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. 1 Thessalonians 1:6
Chapter 1. The Word Heard
Cause for Thanksgiving; 1:1-3. Paul is thankful for the faith of the Thessalonians.
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Evidence of Response; 1:4-10 Paul points to more evidence for his confidence that the Lord loves and has chosen these brothers. The evidence is linked to their response to the Word. Paul traces the progression: they heard the word, welcomed the message with joy, and then the “message rang out from you.” A similar progression is seen in the same verses. Paul brought the message and lived a life in imitation of the Lord. The word “imitate” means an example or a pattern to be followed. Paul patterned his conduct on Christ; the Thessalonians learned from Paul how to follow Jesus; then their own lives set an example for the many in Macedonia and Achaia they won with the gospel message.
Living a life patterned on Jesus meant a great change in the lives of these believers. They turned to God fro their idols. They now lived to serve the living and true God while they waited for his Son to come back from heaven (, 10). All this was in spite of the persecution and suffering which their new faith brought them. How clearly the power of the Word of God and the message of the gospel.
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.
[I notice again that Paul is not focused on himself but on others. He keeps saying “I thank God for your faith… your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ… you became a model to all the believers… the Lord’s message rang out from you… your faith in God has become known everywhere. Nothing about his own accomplishment.
He was not like that before. Then, he changed by God Himself. He was not merely following some written rules. He was informed by the Holy Spirit to imitate the Christ who emptied himself and gave himself up for humans he had created.
Paul himself almost doesn’t exist. His attention is all on others and God. This is what it means to follow our Servant King. Simple enough to understand but possible to do only when we have God Himself in us.]