Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum


Faith, love and hope

1 Thess. 1: 3-10



"And 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 (1: 7)
The first letter to the young church in Thessalonica was written by Paul to strengthen their faith and to encourage them in the midst of persecution. He wrote this letter out of his love and concern for them. This was right after Timothy came back to Paul with a report about how the church was surviving. Paul reminded them that the Gospel came to them in the power of the Holy Spirit through the missionary work of Paul, Silas and Timothy and commends on their faith, love and hope as a sign of their salvation. Faith, hope and love are the most important features of salvation. Faith is the very foundation of God‟s message, absolutely trusting God‟s promises as evident by action. Love is the unselfish service to others in the same way, as God loves you. Hope is the attitude of looking forward to the fulfillment of Chris‟s promises including the blessed hope of Christ‟s return.

Faith produces works

In today‟s world, our faith is served by mere lip service with our mouths that we have faith. Most of us go to church and show off without having any genuine and authentic faith and we fail to act on the faith we profess. We are not saved by faith alone, but faith that leads to works of action as James has stated in his epistle. We have been saved to do good works and hence a person saved has to do good. Satan tends to sow seeds of doubt in our minds like he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden saying "Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" Trials, sufferings and persecution cause us to wander away and waiver in our faith.
 
Love produces labor

The greatest example of Agape love or sacrificial love is God sending his own Son for us as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We have to „love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind‟. We are also told to „love your neighbor as yourself‟. Ist John 4: 19b says „For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen‟.

Hope produces patience
Hope is what keeps us going. Without hope, you feel worthless and find no meaning or purpose in our lives and such hopelessness leads to sorrow and depression. But, as Christians, „as we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and savior, Jesus Christ,‟ (Titus 3: 13), trials and sufferings in this world is nothing compared to the inheritance that is awaiting us in heaven. Hope gives us patience to endure anything as evident in this young Thessalonian church. The recent converts of the Thessalonian church was a model church „And so you became a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia‟ as in verse 7. They showed their faith in action by turning from idol worship as stated in verse 9. They also showed their love by serving the living and true God as is again stated in verse 9. They have shown their hope by waiting for his Son from heaven, Jesus. Let their faith, love and hope inspire us in our daily walks.

We should also be model Christians by living as true witnesses by walking the talk and professing our faith at our homes and workplaces, displaying authentic and genuine love for God and also extending that love to our neighbors in need, and remaining hopeful and ever ready for Christ‟s return. Thus, faith, hope and love will become true hallmarks of our salvation. We should remember that God has chosen us and given us the power of the Holy Spirit to cast all doubts away and remain anchored in our faith and Christian walk.
Prayer

: O Lord, help us have genuine faith that produces fruit, love that causes us to labor for you and our neighbors in need and have the hope that Christ will come again so that we can have patience to endure anything. Let the power of the Holy Spirit cleanse our hearts and minds and help us cast away all our doubts and fears and strengthen our faith.

Alex Thomas, M.D, NJ Mar Thoma Church



From doubt to faith