Invincible Joy Confirms Our Election

1 Thessalonians 1:2–7, Part 3


That someone experiences joy when they hear the gospel does not necessarily confirm that they are elect. But a certain kind of joy does. In this lab, John Piper talks about what happens when true believers experience suffering because of their faith.

Principle for Bible Reading

A ground (“for” or “because”) is an argument or reason for another statement. The supporting (or grounding) statement always comes after the statement it supports. To understand how the ground works, you have to identify the two propositions (which statement supports or clarifies which statement). Then, you have to explain in what way the second statement argues for the first.

Study Questions

  1. Explain the “because” at the beginning of 1 Thessalonians 1:5. How does what comes after the “because” explain or ground what comes before it?
  2. When Paul says the word came “in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction,” whose power and conviction is he talking about? Why do you think that?
  3. Does receiving the gospel with joy confirm that we are elect? Why or why not? How do 1 Thessalonians 1:2–7 and Mark 4:16–17 change or fill out your answer?

Introduction/Prayer/Recap (00:00–02:31)

Is the Power Paul’s or the Believers’? (02:31–05:08)

  • Paul knows God has chosen these believers “because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
  • Is that Paul’s power and conviction, or the Thessalonians’?
  • The next sentence talks about what kind of men Paul and his fellow teachers were, which makes me think it is Paul’s power and conviction. (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

What Evidence Is There of Their Election? (05:08–07:12)

  • But how does the power at work in Paul and his co-laborers prove the Thessalonians’ election? (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
  • It doesn’t by itself. There was also evidence in them, too. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
  • The power at work in and through Paul bore fruit in these believers.
  • What was the fruit? They received the word with joy in the midst of affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

What Does Our Joy Say About Our Election? (07:12–xx:xx)

  • Does joy emerging in the heart of some hearing the gospel prove they are elect? Not necessarily.
  • But joy that rises and remains in the heart of someone hearing the gospel when they are afflicted because of the gospel does prove they are elect. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
  • Jesus said some will receive the word with joy, but will fall away when trials come. (Mark 4:16–17)
  • When your joy is so great in Jesus that Jesus becomes more precious than all the comfort you might have or all the afflictions you avoid, you have evidence that you’ve been chosen by God. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Summary (09:24–11:16)