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1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

2 We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers,
3 because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Phrases:

We thank God always –

Meaning Paul, Silas, and Timothy gave thanks persistently.

A) Thanks

  • Strong’s Definitions: εὐχαριστέω eucharistéō, yoo-khar-is-teh’-o;  to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal
  • The English derivative is Eucharist.

Discussion Questions:

  • This type of prayer is Thanksgiving. Can you name different types of prayers?
  • Can you name practical ways we can be reminded to persistently be grateful to God for others in our prayers?

for all of you –

  • Meaning they gave thanks not only for the leaders or  those close to Paul, but they gave thanks for each person in their church including Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, men and women, rich and poor.

Discussion Question:

  • Other than our church leaders, can you think of other groups of people in our church body that we may thank God for in our prayers?

as we mention you constantly in our prayers –

  • Meaning Paul, Silas, and Timothy prayed for them either individually or as a group or both.
  • By expressing this, Paul let the Thessalonians know that they were constantly in his prayers.

Discussion Questions:

  • Paul let them know they were being prayed for; can you share an example when someone prayed for you and then let you know?
  • How did you feel when you learned someone had prayed for you?
  • How does today’s technology make it easier to tell others they were prayed for?

Rabbit trail on private and public prayer…

  • In Mathew 6:5-6, Jesus says to pray in secret, yet Jesus and Paul both also teach to pray publicly. And in this passage, Paul writes to the Thessalonians to let them know they are being prayed for; how should we understand the good and bad motives when praying in public.
  • Mathew 6
    5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
  • John Gill commentary on Mathew 6 says, “they loved “standing” in prayer, rather than any other posture, because they could be better seen; and they loved to be in the synagogues and streets, rather than in their closets; they liked public better than private prayer, because it gained them applause among men.”
    Gill continues, “Our Lord does not mean to exclude and condemn public prayer, in joining with few, or more persons, in such service; for he himself directs to it, and approves of it, Matt 18:19 but his view is to instruct persons that they should not only pray in public, but in private also; and especially the latter, which is more suitable and fitting for their particular cases, and less liable to pride, hypocrisy, and vanity.”

because we recall –

  • Meaning they remembered.

in the presence of our God and Father –

A) presence

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἔμπροσθεν; émprosthen, em’-pros-then; in front of (in place (literally or figuratively).
  • Meaning Paul, Silas, and Timothy remembered while being before the Father, possibly while in prayer or in a general sense.
  • Some interpret this phrase not to mean that Paul prayed in the presence of God, but to mean the Thessalonians had faith, love, and hope before the presence of the Lord.

your work of faith –

A) work

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἔργον érgon, er’-gon; from ἔργω érgō (to work); toil (as an effort or occupation).
  • Meaning their faith has motivated them to do good works.
  • James 2:14 (NET) 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him?

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of specific examples of good works that are motivated by our faith?

and labor of love –

A) labor

  • Strong’s Definitions: κόπος kópos, kop’-os; a cut, i.e. (by analogy) toil (as reducing the strength), literally or figuratively; by implication, pains.
  • This word is a stronger word than ergon above. The sense of this word means the work is tiring and painful.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you think of good works motivated by love that are tiring and painful in your Christian walk?

and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ –

A) endurance

  • Strong’s Definitions: ὑπομονή, hypomonḗ, hoop-om-on-ay’; means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy.
  • Meaning that the hope the Thessalonians had in the Lord strengthened them to have endurance and constancy to continue in their faith and tiring labor of love.

Discussion Question:

  • What motivates an athlete to endure all their hard training?
  • In like manner, how does hope in Christ cause us to endure?

References:

Below are other verses that refer to faith, love, hope, and work, labor, and endurance.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NET) 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NET) 8 But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation.
  • Colossians 1:5 (NET) 5 Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel
  • Revelation 2:2 (NET) 2 ‘I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have even put to the test those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false.

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.


Are You Grateful for All of God’s People?

Bob,

You do well in giving thanks to Me as Paul did for the Thessalonians.  Continue to grow in your commitment to pray persistently for those in your own church and other Christians that I have brought into your life. You also do well in confessing your sins and making supplication for others. You do lack in expressing your adoration toward Me. Express adoring words toward Me – not for My sake but for your own.  Pray for all those in your church: the leaders, the men and fathers, the women and mothers, and don’t neglect the children.

Be careful not to brag to others about your prayers to receive their admiration, but at the same time don’t neglect letting people know you are praying for them – this will bring them much comfort.

Continue to express your faith through good works and resisting sin.
Don’t be afraid to feel some pain and discomfort in laboring for others.  Where there is love there will be a little pain and discomfort.

Keep enduring in this life. I know it is hard because the world, your bodies, and relationships are all harmed by sin. Yet keep persevering until you are with Me. I am your prize. Once you are with Me, you will soon forget the pain caused by the corruption in this world.

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