SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #6
August 11, 2012
This week’s lesson deal with the ultimate fruit of Christianity, the Gospel, The Sanctuary Message, and the New Covenant. 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. Our love for Christ and the gospel of grace, the redeeming work He did for the human race at the cross is then, of course, extended out to others, for whom Christ died. The friendship that Paul has for the Thessalonicans is deeper than human friendship. Paul loves this fellow Christians and wants them to be ready for the return of Christ. He wants to spend eternity with them, and for them to spend eternity in a love relationship with Christ.
Paul is also aware that Satan will continually work to distract and discourage fellow believers from maintaining their true faith. There were Judaizers who dogged his ministry and the lives of those who were responding to the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul recognizes in I Thessalonians 2:16 that God will eventually judge those who knowingly, or unwittingly, are working for satan. Paul wants the Thessalonians to continue in the faith, and not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel, a similar theme he discusses in Colossians 1:20-23. “ If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven;” Paul’s ultimate motivation shows that his priorities and focus are correct. He has an eternal view in mind. His love and concern for their salvation is so intense that it is painful for him to be removed from them, and his criticism about them should be read in that light. 1Thess. 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 1Thess. 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy.
Paul is also concerned about sending a substitute for Him, and does his best to boost Timothy’s authority with the church. He is concerned about the quality of the one he sends, and that shows a deep long term commitment to their welfare. Paul is also trying to encourage them in their suffering, to understand that such is a part of the experience of being a Christian, and to feel the association with Christ that such suffering brings. He does not want his ministry to them to have been in vain, which would be if they lost their faith.
Paul’s prayer life is reflective of his faith, love, and deep concern for the new believers. As we have often emphasized, “faith works by love.” He wants them to never forget the source of their new experience, or the motivation for their faith. Paul is persistent and constant in his praying for their endurance. 1Thess. 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 1Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Paul knows that Christian growth in love, holiness, character is the fruit of living faith, and the goal of Christ, working for us in the Heavenly Sanctuary, as the New Covenant promises the law written in our hearts. True faith trusts wholly on Christ for our righteousness and salvation, but such a faith will lead to holiness and conformity to the law of God, because “faith is manifested in works.”
Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 101. “The heart of him who receives the grace Of God overflows with love for God and for those for whom Christ died.” My prayer for all today is that we also will endure in our faith, and that our Christian experience is always motivated by love.