A Model Church

Tuesday, Apr. 14

There’s an interesting trilogy in 1 Thes. 1:3. “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith, love and hope are also the core verities mentioned in 1 Cor. 13:13. They seem to be the three main traits that characterize the Christian. If missing, our lives are no different than the unregenerate. If abundantly demonstrated, we please God and are able to produce fruit. The parallel form of this trilogy is significant. The three traits make up the driving force behind godly character and a productive ministry. The linking words produced, prompted, and inspired express “cause and effect,” or the results of the divine verities. Faith produces work. The Greek word for “work” here implies ongoing toil, a life work. Love produces work, too, but the Greek word for “work” here involves pains, trials and tribulations. When things don’t seem to go right, our love for God sees us through. Hope inspires endurance. Hope is the certainty of eternal life, a home in heaven, eternity with God. The reality of that, even though it hasn’t happened yet, gives us the grace to persevere. You might notice that the three traits are gifts of grace. We don’t have within ourselves the ability to live a godly life. God’s provision of these traits is essential. Our job is to use the gifts. Paul’s commendation of the church of Thessalonica is remarkable. Most of his letters are partly positive and partly to correct some erroneous belief or practice. He has no negatives in this letter. Oh, that all our churches could meet that standard!

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