Sermon Notes & References

The Gospel Kernel

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

October 15, 2017

I.  The “Kernel”

 A.  Illustration of the Beech-nut

 B.  God’s Word

II.  The Character of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:1

 A.  His Name 1

 B.  His Nature

III.  Inward Reality, Outwardly Evident . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:2-3

 A.  Germs in the Kernel 2

 B.  “Work of Faith”

 C.  “Labour of Love”

 D.  “Steadfastness of Hope”

IV.  Eternally Important . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:4

 A.  An Assurance Given

 B.  Election & Love 3

V.  The Gospel Power 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1:5

 A.  The Gospel Word 5

 B.  The Spirit’s Attendance 6

1 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Gospel Kernel

I.  The “Kernel”

 A.  Illustration of the Beech-nut

  1.  when it first falls from the tree, it is perfectly round; still green

  2.  then as it dries, it turns brown

  3.  in the process of time – a few weeks – the outer case splits

  4.  this reveals two nuts, perfectly triangular in cross-section

  5.  if these in turn are peeled, they are edible and tasty

  6.  locked in each of these nuts – the kernel of the fruit of the beech tree – is life

  7.  and falling into good soil, there is within all the nourishment and directions to give birth to a new beech tree

 B.  God’s Word

  1.  when viewed simply as a piece of literature

   a.  as a record of different times and events

   b.  as an expression of peoples thoughts

   c.  then it is beautiful in the ideas it reveals

  2.  but in the progress of time – as the Holy Spirit works – a person can see beyond this external beauty into the truth it declares

  3.  inside is the kernel – tasty – “O taste and see that the Lord is good!

  4.  as the Bible opens up, in God’s time, the gospel comes forth

  5.  the Gospel which includes all the nourishment and direction to bring forth new spiritual life through the Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible

  6.  today we will look at our text to see some of the ingredients in the kernel of the Gospel – this will mean repeating a few things that we said last Lord’s Day.

II.  The Character of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:1

 A.  His Name

  1.  Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

  2.  in that phrase “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” there twice is the little English word, “the” – a word not seeming important

  3.  in fact, it is inserted by the translators although it is not in the Greek original, because English does not sound right without it

  4.  but its inclusion may be misleading – the closest one can come to a literal translation is “in Father God and Lord Jesus Christ

   a.  “Father God” and ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ stand as a name

    (A)  together these describe One Being revealed in Two Persons

    (B)  a similar construction is found in Matthew 28:19 where the disciples are instructed to baptise converts in “the Name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

   b.  the church is described as existing in this Being; in these Persons

  5.  so what is conveyed to us by this Name?

   a.  God – introduced in the very first verse of Scripture – is the one who brought all things into existence by His will and His word

   b.  Father – in this Person, He stands in relationship with the other Persons of the of the Trinity – the Son, the Holy Spirit

    (A)  eternally, therefore, He is a God of relationships

    (B)  and the Scriptures reveals that He desires to have a relationship with His creation and particularly with mankind

    (C)  the church, is men & women in this relationship with God

   c.  Lord – sovereignty, over the church, over man

    (A)  has been placed in the Son

    (B)  “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,” (Ephesians 1:22)

   d.  Jesus – so named for “He shall save His people from their sins.”

   e.  Christ – Messiah – the summation of all the OT promises so that the church, being in Him, realises their blessing

  6.  this is God’s being that is ingrained in the Gospel: the gospel is what it is because God is who He is. Moreover, the gospel shows …

 B.  His Nature

  1.  Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

  2.  from one perspective, it is through the gospel that grace – God’s unmerited favour to mankind – and peace – God’s reconciliation of sinful mankind back to himself – are realised by the believer

