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1 Thessalonians 1 verses 4 -6

4 We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,
5 in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you).
6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction.


We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you-

  • Paul knows that the Thessalonian saints were loved and chosen by God based on the evidence he states in the following verses in this passage. 

However, below are other verses regarding believers being chosen by God.

  • John 6:44 (NET) 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • Romans 9 (NET)
    10 Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our ancestor Isaac –
    11 even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works but by his calling) –
    12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”
    13 just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
    14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
    15 For he says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
    16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.
    17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
    18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden.
    19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?”
    20 But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
    21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?
    22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?
    23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory –
    24 even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
    25 As he also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved,’My beloved.'”
    26 “And in the very placewhere it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”
    27 And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved,
    28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.”
  • Ephesians 1:4 (NET) 4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.
  • Ephesians 2:4,5 (NET)
    4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, 5 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! –
  • Colossians 3:12 (NET)
    12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NET)
    13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
  • 2 Timothy 1:9,10 (NET)
    9 He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!
  • Titus 1:1 (NET) 1 From Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness,
  •  1 Peter 1:1-2 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!
  • Revelation 17:8 (NET)
    8 The beast you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up from the abyss and then go to destruction. The inhabitants of the earth – all those whose names have not been written in the book of life since the foundation of the world – will be astounded when they see that the beast was, and is not, but is to come.

Discussion Question:

  • In Acts 16 Paul wanted to go to Asia, but God called him to Macedonia where the Thessalonians were located. Express how you feel knowing that God has chosen you and brought you the gospel message?

in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction –

  • The first proof of their election is the profound affect the gospel message had on the Thessalonians.
  • Paul taught the Thessalonians with the same words and in the same way that he has done with many others, but with these Thessalonians the gospel came to them in …

A) Power

  • Strong’s Definitions: δύναμις; dýnamis, doo’-nam-is; force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself).
  • The English derivative is dynamite.

B) Holy Spirit

  • Meaning the Third person of the Trinity had influenced their understanding and their will.

C) Deep conviction

  • Strong’s Definitions: πληροφορία; plērophoría, play-rof-or-ee’-ah; means entire confidence.
  • Meaning the Thessalonians had a life changing confidence, assurance, and conviction in the gospel message.

Discussion Questions:

  • How would you describe how the gospel message made an explosion in your heart and understanding?
  • How did you perceive the Holy Spirit’s work in your life when the gospel came to you?
  • How would you describe the sense of confidence you had in the truth of the gospel message?

(surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you) –

  • Paul mentions the character of himself and his team which they displayed to the Thessalonians to emphasize the following verse …

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, –

  • The second evidence of their election is how their character changed to imitate the character of the Lord, Paul, and Paul’s coworkers.

A) Imitators

  • Strong’s Definitions: μιμητής; mimētḗs, mim-ay-tace’; an imitator.
  • English derivative is mimic.

Discussion Question:

  • How would you describe how your character was transformed after receiving the gospel?

when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction-

A) Message

  • This is referring to the gospel message mentioned in v 5.
  • Paul defines the gospel message in 1 Corinthian 15 as…
  • 1 Corinthians 15
    1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand,
    2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.
    3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
    4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures,
    5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
    6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
    7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
    8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

B) Joy

  • Their third evidence of their election was their joy.
  • Strong’s Definitions: χαρά; chará, khar-ah’; from cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight

C). that comes from the Holy Spirit

  • Galatians 5:22-23 (NET) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Discussion Question:

  • How would you describe the calm delight you felt after receiving the gospel?

D) even in great affliction

  • The forth evidence of their election was not only their general joy but also their joy during suffering.
  • Below shows the violent start against the church in Thessalonica. Imagine what it must have been like to live there as a Christian.
  • Acts 17
    1 After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
    2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures,
    3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”
    4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
    5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.
    6 When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too,
    7 and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!”
    8 They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things.
    9 After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them.
    10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
  • James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials,
    3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.

Discussion Question:

  • Although you may not have been persecuted as the Thessalonians, you may have experienced great suffering. Can you describe the inner joy you felt when you were in that time of suffering?
  • Can you describe how you were influenced by the joy displayed by a brother or sister during their time of suffering?

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


Is There Evidence of Your Election?


You should feel awe and great gratitude that the gospel came to you.  I chose you in My Son before the world began.  Nothing is by accident:  your birth, house, friends, circumstances, mental health, ability to hearing and understanding, church, preachers, Bible, repentance, and faith – it all came from Me for your salvation.  Do not take it for granted because not all will be saved.

Go, tell the world, you may be the agent that I use to call My loved ones to My side.

Don’t forget how the power of the gospel affected your heart, thinking, and purpose in life.

Don’t forget how the Holy Spirit convicted you of sin and pursued you to come.

Don’t forget how you were persuaded to that the gospel was so true that you chose to change your whole life because of it.

Don’t forget the drastic changes that you made in your life by thinking different, talking different, and having a different purpose in life.  Don’t forget how you wanted to be holy in character and imitate My Son.

Don’t forget how the Holy Spirit placed His fruit within and how He challenges you even today to live with love, joy and peace.

And when the suffering came into your life, don’t forget the joy I gave you by close fellowship with Me, by knowing that I was perfecting your character, by trusting in My sovereign will.

Don’t forget.  Continue to show evidence of your election.