Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Written by Paul for the church at Thessalonica (modern-day Greece) in 50-51 AD. Paul with Timothy and Silas planted a church in Philippi. They were imprisoned because of some conflicts with other Jewish leaders and Gentile hearers. After their escape, they arrived in Thessalonica and started another Christian community at Jason’s household. However, the persecutors of Paul followed them there with some mob. This caused Paul to move out to Berea, Athens, and Corinth.
Paul’s aim is to give thanks and encourage the church at Thessalonica for standing firm in the gospel of Christ. Moreover, he emphasized the second coming of Christ in a later chapter of this epistle. In verse 2, the evidence is that he was continuously praying for them (Eph 1:16; Phil 1:3).
The supremacy of the gospel of Christ in the lives of the Christians in Thessalonica is known to almost entire Macedonia and other regions of Galatia. The term supremacy means a condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status; “the supremacy of the king”, in short, preeminence. What are the supremacy principles of Christian living? Five Principles of Gospel Supremacy in our passage:
Gospel Efficacy (verse 3)
- 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
- Efficacy means power, benefit, value
Gospel Assurance (verses 4-5)
- The “chosenness” does not just pertain to individual salvation but speaks about God choosing his people beyond Israelites, which means, including Gentile converts.
- The power of the gospel of Christ to convert and transform people’s hearts is not dependent on the preacher’s ability to persuade his audience but grounded in the assurance of the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who seals and illuminates the Word of God in our hearts.
- Eph 1, “13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
Gospel Endurance (verse 6)
- “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29-30 (cf. Acts 16)
- “… These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” Acts 17:6-7.
Gospel Expression (verses 7-8)
- “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year, they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26
Gospel Transformation (verses 9-10)
- “turned from the idols”
- “to serve the living and true God.”
- While waiting for the return of Christ—the first among us and the One who has redeemed us from our iniquities, sin, afflictions, and the impending judgment of God. (Chapters 4-5)
Let us live out the supremacy of the gospel of Christ in our lives. There is an assurance that God would sustain us through the Holy Spirit, our Helper, and Sanctifier.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 24, 2022