace of God was the outpouring of God’s knowledge and power on the people, the gospel and the revelation of the soon coming kingdom of God; the salvation they have come to inherit in Jesus Christ.
This is important to note because it will clear the way for us to understand the message leading up the statement Paul made regarding what we believe to be a message concerning the rapture.
Paul was writing to encourage the church in their work, this was the purpose of the message because report had gone back to Paul in Athens concerning the work of the Church he had founded with the help of Silvanus, and Timothy.
Having this good news and report, Paul then went on to remind the Church of the evidence that came with the preaching of the gospel when they first heard the message. And this was to strengthen the faith of the Church so that they will at all times be reminded that the gospel is the reality of the coming kingdom of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” The apostles did not preach the gospel for gain or for personal glory, they did it with great care and with much persecution.
Therefore, after receiving the evidence, they became followers of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, although, they were facing persecution from their own countrymen who had rejected and cast them out from among them for the sake of the gospel.
And as a result of their turning away from idolatry to worship the true and living God, they became examples for those who would later come to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 “You became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
Paul was proud and full of joy to have heard that although the church was facing much hardship, they were steadfast in the faith, and without ceasing were preaching the kingdom of God.
The word of the Lord was and is for the church to be preaching the message of the kingdom, and they are to do so to the glory of God. And the glory the Lord received from the church was the sacrifices they were making for the cause of the gospel.
On this account, Paul was thankful to God because of the faith, endurance, and hope of the church in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was something to celebrate, therefore, Paul wrote to encourage the church for their work in the face of persecution.
The church became followers of the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ who once told his disciples to, “Follow me.” And when Christ called on his disciples to follow after him, they were to have understood it meant all the way to the cross.
Matthew 16:24-28 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Truly I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
And when it comes to Paul’s statement we believe to be concerning a rapture, we are to keep that point Jesus made. “Truly I say unto you, he said, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
The work of the kingdom will be completed in the face of hardship and persecution, and with much resistance from the world. But the hope of the church was that Jesus will return, and when he does, he will grant each their reward for what they have done.
The world, this current system and world governance will pass away with its lusts and desires. However, the kingdom of Christ to come will be an everlasting kingdom; therefore, in the eyes of the Church the sufferings of today are not to be compared with the reward at the end of this age.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? In the face of hardship and standing firm on the promises of God, in the minds of the Church nothing, there is nothing we can give in exchange for our souls. Christ is the end and the beginning of their hope.
As such, the Church preached boldly the message of hope and the coming eternal kingdom of God in such a way when Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy came back to the area there was no need for them to preach the gospel.
Paul wrote as an encouragement and credit to the Church, 1 Thessalonians 1:8 “From you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.”
For this Paul was once again happy because the hope of the Church was in the Lord’s return and their work, their faith, and endurance in the face of hardship has proven it. And on account of these things, Paul wrote to the Church.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves showed us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”