1 Thessalonians 1:6-10

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10



One of the most common experiences of the Christian life is that we tend to doubt God when specific circumstances arise. For example, sin can make us question our standing with God or make us doubt our salvation. Suffering can cause us to doubt God’s goodness. Sacrifice can make us wonder if this faith is worth enduring for.

  • Have you ever met anyone who has asked these types of questions? 
  • Have you ever asked these types of questions? 
  • Is one of these “doubts” more common in our culture today?

Right on the back of saying that God has chosen us (last week's discipleship tool) - Paul writes to continue affirming the Thessalonians of their stance before God. Paul says that not only is their standing with God based on God, and not themselves, but then goes on to list pieces of evidence of a Christian, evident in the audience, to continue to show the Thessalonians that the Gospel and Christ himself have changed their lives. 

The signs that Paul lists are: (1) Imitation of Christ, (2) a sounding of the Gospel to the world around them, and (3) removal of idols from their lives. 

Anyone who doubts their salvation can then remember this. If they believe God is faithful to save them, and the evidence is that they want to imitate Christ, share the Gospel, and remove false Gods from their lives.


Read 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 aloud. Context building: Read verses 4-5 as well.


  • What is Paul doing in these verses?  
    • What is he saying to his audience?
    • Why do you think he is saying this?
    • Why might the audience need to hear this?

  • Do you ever recognize points in your own life where you need to hear things like this? 
    • Are there ever times when you doubt your own standing with God?
    • What are the circumstances in your life when doubting shows up? Sin? Lack of energy? Missing church? Tension in your life? Suffering?


For people who struggle and develop fears with the doctrine of predestination, Paul lists two things to help encourage them. First, Paul says that God chooses you, not vice versa (verses 4-5). Second, Paul says that when things like (1) the imitation of Christ, (2) a sounding of the Gospel to the world around them, and (3) the removal of idols from their lives are pieces of evidence that God is working in their life, and they belong to God (verses 6-10). 

He ends this by saying that the true Christian is anyone who “waits for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

Paul is saying that the only way we have the power to do the things listed above (imitation, sharing the Gospel, and fighting idols) comes from knowing God and having hope in a future that brings Christ’s kingdom to earth. 

  • How often do you consider these marks of a Christian? Do you consistently work for them in your life? Is one of these more straightforward for you or harder for you? 
    • What makes the ones you identified easier or more challenging for you?
  • Do you have anyone in your life that you look to as an imitator of Christ? The same way that the Thessalonians looked to Paul, and Paul looked to Christ. 
  • During this season of studying the Thessalonians, what is one area that you want to ask the Lord to help you grow?

This is a great time to continue encouraging one another. We primarily have been looking inward and reflecting on ourselves, but sometimes, those in our community can see us with more clarity than we see ourselves. Share where you have seen the marks of a true Christian in their lives.

John, when I consider these marks of a Christian, I look up to you in the way you are willing to lovingly share the Gospel openly with people around you. It seems evident that because you are so affected by the Gospel, you can’t help by sharing it. This is evidence to me that you are genuinely a Christian and God is working in your life.


Rachael - When I consider the marks of a Christian, it has become evident to me how seriously you take the command of God to remove the false gods from your life. Each time you tell a story of how you have turned away from your old self and have fought hard against sin struggles, it's so evident that God is present with you, and you are a Christian that I want to imitate myself.


Close your time in prayer for each other.