Three Supreme Graces

      I Thess. 1:1-4 = "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."
      1. The Thessalonians have just recently turned to God from serving idols.
        1. Their growth as Christians has made tremendous progress as noted in verse three of our text.
        2. This growth has centered around the graces of -- Faith; Love; and Hope.
      2. These are the same graces found (in a different order) in I Cor. 13:13 -- "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
        1. In Corinthians Paul was showing the supremacy of love, so he put it last.
        2. In Thessalonians Paul is dealing with the natural order in which the graces are developed.
        3. Let us take a closer look at this development:
      1. Faith:
        1. This is basic and fundamental to a Christian.
        2. This connects us with God -- the Father.
        3. This is the door that Christ gains entrance into our hearts.
          Eph 3:17-19 = "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
      2. Love:
        1. This is produced by faith.
        2. Without faith there would be no love.
        3. Faith, must precede the friendship that springs love into being.
        4. We love, because we first believed that God loved us.
          John 3:16 = "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
          1 John 4:9-12 = "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
      3. Hope:
        1. Out of faith and hope springs forth hope.
        2. Hope is that which is expected out of faith.
        3. Hope is the anticipation of the glory that is to come from the love of God and man.
      Comment: By manifested, I am saying that which lets it be know certainly that it is present by showing and displaying it.
      1. Faith works:
        1. Faith is more than an idea or some mental state we may think we are in.
        2. Faith is actually living; moving; and breathing.
          1. In Hebrews eleven, the active energy of faith is show in the lives of every individual mentioned.
          2. In the Thessalonians we see faith at work:
            (a) In the assurance with which they had accepted the gospel.
            1 Thess 2:13-14 = "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:"
            (b) In standing firmly for the gospel in the face of bitter opposition.
            1 Thess 3:3-8 = "That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord."
            (c) In their effort to spread the gospel.
            1 Thess 1:8 = "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing."
            (d) In the change the gospel had brought forth in their lives.
            1 Thess 1:6-10 = "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
      2. Love labors:
        1. The word labor that I am using here is more than what is just work.
        2. The love here is descriptive of toiling and suffering.
          Rom 12:1-2 = "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
        3. Faith is manifested in the works of love.
          Gal 5:6 = "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
      3. Hope is seen in the exercise of patience.
        1. Through all the trials and tribulations, hope is that which is manifest by the absence of complaining.
        2. Hope enables us to bear up under pressures that come upon us. For example:
          1 Cor 10:13 = "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
        3. Hope is that which lets us look through the darkness to the heavenly light.
        4. Hope does these things:
          1. Hope expects the coming of Christ.
            Titus 2:11-14 = "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
          2. Hope desires the coming of Christ.
            2 Tim 4:6-8 = "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
          3. Hope causes us to prepare for the coming of Christ.
            1 John 3:3 = "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
      1 Thess 1:2-4 = "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."
      1. Their work of faith.
      2. Their labor of love.
      3. Their patience of hope.
      1. Will it be a working faith? -- faith without works is dead.
        James 2:14-17 = "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
      2. Will it be your labor of love to reach our fellow man?
      3. Will it be your patience of steadfastness that comes from hope?
        I Pet. 1-16 = "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
        Heb. 11:1 = Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

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