Key Verse | 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Scripture | 1 Thessalonians 1


Greeting

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians' Faith and Example

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly 1 mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers 2 loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Footnotes

[1] 1:2 Or without ceasing
[2] 1:4 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters

Faith, Love, and Hope



Devo | 1 Thessalonians 1

In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonian church, he shares his thankfulness and encourages them in their faith. He gives God the credit for the good works of service from His people. He "gives thanks to...

In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonian church, he shares his thankfulness and encourages them in their faith. He gives God the credit for the good works of service from His people. He "gives thanks to God" for them and is "constantly mentioning" them in prayer (1 Thessalonians 1:2). A spirit of thankfulness and commitment to prayer are integral parts of a walk with Christ, and Paul gives thanks to God for their growth and in sharing the gospel.

Next, Paul expresses that he is remembering their "work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope" (1 Thessalonians 1:3). In this expression, Paul is giving praise for the depth of their faith through their work for God (James 2:17-18), their service that arises from their love for others (1 Corinthians 13), and their endurance that is inspired by hope (Ephesians 1:18).

The church was wholeheartedly following after God and displayed this through their actions. The Greek word for faith is pistis, meaning a loyalty and faithfulness to something. In Habakkuk 2:4b, "[T]he righteous shall live by his faith," and Paul is stating that their faith drives their work (action). He goes on to say their labor of love is what motivates them. Sometimes, other things in our lives can drive us to love, such as money, status, recognition, duty, or even people-pleasing. Ultimately, all these temporal things lead us to pride, burn-out, and fatigue (Ephesians 2:8-9). The right motivation for all work is love. Love is self-sacrifice for the good of another and the only motivation when work becomes labor. Last, having steadfastness of hope means we have patience, endurance, and a "don't-give-up" attitude.

We may have adversities in life that are hard to understand, or we may be in a period of waiting, but our patience in knowing we have hope in Jesus will anchor us in the storms. We know the end of the story—Jesus is King (Revelation 19:16)! The evidence of His grace in our lives can lead us to a life of thankfulness and a spirit of hope.

Discussion Questions

1. Even though the Thessalonian church faced much persecution and suffering, they had an unshakable belief in God, His Word, and His promises. How does their example encourage you in times of suffering? (Philippians 2:17; Romans 5:3-5)

2. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God made each of us in His image and has a purpose for us. His love for us is intentional, and He knows us intimately. With this knowledge, how is your faith, love, and hope strengthened from His great love for you?

3. Is your labor of love motivated by love, or is it fame, success, money, applause, etc.? How can you change your heart posture to reflect a heart of gratitude and see the evidence of His daily grace for you? (Colossians 2:6-7)

4. What are some practical ways that you can point others to the hope found in Jesus, by reflecting the virtues of the Thessalonian church (faith, love, and hope) through your daily actions? (Galatians 5:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8)

Meet Kim Brown

My name is Kim; and I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, and grandma, but most importantly a follower of Jesus. I am originally from St. Louis, but have been in Texas for over 40 years. I enjoy spending time hiking, reading, and baking new recipes. My heart's desire is to share Christ and disciple others, as well as care for those who suffer from medical challenges or who are marginalized. God gives me opportunities to share about my faith, love, and hope through the ministries of Equipped Disciple, Watermark Urgent Care Clinic, and Reclaimed. Let's dive in!

7 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson 12 days ago

GM Kim! Thanks for a great opening devo on 1 Thess with some great Qs.

Q1. I note Paul’s cites their “hope in the lord Jesus Christ”. They knew they were chosen. They received the gospel in word, power and in the Holy Spirit with full conviction/confidence. Paul’s description coveys that they know they were loved by God. This verse links me back to Tozer. If I have a knowledge of God based on experiencing His goodness and kindness in the face of the knowledge of my own sin, I feel an overwhelming sense of forbearance, mercy and grace that is completely without merit.

Q2. I was in re:gen from 2013-2016. Among the most powerful truths I clung to is that God knows everything about me. Every thought. Every word. Every deed. Yet he still loves me. After all that. Again, forbearance, mercy, and grace. Completely without merit.

Hugh Stephenson 12 days ago

Q3 - Early on in Prodigal a mentor was asking me about my serving in charities and ministries back when we lived in Atlanta. I told him I had felt it was my obligation. By ego, I got over committed and began to feel weary. Then came resentment. What he pointed out is that all service done in love and for the Lord should energize me. Even more, it should be motivated by God’s call to me. I was stunned. Ever since then that is the filter through which I pray though any invitations for serving.

Q4 - This is a great question. In terms of modeling, I love a quotation I leaned a few years ago –

“Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.” Faber.

Hugh Stephenson 12 days ago

I also embrace the truth of the commands in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20. Lastly, I was inspired when I was taught that a plan for evangelism could be as simple as this, “Follow St. Paul; tell your own story and be bold in your weakness”.

At Prodigal, we are often asked “How will I know when my prodigal has really changed?”

Our basic answer is that you won’t be able to miss it. What it looks like is what Paul describes in this passage as the heart of the Thessalonians saints. The “before and after” as Paul lays out is a great example.

Sue Bohlin 11 days ago

Thank you, Kim!

What leaped off the page to me in this chapter was Paul’s phrase “the joy of the Holy Spirit.” I just love that of all the aspects of fruit of the Spirit, Paul chose this one to highlight in the lives of the Thessalonians. I have experienced a profound change in my spirit as the Holy Spirit filled my heart with His joy, replacing the bitterness of anger at God that once sent its roots deep inside me.

Needless to say, joy > bitterness! I am so, so grateful to know this personally.

Linda Green 11 days ago

Kim! So good to see your smiling face today and to praise God for the work He is doing in and through you- Equipped Disciple together was such a blessing!

Waiting is so hard! But your last paragraph reminded me to be thankful while waiting. Tonight at our prayer service this was one of the wonderful Psalms verses read: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:14

He is worth the wait!

Jermaine Harrison 11 days ago

Thanks for sharing Kim! I was challenged while reading by how obvious the faith of this Thessalonian church was. Their faith had become known everywhere, so much so that people were giving Paul reports of their life change and faithfulness. I’m praying that the difference in the way I love is empowered by the Spirit, edged forward by faith, hope and love, and is clearly observable to a watching world!

Michael Scaman 7 days ago

Here and other letters it seems Paul prays more when he hears the faith and love of people

They have faith and ‘a labor of love’ and God loves them.

View More Comments

Download the App

Listen to the Podcast