Today’s Reading: Ezek 47:1–48:35, 1 Thess 1:1–10, Job 39:24–40:2
Today’s Theme: Evidence of Salvation
Today’s theme looks at the evidence of salvation and transformation in the life of the believer. We look at the three qualities of those with saving faith (work of faith, labour of love and steady hope), as well as the four elements of Gospel delivery (Word, Power, Holy Spirit and Conviction).
Rivers of living water
And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.(Ezekiel 47:9, ESV)
I believe this is both literal and symbolic of the Spirit of God. Jesus said out of our belly will flow rivers of living or life giving water, in John 4:14.
Trees of life
And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”(Ezekiel 47:12, ESV)
These trees of life are mentioned by John in revelation too.
There is a reward for you
This shall be for the consecrated priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept my charge, who did not go astray when the people of Israel went astray, as the Levites did.(Ezekiel 48:11, ESV)
If we remain faithful, there is a reward for us and we read about this in Revelation 2-3.
“What remains on both sides of the holy portion and of the property of the city shall belong to the prince. Extending from the 25,000 cubits of the holy portion to the east border, and westward from the 25,000 cubits to the west border, parallel to the tribal portions, it shall belong to the prince. The holy portion with the sanctuary of the temple shall be in its midst.(Ezekiel 48:21, ESV)
Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and Prince.
The New Jerusalem
The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.”(Ezekiel 48:35, ESV)
The new Jerusalem in Revelation is parallel with this.
1 Thessalonians 1:1–10
An encouraging 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.(1 Thessalonians 1:1, ESV)
A common greeting from Paul, it is a shame that another common greeting from James has been used to make an excuse for the prosperity gospel. We should greet each other with encouraging words like this.
Three essential qualities
remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Thessalonians 1:3, ESV)
There are three essential qualities in the life of these believers; their work of faith, labour of love and steady hope.
Work of Faith
All the work we do in the kingdom of God must be done through faith in God’s person and His word. Anything we do aside from faith in God is sinful. We have work to do.
Labour of Love
We go beyond just believing and working on those beliefs, we go on to hard labour, going the extra mile, pushing boundaries and doing what is not possible in human strength, all motivated and powered along by the awesome, magnanimous love of God.
While we work we know we have hope, a steadfast hope in our God who cannot lie and will reward us for the work rendered in His name.
Chosen by God
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,(1 Thessalonians 1:4, ESV)
It is so overwhelming, and comforting to know that we have been chosen by God in His unfathomable grace.
Four elements of Gospel Delivery
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.(1 Thessalonians 1:5, ESV)
Notice the four elements of the delivery of the Gospel message:
The fact that Paul says ‘not only in word’, means that it did come in word but did not stop there. The gospel must be spoken and that which is spoken must be the unchanging word of God.
The word here speaks of ability in delivery of the word of God. Those who preach the gospel have been anointed by God to preach it with accuracy, authority and ability.
The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is the one that brings life and proof to the gospel message, causing it to find its way to a man’s heart and not just his head.
All of this is backed up by the earnest heartfelt conviction of the one delivering the gospel message. If we are not convinced, no one else will be convinced.
Live before God in joy
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,(1 Thessalonians 1:6, ESV)
Paul and the brothers’ way of life, caused the saints to become imitators of their conduct and behaviour. As ministers, we lead not only in sharing the word but in living our lives out before God and man.
Do we receive the word of God with joy despite the afflictions that surround us? Notice this is not natural joy, but the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Preach and believe the word
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.(1 Thessalonians 1:8, ESV)
These believers are good fruit, they did not only receive the word, they preached the word that they had received themselves. This is the biblical model of church planting and discipleship.
Along with the preaching of the word, this church was known for its faith in God which was demonstrated by its acts of faith.
The evidence of saving faith
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,(1 Thessalonians 1:9, ESV)
This preaching of the word and lives of faith, were evidence of the salvation of these believers and proof of the effective ministry of Paul and the others.
The evidence that we have repented by turning from idols, to serve God instead of idols, should be very clear. God is the only living God.
Wait for Jesus and warn everyone
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.(1 Thessalonians 1:10, ESV)
Waiting for the return of Christ is an essential part of our faith.
There is great wrath yet to come upon the earth and in the judgement of the afterlife. Jesus is the only one who can deliver us from God’s just wrath, we must warn others to flee the wrath to come.
God deserves the credit and glory for creation
“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south?(Job 39:26, ESV)
How dare we, as men, take the glory and credit from Him in creation.
Job’s error exposed
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”(Job 40:2, ESV)
Now we know for sure by this statement, that Job was wrong in his later speeches.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 Thessalonians 1