  3.  but from another perspective

   a.  these are essential attributes of God’s nature

   b.  that are conveyed to men and women through the gospel

   c.  these attributes are essential for the gospel

    (A)  to be planned by God, the Father

    (B)  to be carried out in time by God, the Son

    (C)  to be applied to you and me by God, the Holy Spirit

  4.  the gospel is what it is like, because of what God is like

III.  Inward Reality, Outwardly Evident . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:2-3

 A.  Germs in the Kernel

  1.  2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

  2.  in every viable seed, of which a kernel is only one kind, there is a germ of life that in due course springs forth into growth.

   a.  it is so with the gospel seed that is planted into good soil

   b.  as Jesus said, “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11)

   c.  and more particularly, as seen by the context, the gospel word that brings some to salvation

  3.  the missionaries address the church in Thessalonica in terms that leave no doubt that they are speaking to the real church there, to those who have been truly saved, born again from on high by the Holy Spirit

   a.  all such, lowest to highest, are included in their thanksgiving, and in their prayers which are an example to us …

   b.  “We give thanks … always for all … constantly ...

   c.  this thanks being for three inward realities in their life

   d.  realities that are the germs of life found in the gospel

   e.  faith … love … hope

   f.  each of which are proven effective in bringing salvation on account of the outward evidence they produce

   g.  work … labour … steadfastness

   h.  these three couplets could be taken as the outline of the first three chapters of this book respectively: faith’s work, love’s labour, hope’s steadfastness

   i.  these are the human aspects which give testimony to our salvation

 B.  “Work of Faith

  1.  this is the first germ in the kernel, the first of the graces that should adorn the Christian’s life

  2.  for us, as for the Thessalonians, active faith should show its energy in

   a.  showing a radical change in behaviour

   b.  having a full persuasion of the truth and preciousness of the gospel

   c.  giving effort to send this gospel forth

  3.  such a faith then, expresses itself in action

   a.  it affects the whole person

   b.  it results in a new fashion of living

Oh for a faith that will not shrink,

Though pressed by ev'ry foe;

That will not tremble on the brink

Of any earthly woe: …

                 Oh give us such a faith as this … 2

  4.  this faith colours your life-work so that all is done to the service of God

 C.  “Labour of Love

  1.  this second germ in the kernel, this grace – labourious love implies

   a.  a care for others, for their good

   b.  having an affection that reveals itself in unselfish acts

   c.  self-denial in the face of others’ needs

  2.  the word labour is not simply work, but toilsome work

   a.  work that may be demeaning, difficult, wearying

   b.  yet because love is its impetus, and love its content, it is carried out in such a way as to render it beautiful to others, pleasant to oneself

 D.  “Steadfastness of Hope

  1.  that word steadfastness, sometimes translated patience or endurance, has the thought of remaining or abiding under some trial or load

   a.  it is the undergirding of the Christian’s walk

   b.  or the foundation of his or her activities

   c.  that which holds a person to the course set before them

  2.  this third germ in the kernel, this grace in the believer is marked and maintained by hope

   a.  biblical hope is not a gossamer veil to be torn by the lightest blow

   b.  but a solid assurance based upon reality

   c.  My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

   d.  the term was used of the expectation of a guaranteed allotment from a father to a son upon his majority or other condition

  3.  in Christian thought, this hope has reference to our promised future

   a.  the conviction of the parousia, Jesus is coming again

   b.  a preparedness for that coming

   c.  steadfastness of hope is the ever present expectation of His coming

   d.  and an earnest desire for it

   e.  for with His coming we shall be forever with Him and ushered into our eternal home

IV.  Eternally Important . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:4

 A.  “knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;

 B.  An Assurance Given

  1.  what caused Paul to be able to write these words?

   a.  to address as brethren these who had been pagans

   b.  totally out of keeping with his Jewish heritage

   c.  that he knows that they are God’s beloved?

