In the opening verses of 1 Thessalonians, Paul describes ten distinctive traits of the Thessalonian believers: (1) They had a working faith, (2) they had a laboring love, (3) they exhibited an enduring hope, (4) they displayed humility before God for His election and power, (5) they were genuine imitators of Christ, (6) they had joy in the midst of trouble, (7) they lived exemplary lives, (8) they had zeal in their witnessing, (9) they demonstrated transformed lives, and (10) they expectantly awaited the return of the Lord Jesus. To summarize, Paul said that the Thessalonian believers were characterized by faith, love, and hope—the three indispensable traits of a genuine Christian.

Each of these traits is outgoing, not inward; active, not passive; visible, not hidden; public, not private. Faith is active toward God. Love is active toward other people. Hope is active toward our expectation of the Lord’s return.

Faith is anchored in the past, in actual historic events, as we look back to the Lord’s saving work on the cross. Love is anchored in the present, as we practice Christlike love toward the people around us. Hope is anchored in the future, in the trustworthy promises God gave us in His Word.

Every genuine Christian trusts in God’s Word, puts his or her beliefs into action toward others, and is confident of his or her ultimate destination. These three traits—faith, love, and hope—prove that we follow Christ, not just on Sunday but every day of the week.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of the Thessalonians, who lived out their faith in the midst of desperately difficult circumstances. I praise You for granting them great faith that inspires me today. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to work in me that same faith, love, and hope, that I might endure all things as I keep my eyes on Jesus. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“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 Thessalonians 1:3).

*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Until Christ Returns: Living Confidently in Turbulent Times, Part 1: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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