Chosen to be in the Family
1 Thessalonians 1:-10, emphasis on verse 4
1. Recognize the Context:
In verses 2-3, Paul prayerfully offered thanksgiving for the Thessalonians. He and his co-workers frequently and consistently interceded for this community. They remembered the Thessalonians’ work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope.
2. Read the Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10, emphasis on verse 4
4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell 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 rescues us from the coming wrath.
3. Reflect on the Scripture: Verse 4 continues the thanksgiving by addressing the Thessalonians with a familial term (Greek-adelphoi), which in this context included all of the brothers and sisters in the Thessalonian congregation. This word was used in the broader Greco-Roman world for those who were associated with the same religious group. Additionally, it was used within Israel’s history with reference to fellow Israelites (Ex. 2:11 and Deut. 15:3 in the Greek translation of the OT). We also see Jesus applied this familial concept in the Gospels. In Mark 3:34, Jesus identified his family (brother, sister, and mother) as anyone who did the will of God. Paul incorporated family imagery into his writings to depict the Christian’s relationship with other believers, as well as their relationship to God (Father- see 1:2 and their adoption into the family of God, Rom. 8:15).
Additionally, the Thessalonians were designated as loved by God. This phrase was another example of Paul’s appropriation of an expression originally identified with Israel (Deut. 33:12, Ps. 60:5) now used to identify the people of God in Christ. Finally, Paul reminded them “God has chosen you” (plural). It seems Paul had Deuteronomy 7:7-8 in mind, a passage that combined the ideas of God’s love for, and election of the people of Israel. In verse 4, Paul reminded the corporate body in Thessalonica they were chosen ones, and this election was rooted in God’s love. Paul’s reminder served to provide comfort for his immediate consideration of their suffering at the hands of those outside the church (verse 6).
4. Relate to life:
Now it's time to get your hands dirty today. Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Today, prayerfully consider what it means to be in the family of God with your brothers and sisters. Express thankfulness for friends and family members who are also a part of God’s family.
Today, express your gratitude to God for being loved and chosen by him. How can you live a life today that reflects being loved and chosen by God?
Today, prayerfully consider what it means to live as part of something much bigger than yourself, namely a family of those loved and chosen by God.
1. Is there a practical way you can demonstrate your thankfulness for the people you prayed for above?
2. How can you specifically reflect the love you have received from God to your brothers and sisters today?
3. Who in your life needs to hear about the amazing love of God today?
To study: (Always make sure to read the immediate context of the given passage.)
2. Read and study Mark 3:31-35, concerning Jesus’ mother and brothers.
3. Read and study Deuteronomy 7, God’s word to Israel through Moses concerning their relationship as God’s chosen people.