  2.  it goes back to the preceding verses

   a.  the external evidence bore witness to the internal reality

   b.  these were a people, consisting of former Jews, of proselytes, and of pagans who had been transformed

   c.  they were indeed now brethren; part of the family of God

  3.  oh, there may have been some in the group of people who assembled those who were yet unsaved, even those who came to oppose

  4.  but Paul is addressing the real church within that assembly – and to them these words cannot fail to apply … they are God’s own people

 C.  Election & Love

  1.  we come now to the Divine aspects of salvation

   a.  not, as we might think, to the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension

   b.  those were the culmination of God’s plan

   c.  but now Paul’s words turn back to something that took place before the annals of time – in the Council of God in eternity past

   d.  which is beyond our capacity to understand for God says in Isaiah 55:8, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.

   e.  so when we try to simplify it or explain it we can only get ourselves lost in the inexplicable and the profound

   f.  it is stated in Ephesians 1:4-5, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will

   g.  election, which just means choosing, is the truth of God’s selecting those who will form His people without in any way negating the validity of the Gospel invitation, such as when Christ said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

  2.  it is interesting that in the Scriptures this subject of election is found along with the subject of God’s love

   a.  as is the case in those verses we quoted from Ephesians 1

   b.  and as for example in that definitive passage on election in Romans 9, Paul quotes forcefully from Malachi 1:2, “Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” (Romans 9:13)

   c.  but most clearly in God’s explanation of His choice of the OT people of Israel to be His own: “6 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, …” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) – is was God’s prior love that made them His chosen

  3.  God’s love brought about election, the love that overflowed and sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us sinners.

V.  The Gospel Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:5

 A.  “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”

  1.  we shall return to this verse next week, Lord willing, when we speak on the outward power of the gospel in the Christian’s life

  2.  but today let me point out the final ingredients that are in this gospel kernel that make it to be a source of life

   a.  the first is that it is the word of God, not just the word of man

   b.  the second is the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit

  3.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, …” (Romans 1:16)

 B.  The Gospel Word

  1.  this gospel did not come in mere word – that is, it was not based upon the ideas and studies of man – such a word would have no effect on man who has been corrupted by sin

  2.  the phrase, “the word of God”, or, “… of the Lord” can have varying emphases depending upon the context in which it is written

   a.  sometimes, as in the OT prophets, it is that word which is spoken to them which was to be written down in what forms our Bible

   b.  at other times it especially refers to the specific commands of God which He assures us will not be empty, but will be fulfilled

   c.  at other times it particularly is talking about the judgements of God which are capable of discerning our thoughts and intents

   d.  and often, in the NT, as in the parable of the Sower, it points out the gospel message, as for example, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)

  3.  the Gospel especially is God’s word of Divine love to mankind

 C.  The Spirit’s Attendance

  1.  for this Gospel kernel to bring forth life, even though it is the word of the Lord, there is a final divine ingredient

  2.  that is the work that is accomplished by the work of God the Holy Spirit that accompanies it

  3.  in one sense this is an ingredient that is beyond the work of the church, the pastor-teacher, the evangelist

   a.  “‘Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit’ says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6)

I.  yet, in another, we are instructed “with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, ...” (Ephesians 6:18)

  1.  so I do not think that I am misrepresenting Scripture by saying that it is the prayers of you, God’s people, in the Spirit, that can make the Gospel word effective to the salvation of men, women, boys & girls

  2.  so that then I leave you this morning with a verse from later in this book, “pray without ceasing;” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) following the example given us by Paul and his associates in verses 2 and 3.


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2017 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT              Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              Philips     The New Testament in Modern Englis, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              CP   -      Decission, July & August 1962, Open Your Bible, by Dr Sherwiood E. Wirt

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

                             1, 2 Thessalonians: Robert L. Thomas

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

                             1 & II Thessalonians, by James Moffatt

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

              NCBC –    The New Century Bible Commentary – 1 and 2 Thessalonians – I. Howard Marshall – Wm B. Erdmans

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by the author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society.

2

Oh for a Faith, by Rev’d William Hiley Bathurst, (1796-1877)