Faith Hope and Love CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
(1 Thes 1:2) We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
(1 Thes 1:3) 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;
As Christians, we have faith hope and love simply as a consequence of getting saved. We had the faith to believe that if we would trust Jesus, he would save us and he did! Then we found a love for the Lord that we never had before that resulted from our understanding of God’s love for us, “We love him, because he first loved us,” (1 Jn 4:19). And we have hope because we believe Jesus is coming back to get us and take us to heaven. So, we have a basic understanding of these three things. However, Paul shows us something greater about the faith, love and hope that we have which ought to help us grow as Christians.
Notice Paul thanked God for their:
- Work of Faith – Real faith will get you working for the Lord. It’ll put some footsteps in your walk of faith. Do you believe that God saves souls that respond affirmatively to the gospel? Yes! Then if you really believe that, you will tell others. The Thessalonians believed it. Look at verse 8, “your faith to God-ward is spread abroad.” They were preaching it.
James said, “I will shew thee my faith by my works,” (Jas 2:18). Get working for God.
The great chapter in the Bible on faith is Heb 11. Look what some of these men did by faith:
- V. 4 Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2)
- V. 5-6 Enoch pleased God (Heb 13:15-16)
- V. 7 Noah built a boat and saved his house (Acts 16:31).
- V. 24-27 Moses forsook the pleasures of sin and Egypt (2 Cor 6:17-18).
A real, growing faith will be evidenced by some work. A Christian who professes to be saved and does nothing for the Lord is not much to thank God for (v.2) and one who is working for the Lord as a result of growing faith is something to shout about – praise God!
- Labour of Love – When you really love somebody, you’ll do things for them. If a man told his wife that he loved her but never did anything for her, his love would be very suspect. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” “Yes.” “Then feed my sheep!” Jesus asks you, “Do you love me?” “Yes.” “Then I have a job for you to do.”
The Thessalonians certainly understood this. Look at verse 9, “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” Mike, a radio listener, got saved watching the Somewhere Forever video. Showed it to his wife and she got saved. Reading and studying the Bible he suddenly realizes that the RCC is wrong and he has just quit an adult confirmation class. Said he wants to get baptized properly. You know what; he’s doing just what the Thessalonians did – turned to God from idols. Next he’ll be serving God.
Here’s the concept more easily understood. A woman goes into labour to bring forth a baby. That is a labor of love! She’ll work the rest of her life taking care of those babies and their children.
Now, you love God, right? What are you doing for him that is an outgrowth of that love? The Thessalonians labored to serve God. What will you do? I know you love him. So, you’ll serve him. A Christian who professes to love God and won’t lift a finger for him is nothing to thank God about. But one who loves him and serves him is a cause for shouting!
- Patience of Hope – When you hope for something that you know will come to pass, you will wait patiently for it. In school, when you’re in the 10th grade, you’re ready to quit school, you think, and get a job. But, you know if you do, you’ll never get ahead. So, you wait patiently through 11th, 12th grades and a minimum of 4 years of college. Why? Because you hope that you’ll make more money for the same hours of work.
Do you believe Jesus is coming? Yes. Then you’ll wait patiently for him to fix the things he’s going to fix when he gets here, and occupy your time with the things you can do in the meantime.
The Thessalonians knew all about this. Look at verse 10, “to wait for his Son from heaven.” “(Rom 8:24-25) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
It’s like this. A woman with a husband MIA will keep herself for him if she really believes that he’s coming back. But whereas she has no assurance of his return, we have assurance of Jesus’ return! Thus, our lives ought to show our hope through patience.
In the tribulation, for instance, the saints are tormented by the antichrist. However, they take it, knowing that the Lord will come to avenge the adversary (Rev 14:12). The Thessalonians, likewise received the word with affliction (v.6) which came from the Jews (chap. 2:14-16) and yet they took it with JOY of the Holy Ghost. How? By the patience that comes from hope!!
In farming for instance, the farmer will wait patiently through months of preparation, planting, and cultivation to harvest a crop (Jas 5:7) thus we wait patiently for the Lord’s word to work when it’s sown. Patiently in hope of it’s yield in our lives and in the lives of the lost to whom we preach.
You know that the Lord is coming back. Are you doing something to day that will not reap a benefit for years to come? Like laying up treasure. When a Christian says that he believes the Lord will come and yet he cannot do anything that has eternal rewards instead of temporal returns, that’s not much to thank God for. But when you find a Christian who can lay it up for heaven, that’s a cause to shout!!
If you have faith, real faith, you’ll work – primarily telling others.
If you love him, you’ll serve him.
If you hope for his return – you’ll do things that will count when he comes back.